Fluffy, spicy potatoes, snappy peas and crisp, yet tender pastry…no dinner out for Indian food is complete without samoas. But enjoying these indulgent savory hand pies at home is another matter. Making the filling and the dough, forming the samosas and frying them is a tall order for something you could probably have delivered in 30 minutes or less. Trying to find a way to make them quicker, and hopefully healthier had become my cause celeb as I challenged myself to conquer Indian cookery a few years ago. The dough always presented the problem, how to keep it convenient yet still reasonably healthy. Enter a lifelong obsession with frozen fillo cups, which are incredibly light on calories, fat and sodium, but heavy on crunch satisfaction. Baked with a spoonful of zesty filling, these vegetarian samosa bites (with vegan potential) will have your tastebuds convinced you’re back at your favorite Indian restaurant while in the comfort of your own home.
Recipe Rebound: The filling freezes beautifully if you want to make half now, and half later. Just divide it into 2 zip-top bags instead of one and store part 2 in the freezer next to your stash of frozen fillo cups for another day.
4 cups Idaho or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped (about 3 large potatoes)
2 tablespoons butter, ghee (clarified butter) or olive oil
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 pinch red pepper flakes (more if you’d prefer)
1/2 cup yellow or white onion, finely diced (about half a medium-sized onion)
1 teaspoon garlic, minced or grated
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced or grated
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
45 frozen fillo cups (about 3 boxes)
Small handful of cilantro leaves, for garnish
- Prep your ingredients: chop potatoes and onions, grate ginger and garlic, measure spices, etc.
- Place chopped potatoes in a sauce pan with enough cool, clean water to cover them by about an inch.
- Bring the water to a boil and let cook around 10 minutes or so, until a fork easily pierces the potato chunks.
- Drain the potatoes and return to the pan. Give them a quick mash (I like a little texture, some prefer a smooth mash, your call), then set aside.
- In a medium saute pan, warm the butter, ghee or oil over medium heat.
- Add the garam masala and cumin and cook one minute, stirring occasionally, to release the spices’ flavors.
- Next, stir in the garlic and ginger and cook another minute, before adding in the onions to cook for about 10 minutes, or until they are tender. If the onions begin to brown rather than soften, turn your heat down a little.
- Once the onions have softened turn off the heat and add the water to the pan, stirring all the ingredients together to create a sauce. Add the sauce to the smashed potatoes and stir until well combined.
- Mix in the salt and lime juice next, then gently fold in the peas, as you do not want to crush them.
- Transfer the potato-pea mixture into a quart zip-top bag (you can use a pastry bag if you have one and prefer it). It should be room temperature at this point. This filling will only get better if it sits, so feel free to refrigerate the mixture for a few hours or overnight before using.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, or to the temperature your brand of fillo cups recommends for baking. Take your fillo cups out of the freezer and remove the plastic top…I think they are easier to fill while they are in the tray they come in.
- Ready the baking sheets, I like to put foil down for easy clean up, but this step is completely up to you.
- Snip a 1/2 inch corner off the zip-top bag. Pipe about 2 teaspoon of mixture into each cup. You can always come back around and add more. Gently tamp down the filling to make sure the cups are firmly filled. Transfer filled cups to the baking sheet.
- Bake for 14-18 minutes or until the shells have crisped and the filling has warmed through and started to lightly brown.
- Remove to a serving dish, garnish with cilantro leaves and nosh!
Makes 45 individual servings.
Serving Note: A good rule of thumb for serving hors d’oeuvres is to plan on 3-4 pieces per person if they are to be eaten before a meal or 8-10 per person for a cocktail party without a meal. This portion guideline can be used with any combination of hors d’oeuvres…except shrimp, when you better just double up because…well, shrimp.
Nutritional Information (approximate per piece): 32 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of protein, 4.75 grams of carbs and 90 milligrams of sodium