Samosa Pie

This one I owe to my sister.  It’s chatting in her kitchen on a Sunday evening that I witnessed her bake samosa filling into a pie crust and mentally declared it genius.  This is my take on her brilliant upgrade from snack to main course for the almighty samosa.  It is whole food, but it ain’t skinny food.  Between the liberal use of oil and the crust-encasement – expect concentrated calories with a wallop of wonderful flavor.  Also expect to spend some time in the kitchen to crank this one out: a weekend meal rather than a weeknight affair.  But if you make many (the recipe makes 2 pies), then you can freeze for effort-free enjoyment at a future date.

While I do give a recipe for whole-grain sourdough pie crust if desired, do feel free to substitute with your usual crust recipe since whole-grain crusts are something of an acquired taste!

Final shout-outs are to the recipes without which this dish wouldn’t have come to exist.  Madhur Jaffrey’s potatoes cooked in a Banasari-style from her book Vegetarian India provided the spicing for the filling featured here.  The crust, is a tweaked version of Holly Davis’ leavened pastry crust from her book Nourish.  Both books are excellent additions to any food prep library; while they aren’t vegan, they do feature many vegan recipes and provide a wealth of ideas and delectable spice ideas.

Yield: 2 – 8″ pies or 4 – 4″ pies

What you need for the crust:

  • 1/3 cup filtered water
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour (home-milled red winter wheat with all the germ if available)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon sourdough starter
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour (same note as above)
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, ground (a spice or coffee grinder, blender or food processor works to grind down the oats)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (room temperature)
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot, cornstarch or tapioca starch

What you need for the samosa filling:

  • 2 onions, chopped into 3/4″ dice
  • 1 small butternut squash, chopped into 3/4″ dice, 4-5 cups of cubed squash
  • 3-4 tablespoons sunflower oil, divided
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon hing (asafetida)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 7 fresh curry leaves (optional but recommended)
  • a 1″ piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 fresh green chili pepper, seeded and chopped finely (wear gloves…)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 4 potatoes, boiled, cooled and chopped into 1/2″ dice, 1lb 4oz
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons amchur powder (amchoor powder = green mango powder, it’s sour; you can substitute with an equal amount of lemon or lime juice)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 cup unsalted vegetable broth (or water)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup loosely packed, roughly chopped coriander

What you do for the crust:

  1. The night before you want crust, mix the 1/3 cup whole wheat flour, 1/3 cup water and tablespoon of starter in a glass measuring cup.  It should resemble a thick pancake batter.  Cover and leave overnight (about 12 hours).  Now you have about 3/4 cups of leaven.
  2. 12 hours later, in a large bowl, sift together the 3 cups of whole wheat flour, ground oats and salt.  Cut in the coconut oil with a pastry cutter or with 2 knives held between your fingers Wolverine-talon style.                        DSCN1424
  3. Add the water and the leaven to the bowl and bring the dough together with a wooden spoon or metal fork.  Add the 2 tablespoons of arrowroot and knead to form a smooth ball.
  4. Oil the ball lightly and place it in a 4 cup glass measuring cup or glass bowl.  Cover and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
  5. Refrigerate until ready to use.  There’s enough crust to make between 2 and 4 full-sized (8″) pies with double crust.  Why such a range?  Depends on how thick you like your crust.  With a 1/4″ thick crust you’ve got 2 and with a 1/8″ crust it’s double the amount.  It’s up to you!

What you do for the samosa mix:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F and line an 11″x17″ baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the diced onions and butternut squash on the sheet.  Add 1-2 tablespoons of sunflower oil depending on how decadent you want it, and lots of freshly ground salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Mix well to coat the vegetables evenly in oil and salt and pepper and distribute in an even layer; hands work well.
  4. Roast for 25 minutes.  Flip the vegetables around and roast another 20 minutes until golden and sweet.  Remove from the oven and let cool.           DSCN1425
  5. In a large skillet or cast-iron frying pan, heat the remaining sunflower oil and coconut oil over medium flame.
  6. When the oil is hot, add the hing and let it sizzle a few seconds.  Add the mustard and cumin seeds.  When the mustard seeds begin to pop, a matter of seconds, add the grated ginger, chopped green chili and curry leaves if using – careful, the water will cause it all to splutter.  Stir once or twice and then add the ground coriander, turmeric and paprika.  Stir to coat the spices in the oil.
  7. Add the chopped cooked potato and fresh or frozen peas.  Stir and fry a few minutes to coat the vegetables evenly in the spices and oil.
  8. Add the vegetable broth and lower the heat to medium-low.  Stir and cook for 5-8 minutes, more if necessary, until the liquid is mostly absorbed.  Add the amchur or lemon juice, salt and garam masala.  Mix well and cook another couple of minutes, until the spices lose their raw taste.  Turn off the heat and let cool a bit.             DSCN1432
  9. In a large bowl, mix together the pea and potato mixture, the roasted onion and squash and the chopped coriander.  Feel free to chow down on the mix as is, with rice, or use it to make samosa pie as described next.                DSCN1434

And to make the samosa pie:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F and take the pie crust out of the fridge.  Let it rest on the counter 15-20 minutes to soften some.
  2. Roll out the crust to the thickness desired and drape over the bottom of the pie tin.  You can roll on a floured surface, you can roll between sheets of wax paper or parchment: whatever works best.  Fill with samosa mixture.  Roll out another crust and drape it over the filling.  Seal the edges any way you please and slash the top a few times to let the steam out while cooking.                        DSCN1437
  3. Repeat step two as many times as necessary to use up the filling based on the pie tins available.  Alternatively, you could also do a more free-form and pan-less “blob” of samosa pie.  Not so elegant, just as tasty, does have some unique artisanal charm.
  4. Bake 30 minutes until the crust is set and beginning to brown around the edges.
  5. Let cool 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving.  While good alone, tamarind sauce or a fruity chutney is really nice alongside.

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