Making Indian samosas, triangular fried pastries filled with peas and potatoes, is nothing like crafting delicate French pastry. It calls for a technique called moyan dena, which involves vigorously rubbing fat into flour between your fingers—a process that develops the flour's glutens, coats every particle with fat, and produces a sturdy shell that won't rupture during frying. It yields a golden, flaky snack that is as gratifying to eat as it is to make. —Margo True, from "Super Snack" (March 2005)
For the Dough
- 1 1⁄2 cups flour
- 1⁄4 tsp. salt
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
For the Filling and Serving
- 2 tbsp. canola oil, plus more for frying
- 1 small yellow onion
- 1⁄2 cup fresh or frozen peas
- 2 tbsp. cilantro
- 1 (1") piece ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 small hot green Indian chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. amchoor (dried mango powder)
- 1⁄2 tsp. anardana (ground dried pomegranate seeds)
- 1⁄2 tsp. ground coriander
- 1⁄2 tsp. garam masala
- 1⁄2 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
- 1⁄8 tsp. cayenne
- 2 medium waxy potatoes, boiled, peeled, and cut in to 1/4" cubes
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Cilantro-Mint Chutney, for serving
For the dough: Whisk together flour and salt in a large bowl. Add butter, and using your fingers, rub into flour until pea-size crumbs form; add 6 tbsp. warm water, and mix with your fingers until dough forms. Transfer to a work surface, and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 12 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill for 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
For the filling: Heat oil in a 12" skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add peas, cilantro, ginger, chile, and 3 tbsp. water; cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until peas are soft, about 5 minutes. Add juice, amchoor, anardana, coriander, garam masala, cumin, cayenne, potatoes, and salt, and cook, stirring, until potatoes are heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and set filling aside to cool completely.
Place dough on a lightly floured work surface, divide into 12 equal balls, and cover with a damp towel to keep from drying out. Using a rolling pin, roll 1 dough ball into a 6" round; cut round in half. Gather straight edges of 1 half-round together, overlapping them by 1⁄4" to form a cone; moisten seam with water and press to seal. Spoon 1 heaping tbsp. filling into cone. Moisten inside of top edge of cone with water, press edges together to close top of cone, and pinch along top 1⁄4" of seam to completely seal filling in dough cone. Pleat length of seam by folding over about 1⁄4" of the dough and pinching it together in about 1⁄2" increments. Repeat process with remaining dough and filling to make 24 pastries total.
Pour oil to a depth of 2" in a 6-qt. Dutch oven, and heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°. Working in batches, fry pastries until golden brown all over, about 10 minutes. Using tongs, transfer samosas to paper towels to drain briefly. Transfer to a serving platter, and serve hot or at room temperature with Cilantro-Mint Chutney on the side.