Samosas – stuffed with spicy cheese and sweetcorn, encased in crispy pastry and deep-fried until golden. They are easier to make than you might think and so much tastier that shop-bought. Read on for my guide on making the easiest ever samosas
Samoosas or Samosas?
In South Africa, they spell the word with 2 ‘o’s and pronounce it Samoosa as in Moose. The rest of the world seems to spell it Samosa, with one ‘o’, as in ‘Oh these are so good’. I’m inclined to go with the rest of the world on this – especially these cheese and sweetcorn samosas. They are SO delicious I can’t stop eating them.
When I lived in Johannesburg, one of my favourite shopping excursions (did I mention I love shopping as much as food) was to the Oriental Plaza – an Indian street market. After spending a couple of happy hours
browsing spending money on things I didn’t need but just had to have, we always ended up buying a box of samosas (2 ‘o’s – we were in South Africa at the time) at one of the street food vendors. We used to eat them in the car for lunch on the way home. You could buy the traditional lamb, beef mince or potato samoosas, but my favourite was cheese and corn, an amazing combination of curry spices, plump kernels of sweetcorn, and cheese.
Home-made vs shop-bought
I have nothing against a good shop-bought samosa. They are fine if you are in a hurry and want a quick snack. However, in my opinion, nothing beats home-made. You can control the amount of filling you put in (I always try to squeeze in extra), and also the amount of spice.
The ready-made samosas that you buy in supermarkets all use phyllo (filo) pastry which tends to absorb a lot of oil when fried. They can turn out very greasy, especially if you eat them cold.
I prefer to make my own pastry from scratch. It only takes a few minutes, but the difference in the taste is huge. My pastry recipe calls for 3 Tablespoons of normal cooking oil and 1/2 cup of water for each cup (around 200 g) of flour plus a sprinkling of salt to taste. You just mix the oil into the flour and salt, add the water and mix to a soft dough. Knead it for about 5 minutes until the dough pliable and elastic. Job done.
I find that this pastry doesn’t absorb the cooking oil, and when the samosas have gone cold they retain their crispness and are not greasy.
NOTE – you could use ghee (clarified butter) instead of sunflower oil.
How do you fold samosas?
This is the trickiest part. I’ve included step-by-step pictures to fold samosa made with both phyllo pastry and with my home-made samosa pastry.
For Phyllo pastry
This is using shop-bought phyllo pastry. Cut a piece of phyllo lengthwise into 3 strips. Cut off a triangular shape and add the filling to the strip. Now fold the pastry over, forming a triangle each time. Finally cut off the last triangular shape and moisten with a mixture of flour and water and seal.
|Cut the first|
triangle off your
strip of pastry
|Add the filling||Fold over into a |
|Make a final fold||Cut off last triangle||Moisten with flour |
|The finished samosa|
For my Home-made pastry
This is a lot easier (I think).
Cut your dough into 8 pieces (not shown) Roll a piece of dough into a circle and cut in half. Fold one half over to form a quarter circle and crimp with a fork to seal. You could wet with water first, but I find it seals perfectly well without.
Now pick up the dough and open it out between your thumb and forefinger and add the filling, pressing it down slightly. Finally, crimp the open end with a fork.
|Roll a circle of |
dough and cut in
|Fold into a semi-circle |
and crimp the flat side
with a fork
|Add the filling||Crimp the top|
with a fork
You might find it easier to just put the filling on the half-circle, bring the pastry over to form a semi-circle and crimp all
What about the filling
The main recipe I am sharing today is for cheese and sweetcorn filling, but you could experiment with your own fillings. Why not try spinach and feta, or substitute pea and cubed cooked potato for the sweetcorn and onion. I think the lamb curry in this recipe – Lamb Curry in Pita – would work well, as would the curried mince from this recipe – Vetkoek and Curried Mince.
The main point to bear in mind when making fillings for the samosas is that the ingredients need to be finely chopped. I don’t think the chunky lamb from this recipe – Bunny Chow – would work very well.
To make the cheese and sweetcorn filling, just sweat your onions in a little sunflower oil. I use sunflower oil because it has a neutral flavour – I don’t want to add the flavour of olive oil to this dish. When the onions are translucent (don’t allow them to brown) add the spices and mix well to coat the onion. Now add a couple of tablespoons of the water from a tin of sweetcorn, just to moisten the spices, and stir through. Stir in the sweetcorn and allow to cool. When cool, add the cheese. I normally use a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella because I like that combination. Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning if necessary. If it doesn’t have enough bite, you can add more chilli paste. If it seems a bit bland add a little salt.
Once you’ve assembled the samosas as per the instructions above, you can fry them. Heat the oil until it sizzles when you add a small piece of dough. Now add the samosas and let them fry gently until golden, turning as necessary.
You could also put them on a greased baking sheet, brush with sunflower oil, and bake for about 25 minutes in the oven at 200C/400F.
Samosas with Cheese and Sweetcorn
For the pastry
- 200 g (1 cup) plain flour
- 3 Tablespoons Sunflower Oil (or you can use Ghee)
- ⅓ cup (4 fluid oz) Water approximately
- ½ teaspoon Salt optional to taste
For the Cheese and Sweetcorn Filling
- 1 large Onion (finely diced)
- 200 g tin Sweetcorn (drain and reserve the water)
- 1 cup Cheese (grated)
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Ground Coriander
- 2 teaspoons Garam Masala
- 1 teaspoon Hot Curry Powder
- 1 teaspoon Chilli Paste (optional) use to taste if you want a bit more of a bite
- 1 Tablespoon Sunflower Oil (for frying the onion)
- Salt to taste
- Sunflower Oil (for frying the samosas
To make the dough
- Put the flour and salt into a mixing bowl
- Add the oil and mix with a fork to combine
- Add most of the water and mix to a soft dough. See Note 1
- Knead for 5 minutes until the dough becomes elastic. Cover and put aside while you make the filling.
To make the cheese and sweetcorn filling
- Fry the onions in the oil until soft and translucent. Do not allow to brown.
- Add the spices and mix well to combine.
- Add 2 to 3 tablespoons water from the sweetcorn and mix well until the mixture starts to simmer.
- Add the drained sweetcorn. Mix well. Allow to cool.
- Mix the grated cheese into the cooled onion/sweetcorn mixture.
To assemble and fry the samosas
- Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.
- Roll 1 of the pieces into a 5 to 6 inch circle and cut in half diagonally
- Fold one piece in half to form a quarter circle and crimp the flat edge with a fork
- Open the crimped dough between your thumb and forefinger and fill with the cooled cheese and sweetcorn mixture
- Crimp the top of the samosa with a fork to seal
- Fry the samosa in medium hot oil until golden brown on both sides. See Note 2
- Drain on paper towels.
- Serve drizzled with lemon juice, or with a bowl of your favourite dipping sauce. Chutney goes particularly well with these.
- The amount of water you will need depends on the flour you are using. It’s easier to add more water than to take it out once it’s added. You are looking for the consistency of a soft, non-sticky dough.
- I use a wok to fry my samosas, but you could use a deep-fat fryer if you have one. If you don’t fancy the idea of deep-frying you could shallow fry instead.
- You could also brush these samosas with a little oil and bake in the oven (200C/400F)for about 25 minutes.
Do you have a
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