Saturday, February 20, 2016

Beef samosas with green chutney

It's getting warmer here. The brief but brittling desert cold gives way to That Season, which seems to drop in with the blink of an eye, very dry eye, and won't leave even when the rest of the world thinks its time.  So, we enjoy interim, a confused weather, howling wind gusts, overcast days paired sometimes with rain, chilly floors in the morning and warm hot windowpanes by sunset. Though, really it is not a choice, I'm grateful for anything that will cool the earth and my newly sprouted flower blooms before the Lords of Inferno and Scorch arrive.

Not that I'm fond of rain or gloom, but it's nice when your house doesn't always feel like you're living inside the sun. Somehow it has my befuddled brain think a wee bit clearly and gives me chances to do things I otherwise would be too tired to do. Look out the window. Attempt to hide file tons of kids' "savable" schoolwork. Fold laundry. Dust. And make piping hot cups of tea, the kind that scald tastebuds and nerves in two seconds flat.

Climate confused days can bring light to a wandering mind as well, one that can't sit still and seeks answers, to life, well-being and what can we snack on with tea(?). I know, I know, it will be my forever rant, a justified motto, albeit. Why, after perusing the 129(with this 130) recipes that plug the archives and several million more that clog my head, don't you see there will never really be a situation that food can't be an answer to, at least slightly so?  

So it appeared, right in front of me, one of my favorite topics. With a cup of tea. Or not. On a rainy day. Or not

Therein, my next keynote address comes about by just observing the weather. Lovely, right?

While you in a no way require a weather forecast to make these unassumingly beautiful things, you cannot ignore the fact that the subject at hand possesses a certain comfortfood disposition. Almost mac'n"cheese-ish. Almost. It's a comfort gilded with flavors that come from spoons of spice and lots of things nice.

What then are these golden triangles looming over your screen? Snack? Perfectly so. Appetizer. Yes, of course. Entree. Why not? Amuse-guele? Fancy that! It's yes to all and so familiar to my Indian soul and globally wellworn palate. Moreover. I believe it is the better alternative to the cheeseburger you were dying to have tonight. 

Samosas are flour pastries that usually surround and seal a well seasoned filling. Something like a savory hand pie, with cooked stuffing comprising various vegetables, meats, shrimp, even pasta. Possible brilliant samosa fillings could be just about anything your heart desires. Chicken, egg or both? Shredded lamb and sesame seeds? Yes, yes, you can, go at in every conceivable way.

The one point in rendering these a regularly doable affair (and epic), is key hereon to my samosa making 101: buy quality egg roll wrappers in lieu of stretching and pulling at large amounts of dough that you'd normally need in the outer pastry. Because really don't you have enough to do? The twenty odd wraps will save you a day, and unless you love to roll out dough to wafer thin perfection, (which perhaps could be your stress release, then I cheer you forward) I strongly think you should, for this project, favor the store-bought.

It's the beef we, here, obsess over, a padding sufficiently swaddled in flavor attributes typical to an Indian samosa. I believe I've shown you several manifestations of similar glory. A basic triumvirate of onions, garlic and ginger with enough spoons/ dashes of electric ingredients culminate into one spectacular bed of mince beef. In the end you will have the whole family pushing through to have one spoon of Indian speckled hamburger meat.

I don't really enjoy multistep tasks, especially when it calls for superstar skill in culinary origami as a pererequisite . Taking pictures while twisting dough requires acrobat ability. Something I don't gracefully possess. But I house some younger labor who does.

It's when you call in the teenager who "really needs to get her license so she can drive to the grocery and get those wrappers for you".  Do you bribe her? No, because she's the same teen that deems it privilege to mass fold- tuck several batches of samosas(thank you Youtube!) so well, we believe her to be The Grand Pastry Stylist, even if it's just for this one job. She's done more than a hundred hours of samosa structuring and never once have they been of shoddy build. Because she loves these conical packets of season and spice just as much as anyone else. It's not too difficult for me as mother to enjoy the show, as she makes about like a frenzied factory worker. No coercion, really, just pat hints of how close that DMV visit might very well be.

A right temperature in oil guarantees tender packets form a flaky crisp, light crust. The riot of flavors beef samosa envelopes sits plush against the skin-like cover, crumbling obligingly on each and every bite.

To leave out the the chutney dip would be heretical, because this pairing is what makes the whole ordeal truly outstanding. The condiment of all condiments is a perfect green, pepped with enough mint and cilantro, and freshened with juice of lemons, tart, sweet and perfectly proportioned to make samosa consumption all the more entertaining.

Here it is then; the instructions, illustrations and notes that will bid you no wrong. 

Take it and run,  might just be the best possible thing you've encountered, any side of the web.
  • 2 tbsp oil and an additional 2 cups for frying
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 serranos chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • salt
  • ½ cup frozen peas or a mix of chopped frozen vegetables(carrots/peas/beans)
  •  1 lb packet  egg roll wrappers( I use these)
  • water
  • 2 cups oil, or enough needed to fry
  • In large pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil, add onions, chopped peppers, ginger, garlic and saute till softened.
  • Add spices from cayenne to cumin. Stir for a minute, then add beef.
  • Brown beef over medium heat. Add salt.
  • Stir in frozen peas and/or vegetables. Allow to thaw and cook slightly, a minute or two. Take off heat.
  • Take egg roll wrappers and cut each sheet into two even rectangles (pictures below will help).
  • Have a bowl of water ready.
  • Fold over each end to form a triangle. Brush ends of these folds, (that meet down the middle) with water. Seal.
  • Open shape up like a cone, as shown in picture below, and place one level tablespoon of beef filling in center of the cone. Fold over the top and seal with water. Make sure to seal all edges tightly. Keep aside and repeat with remaining wrappers and filling.
  • Heat dutch oven with oil for frying.
  • Fry over a medium heat all the assembled samosas two to three at a time, turning over once to brown sides evenly. Drain on paper towels.
  • Serve warm with green chutney
The envelope like folding that creates a dimensioned cone shape for easy filling.
Golden brown beauties straight from the oil bath.
The king of all after school snacks in this clan. Between th samosa maker and her brother who can eat through a several dozen batch. 
Size can be can be doubled for dinner portions, served with a side of salad or rice. Perfect anyway, on a plate, off a plate, in your hands, between your cheeks. 
Beautiful ingredients make for beautiful chutney

Green Chutney~
  •  1 cup chopped cilantro 
  • 2-3 sprigs mint, chopped. 
  • 1-2 serranos or jalape├▒os. 
  • 1/2 tsp chopped ginger. 
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice.
  • good pinch of sugar. 
  • Salt to taste
  • Blend till silky paste forms. 
  • Serve alongside samosas.
This may also be used many places that elicit a condiment.
Bulk making is favored as you can freeze them between parchment in glass containers. Take out and fry when needed.
"When you had that first camera you took terrible pictures. You bought a new one and even after for a long while, the pictures looked bad. You kept on working with it, until you got better and better and now your pictures are really good. So, Amma, it's not the camera or any new one you intend to buy. It's the skill, the skill, Amma and the perseverance you have that made the shots keep getting good. Keep on doing just that with what you have- and God will honor it, remember(?)." 
Wise words of an almost-there 12 year old when his mom wondered out loud if a brand new camera would help take nicer pictures."
It's things like this that make my day. 


  1. The shape doesn't matter as much as it disappears off the plate... Please pass it on to me!!! Pretty please... :)

  2. Its time for tea time snack here and I am thinking I could come raid your kitchen to get some beef samosa to go with my tea :) ...looks absolutely yumm

  3. They look fantastic! I bet you can't get away just eating one or two.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!