Samosa Pies with Cilantro-Mint Chutney

I shudder at the very thought of deep-frying in my kitchen and so this recipe was born. It’s pretty much a traditional Indian samosa, just shaped and baked like a hand pie. The real star here is the dough. It doesn’t require any faffing about with cold butter or daintily fluttering pastry blenders. You can mix it in one bowl with a spatula. It rolls out like a dream, you don’t have to worry about keeping it cold and it’s so incredibly flaky! Truly, it’s a game changer. It’s also one of those recipes where a picture is really worth a thousand words. It reads very long but once you understand, it’s stunningly simple.

By / Photography By Shilpa Uskokovic | July 11, 2017

Instructions

Place 200 grams (1 ½ cups) of the flour in a medium sized bowl. Add the salt, sugar and turmeric, if using. Pour in the water and 60 grams (¼ cup) of the melted butter. Use your hands to bring the mixture together into a soft, smooth dough. Knead for about a minute, transfer to a covered container and let it rest for 30 minutes.

After the rest period, roll out the dough on a floured surface to a roughly 13” X 13” square. It doesn’t have to be perfect but try and get it as square as you can. Set aside for now.

In a small bowl, mix together the remaining flour with the rest of the melted butter. When you’re done, the texture will resemble smooth, natural peanut butter. Use a small offset spatula to spread this mixture over the rolled out square of dough, just as you would spread peanut butter on toast. Try to get all the way to the edges.

Starting from the side closest to you, roll the dough up like a jelly roll. Give it a 90° turn and using your rolling pin, flatten it out to about ½ inch thick. Once again, starting with the side closest to you, roll the dough into a short, fat spiral. Let it rest on the counter for 10 minutes.

Squish the dough log out with your palms then roll out into a square till it’s the thickness of about two stacked nickels. Flour your surface as needed. Preheat the oven to 400°.

Use a knife to cut your dough into 6 pieces. You can stamp out rounds if you want, but straight shapes eliminate waste.

Divide the lamb filling evenly between the 6 pieces, fold the dough over and press the edges to seal. If you find they don’t stay sealed, you could brush it, very lightly, with water and then seal. Transfer to a large baking sheet.

To make the egg wash, whisk the egg and salt together in a small bowl. Brush the tops of the pies with the egg wash and bake in the preheated oven till golden brown. Serve the samosa pies with cilantro-mint chutney.

For the lamb filling:

Cut the potatoes into roughly ¼ inch cubes and steam till tender. Set aside.

In a heavy bottomed 10 inch skillet over medium heat, start melting the ghee or butter. Add the cumin seeds and cook till fragrant.

Add the onions, chilies, garlic and ginger and cook till the onions are soft and well browned. Add a couple splashes of water to the pan as needed and scrape up the tasty, caramelized bits on the bottom of the pan.

Chuck in the ground lamb and cayenne, breaking it up with a spoon and cook till it’s browned.

Stir in the peas, cashew nuts and steamed potatoes. Add a few splashes of water and cook for 10 minutes on low heat. Add the garam masala and lime juice, turn off the heat and stir well to combine.

Check and adjust for seasoning. You want the filling to be a touch punchier than you think to accommodate for the slightly muffling effect of the pastry. Let it cool before assembling the pies. 

*Garam masala is a blend of warming spices frequently used in Indian cooking. At its most basic it contains cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and mace though almost every region and family has their own variation. When the spices are left whole they are meant to be used in the beginning of a recipe, often added in hot fat to release flavor. When the mixture is ground, as in this recipe, it’s added towards the end of the cooking process to preserve the delicacy of the spices. Store bought garam masala is perfectly fine to use, as long as it’s fresh.

For the cilantro-mint chutney:

Thoroughly wash the cilantro and mint. Remove any attached roots and very roughly chop, stems and all. Combine with the rest of the ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Store in an airtight container.

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Ingredients

Dough
  • 320 grams (2 1/2 cups) flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, optional (if you have counters that stain easily, skip the turmeric!)
  • 140 grams (⅔ cups) melted butter, divided
  • 80 grams (⅓ cup) water
Lamb Filling
  • 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled
  • 3 tablespoons ghee or butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1-2 serrano chilies, minced (use more or less depending on how spicy you like your food)
  • 3 fat cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 inch cube of peeled ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • ½ pound ground lamb
  • ½ cup shelled peas (fresh or frozen)
  • ⅓ cup toasted cashew nuts
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground garam masala*
  • Juice of ½ a lime
Egg Wash
  • 1 large egg
  • Pinch of kosher salt
Cilantro-Mint Chutney
  • ½ bunch cilantro
  • ½ bunch mint
  • ¼ cup cashew nuts, soaked in hot water for 1 hour
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 serrano chili
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Kosher salt, to taste
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