Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Beef Samosas

                                                                         
                                                       
                                                        
                                                        
                                                        

Simply put, a samosa is a savory fried or baked triangular shaped pastry that has a filling. The filling ranges anywhere from spiced vegetables, lentils, chicken or lamb. Samosas are said to have originated from the Middle East. They are popular in many parts of the world that at some point have had interaction with the middle East. In Kenya and Tanzania, this dish was introduced by Arab traders centuries ago. 

Growing up in Kenya, this was a dish that was popular especially during special occasions. At our house, this was a dish that was sure to make an appearance during birthdays, weddings, Christmas or any other festive occasion. I still insist that my mother makes the best samosas. Really, she does! I might be bierced, but even those who are not family members that have tasted her samosas say the same thing. She learnt how to cook them from Mama Asha, a long time family friend who is from the Kenyan coast, and a fabulous cook. At my house, I cook these as appetizers or for cocktail parties. These babies can be eaten as they are, with some chutney or dipped in sweet and sour sauce. Whichever way you decide to eat them, they're oh-so-good!!The size of these pastries make them perfect to tote around as you make conversation at a cocktail party :-) So chill your moscato and let's get to cooking!

SERVING SIZE: Makes 24 samosas

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT:
-"Tawa" pan or crepe pan or any wide, flat pan.
-Rolling pin.
-Knife.
-Measuring Spoons.
-Pastry brush.
-Floured baking sheet or baking sheet covered in silpat.
-Clean cloth.
-"Wok" pan or any deep pan (for frying the samosas).
                                      



                                                    

INGREDIENTS FOR PASTRY:
-2 Cups sifted all-purpose flour.
-1 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt).
-1/4 teaspoon salt.
-2 tablespoons vegetable oil (for making the dough).
-3/4-1 cup water (for making dough).
-1/2 cup vegetable oil in a bowl.
-1/4 cup water (for making paste).
-1/4 cup all-purpose flour (for making paste).
-Medium bowl filled with 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (for rolling out dough).
-3-4 cups of vegetable oil for frying the samosas (I use canola).




                                                       

INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING THE PASTRY DOUGH:
-Mix all the dry ingredients-Flour, salt, garlic powder.
-Add the vegetable oil and mix again.
-Slowly add the water a little at a time, kneading constantly for 10-15 minutes until dough is soft, but not sticky.
-Let the dough rest for 15mins-1 hour in a lightly greased and covered container.
-After the dough has had a chance to rest, remove it from the container and shape it into a ball.
-Lightly flour your work surface.
-Flatten the ball of dough into a thick disc using your rolling pin and divide the disc into two equal parts using a knife.
-Further divide the two pieces into three equal parts and roll these parts into balls.
-Place these balls on the baking sheet and cover them with the cloth to prevent them from drying (all of them except the one you're working on ).

***HEAT YOUR TAWA/FRYING PAN ON MEDIUM HEAT AT THIS POINT****

-Roll out each ball into a flat circle that's 8 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch in thickness.
Roll the balls of dough from the center out, and rotate as you do this. This will ensure that the thickness is even throughout.
-Dip your pastry brush into the bowl with the oil and gently brush it on the surface of the rolled out dough (about 1/2 teaspoon per circle of dough).
-Lightly sprinkler the oiled surface of the dough with some flour.
-Roll out another ball of dough and repeat the two steps above, then stack the rolled out dough circles on top of each other. Repeat this until all the 24 rounds of dough have been stacked on top of each other. Do not apply oil or flour on the topmost round of dough.
-Lightly push down on the edges of the stacked dough (be careful not to seal the edges together, or it will make it hard to separate once cooked).
-Use your rolling pin to further roll out the stacked dough to around 10-12 inches in diameter.
-Gently drape the 12 inch stacked round of dough over your rolling pin (it will be heavy), and transfer it over to the pre-heated tawa/frying pan.
-Let each side of the dough cook for 11/2 minutes until it starts to look transparent, but not burnt. Make sure you apply gentle pressure on the edges of the dough as it cooks so that the edges will be easier to separate.


