I don’t like to try to change recipes or dishes to make them vegetarian or vegan. So whenever I’m looking to make a vegetarian or vegan meal, I always go first to my more exotic cookbooks. My personal favorite being Indian food!
The great, unwashed, American masses tend to assume that vegetarian and vegan food is all painfully healthy rabbit food. For cultures that have sizable vegetarian and vegan populations (or even lots of poor people who just can’t afford meat), you will find recipes that range from healthy to indulgent and from simple to complicated. This recipe happens to be both indulgent and fairly complicated, but these delightful little spiced vegetable fritters are worth it!
When I first became interested in Indian cooking when I was in high school, a friend’s mother taught me how to make these little guys. This is Mrs. Sembhi’s recipe and one of the first Indian foods I learned to make. They are great as an appetizer or part of an bigger Indian meal. Aside from one little yogurt sauce, my meal was entirely vegan! We had lentil dal, rice, naan bread (a bit overcooked, unfortunately) and a vegetable curry to accompany our samosas.
Potato and Pea Samosas
Makes 8 large samosas – cost approx $2.78 for all of it (less if you re-use your frying oil!)
- 1 cup and 1 Tbs flour, divided use – or pre-made pot-sticker wrappers ($.10)
- 1 Tbs and 2 cups vegetable oil, divided use ($2)
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled, small dice ($.12)
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas ($.23)
- 1/4 cup onion, minced ($.08)
- 2 Tbs cilantro, minced
- salt and pepper
If you want to just buy your favorite sort of pot sticker wrappers, that would be fine too, just skip ahead to making the filling. Start by making the simple dough for the wrappers. Put 1 cup of flour and a pinch of salt into a mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Add in warm water slowly, just until a dough forms and there’s no more loose flour, let mix on low for 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and uniform and not be sticky, feel free to add a pinch more flour or water to adjust your consistency on the dough. Cover and let rest while you prepare the filling.
To make the filling, heat the 1 Tbs of vegetable oil in a saute pan and add in the cumin seeds. Cook for 30 seconds or until the cumin seeds are slightly browned and fragrant. Add in the potato and cook until the they are about 75% cooked through (they’ll finish cooking in the fryer). Remove from the heat and then add in the peas, onion and cilantro. Taste the filling and adjust the seasonings with salt and black pepper.
Now to assemble the little pockets of goodness! This is kinda similar to making Chinese pancakes for Mu Shu Pork. (https://fullbellyfullwallet.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/mu-shu-pork-a-pork-revival/)
Start by cutting your dough into 4 equal pieces and rolling them into little balls. Flatten them into little disks and spray them with whichever spray-grease you have on hand (or a few drops of oil) Stack them all up evenly and roll out very thin, making a circle about 4-5 inches in diameter. Now heat up a griddle or large saute pan over medium heat and lightly begin to cook the dough on one side for 30 sec – 1 minute, just enough to pull the sheets apart then repeat on the other side until all the thin sheets have been separated. (There are pictures of this process in the link to my Mu Shu Pork recipe above, the only difference is that you’re not fully cooking the dough sheets, as they will finish cooking in the fryer.)
Cut each dough sheet in half, making 8 half circles. Make a paste out of the 1 Tbs of flour and a little water, this will be the glue that holds your samosas together. Make a little cone out of the semi-circle, sealing the edge with the flour glue.
Gently fry over over medium heat just a few at a time, until they are golden brown and delicious, about 3-5 minutes. I like to use a small pot so that I don’t have to use a whole lot of oil, but do what you like. This would be a great time to use your counter top fryer if you have one!
When they’re all done, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and tuck in!