My father came to New York from his native Trinidad in 1954, a time when even that great city had few creature comforts familiar to West Indian immigrants. There he lived a life of substitutions. Although he slathered knishes with hot pepper sauce to mimic these spicy potato turnovers, it was never quite the same. Aloo Pies are not usually served with any condiments since they are well spiced, but I like the popular convention of serving them with Tamarind Sauce, similar to the way a traditional Indian samosa would be eaten.
Mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add just enough water to bring the dough together, about ½ cup, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form the dough into 2-inch balls and set aside to rest for 15 minutes.
Mash together the potatoes, salt, pepper sauce, and garlic.
Flatten a ball of dough into a 4-inch patty. Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of the potato filling in the middle of the circle and pinch the sides together covering the filling and reforming into a ball. Holding the ball in one hand, gently flatten into an oblong shape, roughly 5 inches long, taking care not to squeeze out the potato filling. Repeat with remaining dough ball.
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan and working in batches, add the aloo pies, being careful not to crowd the pan. Fry on both sides until golden brown, remove, and drain on paper towels. Serve hot, with Tamarind Sauce if desired.
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