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.
How to make Cheese and Sweetcorn Samosas
Whenever I read a recipe I like to have a look at the ingredients to see whether I have everything I need. To make it easy for you – I’ve listed the ingredients below. You can get the full list of ingredients and quantities in the printable recipe card further down in the post.
For the pastry
- Plain flour
- Sunflower Oil (or you can use Ghee)
- Water – obviously you don’t need to shop for this
- Salt optional to taste
For the Cheese and Sweetcorn Filling
- Onion – this needs to be finely diced, approximately the same size as the sweetcorn
- 200 g tin Sweetcorn – (drain and reserve the water)
- Cheese (grated)
- Ground Cumin
- Ground Coriander
- Garam Masala
- Hot Curry Powder
- Chilli Paste (optional) use to taste if you want a bit more of a bite
- Salt – to taste
- Sunflower Oil (for frying the onion)
- Sunflower Oil (for frying the samosas)
Make the pastry
I prefer to make my own pastry from scratch. It only takes a few minutes, but the difference in the taste is huge.
- Sift 200g plain flour into a mixing bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Add 60ml water and 45ml sunflower oil
- Mix to a soft dough. Knead it for about 5 minutes until the dough pliable and elastic. Job done.
- Set aside whilest you make the filling
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.
Make 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, chop he onion into small pieces, about the size of a sweetcorn kernel.
- Heat 2 Tablespoons sunflower oil in a pan. Add the onions and sweat them until translucent. 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 grated cheese. I normally use a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella because I like that combination. You can use your cheese of choice.
- 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.
Now we can get onto the task of folding and filling the samosas.
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.
Using Phyllo pastry
This method if for folding a samosa using shop-bought phyllo pastry.
Cut a piece of phyllo lengthwise into 3 strips.
- Cut off a triangular shape from the end of one strip.
- Add a tablespoon of the filling to the strip.
- Now fold the pastry over forming a triangle
- Keep folding, keeping the triangular shape
- Make a final fold
- Cut off the last triangular shape
- Moisten with a mixture of flour and water
- Seal to form a triangle
For my Homemade pastry
This is the method I use with my homemade pastry, and I think it is a lot easier.
Cut your dough in half and then cut each half into 8 pieces (not shown). You will have 16 pieces of dough in total.
- Using a rolling pin 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.
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
Fry the samosas
Once you’ve assembled the samosas as per the instructions above, you can fry them.
- Heat the oil in a wok or deep frying pan 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.
- Keep the heat to a low sizzle. If the oil gets too hot the samosas will burn before they are cooked through.
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.
To make this recipe you will need the following equipment. In case you are missing something I have included some links to my Amazon shop pages, where you might just find the item you are looking for.
- Mixing bowl – for mixing the pastry and the samosa filling
- Wok or frying pan – for frying the samosas
- Sharp knife – for chopping the onions for the filling
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Recipe – Samosas with Cheese and Sweetcorn
Samosas with Cheese and Sweetcorn
For the pastry
- 200 g (1½ cups approximately) 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 calorie count has been calculated using an on-line calculator and is provided for information purposes only. If the calorie count is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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If you enjoyed this recipe why not browse through my other South African recipes.
These are some of my favourites
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