Sunday, October 3, 2010

Baked Samosas with Quinoa Pilaf

I had the opportunity to make a couple more recipes created by The Next Food Network Star winner, Aarti Sequeira. It's funny; I actually stumbled upon this awesome recipe for Baked Samosas with Mint Chutney when I was perusing Aarti's blog. It's a cute blog, one I had never found before her stint on the Food Network. I recommend checking it out if you have a free moment and are looking for some innovative Indian dishes to make!

Anyway, I found this recipe and knew right away that I wanted to make it. Then, a couple days later, I looked at the TV listings and discovered that Aarti was going to be making those very same samosas on her show that weekend! It was fate. I had to make them. I had such great success with the other dish of hers that I'd made, so I was excited.

So, onto the recipe itself! It does take a bit of time, and there are a lot of steps. However, I am here to tell you that it was all worth it. We loved every bite of these, and I had leftover filling that my hubby threw into a tortilla for lunch leftovers. He said it was awesome!

I'll back up, though. What exactly is a samosa? Well, it's an Indian pastry filled, in this case, with chicken, potato, and apple. Aarti made these with mango on her show, but I had tons of apple on hand and decided to sub that in instead. I was aware that it might not work out, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was a great alternative to the mango, although I'm sure it'd be great both ways.

You prepare the filling, and then you make a simple dough of flour, buttermilk, oil, and salt. Aarti's blog post about these samosas contained instructions for this method, so I was surprised when I watched the episode and found out she was making them with puff pastry on the show. The Network must have told her to simplify the recipe, or something. The Food Network website has the recipe done both ways, though, so you have the choice of making it with or without the puff pastry. I decided to make my own dough, since that's what I was already going to do after looking at her blog.

The dough was easy to make, and I think I did okay with forming the samosas. A couple of them looked a little funny, but that's fine. I just didn't take a picture of those, ha ha! The samosas are then baked after forming them, which I am always a big fan of. I would much rather bake then deep-fry any day. While these were in the oven, I made a quinoa pilaf for the side dish.

Now, I've been preparing quinoa in different incarnations for several years now, and my husband said that this dish was the first he actually really, really liked. That's not to say that our previous adventures with quinoa were horrible, but this dish was just exceptional. I had to agree; it was delicious! Aarti incorporates Indian spices, pine nuts, and dried fruit into her quinoa, and then finishes the whole thing off with some fresh citrus zest and juice. Yum!

I'm sorry to say, I didn't manage to get a picture of the mint chutney that went along with the samosas. I don't know how that happened! It was scrumptious, and quite easy to toss together. There's a cool little flourish at the end, after you blend all the ingredients in the food processor. You sizzle some mustard seeds in oil and then throw them into the chutney. It makes the whole concoction sizzle and hiss, and the seeds infuse the oil with their tanginess and just enhance the flavor of the chutney. Plus, it's very showy, so if you're looking to impress someone with your culinary skills, it's a great way to do that! This whole meal is impressive, though. I highly recommend it for a lazy weekend day when you have the time to prepare it.

Baked Samosas with Mint Chutney
adapted from Aarti Sequeira, via
makes 8 samosas

For the filling:

1 large russet potato
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp. coriander seeds
1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
1/2 tsp. red chili flakes
3 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 apple, peeled and finely diced (Aarti used a mango)
Juice of 1/2 lime
5 Tbsp. chipotle sauce (I used Chipotle Cholula)
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds (I omitted)
Big handful cilantro leaves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the pastry:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable/canola oil
Big pinch salt
1/2 tsp. ajwain seeds, optional (I omitted)
1 egg
1 tsp. water

For the mint chutney:
1 cup mint leaves
1/2 cup cilantro leaves and soft stems
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, chopped
1/2 lime, juiced, plus more to taste
About 1/4 cup water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. vegetable/olive oil
1 tsp. brown mustard seeds

Make the filling: 1. In a small saucepan, add the potato and enough cold water to cover. Add a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until tender, 12 to 15 minutes.

