Preparation info

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    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Food of India: A Journey for Food Lovers

The Food of India

By Priya Wickramasinghe

Published 2005

  • About

These crisp, deep-fried pastries are the most popular savoury snack in India. This recipe has a delicious spicy vegetable filling but if you prefer a meat samosa, you can use the singhara filling. Samosas are usually served with chutney.



  • 450 g (1 lb) maida or plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons oil or ghee


To make the pastry, sift the maida and salt into a bowl, then rub in the oil or ghee until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add 185 ml (¾ cup) warm water, a little at a time, to make a pliable dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, or until smooth. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes. Don’t refrigerate or the oil will harden.

To make the filling, cook the potato in simmering water for 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain and cut into small cubes. Cook the peas in simmering water for 2 minutes. Drain and refresh in cold water.

Place a small frying pan over low heat, dry-roast the cumin seeds until aromatic, then remove. Dry-roast the coriander seeds. Grind ½ teaspoon of the cumin and all the coriander to a fine powder in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar.

Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan over low heat and fry the onion until light brown. Stir in all the cumin, the coriander, turmeric and garam masala. Add the potato, chilli, ginger and stir for 1 minute. Mix in the lemon juice and coriander leaves and salt, to taste, then leave to cool.

On a floured surface, roll out a third of the pastry to a 28 cm (11 inch) circle, about 3 mm ( inch) thick. Cut 10 circles with an 8 cm (3 inch) cutter and spoon ½ tablespoon of filling onto the centre of each. Moisten the edges with water, then fold over and seal with a fork into a semicircle. Repeat to use all the filling and pastry. Cover until ready to fry.

Fill a karhai or heavy-based saucepan one-third full with oil and heat to 180°C/350°F (a cube of bread will brown in 15 seconds). Fry a few samosas at a time until lightly browned. Turn them over and brown them on the other side. Drain on a wire rack for 5 minutes before draining on paper towels. Serve warm or cold.