Sunday, December 30, 2007

Making samosas

First, I would like to appoligise to those of you who have read this ( or part of this) before. Bolgger is being a bit if a prat.

Here in Fredericton, there has been a craze happening. It started a number of years ago at the Farmers Market in the historic downtown. It was the humble samosa. For those of you who have never had one, they are a pastry that is filled with spiced meat or vegetables. The first to introduce the humble samosa were the Patel family. They made a variety of samosas of both vegetable and a variety of meats in a range of spiciness. After a number of years as reining supreme in the samosa market, a new competitor emerged. Samosa Delight. Their samosas were a little different. The pastry was thicker and (some say) the samosas were of a better flavour. I remained undecided. Then one day, Patel's samosas were no where to be seen. The whole family had gone to India for a wedding and were not expected back for three months. That was the chance that Samosa Delight was waiting for. They surged ahead in the customer favour (because they were available) and Patel's samosas were left behind. Three months is a long time to go without the wondrous samosa and many converted. Patels came back and many of their loyal followers returned to their folds, but eventually, Patel's faded away. That left Samosa Delight as undefended champion of the field. And that was when "The Samosa Wars" began. Apparently, Samosa Delights success did not go unnoticed by their neighbours at the Farmers Market. The reason for this was that Samosa Delight's customers were willing to stand in an ever increasingly long line for a taste of these wondrous creations. Which, in turn, blocked the access to their stalls, at which point, the offended stall holders complained to the Market Authorities who decided to put a stop to all of this commercial success.

The Samosa Delight vendors were banished from the interior of the market and left to fend for themselves in the great out doors in what is known to Farmer's Market goers as "Fast Food Alley". Which is basically a venue for Donors, Bear Paws ( pastry's really) various Chinese and Greek Cuisine, and lately Kettle Corn (which is a pop corn that is truly THE best popcorn that I have ever tasted!!!) Their loyal customers will STILL line up, outside people! for some times as long as 45 minutes to get the wonder called "the Samosa".

Us? Well, we are not such a people that will stand in line for any more than 5 minutes tops. I have always been this way. I remember in my early 20's walking away from " The Hill Top", then the hottest bar in town, because there were more that 10 people in front of me. No. Possible. Way.

So, If I am at the market before 7 am (which seems to be the only time to avoid a line up) I just pass the line by and think "Maybe next week".

Until this week when Bill came up with the brilliant idea of making our own samosas. So here is our experiment in samosa making. There really are a ridiculous amount of samosa recipes out there.

Rolling out the wrappers. This looked like it would be a serious Pain In the Ass until I suggested the pasta maker. What a wonderful invention. Heaven sent really.
Here is two samosas ready to be wrapped. We made both chicken and vegetable. Yum.
Here are many, many samosas that are ready for the oven. We decided to brush them with olive oil and bake them instead of going with the normal deep frying method, because, really, does my butt need to be any larger?
And here they are all ready to consume along with a coriander hot sauce. They are not quite as good as the Samosa Delight ones but this is only the second time that we have tried them and I am sure that we will come up with a wonderful alternatively. The vegetable one's have already been proclaimed far superior and the filling may even make an appearance on the table as a vegetable during one of my "Indian Curry Nights" that start to show up this time of year.

Long live Indian cooking. So Yummy!


Anonymous said...

I live in the UK and they sell samosas here (in Indian restaurants and even in grocery stores). However, as tasty as the filling can be, the pastry is thick, greasy and stodgy compared to Patel's samosas from the Farmers Market in Fredericton. The ones here must have some levening agent in the dough, because they 'puff out' (like an egg roll), whereas Patel's were thin, crispy and well worth standing in line for.

DaviMack said...

"because, really, does my butt need to be any larger?"

Oh, Jackie.

Does anybody's butt need to be larger? But, at the same time, can we possibly bypass the samosas?

I'm so glad that you baked them, and that you're experimenting with the food-stuffs! Happy interpreting to you!

Anonymous said...

Okay, that blog entry is proof positive that one shouldn't post after the first litre of beer. Jackie, the one true goddess in the world, will likely edit it a wee bit in the morning. But right now she's sleeping peacefully.

