Samosas (again)

Okay, you'll see from my other samosa posts HERE and HERE that I've been trying to nail this down for awhile. And, I have good news to report- I found a good samosa exterior! And mostly a good interior, though it needs tinkering. The interior is the Joy of Cooking recipe that I did last time, only I used less lemon juice (very good), and a teaspoon of coriander seeds (good, but still not spiced enough). The whole inside is so close, but needs way more characteristically Indian spices in it. It's just too plain. Too white tater.

The chutney is also the same as last time, still good, only I would definitely stick to serrano only. The recipe said jalapeño was okay, so I used two of those and a serrano, and it was too jalapeño in flavor.

The exterior was a brand of frozen samosa dough from India Sweets and Spice here in L.A., it is by 'Prime Mazedar' and is called simply, "Samosa Pastry" and is a product of Pakistan. They work great pan fried (not deep fried, I tried to stay minimally healthier-ish). They stick a bit, but not nearly as much as the phyllo dough and they taste way more like a samosa- the phyllo just didn't taste like it was meant to be an Indian appetizer. I make no claims of authenticity, I'm a white, American mutt of European descent, but I've eaten my share of Indian restaurant samosas, and none were made with phyllo. Also, if you aren't up for making the samosas yourself, Indian Sweets has boxed Pillsbury ones (presumably imports). It's cool to see the Dough Boy on a samosa box though.

Samosas (take two- phyllo version) and Green Chutney

I'm getting closer. Close, but no real cigar. This is the second time that I've tried samosas lately (see RFD's here). These are the "Samosas with Potatoes and Peas" from the Joy of Cooking book, latest edition (which I don't own, I got it from the library). Btw- the library is an excellent source for culling vegan recipes from non-vegan books without having to buy a book that's comprised of 3/4 meat recipes.

Anyway, these are far, far closer to the classic Indian restaurant samosas that we know and love and that I'm trying to come up with a solid go-to recipe for. Still, I'll continue the quest and probably just cave in and make my own dough, as these two tries at samosas that use recipes that circumvent dough making fell a bit short of what I'm after.

Still, these are good in their own phyllo-y way. If you've never worked with phyllo, I must warn you that you desperately need to have two things in your house; counter space and beer, wine or liquor to take the edge off. Actually, it seems like it would be fun if you just had the former. I absolutely don't have counter space and didn't realize how much room that I needed (but didn't have) until I was in the throws of the phyllo. It needs to stay moist- but can't get wet or damp or it'll stick together. So, you cover the dough with wax paper to shield it from moisture, then cover the paper with a damp towel. If you don't have enough space, inevitably your towel will touch your dough and ruin a good few sheets by wadding them together. Conversely, if the dough were to, say, hang off the edge of your teensy counter on the bottom- said dough would be dried up and useless as well.

Somehow I got enough dough to work to make them. I also got to utilize my Girl Scout skill of flag folding, as that's how the phyllo is folded after you put your filling in.

The samosas themselves were good, a bit too lemony acidic, though, I'd cut back on that if I made this filling again (which I probably would, it was really close to my idea of a perfect potato samosa).

The chutney is from a book called, "Pure and Simple: Homemade Vegetarian Indian Cuisine" that I got from the library. This chutney could make any goofy attempt at samosas taste delicious! It has cilantro, green chilis, cumin seeds, coriander, salt and lemon juice in it. It's easy peasy as it's all thrown in a blender (besides the lemon, which is added after). It was a bit too thick, so I thinned it with a teeny bit of water, though. It was spicy, but not unbearably so. I also have a slight aversion to strong cilantro taste, which remarkably this didn't have even though there was 2 cups of the leaves in there.

I also cheated and picked up a tamarind chutney from a nearby restaurant (I made 3 recipes that night and was tired). I would recommend having both the chili and the tamarind- as the sweet and spice are a great combo.

Chorizo Tempeh Samosas

This... is not the samosa that you're thinking of. The amazingly good fried one in dough that you get at Indian buffets with potatoes and cumin seeds and peas inside. This is RFD's Chorizo Tempeh Samosas. Until I went to write this, I forgot that it had that title, and am now wondering why "chorizo" is in it. There's no chorizo in the samosas (maybe b/c of the spices?) Anyway, they're real time consuming and are pretty difficult to form. You have to make the outer potato dough, refridge it, broil the tempeh, make the filling that the tempeh goes with, refridge that, and make the Spicy Tomato Sauce for the top.

They had a good flavor, and are probably a lot healthier than their fried restaurant counterparts, but I wasn't thrilled with them for the amount of work involved. Also, I'm really disappointed to say that the sauce was pretty darn bland.

I also made my version of the naan pizzas from the L.A. restaurant Cowboys and Turbans (which either recently changed their name or closed). It's an Indian/ Mexican fusion place on Sunset on the Silverlake/ Echo Park border (across from the Epitaph offices). It's a great place.

Anyway, their naan pizza is wilted spinach in a masala sauce with peas and tofu cubes (and mozzerella, for non-vegans). My tofu was expired and mine was cheeseless. So, I made naan and topped it with Trader Joes Simmer Masala sauce with peas and a bag of wilted spinach. And, (this is sad)- that sauce was WAY better than the RFD Spicy Tomato Sauce that I had made from scratch and slaved over.

So, it turned out that the magic combo was topping the samosa with a tad of the Spicy Tomato Sauce, and then dousing it with the Masala/ Spinach concoction. Which was good, and Davey loved it, but I doubt that I'll make these again.