If you like samosas and want to make your own, but don’t want to make dough and fry them as is traditionally done, there is a solution. Buy a box of frozen phyllo dough and use it to make samosas that you bake.
I did that in today’s recipe for samosas filled with a curry-spiced vegetable mixture. There are a few steps involved in making them, but you can spread out the work. For example, you could make the filling hours in advance and refrigerate it until ready to make and bake your samosas.
Phyllo dough is sold frozen at many grocery stores. Once it is thawed and you have removed the number of sheets of phyllo you’ll need for the recipe, package up the remaining sheets in amounts you think you’ll use the next time and refreeze them until needed again.
Another option is to fold up the unused sheets carefully, slip them back into the plastic bag they came in, tightly seal the bag and store them in the refrigerator. They will keep there up to two weeks, at the ready to use in another recipe.
Vegetable Phyllo Samosas
Curry-spiced, vegetable-filled samosas made with phyllo dough. Serve them as part of an Indian-style meal, or as a snack/appetizer, perhaps during the upcoming holiday season. The recipe could be doubled if you desire a larger number of samosas.
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 18 to 20 minutes
Makes: 18 samosas
2 cups peeled yellow-fleshed potatoes, cut into small (1/2-inch) cubes (about 3 medium potatoes)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup finely diced onion
1/3 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
2 tsp mild or medium curry powder
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or mint
6 sheets phyllo pastry
1/3 cup butter, melted
• store-bought chutney and thick plain yogurt, to taste (see Note)
Place potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water. Set over medium, medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer the potatoes until very tender, but still holding their shape, about 10 minutes. Drain potatoes well using a fine strainer (so you don’t lose any of them during this process). Set drained potatoes in a mixing bowl.
Place oil in a skillet set over medium, medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper and ginger, and cook until softened, about three minutes. Mix in curry powder, lime juice, sugar and salt, and cook one minute more. Spoon this mixture over the potatoes and mix to combine. Let cool to room temperature, and then mix in the peas and cilantro (or mint). Cover and refrigerate this samosa filling until needed. It can be made many hours in advance.
To make samosas, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a sheet of the phyllo pastry flat on a work surface, with the widest side horizontally in front of you. Brush the sheet lightly with butter, and then top it with another sheet of phyllo pastry. Brush the top sheet lightly with butter.
Cut the layered phyllo, widthwise, into six strips, each about 2 1/2-inches wide. Place a packed and heaping tablespoon of the potato mixture at the bottom end of each strip.
Fold one corner of the phyllo over the potato mixture so the bottom edge meets the side edge and forms a loose triangle. Continue folding the triangle sideways, and upward, to the end of strip. Set the triangle on the baking sheet. Fold the other five strips of phyllo into triangles and set them on the baking sheet, not touching.
Layer, cut, fill and fold the remaining phyllo sheets as you did the first two. You should end up with 18 samosas. Keep the completed samosas covered with plastic wrap until all are made.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Brush the top of each samosa lightly with melted butter (see Eric options). Bake samosas in the middle of the oven 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Arrange samosas on a platter and serve with chutney and yogurt for topping or dipping.
Note: Chutney, including types such as mango and Major Grey, is sold in the Asian foods aisle of grocery stores. Other types will also work here including the tandoori chutney I used, made by Saltspring Kitchen Co. For a list of stores selling their products, go to saltspringkitchen.com.
Eric’s options: Once the tops of unbaked samosas are brushed with butter, you could cover and refrigerate them an hour or two until ready to bake. You could also freeze them solid on the baking sheet, transfer them to an airtight container, and then bake them at another time. When needed, set them back on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and bake them from frozen, adding a few minutes more to the baking time.
Eric Akis is the author of eight cookbooks. His columns appear in the Life section Wednesday and Sunday.