14
Nov

The Proven Platter—India, December 2022

It’s “gathering” season meant for “together-ing.” It is what our family declares, every year right around the time Diwali rolls around. Depending on the lunar calendar that usually falls some time in late October or early November. It usually heralds the start of the season of holidays and celebrations spanning different cultues and religions that involve, essentially, the gathering of friends and family over food. Gathering season lasts till the start of the New Year.

Samosas almost always feature in the Diwali together-ing. So it felt intuitive to me to share a samosa recipe for our December Proven Platter given that we are elevating an organization in India this month.

In 2011, as a first-time mum juggling  a 4 month old and hosting duties for a Diwali party, in the interest of conserving energy, time, and my sanity, I used puff pastry and made one giant baked samosa. It was a large savory strudel of sorts, that guests could cut a slice of (rather than the small triangle shaped individual pastries that are deep fried). It was a huge hit. Guests enjoyed the flaky crispiness of the puff pastry crust, the ability to cut as small a slice or as large a slice as they preferred and that it was baked not fried. Since then, it has been featured at every gathering season at our family table. The filling is the traditional spiced potato and peas mixture that I’ve adapted over the years to suit the spice tolerance of a wide variety of guests and omitting spices that are harder to procure.

 

Baked Puff Pastry “Samosa” with Tamarind chutney

Ingredients:
Store bought puff pastry – 1
Egg – 1 (for egg wash)

 

For filling:
Potatoes—3 medium
Petite green peas – ½ cup (frozen peas that have been thawed)
Onion, white or yellow – ½ finely diced
Tomato- ½ diced
Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Turmeric – ½ tsp
Chilli powder – ½ tsp (reduce to ¼ tsp if you prefer less heat)
Salt – to taste
Olive oil –2 tbsp

 

For tamarind chutney:
Tamarind concentrate – 1 tbsp
Water – 1 cup
Brown sugar – ½ cup
Chilli powder – ¼ tsp
Ground ginger – ¼ tsp
Salt – ¼ tsp

 

Equipment
Pot
Saute pan
Sauce pan
Baking tray
Potato masher

Method

  1. Add washed potatoes (skin on) to a pot of water. Make sure that the water line is at least an inch above the potatoes
  2. Set the pot of water with potatoes to boil. Let the potatoes cook about 20 minutes or until they are fork tender.
  3. Once the potatoes are cool, peel and mash them. They should be chunky, not like mush as you would for mashed potatoes.
  4. Set mashed potatoes aside.
  5. Set a saute pan to heat.
  6. Add 2 tbsp olive oil.
  7. Add the mustard seeds. Allow them to pop (and watch out for popping seeds).
  8. Quickly add the cumin seeds and saute. Make sure they do not burn. Reduce heat if necessary.
  9. Add the diced onions and cook until golden brown.
  10. Then add the diced tomatoes and saute until they carmelize.
  11. Add turmeric, chilli powder and salt and saute till well mixed.
  12. Add the thawed peas to this mix and stir well.
  13. Now mix in the mashed potatoes and stir well until the onion, tomato, and peas mix is thoroughly incorporated.
  14. Set aside to cool.
  15. Preheat oven following instruction for puff pastry that you are using. (The puff pastry I used required 425F on convection bake setting or 450F on conventional bake setting.)
  16. Roll out puff pastry on parchment paper lined baking tray.
  17. Place the cooled samosa filling in the center of the puff pastry and create notches on top and bottom and fold (see photos).
  18. Score strips on either side, at about equidistance, and criss-cross the strips to create a braided pattern (see photos).
  19. Make egg wash by whisking one egg with 1tbsp of water and brush on the braids of the puff pastry.
  20. Bake the “samosa” per puff pastry package instructions. (The puff pastry I used required 15 minutes at 425F.)
  21. While the samosa is baking, make the chutney.
  22. Set sauce pan on low heat.
  23. Add 1 cup of water to the sauce pan.
  24. Add 1tbsp of tamarind extract to the water and whisk to mix.
  25. Add the brown sugar and stir well.
  26. Add the chilli powder, ground ginger and salt and stir to combine.
  27. Let the chutney reduce to a syrup like consistency. This will take about 15 minutes on simmer.
  28. Serve samosa hot with chutney and enjoy together-ing in this gathering season.

 

Recipe and photo credit: Vinola V. Munyon