Cooking Samosas With Author Alka Joshi




by Lana Gersman




Cooking Samosas With Author Alka Joshi

By Lana Gersman


Author Alka Joshi who wrote the New York Times, bestseller, the Henna Artist and The Secret Keeper of Jaipur, takes you to her home kitchen in Pacific Grove, California where she shows you how to make authentic samosas.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Indian cooking, a samosa is a fried or baked pastry with a savory filling, such as spiced potatoes, onions, peas, cheese, or lentils. Most often it is presented in a triangular shape, but could change depending on the region.

Every Friday night, a handful of my mates and I would squeeze into Frenchie’s rusty red mini and drive out to Fordsburg, to buy the best samosas in Jo’burg. Never did they disappoint.




  • Wash and boil 500grams of potatoes (3 to 4) until just done. The potatoes should not turn mushy but must be fully cooked,
  • Cool the potatoes and crumble them. Set aside.

Make Samosa dough

To a mixing bowl add

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (organic maida) 3/4 teaspoon ajwain (carom seeds)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup oil or ghee (4 tablespoons)

Mix everything very well. Rub the flour in-between your palms to incorporate the oil well for 2 to 3 minutes. After this step the flour should resemble breadcrumbs. Press down a handful of this flour in your palm, it should form or hold the shape. It should not crumble meaning oil is well incorporated. Add 4 tablespoons water and begin to form a dough ball adding more water as needed. Dough has to be firm, stiff and not sticky. Cover and rest for 25 to 30 mins.

Making potato stuffing

  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil or ghee in a pan. Next add 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds.
  • When the seeds begin to splutter, add 1 tablespoon minced ginger and 1 to 2 chopped green chillies. Sauté for 30 to 60 seconds, Then add a pinch of hing. Optional – you can also add some chopped cashews and roast until golden.
  • Add the spice powders 3/4 teaspoon red chilli powder 3/4 to 1 teaspoon garam masala 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon amchur powder (dried mango powder) or chaat masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel powder (optional, saunf powder)
  • Sauté for 30 seconds and then add green peas. Sauté for 1 – 2 minutes. Then add potatoes.
  • Saute the entire potato masala for 2 – 3 minutes until potatoes blend well with spice powders. Add 1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves. Taste test this and adjust salt if needed.
  • Set aside to cool. If you have not used amchur or chaat masala, then add lemon juice at this stage.

How to make samosa

  • After 25 to 30 mins, kneed the dough for another 3 – 4 minutes. The dough as to be stiff yet and not soft. Divide the dough to 5 equal parts,
  • Oil the counter or the rolling board. Place the ball,
  • Roll it to a oval shaped even layer, about 8.5 inches long and 6.5 inches wide. It has to be slightly thick and not too thin,
  • Cut it in the center to make 2 parts,
  • The roti shrinks back little due to the nature of all-purpose flour, roll it gently again. If you feel the edges are too thick then roll a bit,
  • Apply water with your finger over the straight edge,
  • Join the edges to make a cone shape. Stick the edges well. Stick the edge from inside the cone as well to secure,
  • Fill the cone with potato masala. Press down a bit with a tiny spoon,
  • Apply water to the edge,
  • Stick the edges to seal well. On one of the sides, make a pleat,
  • Bring the pleat to a side and stick it up. Make sure your samosa is sealed well. Pinch and press down on the edges very well to seal them,
  • This will give you a perfectly standing samosa. Finish making all your samosas. If you prefer to bake them, preheat the oven to 360F or 180C for 20 mins. Brush oil generously and bake them for 30 to 40 minutes, flipping them after 15 minutes,
  • Just make 5 to 6 samosas first and then fry them. Make the rest of the samosas while you fry the first batch. This way the samosas will not dry up.

Frying samosa

  • Heat a pan with oil for deep frying. The oil should not be very hot or smoky hot. It must be medium hot. When it is just getting hot, add a small portion of dough in the oil,
  • It has to rise slowly and the oil must not be bubbling or sizzling a lot. You should see only tiny bubbles, This is the right temperature (the dough should not come up immediately and turn golden),
  • Gently slide the samosas one by one slowly. After you add them to the hot oil, you must see very tiny bubbles rising slowly. You should not be hearing any sizzling noise as it happens with the regular deep fried snacks,
  • Add as many as you can. You can fry 5 at one time. Do not disturb them for a few minutes. Later when they come up, keep stirring occasionally and fry them evenly until golden,
  • Half way through, the crust begins to firm up, then increase the heat to medium,
  • Don’t rush. They will take a lot of time to fry golden. Be patient and fry until golden and crisp. When the samosas turn golden, remove them to a colander or kitchen tissue. For the next batch reduce the heat completely to bring down the temperate and add them.

Peach Chutney

Ingredients 1/2 teaspoon oil 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
3 – 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 inch ginger, finely chopped
3 large ripe peaches, peeled and chopped
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
3/4 teaspoon red chilli powder, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar, or to taste


  • Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add cumin seeds, fennel seeds and mustard seeds to it. Let the seeds sizzle, the mustard seed should pop,
  • Then add the garlic, ginger, onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until onions are softened,
  • Meanwhile peel the peaches, remove the pit and then chop them into small pieces. Add the chopped peaches into a pan,
  • The peaches used in this recipe were really ripe so the skin came out easily. In case your peaches aren’t as ripe, blanche them in boiling water for few minutes until the skin can be removed easily,
  • Add in the garam masala, red chilli powder, salt and white vinegar. Mix to combine and cool the spices with the peaches for a minute or two,
  • Then add the sugar and mix. Keep stirring as the sugar melts. Cook on low-medium heat for 5-7 minutes until the peaces are really soft. Mash some of the peaches with the back of a spoon/ spatula as the chutney gets cooked.,
  • Once the peaches are really soft and chutney has reached a desired consistency, remove the pan from heat. The chutney will thicken as it cools down so do not make it very thick to begin with,
  • Let it cool down to room temperate and then serve. Keep the peach chutney refrigerate. It should be good for couple of weeks.

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