2. In a second small saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a simmer and add a generous pinch of salt, bay leaves, 1 tsp. coriander seeds, peppercorns, chili flakes, and chicken breast. Simmer until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Mash the potato and finely shred the chicken and put into a large bowl. Combine with apple, lime juice, chipotle sauce, remaining coriander seeds, cumin, cilantro, and salt and pepper, to taste. Mix with a spoon or your hands until well incorporated. Taste for seasoning and adjust, if necessary. Set aside.

Make the samosa pastry: 1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, buttermilk, oil, salt, and ajwain seeds, if using. Bring the ingredients together until a dough forms. Knead until it has softened a bit, about 5 minutes. Allow to rest, at room temperature, for about 15 minutes. You can put this in the refrigerator, but make sure you let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes or so, in order for it to soften.

2. Roll the dough into a short cylinder. Slice in half, then slice each half into two pieces, so you have 4 bits. Roll each bit into a ball. Flatten the balls into disks and then, on a floured surface, roll them each into a 1/8-inch thick, 7-inch wide circle. Cut in half to form 2 semicircles.

Assemble the samosas: 1. Put a tablespoon or so of the filling in the center of a semicircle. Have a small bowl of water handy. Dip your finger in the water and run it along the edges of the semicircle. Arrange each samosa so the flat side is facing away from you. Grab the left corner and fold it over the dough in a triangular motion, so that this corner lands on the bottom right side of the filling. Do the same with the other corner.

2. Squeeze bottom shut, and fold over, sealing with water. If you like, seal using a fork. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Arrange the 8 samosas on a lightly greased baking sheet.

3. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and 1 tsp. water with a fork until thoroughly combined. Brush the tops of the samosas with the egg wash. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then turn the heat down to 375 degrees and bake for 10 more minutes. You can flip them over before turning the heat down, if you like.

Make the chutney: 1. In a food processor, whiz together the mint, cilantro, ginger, lime juice, and water until it all comes together as a sauce. There'll probably still be little bits of leaf in the sauce, but no worries. Pour the chutney into a bowl.

2. In a small pan over medium heat, warm the oil until it shimmers. Add mustard seeds; they should sizzle. Immediately cover with a lid until they stop spluttering. Make sure they don't burn! If they do, just start over. Immediately add the seeds and oil to the chutney. It will sizzle, so stand back. Once you've poured in all the oil, you can spoon a bit of the chutney into the pan so that you can capture all the oil. Pour into the bowl with the chutney. Serve the samosas hot, with the chutney alongside, as well as the quinoa pilaf (recipe follows).

Quinoa Pilaf
adapted from Aarti Sequeira, via
makes 4 servings

1 1/2 cups water
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well and drained (I used half red, half white)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. garam masala
1 Tbsp. pine nuts
2 Tbsp. chopped dried cranberries (Aarti used cherries)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 orange, zested, plus 2 Tbsp. juice (Aarti used grapefruit)

1. Bring the water and quinoa to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until quinoa is cooked and the white curly germ shows, about 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion and spices, and saute until the onion has softened and the spices are very fragrant. Stir in the pine nuts and cranberries and saute for 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Add the cooked quinoa (all the water should have been absorbed) to the skillet. Stir in the orange zest and orange juice. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed. Allow to sit, off the heat, for 10 minutes so the flavors seep into the quinoa. Serve alongside the samosas.


  1. This all looks delicious! I have seen several styles of samosas, made from refrigerated biscuits to homemade and everything in between, but I've never tried them because they seem complicated. I'm never a fan of rolling out/forming dough of any kind. (Love cooking, feel incompetent when it comes to anything baking related!) I've also never tried quinoa because I don't know how to prepare it. This recipe sounds really good; what other recipes have you used it in?

  2. I hear ya on the fear of dough. I'm still pushing myself to get over that, and I thought these would be a good way to do that. I still felt pretty incompetent while I was doing it, but they turned out fine in the end!

    As for the quinoa, I tried a new recipe just the other night that we really enjoyed. It was a whole head of roasted garlic, wilted fresh spinach, and some burst cherry tomatoes, mixed in with cooked quinoa that was cooked in a bit of white wine and chicken broth. I'll be posting about that one soon, because it was awesome. In the past, we've just cooked quinoa as you would cook rice, and I've served it plain or with some veggies tossed in. I think the trick is to give it some strong, good flavor. Let me know if you do try it!