-Transfer the cooked round of dough to your work surface and gently begin to separate the layers of dough apart.

                                                       
-Re-stack the cooked rounds of dough, making sure to line the edges so that you can quarter it into equal sizes.
-Use your knife to quarter the stacked dough. You should have a total of 24 parts when done.

***AT THIS POINT, MIX THE 1/4 CUP OF ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR WITH THE 1/4 CUP WATER TO FORM A PASTE***

-Use the clean cloth to cover the dough quarters except for the one you are using .This will prevent them from drying.
-To form a samosa pocket, place a quarter of dough on your work surface with the pointy tip of the dough quarter facing away from you.
-Starting on the side of the dough closest to you, take one corner of the quartered dough and make a fold half-way towards the pointed tip that's facing away from you and make a fold as shown on the video.
-Use your finder to apply some paste over that fold as shown in the picture.
-Then take the opposite corner of the dough that you folded and fold it over onto the pasted side (make sure not to fold all the way to the edge or you will make your samosa pocket too narrow, making it hard to fill).
-At this point, your samosa pocket will resemble a triangle with a flap over it (unfolded).
                                                      
                                                    

INGREDIENTS FOR FILLING:

-1 Lb lean ground beef.
-1 finely diced red onion.
-1 teaspoon garlic paste.
-1 teaspoon ginger paste.
-1/2 a habanero pepper-diced (roasted for 15 mins in the oven, peeled and seeded).
-1/4 teaspoon-1 teaspoon salt (according to your taste).
-1/4 teaspoon turmeric.
-1/4 teaspoon cardamom.
-1/4 teaspoon coriander powder.
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon powder.
-1/2 teaspoon Dhana Jeera powder (this can be purchased at any Indian grocery store on on amazon.com).
-1 teaspoon cumin powder.
-1/2 a bunch cilantro, finely chopped.
-1/2 cup frozen peas.



COOKING THE FILLING:
-In a medium sautee pan over medium heat, brown the beef and add the onions, garlic paste, ginger paste, habanero pepper, salt and spices. Keep stirring and continue cooking until the water has completely cooked down. Be careful not to burn the meat. Remove from heat and transfer to a separate container to completely cool down (15-20mins).
-After the beef has cooled down, stir in the frozen peas and chopped cilantro (these will cook when you fry the samosas). Now you are ready to assemble your samosas.

                                                       


***AT THIS POINT, HEAT 3 CUPS OF VEGETABLE OIL IN A WOK OR DEEP PAN ON MEDIUM HEAT***


ASSEMBLING AND COOKING THE SAMOSA:
-To fill the pocket, use a small cookie scoop or a teaspoon to stuff the samosa pocket (I used 11/2 teaspoons), then tuck the front flap of dough into the pocket to secure the stuffing (as shown in the video).
-Apply some paste on the remaining top flap and fold it over tightly. Make sure there are no holes in your pocket or your samosa will come apart while frying or the oil will seep into the stuffing. Greasy samosas are not good :-/
-Keep stuffing all the pockets and cover them with the cloth until they're all filled.
-To test your oil for readiness, drop a small piece of dough into the hot oil. It should sit at the bottom of the wok/pan for a few minutes, then raise to the top. If the dough raises up too fast after you have dropped it in, your oil is too hot and you need to reduce the temperature on the stove or your samosas will be cooked on the outside and the peas will still be raw-yuck!
-Once you have tested your oil and are satisfied that the temperature is right, begin placing the stuffed samosas into the hot oil. Place them away from you as shown on the video so that the oil does not splatter and burn you.
-Do not overcrowd the pan. Six samosas at a time will ensure that they cook evenly. Use your strainer to stir the oil and turn the samosas so that they are cooked evenly all around. Once they have achieved a nice golden brown color (as shown in the picture/video), it is time to remove them from the oil.

                                                    
-You can use a colander placed over a plate or a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil.
-Your samosas are now ready to be served. You can dip them in sweet & sour sauce or any kind of chutney. You can enjoy them with your favourite cold soda. These are best served hot. Enjoy :-)