I have a little confession to make. Shhhh...here it goes....I've never made my own samosa dough. I love making samosas of all different types (such as the traditional potato & pea as well as my special chili paneer version), but I've never bothered with the process of mixing and rolling my own dough. Before you start questioning my Indian girl credentials, let me tell you why. It's all because after I moved to Paris, I discovered the joys of brick pastry, or feuilles de brick. Also known as warka, brick is a wafer-thin pastry dough that originates from the Maghreb (North Africa) but which has become a common supermarket product in France, which is home to many immigrants from this part of the world. Usually sold in circular sheets, brick pastry is usually used to wrap fillings such as meat, tuna or eggs and is typically then fried. I discovered in France that brick pastry is super easy to fold and work with and makes for perfectly light, crispy samosas...just the way I like them! And better yet, samosas made with brick can be baked rather than fried, yielding equally crispy, delicious results without the guilt.
Though I've never seen brick pastry here in Thailand, I always request friends visiting from France to bring us several packs. They freeze perfectly well and don't even need to be defrosted or thawed. If you don't have access to brick pastry, I've found that spring roll wrappers make a fine substitute and give you that same light, crispy texture for your samosas (though they are admittedly better for frying than baking). If you are going to use brick pastry sheets, it's quite a cinch to form samosas out of them...as you can see!
I came up with the idea of pumpkin & edamame samosas for our Christmas dinner last year. For one thing, Japanese pumpkin is readily available and super cheap here. And beyond that, I love the slight sweetness of the pumpkin (butternut squash or sweet potatoes would make fine substitutes) mixed with the complexity of the spices and the heat of the chili powder which goes in the filling. The mixture of sweet and spicy always works for me!
Upon reaching for the bag of frozen green peas which we usually have in our freezer, I discovered that we were all out on that particular day. But as usual, we did have a nice bag of frozen edamame pods. In case you don't know, edamame are simply immature soybeans in their pod. In my opinion, there's no more satisfying and easy snack than lightly boiled (or steamed) edamame pods dusted with some sea salt and chili flakes. Edamame are packed with protein and fiber...and guess what...the shelled beans kind of look like bigger, flatter green peas. So lo and behold...the pumpkin and edamame samosas were born!
These were such a big hit at Christmas that I made them again this weekend for visiting friends. Just like last time, I served them with the simplest sauce ever...a mix of plain yogurt and Thai sweet chili sauce. Thai sweet chili sauce is readily available in the "Asian" section of most major grocery stores, and is more sweet than it is spicy. You could also make your own using this great recipe from Leela of She Simmers. Something about the sweetness of the sauce mixed with the tang of the yogurt makes for the perfect dipping sauce. Everyone asked for the recipe and couldn't believe that it was really just yogurt and sweet chili sauce mixed together in whatever proportions you see it!
Sprayed generously with cooking spray, these samosas cook up perfectly in the oven. Just make sure to watch them carefully as the brick pastry in particular browns very quickly. I stepped away for a few minutes and got burnt edges! It didn't much matter though, as they were still delicious. Try them for your next party!
SPICY PUMPKIN & EDAMAME SAMOSAS WITH SWEET CHILI-YOGURT SAUCE
Makes 20 samosas
1 cup frozen edamame pods
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch piece ginger, grated
500 grams pumpkin, butternut squash or sweet potato, chopped into chunks (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
Salt, to taste
10 sheets of brick pastry or 20 spring roll wrappers
Cooking spray or oil in a spray/mister bottle
Plain yogurt of your choice (Greek, Bulgarian, normal, fat-free, etc.)
Thai sweet chili sauce
1. Boil edamame pods in a pot of salted water. Normally you need only boil about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse and remove the beans from the pads. You should have about 1/2 cup of beans. Set aside.
2. In a wide saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the cumin and fennel seeds and allow them to just start popping.
3. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and sauté until the onion is translucent.
4. Add the chopped pumpkin and 1/4 cup of water. Stir well and cook until the pumpkin begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
5. Add another 1/4 cup of water and the cumin, coriander and chili powders and salt to taste. Stir well. Cook until the pumpkin is quite soft, about 5-10 minutes depending on your stove.
6. In the saucepan, mash the pumpkin with a potato masher. Mix in the edamame beans. Set the mixture aside to cool.
7. Preheat oven to 200 C / 375 F.
8. Once the mixture has cooled down to room temperature, stuff into the brick pastry sheets or spring roll wrappers. If using brick pastry, see the pictorial above. Seal the edges of your samosas with egg wash.
9. Place the samosas on a baking sheet or tray greased with cooking spray or oil from a spray/mister bottle. Spray a generous amount of additional oil on top of the samosas.
10. Place into the oven and bake until just lightly golden brown on one side (stay closeby as this usually happens quite fast…no longer than 5 minutes in most cases). Flip on the other side and spray with additional oil and bake for 5 minutes or until golden on the other side. Remove from oven.
11. Mix the yogurt and sweet chili sauce in a small bowl (no specific quantities here…adjust to your personal preference to get the right mix of tangy and sweet) and serve alongside the warm samosas.