It’s probably no secret that I watch a lot of Food Network, so it probably also comes as no surprise that my wife and I were among the people tuning in to (by which I mean “letting the TiVo record”) this most recent season of The Next Food Network Star.
We really liked several of the contestants a lot, but our favorite as time went on became Aarti Sequeira, the former CNN producer whose unique Indian heritage and childhood in Dubai led her to a passion for making Indian food more accessible. In the end, she won (YAY!) and her new show started last week, but she’s not exactly new to hosting a cooking show. Eager to try her hand at it, she and her husband started making their own cooking show and posting it online.
Incidentally, Tucker fell in love with her instantly. She’s second only to Elmo now, and if he recognizes the Food Network is on he’ll shout “AWTEE! AWTEE!” It’s pretty dang cute.
All of that is to say that in reading through her website, I found this amazing looking recipe for baked samosas.
I love samosas. Back when I lived in Abbotsford, British Columbia, where something like 1/5 of the population is of South Asian (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka) descent, really delicious, hot, cheap samosas were available all the time. I’ve never found any as good or as cheap. They were perfect for taking to pot-luck dinners.
But let’s face it, they’re deep fried. By the time you had them home the paper bag was sometimes dripping oil. So… you can only have them so often before you start dripping oil yourself.
Enter: Aarti’s Baked Samosas!
I made ’em based on how good her food seemed on TNFNS, and they were divine. Maybe a little bit time intensive making the dough, but totally worth it, particularly if you have some leftover cooked chicken you want to use up.
Lest I be accused of stealing her glory, this is Aarti’s recipe as written, not my slight variation. You can scroll down all the way to watch her make them if you’d like.
NOTE: I actually followed her recipe to the letter with one exception — I had no ajwain seeds, so I just added a little bit of cumin instead. You can cut back on the chipotle sauce if you don’t like too much heat. Serve with a good chutney or tamarind sauce.
Aarti’s Baked Chicken & Mango Samosas
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cake flour (you can use 1 cup all-purpose flour if you prefer)
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup vegetable/canola oil
- Big pinch salt
- 1/2 tsp. ajwain seeds (optional)
- 1 big russet potato, boiled until soft
- 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, poached and shredded
- 1 mango, finely diced
- Zest of 1 lime, plus juice of half of it
- 5 tbsp chipotle sauce
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- Big handful cilantro, minced
- Salt and pepper
- To make pastry: In large bowl, combine flours, buttermilk, oil, salt and ajwain seeds. Bring ingredients together into a dough. Knead for 5 minutes until it has softened a bit. Allow to rest, at room temperature, for 15 minutes. You can put this in the fridge too, but make sure you let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes or so, in order for it to soften.
- Make filling: Combine all ingredients with your hands until it’s well mixed up. Taste for seasoning. Set aside.
- When it’s rolling time, preheat oven to 425 degrees f.
- Roll the dough into a short cylinder. Slice into two. Slice each half into two, so you have 4 bits. Roll each bit into a ball. Flatten ball into a disc, then, on floured surface, roll into a 1/8″ thick, 7″ wide circle. Cut into two semi-circles.
- Place a tablespoon or so of filling in the center of one of the semi-circles. Have a small bowl of water handy. Dip your finger in the water and run it along the edges of the semi-circle. Arrange semi-circle so the flat side is facing away from you. Grab the left corner and fold it over dough in a triangular motion, so that this corner lands on the bottom right side of the filling. Do the same with the other corner. (see video for better illustration!). Squeeze bottom shut, and fold over, sealing with water. If you like, seal using a fork. Place on lightly greased baking sheet. Repeat, until you have 8 big samosas ready for baking!
- Bake for 15 minutes at 425, then turn heat down to 375 and bake 10 more minutes. You can flip them over just before you turn the heat down if you like.
- Serve hot, with the chutney… and bask in gratitude for the great ideas we all come up with, for our sensitive tastebuds and for the blessing of good friends!