We had home made pasta this evening with a choice of two sauces; gorgonzola cream sauce and roasted sweet red pepper cream sauce. (Many thanks to Liam who was very helpful when I rolled and cut the pasta.) There was white wine and red wine with dinner too. So it was all a bit of a feast, and I think my dear Jackie was overtaken by the wine. She hadn't eaten much earlier in the day.

The whole samosa thing is rather hard to decide. The Patels made theirs with unleavened skins and deep fried them. Samosa delight leavened their skins, but baked them so they weren't so oily. I preferred the Patels hot beef samosas over Samosa Delight's beef ones and the Samosa Delight hot chicken ones over the Patel's chicken ones. Most of the time I wouldn't bother to stand in line for a vegetable samosa. They are largely bland and uninteresting. But the filling that Jackie made was really tasty. I liked it a lot. I made the chicken filling - it was my second attempt, and it's almost where I want it to be (I just need to get the heat right, and cut a bit of cumin).

We've now tried it twice at home. Once deep fried, but they were incredibly greasy (even though it was olive oil, it was still too much). The samosas looked great - nice golden brown, and the filling was good, but you could have wrung the oil out of the pastry. It was leavened, not crispy like the Patel's, so maybe that was part of the problem.

This time we got the process down. I rolled the pastry, Jackie filled and folded (she does Origami so was a natural for the folding), and then I brushed the pastry with olive oil and baked them. Much better. Pastry was a bit thin, so the roller stops at 5 next time (this time we rolled to 6 on the pasta machine).

I also used the broiler as one book suggested, and I don't think I'll do that again. Baking in a very hot (500 F) oven will be fine.

So, next time we'll likely get it right. I think I can get the chicken spot on the next time, and I think we'll get the pastry right. Jackie already has the vegetable filling. It was superb, and I don't even like vegetable samosas.

The last thing, and perhaps the most important, is that coriander sauce. It is a gastronomic delight of the highest order. When we first made it our oldest daughter was eating it by the bowl full with a spoon - not how it was intended. We had to put a stop to that. We now make it regularly, but there's a prohibition on eating it as anything but a condiment. Otherwise it doesn't last.

Jackie may give you the recipe, but it will be difficult, if not impossible, to duplicate. We pickle our own jalapeƱo peppers and freeze our own hot peppers, so those ingredients aren't readily available (home made jalapeƱos are not like store bought). You'll be able to come close, but maybe not quite exactly what we have. Patels used to put cashew nuts in their coriander sauce, but Jackie is allergic to nuts so we don't do that.

Okay. We'll report on the third samosa iteration after they have been made. Tomorrow we're off to our regularly scheduled new years celebration. Hope you all have a great 2008. I know I will because I live with the most fantastic girl on the planet (and the four lovely children we produced).


TadMack said...

This sounds SO tasty -- I like the idea of brushing them with olive oil, and if/when we try them, we'll use our oil sprayer to get that fine mist -- and you guys are so cute.

Happy New Year.

DaviMack said...

Thanks for the pictures, too!

Have you tried anchoring your pasta maker somehow? We've seen Alton Brown do it by using an ironing board & some wide U-bolts, but we usually do it using a rubber-footed C-clamp. It really helps to have the thing be stationary, particularly as you've got the exact same hand-crank model we have, and it moves all over the place when you're doing a stiff dough.

Now I'm hungry, though, looking at your pictures.

Kansas A said...

Okay your "butt" line was priceless, got a chuckle out of me! The samosas look delicious, who couldn't resist scarfing down a few dozen of those? Until I read your post I had never heard of these, now I'll be on the lookout for them when I hit the city, I hope they taste half as good as yours looks :)

canknitian said...

Ohhh how I love Samosa Delight. LOVE their veggie ones. Now I'm having a craaaaving. Thank you! ;) Maybe I'll see if my beau feels like getting up early and going for samosas this weekend. YUM!

I think I saw you the other day. Did you take your tree to the Superstore on Saturday? I think we crossed Smythe Street at the same time (in opposite directions). :)

Anonymous said...

Years ago, they actually posted the recipe in the paper in Freddy - the wrappers were either egg roll wrappers or wonton-I can't remember which and the spice used was garam masala. ;-) Delish!