Aloo Samosas

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  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 2 hr 10 min
  • Prep: 1 hr
  • Inactive: 30 min
  • Cook: 40 min
  • Yield: about 4 to 6 servings
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2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoon ajawain (optional) (available at South Asian or specialty spice markets)

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

6 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more as needed

5 tablespoons cold water


4 russet potatoes (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

Kosher salt, as needed, plus 1 tablespoon

1/2 medium yellow onion

One 1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled

4 cloves garlic

1 serrano chile (with seeds), stemmed

3 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons ghee or oil, recipe follows

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds (available at South Asian or specialty spice markets)

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala (See Cook?s Note.)

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1/2 cup cooked peas

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Serving suggestion: Tamarind sauce or your favorite chutney


1 pound unsalted butter


  1. Filling:
  2. To make the dough: Whisk together the flour, ajawain, if using, and the salt. Add the oil and, using your hands, rub it into the flour mixture until fully incorporated. While stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually add the water, until a dough is formed. Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead until soft and pliable, about 3 minutes. Rub a little oil over the dough and cover with a damp towel. Let the dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the filling: Put the potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with cold tap water by about 2 inches, and season with salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool slightly. Using a fork, slightly smash the potatoes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small food processor (mini-chopper), combine the onion, ginger, garlic, chile, and 1 tablespoon water and puree to a paste.
  5. Heat the ghee in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mustard, cumin, and fennel seeds and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the onion paste, salt, garam masala, and turmeric and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring and mashing lightly with a wooden spoon, until hot, about 2 minutes. Stir in the peas. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and remaining 2 tablespoons water.
  6. To form the samosas: Divide the dough into 7 portions. Using your hands, roll each portion into a small ball. On a floured work surface, using rolling pin, roll each ball into a 7-inch wide disc. Cut each disc in half.
  7. Set a small bowl of water beside you. Working with one dough semi-circle at a time, fold half of the straight edge up to the rounded side and wet its outside edge with a little water. Fold the other half up to form a cone, overlapping it with the other side by 1/4 inch. Press the edges together to form a seal. Hold the cone in one hand and fill it with about 1/4 cup of the potato filling. Slightly wet the inside of the rounded edge and fold it over the filling to enclose it. Press the edges together to seal. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling to make 14 samosas.
  8. There are two choices at this point. For samosas with a slightly blistered and bubbly crust, store them uncovered in the refrigerator overnight and fry them the next day (the dough becomes soft and moist, creating small puffs in the dough when fried); or continue to the next step and fry them right away for an equally good but smooth crust.
  9. In a large, wide heavy-bottomed pot, pour in the oil to a depth of about 2 inches. Place over medium heat, and heat until a deep-fry thermometer inserted in the oil registers 365 degrees F.
  10. Working in small batches, fry the samosas until golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Serve immediately with tamarind sauce or your favorite chutney.
  11. Ghee:
  12. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Lower the heat and simmer until all of the water has evaporated and the white milk solids have browned in the bottom of the saucepan, about 8 minutes.
  13. Pour the ghee into a large container, leaving the browned milk solids in the pan. Use now or store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  14. Yield: about 2 cups

Cook’s Note

Garam masala is an Indian mixture of ground or whole spices, which usually contains cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, peppercorns, and cumin. It's available in Indian and specialty food stores.