Khazana, Saliha Mahmood Ahmed
Today the samosa is considered a quintessentially Indian delicacy.
In actual fact, the history of the samosa is far more complex and cosmopolitan. Food historians agree that the Mughals helped popularise this dish on the Indian subcontinent, but its origins
seem to lie in the Middle East and central Asia, where it was enjoyed centuries earlier. In this recipe I use pistachios (pista) to create the most wonderful nutty mince stuffing.
FOR THE FILLING
2 teaspoons light olive oil
1⁄2 red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1⁄2 teaspoon garam masala
1 green chilli, finely chopped
1⁄4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
150g minced lamb
80g shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon rose water
Good pinch of saffron threads, soaked in a few tablespoons of warm water
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander
Salt, to taste
FOR THE PASTRY
150g plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons light olive oil Vegetable oil, for frying
First make the filling. Pour the oil into a large frying pan and fry the red onion over a low-medium heat for about 5 minutes until softened and golden brown. Stir through the garlic, ginger, garam masala, green chilli and nutmeg, then increase the heat slightly and add the minced
lamb to the pan. Fry off the mince until it is cooked through and most of the moisture has been absorbed. You may need to mash the mince against the side of the pan with your spoon to ensure that any lumps of mince break down.
Remove the cooked lamb mixture from the heat and allow it to cool. Add the pistachios, rose water, saffron and its soaking liquid, mint and coriander. Stir well to combine and season to taste with salt. The filling is now ready to use.
To prepare the pastry, put the flour, salt and oil into a large bowl. Adding just enough water to form a firm dough, use your hands to bring the dough together. Knead gently until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl and then divide the dough into small balls that are about the size of a lime. Cover the dough balls with a piece of cling film to prevent them from drying out.
Roll each dough ball out on a lightly floured surface into a circle that is less than a millimetre thick and has a diameter of about 15cm. Cut the circle in half to make two semicircles. Brush a little water along the straight edge of one semicircle and pick it up. Form into a cone shape by folding the two corners in so that they meet in the middle and one wet edge overlaps the other. Press the dough edges together to seal.
Fill the dough cone with the filling to about three-quarters of the way up. Brush the remaining flap of pastry with a little more water and seal by pinching the edge together with your fingers, or crimp using a fork. Continue with all the pastry and filling (you should have about 12 samosas). Place the prepared samosas on a greased tray and cover with a damp cloth or piece of cling film so they don’t dry out. (You can make these up to a day ahead and chill in the fridge or freeze for another day; simply defrost for about 1 hour before frying.)
When you are ready to serve the samosas, heat the vegetable oil in a large pan or deep fryer; it’s hot enough when a small piece of pastry dropped in sizzles immediately. Deep-fry the samosas in small batches for about 30 seconds on each side (turn them carefully with a slotted spoon), or until they are golden brown and crisp. Remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper. Serve hot with any pickle or relish of your choice.