May 18, 2010


After only being in India a few days, I found myself, thanks to a friend of a friend, spending New Year's Eve with a local family in the Northern suburbs of Mumbai. I won't tell you about the harrowing train ride there, which left me in tears, but I will tell you that we arrived to a memorable Indian welcome and just in time for a lavish lunch prepared entirely from scratch by our host mother.

She started with handmade samosas. Though the whole meal was thoroughly enjoyable, the samosas are what I remember most. Made from scratch! By hand! Just for us! I never, ever thought that I would be able to attempt something like that on my own. And to be sure, when I flipped the pages of Cooking Light and came across a recipe for samosas, I was surprised to find it there. I imagined the making of samosas to be a laborious and time consuming task, something outside the scope of your average American cook.

Now, these samosas are not exactly what I ate that day in a Mumbai living room, but they are definitely good enough for me. The main leap of faith is using egg roll wrappers in place of the tasty dough that normally envelopes these savory treats. The egg roll wrappers are easier, of course, and I would rather make samosas this way than not make them at all, which would probably be the alternative--at least for me.

The original recipe was developed by Cheryl and Bill Jamison of, apparently, some cookbook fame. I had never heard of them before randomly picking up a sale book at Powell's called Around the World in 80 Dinners: The Ultimate Culinary Adventure. I think it was priced to move for a reason. Terrible, boring book. I don't know how the Jamisons made a book about travel and food boring, but sadly they did. Skip their book, but definitely try these samosas.

(adapted from Cooking Light)
  • 1 1/4 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1/4 cup cooked lentils
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon curry paste (like Patak's) or curry powder, more if desired
  • 1 teaspoon butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosker salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 cup frozen petite green peas, thawed
  • 10 egg roll wrappers
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Cooking spray
  1. Mix together potatoes, lentils, mint, curry, butter, salt and cumin until combined. Gently fold in peas.
  2. Use one egg roll wrapper at a time and cover the rest so they don't dry out. Cut the wrapper down the middle to form 2 long triangles. Dip a finger in the egg, then use your finger to coat the edges of the wrapper with egg. 
  3. With your hands, grab a small portion (about 1 tablespoon) of the potato mixture and place it near the bottom left hand edge of the wrapper. Fold the bottom right hand corner of the wrapper over the mixture to meet the left edge of the wrapper to form a triangle. Repeat the fold to the opposite side to form another triangle---like folding up a flag. Seal the edges and set aside. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.
  4. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Coat with cooking spray. Add samosas to pan, cook until bottoms are golden brown. Flip and cook until other side is also golden brown. Serve with chutney or raita of your choice. (Note: Trader Joe's has an excellent selection of chutneys and sauces.)
Makes 20 pieces/ 4-5 servings

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