Traditional scrumptious Indian potato samosa snacks are made more healthy by baking instead of frying. With the same delicately spiced herb and potato filling, these baked samosas give you all the flavor and texture without the fried oil. With or without the optional golden plum chutney, these samosas are perfection! You have to try them to believe it!
One of my favorite Indian snacks of all time is samosas. You know, those little fried pockets filled with spiced potatoes and usually eaten with a tamarind or mint chutney? Yes! That’s what I’m talking about!
You often find samosas served as appetizers or sitting on an Indian buffet bar, but here’s the thing. In India, samosas are not usually served as part of normal home cooked meal. There, you will find samosas at roadside stands like this one:
or at what is known as a “Sweet Shop” that sells all manner of beautiful Indian sweet desserts, plus samosas, kachoris, pakoras and other savory snacks.
But in the west, especially in the USA, I’ve often come away from an Indian buffet meal overly stuffed because those typical buffets are a combination of the very best of all types of Indian dishes. In India, you wouldn’t get all those dishes served at the same meal. Unless you are talking about an Indian wedding! In which case, yeah, for sure you will walk away feeling like you may never need to eat again…
Samosas are usually eaten as a snack, often on the run, and most Indian snack items are made by cooks who specialize in snacks and sweets. A meal chef will turn up his nose and scowl if you suggest that you’d like him to add some pakoras or samosas to your meal… believe me, I’ve tried it.
During a several months project in India one year, we were staying at a comfortable and homey guesthouse. One day, we were wandering in a shopping area and we came upon an outdoor snack/sweet shop and purchased a few savory snacks. They were delicious, but I noticed that the frying oil was a bit old… and we decided not to eat too many of them for that reason.
I wanted to ask our hotel cook if he could make us some at our guesthouse, where I knew we could count on the quality. So I saved a few of the crispy snacks aside and later carefully unwrapped them and showed the cook, who was in the habit of discussing our meal preferences before cooking for us each day, anyway.
Well. Apparently hell hath no fury like an Indian cook insulted! He was completely miffed and after a tirade in Hindi that I only about one-third understood, I got the gist of the complaint that he was NOT a dessert cook and how dare I ask him, beneath his station to prepare such items, etc. and so on…
I was really sorry that I had inadvertently upset him! And, lesson learned, we acknowledged that there was a time and place for such snacks and that was outside, not in our guesthouse! I guess it was like asking a restaurant chef to make you some popcorn… or something!
The only issue was that, as I mentioned, the oil used in roadside snack stands is sometimes not as fresh as you’d hope and you might end up with a bellyache from eating fried street food. Of course, if you are lucky enough to be invited to eat at an Indian home – now that’s a completely different story!
The typical Indian lady of the house is expected to prepare all manner of foods, from delicious curries to snacks and sweets… so there’s a very good chance that you can get your samosa fix that way.
But over time, I’ve determined that all that deep frying is not necessary except on special occasions. So I’ve played around with my favorite samosa recipe and figured out how to emulate that rich oily goodness that comes with deep fried food… without the deep frying.
I, along with so many other food bloggers, have tried many samosa recipes that use a typical flatbread dough that would normally be deep fried, but rather, the samosas are baked in the oven. The filling still tastes delicious, but the pockets seem too dry for me and were almost like a cracker.
Then it occurred to me that I could use my fantastic pie crust recipe that has a ton of butter in it (I also use this recipe for galettes, because it is super flaky). Voila!
With a bit of tweaking, these samosas are rich, buttery, flaky and no… not deep fried, but oh, are they delicious! and addicting!
In fact, they are so scrumptious that Jay and I have (ahem) been known to make an entire meal out of them!
Because, without being deep fried, you can eat more samosas without overdoing it. We’ve only ever done this at lunch time, because even these baked samosas would be too rich to make a whole meal of at night.
Let’s Make Some Baked Samosas
Before we get started, I’ll advise you that this is not a recipe that you that you can throw together in just a few minutes. But the end result is well worth your efforts!
