Saturday, October 3, 2009

Crisp Onion Samosas

More than two weeks since my last post. And in them, I've been assaulted with way too many medical terms. Diabetic Retinopathy, Vitrectomy, Microalbuminuroia, Blood Pressure, father is a medical miracle. Years of self-neglect and angry defiance to our well meaning advice and now, he's where no one wants to be. My father's body has become a complicated system of units, each with their own problems. Dealing with them, is a dysfunctional family system that, like his body, is trying to work together :)...I'm smiling at the irony. There are new responsibilities that are being incorporated into my routines- I'm working my way to 'me' again and blogging and commenting will definitely be revived, albiet at a slow pace.

So, today we have this amazing Onion Samosa. People here in India will tell you that there are, in general, two completely different types of street food samosas. The North India one is a bulky crumbly pastry with potato stuffing. The South Indian one is a thin crisp, perfect triangle with spiced onions inside. I adore the latter. Unfortunately (and in my opinion, inexplicably) its becoming harder to find it down here. North Indian chaat has become very popular, it seems.

When I was in college, while others headed over to the canteen, N and I slipped away during every lunch break to a stationary shop nearby which sold just one eatable- a mound of crisp hot onion samosas. We'd have a couple, wash it down with a cool drink and head back, completely satisfied. There's nothing like an onion samosa. After a futile drive in search of them yesterday, I decided the time had come to make my own.

I experimented a great deal, making one samosa at a time. After three trials, the stuffing came out perfect. The dough was perfect from the start. The folding technique stumped me for awhile, because though the one I was using was alright, I wanted something better. So I sat down, channeled my inner nerd and with the liberal use of the Pythagoras theorem, deconstructed a samosa to come up with a template. It worked wonderfully well!

When the golden triangles came out of the oil, I didn't just feel like a chef, I felt like Einstein :D

Crisp Onion Samosa


1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp fine rice flour
1/2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp salt

Mix all of the ingredients together with enough water to make a slightly sticky dough. Knead for a few minutes, cover and allow it to rest for 1/2 an hour.


After the dough has rested, pinch off a small ball and roll it into a thin (1 mm) sheet, dusting with plenty of flour as you go. Cut out strips. Ideally, a 6.5 into 3 inch rectangle should do. Heat a pan and place a strip on it. After 10 seconds, flip it. After another 10 seconds, flip it again and immediately remove it to a soft muslin cloth. Keep it covered and make strips from all of the dough. Allow the strips to soften in the cloth for at least 15 minutes.


3 onions
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1 pinch turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
A few curry leaves
1 cm green chilly, chopped extra fine
Cooking oil

Add a dash of oil in a pan. Chop the onions lengthwise and use your hands to separate the pieces properly. Add the chopped onion in the oil. Stir to coat well. After a few minutes add the salt, turmeric, coriander and chilli powders. Cook for a minute. Add the tomato paste and stir constantly for a minute. Remove from the stove and allow it to cool completely. Chop up the curry leaves and mix it into the onions. along with the green chilly.

Deep fry:

Make a thick glue paste by mixing a little flour in water. Fill a wide vessel with oil at least half way up and place it on the heat. Assemble the samosas by filling with the stuffing. Make sure there are no breaks or tears. Lower the heat completely and place the samosas in the oil. Allow it to cook on low, flipping occasionally, until it becomes golden brown. Remove and place on kitchen towels to absorb oil. Serve hot!

Folding Technique: If you want the template, email me!


  1. Thankyou for posting this so thuroughly!I will try it!

  2. Thank you Alette. I'd love to know how it turns out for you :)

  3. Sorry to hear about your dad, Mia... I hope things do work out :(
    I had a feeling you were very biased towards the South Indian kind ;) But I find this very interesting too- looks fab.

  4. Oh you're sharp Mark, real sharp ;)
    Thanks for your wishes.

  5. I had retinal detachment surgery with a scleral buckle and vitrectomy and I feel for your father. Hope he gets better soon xoxo

  6. Excellent recipe, Mia. We have all the ingredients here in Manila, except I have to go to a specialty store for the curry leaves. I first tasted this as a party appetizer from our neighbor who is an Asian Devt Bank executive. You're right, the potato version is easy to find everywhere, but this is totally different. Thank you.

  7. This sounds delicious!
    I will try it:))

  8. Chic-agoans: Thanks for your wishes :)

    Monanoke: Thanks!

    Isabelle: Great :) Have fun!

  9. Wow, they look great! I've never had a samosa like that; I'm really only familiar with the other kind. I am highly impressed you made your own dough. The only time I made samosas I used wanton wrappers. :)

  10. I love samosa... I will try to make my own dough!

  11. My favorite!!! I've been wanting to learn how to make these forever. Thanks for sharing!

  12. I found this by googling "why are there two different samosa doughs".

    Something I'm puzzled by: my family is from Gujarat, but since I was born and raised in the States, I didn't grow up eating Indian street food, only the food (very sometimes) in Indian restaurants, or that my relatives cooked.

    In restaurants it was always the crumbly northern samosa you describe, and always filled with potatoes. But the ones my family and the rest of our religious community (almost all from Gujarat or Maharashtra and I think also some from Sindh) made were ALWAYS the crispy ones, folded as you've shown. Those are the samosas I grew up with, but with a ground meat filling, and only very seldom with a potato filling.

    So I'm surprised because I had thought that Gujarat was considered "north", any idea how both of our favorite samosas ended up being cooked by my family? :-)

  13. Yes, meat samosas, even in the Arab states are almost always the thin crisp ones. (I grew up in Kuwait) Its usually when Indians make samosas with vegetable fillings that the difference I talked about comes in. But then again, nothing in culinary history is always strictly specific to a region- people have constantly migrated and influenced 'regional food', so my take on it is a generalized opinion, held especially in the South, where I'm from :)

    Thanks for the comment!

  14. When I am cooking I usually use onion in all my meals because I think it have many properties, antioxidant and vitamin. So i prefer a food that make me feel strong every day. This blog is absolutely interesting. In fact i was looking information about how to buy viagra by internet. But this blog catched my attention, I must to say is wonderful.