Samosas were my gateway into Indian food back in my college days. What's not to love, really? They're crispy handheld puffs stuffed with spicy potatoes, peas, and onions — a plate of them is an appetizer to share with friends, two or three of them make an excellent lunch to eat on the way to class.
I've recently become obsessed with making an easy, baked version of these traditional, potato-filled samosas at home. My very non-traditional secret? Using store-bought dumpling wrappers to hold the steamy, spicy filling!
I've been dying to try making samosas with dumpling wrappers ever since Alice posted this recipe for baked wontons. I loved the idea of making samosas — usually made with a crust similar to pie dough and then deep-fried — a smidge healthier and lighter for everyday snacking. I also liked the idea that I could prep a big batch, freeze them, and then bake them for a movie night with friends or the weekend football game.
This concept took a few tries to get right. I found that the round or square wrappers usually used to make dumplings were a little too small for the samosas I was imagining. Egg roll wrappers, measuring six inches by six inches, proved slightly too large.
My solution, ultimately, was to cut the egg roll wrappers into triangles, and then form the samosas using a modified version of the traditional samosa-shaping technique. This folding technique isn't that difficult, but can take a few tries to master. Flip through the gallery of step-by-step photos below to get a feel for the motions. I'll admit this is a bit fussier than I was hoping — my original idea was to simply fold the egg roll wrappers in half and be done with it — but this makes a tidy little package that's easy to stuff with filling (I promise) and looks great on a serving plate.
Once I had the wrapping situation figured out, the rest was a cinch. This filling is a mix of boiled potatoes, browned onions, and peas, spiced with ginger, garam masala, and cilantro. Baked in the oven, the samosas turn crispy on the edges and have a nice toothsome texture in the middle. I love smearing a big spoonful of cilantro-coconut chutney over the top, like the recipe found here.
While these baked samosas don't quite reach that level of crispy, airy perfection of their deep-fried siblings, I'm giving myself a high-five for turning them into an everyday snack. They retain their crispiness for quite a while out of the oven and taste great even at room temperature — this makes them a really good choice for a party buffet. I also really like them the next day, packed into a tin for lunch or a long plane ride. They're more chewy than crispy at this point, but still so very tasty and satisfying.
And yes, you can freeze them! The baked or unbaked samosas can be frozen for up to three months. When you're in the mood for a hot snack, just bake them as usual or warm them in the oven.
Baked Samosas with Potatoes and Peas
Makes roughly 2 dozen samosas
1 1/2 pounds
yellow potatoes (2 large)
medium yellow onion, diced
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated on a microplane (or minced)
medium hot chili, finely diced (remove the ribs for less spice, if desired)
1 1/2 teaspoons
1 1/2 teaspoons
peas, fresh or frozen
roughly chopped cilantro, loosely packed
egg roll wrappers (6 inches by 6 inches)
large egg, for the egg wash
Cilantro-coconut chutney, store-bought or homemade, to serve
Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with an inch of water. Add a teaspoon of salt to the water, then bring to a boil. Lower the heat until the water comes to a simmer, then cook the potatoes until tender when pierced with a fork, 10 to 20 minutes depending on size. Remove the potatoes from the water and let them cool briefly.
While the potatoes are cooking, cook the onions. Warm a teaspoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a half teaspoon of salt, and cook until the onions are a deep golden-brown.
When the potatoes have cooled enough to handle, roughly chop them into small cubes no larger than 1/2 inch. Stir the potatoes into the onion mixture, along with the minced ginger and chili. Add the spices and another 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir in the peas and cilantro, and cook just until the peas are warm. Taste the mixture and add more salt or other spices if desired — samosas are meant to be strongly spiced, so don't hold back! Remove the pan from heat once you like the way the mixture tastes.
Heat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a nonstick baking mat.
To assemble the samosas, first arrange your workspace — place the egg roll wrappers and a small container of water to one side and the pan of filling to the other.
→ See the gallery above for step-by-step photos of shaping these samosas.
Place one wrapper on your work surface and cut it on the diagonal into two triangles. Use your finger to dab a little water along the long edge — this will help the samosa "cone" stay sealed. Shape the triangle into a cone by folding the long edge of the triangle in the middle and then overlapping the two sides. Pinch the cup closed and hold it in your hand like an ice cream cone.
Fill the cone with roughly 1/4 cup of the filling. Tuck the bottom flap over the filling, then fold the top flap down. Seal it closed with a little water. You can pinch the corners closed if you like, but the filling will stay nicely inside without doing so. If a stray pea falls out, just poke it back inside.
Lay the finished samosa on the baking sheet with the seam facing up. Continue assembling all the samosas, spacing them slightly apart on the baking sheet. Whisk the egg with a tablespoon of water, and brush over the tops of the samosas — this gives them a nice golden color and helps them crisp.
Bake the samosas for 12 to 15 minutes, until the tips are golden and crispy, and the middles are firm but slightly flexible. You should also see small round bubbles forming just beneath the surface of the wrapper.
Arrange the baked samosas on a tray and serve with cilantro-coconut chutney. They will keep at room temperature for about 2 hours before needing to be refrigerated. Samosas will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days and can be eaten as is, warmed in the microwave, or re-crisped in a warm oven.
Freezing samosas: Freeze baked or un-baked samosas in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a nonstick mat. Once frozen solid, collect them into a freezer bag or container and keep frozen for up to 3 months. Bake (or re-warm) in the oven at 425°F until crispy and warmed through.