Although the dough comes together easily, it needs to be refrigerated until it is quite firm because you need to manipulate it into the little cone-shaped samosa pockets without it melting into a buttery mess.
While the dough is refrigerating, you make the filling, which is also quite simple… first you’ll boil up some potatoes, then fry the spices and add them to the potatoes and mash them… not totally smoothly mashed like mashed potatoes, but leaving some potato chunks in there for texture.
It’s a bit fussy to make the wrappers… but not difficult.
Removing a dough disk from the refrigerator, you’ll cut it into quarters. Keep one quarter out and return the other three to the fridge. Each quarter will make 2 samosa covers.
Form the little triangle of dough into a round, by softening it with your fingers and pressing it flatter.
You’ll roll that round on a well floured board until it is approximately 1/8 inch thick and about 6-7 inches round. You’ll cut the round in half. Working quickly you then moisten the straight side of one of the half circles and fold the straight side onto itself, pressing together to seal. Now you will have a little triangle shaped cone, which you will carefully pick up.
I like to hold it in one hand with the seam side facing inward toward my arm. You’ll then quickly fill up the little pocket, using a small spoon to press a bit of potato filling into the point of the triangle and then filling the pocket, leaving enough room to moisten the upper edge and press it together. Gently place on a cookie sheet.
Proceed the same with the other half of the dough circle.
Remove the next 1/4 piece of the cut disk and repeat for the remaining samosas.
You’ll have 8 large lovely samosas on your cookie sheet.
Now the samosas go into the oven to bake and are ready when the tops are golden brown. You can check the bottoms for browning so as not to over cook. Depending on your oven, you may need to turn the cookie sheet around to bake all of the samosas evenly.
They do resemble hand pies a bit, but the dough is more buttery and flaky. And so much healthier than deep-fried!
Note: Note: The recipe that I have given for this samosa dough is what I usually use to make a double crusted pie… therefore, it is double what you need to make 8 samosas. If you want to make 16 samosas, just double the potato filling ingredients and you will be covered. I always make the full recipe of dough and save half of the dough (see instructions in the recipe card) for something else, like cute pastry strips cookies (sprinkled with cinnamon sugar) if I want a dessert snack in a hurry. I’ve tried halving the pastry recipe and somehow it doesn’t work for me! It’s recipe “magic” don’t ask me why! You can try halving the pastry recipe if you want, but no guarantees there ?
About the Chutney
I happened to find some gorgeous golden plums in the market the other day. And they are very tart! Too tart to eat on their own, which is why (I discovered later) they are mostly used in cooking and are also known as “Lemon Plums.” Hence, my brilliant decision to make a chutney with these samosas ?
This recipe is just one of those throw together recipes that can vary depending on what you have at hand. I’ve made some incredible mango chutney with unripe (green) mangoes in the past that I really love, so I based this recipe off of that concept. Unripe mangoes are also sour so….
“Same same, but different!” as they say in India.
Most chutneys require adding vinegar, but these plums are so tart that you don’t need any other souring agent. I’ve added a note on the recipe card for vinegar if you decide to use another sweeter plum or a different fruit altogether for this recipe. Also, I chose to use turbinado sugar in this version, which made the final color a rich brown. If you use white sugar, the chutney will be a lighter yellow color. The taste will also vary depending on your sweetener of choice… but all variations will taste incredible! No right or wrong here…
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If you love samosas as much as we do, you really have to try this version!!
