Samosas are delicious deep fried triangular pastries, typically filled with a savory filling, and served with condiments, such as chutney or spiced yogurt. The ones I am familiar with are found in India, although variations occur in the Middle East and Africa. The filling can be any type of spiced vegetable, although potato was the most common filling I encountered in Mumbai.
I have fond memories of snacking on crisp samosas, accompanied by hot tea, in little tea houses, and they were often served at weddings and other gatherings. My fondest memory of samosas, though, is eating them as a snack when I went out with a group of women on an excursion to the sari-blouse maker, or to buy spices in the bazaar. We would stroll along in our colorful saris, glass bangles jingling on our wrists, and pause to get a folded newspaper cone filled with plump, hot samosas from a vendor frying them in a cart along our path. Then we would take our savory snack to an open-air stall where raw sugar cane was being pressed into juice along with a bit of lime. There were, of course, flies around the sugar cane press, and I willed myself not to think about their being crushed with the cane as we sat around laughing, drinking our sweet cane juice and eating the hot samosas.
I have made samosas before, but could not figure out how to lower the fat on the tasty deep fried snacks. But this recipe, from “Healthy Indian Cooking” captures the savory flakiness of samosa without deep frying. They’re relatively easy to make, too, although I found that they did not keep well for eating the second day. The flavor was fine, but they lost their crispness overnight and did not regain it when warmed in the microwave. So invite a friend or two over and eat them up right away.
14 sheets of phyllo dough, thawed and covered with a damp towel
3 large potatoes, peeled, boiled, and coarsely mashed
¾ cup frozen peas, thawed
1/3 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed (or drained canned corn)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 small onion, finely chopped
1-2 green chillies, seeded and finely chopped
2 Tablespoons coriander (cilantro) leaves, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh mint leave, finely chopped
juice of one lemon
salt to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
Mix filling ingredients in a large bowl until well blended. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and lemon juice if needed. (Note, I think I should have mashed the mixture more thoroughly so it wasn’t quite so chunky) Set aside.
Cut each sheet of phyllo pastry in half lengthwise, then fold each piece in half lengthwise to make 28 thin strips. Lightly spray strips with cooking spray. I found that it was best to work with 3 sheets of phyllo at a time, cutting, filling, and folding them (six samosas) rather than trying to do all the cutting at once, then filling, etc. Keep the pyllo sheets you are not working with covered with a damp towel to prevent them from drying out.
Using one strip of pastry at a time, place 1 tablespoon of the filling mixture at one end of the strip:
Diagonally fold the pastry back and forth (like you fold a flag) to form a triangle shape.
Place on the prepared baking sheet. Spray the tops of the samosas lightly with cooking spray (or brush lightly with oil). Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Make a cup of hot tea and enjoy. Makes 28 samosas at less than 1 gram of fat/samosa.