We cannot resist samosas when dining at an Indian restaurant and I wanted to try to make them at home. I wanted to find some acceptable shortcuts to the traditional Indian recipe as I was going to make these for New Year’s Eve appetizers to bring to a party and didn’t want to deep-fry.
I adapted this Jean-Georges Vongerichten recipe for chicken samosas so that instead of deep-frying in spring roll wrappers I could use Trader Joe’s all-butter puff pastry and bake them.
I simplified the spices to reflect what I had on hand and added potatoes sautéed in turmeric oil to give them some East Indian flair. I made them appetizer-size and I used ground turkey instead of chicken. I didn’t have whole cumin seeds to toast and grind, and didn’t have tamarind paste or diced tomatoes so I improvised. And I added garam masala to take them in a more Indian direction.
Isn’t that annoying? I always want to reference a recipe that I start out with (out of respect, politeness, giving credit where credit is due), but I so often change, substitute, adapt, or improvise off the written script that the recipe is almost reinvented.
I share my reinvented recipe with you below (and link to the original inspiration above, so you can try both if you like!)
Because the holidays were so busy and I was making a lot of consecutive dishes, I did this in steps over a couple of days so I would not lose my mind. But it is really easy enough to do all at once.
Step 1: Make the turkey and spice filling. (Keeps for 5 days.)
Step 2: Make the cilantro yogurt dip. (Keeps for 3 days.)
Step 3: Make the turmeric potatoes and add to turkey mixture. (You can do this 1 day ahead before you assemble and bake the samosas. You could opt out of the potatoes if you are pressed for time; the ground meat mixture is good.)
Step 4: Assemble and bake the samosas. (Serve that day.)
Since I was taking them to a party in the neighborhood, I baked them and took them right over. They were good at room temperature. Awesome right out of the oven. Perfectly fine for my husband’s snack after errand-running, reheated in the toaster oven at 350°.
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 3 T. canola or vegetable oil
- 1 cup diced red onion
- 1 large russet potato, peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks (about 1/2 inch) (OPTIONAL)
- 1 T. peeled and minced fresh ginger
- 1 T. minced garlic
- 1 T. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. garam masala
- 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric powder (divided, 1/2 tsp. for the ground meat, 1 tsp. for the optional potatoes)
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 T. Trader Joe’s dry chili paste
- 1/4 C. chicken broth
- 2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 T. fresh lime juice
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Heat 2 T. oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook, stirring, until translucent and softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
- Add the coriander, turmeric, cayenne, and ground cumin and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.
- Dissolve the dry Trader Joe’s Thai dry chili paste in 1/4 C. of chicken broth. Add that mixture to the onions and aromatics in skillet. [NOTE: This product is made with dried mushrooms and tamarind paste. Since the Chef’s recipe called for 1 T. of tamarind paste and I didn’t have any, this was a good substitute. I think you could leave it out but it would have a less authentic Indian restaurant flavor.]
- Add the ground turkey and cook, stirring, until the meat is completely cooked through (no pink) and broth has evaporated, about 7-8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper; stir in the fresh cilantro and the lime juice.
- Remove from the heat, and cool to room temperature.
- OPTIONAL POTATOES: Place chopped potato in medium saucepan and cover with cold water, add a healthy pinch of salt to the water and bring the potatoes to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer potatoes until soft enough to fall off when pierced by a fork, about 7 minutes.
- Drain potatoes in a colander and return to the saucepan. Place over low heat and let potatoes dry out their moisture, shaking the pan, 2 minutes.
- Heat the remaining T. vegetable oil in skillet over medium heat and add 1 tsp. turmeric to the oil, stirring to color the oil, 1 minute.
- Turn potatoes into skillet and sauté, tossing to coat with turmeric oil, 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Take off heat, and let cool. You can add the potato mixture to the turkey mixture and let flavors meld overnight.
- Defrost the puff pastry according to the package directions. (You can do this overnight in the fridge or for several hours on the counter at room temperature, plan accordingly!)
- Place a defrosted sheet on your lightly floured board or counter.
- Cut the sheet into fourths and then cut each square on the diagonal to make a triangle. [NOTE: This will give you luncheon-size samosas as in the photo. I tested this recipe twice–the first time I made them for lunch; the second I cut the pastry smaller and baked them for the party.) For appetizer-size, cut the triangles on the diagonal to get smaller triangles (about 3 inches).
- Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each triangle and fold the point over to reach the other point. Seal the edges by pressing down with your finger.
- Preheat oven to 400 ° and bake samosas until golden, 18-20 minutes.
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- ¾ cup plain whole-milk yogurt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon sugar, plus more to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
To make the dip: Put the cilantro leaves in a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the yogurt, lemon juice, and sugar. Stir well, season with salt, pepper. You can also add heat with a chopped jalapeno or with a dash of cayenne. We were serving children at the party so I left the dip mild.