Flaky Baked Samosas With Golden Plum-Ginger Chutney
For the Dough:
- 1⅔ cup white flour
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter you can use salted butter, but adjust salt if you choose to do so
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar optional
- ⅓ cup water or a bit more as needed
For the Filling:
- 2 medium potatoes, boiled, drained and chopped into chunks
- ⅓ cup onion, chopped
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 chile pepper, green chopped
- 2-3 teaspoons oil for frying spices
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ¼ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon salt, to taste
- ¼-½ teaspoon garam masala powder
- 1 squeeze of fresh lemon juice to taste
For the Chutney:
- 6 yellow or "golden" plums (or plums of your choice)
- 2 TBSP fresh ginger, minced
- ½ teaspoon red chili pepper, finely chopped
- 1 TBSP white onion, minced
- ¼ teaspoon garlic, minced
- ¼-½ teaspoon salt (to taste)
- 1 TBSP oil for frying or more as needed
- ¼ teaspoon brown mustard seed
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ cup turbinado or regular sugar, or sweetener of your choice or more to taste
For the Dough:
- In a small mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients
- Cut in cold butter until butter is pea-sized and thoroughly dispersed
- Add cold water and quickly press together into a ball with minimal handling. Don't try to blend the butter into the dough evenly
- Divide dough in half and press each piece into a flat round about 5 inches in diameter. Separate the two disks with plastic, wrap and refrigerate; let chill for about 1 hour or until dough is firm to touch.
For the Filling:
- Boil potatoes; when cooked but not falling apart (knife will slide through) drain and set aside to cool
- In a medium frying pan, fry onion until slightly golden
- Add chopped chili, turmeric and cumin powders and continue frying for 1-2 minutes more
- Remove from heat and add the boiled potatoes, salt, garam masala and cilantro to the pan.
- Stir gently to cover the potatoes with the spices and oil and gently smash about two-thirds of the potatoes with the side of your mixing spoon. Be sure to leave some potato chunks; you're not going for mashed potatoes here!
- Add a squeeze of lemon juice for brightness and adjust to taste for salt as needed
Assembling The Samosas
- Pre-heat oven to 375°F
- Prepare a small cup with a couple of inches of cool water for sealing the dough edges; set at your work station
- Remove 1 dough disk from the refrigerator and place on a floured cutting board
- Cut the dough into quarters. Keep one quarter on the board and return the rest of the dough to the refrigerator. Each dough quarter will make 2 samosas.
- With your hands, gently press the dough quarter into a round flat shape and roll into a flat circle of about 6-7 inches. Try to work quickly, with a floured roller and board, as the dough is very buttery (which we need to get that flaky buttery samosa texture!)
- Cut the dough circle in half
- Moisten the straight edge of one of the halves with water and fold onto itself to seal and form a triangle-shaped samosa "cup"
- Gently holding the dough cup in one hand, fill the cup with potato filling (I find it easier to do this if you turn the pressed seam side of the cup toward your hand). Holding the cup open, press a little bit of filling into the point of the cup first, then fill, leaving enough room at the top to press the edges closed. Resist the temptation to over fill the samosas! Moisten the edges with water and press closed.
- Gently place samosa on a baking sheet
- Repeat this procedure with the other half of the dough round
- Remove each quarter of dough from the refrigerator as you need it and prepare the rest of the samosas. You will have 8 beautiful samosas ready for baking!
- Bake the samosas at 375° for between 25-30 minutes, checking for doneness at about 20 minutes. The samosas will be done when the bottoms and tops are slightly browned
- Enjoy with chutney of your choice, ketchup and/or yogurt raita sauce
Optional: Golden Plum-Ginger Chutney
- Wash plums, blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes, remove from heat, drain and let cool (that’s so you don’t burn your fingers!)
- Remove plum skins (which should slide off easily) and center pits. Set plum pulp aside
- In a medium pot, heat oil. Wait until oil is very hot, then add mustard seeds, immediately covering with the pot lid. In a minute or two you should hear the seeds “pinging” on the inside of the pot lid as the seeds pop. Listen for the popping to stop.
- When popping stops, quickly remove from heat and let the oil cool for about half a minute, then add the turmeric (if you do this too soon the turmeric will burn, so take care).
- Return the pot to the burner and add the garlic, onion, ginger and chili and fry until just browned
- Add the plum pulp and sugar and boil until thickened
- Check for taste and adjust sugar and/or salt as needed