This potato and pea samosa recipe is one of my favourites. And I’m not alone in my love for samosas. They are universally loved, little parcels of joy best eaten as a tea time snack or served as finger food at parties.
It’s especially popular in Indian homes so it may surprise you to know that the humble samosa does not have Indian origins.
It actually has Middle Eastern and Central Asian origins, with the first official mention of samosa found in Iranian historian Abolfazl Beyhaqi’s work Tarikh-e Beyhaghi, where it was referred to as ‘Sambosa’.
It then spread to Africa, Southeast Asia, South Asia and elsewhere. Now there are many countries in the world with their own take on a samosa.
And it’s really not hard to see why it gained such popularity around the world. It’s essentially pastry, filled with deliciousness and then deep fried. Hard to imagine anyone saying no to that.
Making the potato and pea samosa filling
There are many combinations of fillings and flavours that work in samosas. You have mince meat samosas, vegetable samosas, potato samosas, cheese samosas and much more. In this recipe, I’ve gone with the classic pairing of peas and potatoes. It’s easy, quick and made with ingredients we often have at home anyway.
You first need to boil the potatoes to soften them up. I’ve cooked my potatoes in the microwave to speed things up. If cooking them in the microwave, wash them thoroughly and then pierce holes into the potatoes using a fork. This is to allow the steam to escape so they don’t explode!
For this recipe, I’ve used three medium sized potatoes and you need to microwave them for about eight minutes. Check to see if they’re soft enough, and if you think you need to be softer, then microwave for a minute or two longer. Let it cool and then peel the skin off the potatoes and mash it into largish chunks. You still want to keep it relatively chunky for texture.
We’ll then heat up a touch of oil in a pan and roast our cumin, coriander and curry powders for just about 10 or so seconds till you can smell it’s aroma. Then add the potato and peas, mixing well before adding the chilli, turmeric and mango powders.
I’ve added in the spices at different stages because I want to roast and deepen the flavours of cumin, coriander, curry which is why I added them at the beginning. But the other spices are to add freshness. So adding them at the end is better. Then just add salt to taste and mix. If you think the mixture is looking a bit dry, just add a splash of water to bring everything together.
What pastry to use for samosas?
You typically see samosa being made with puff pastry which a much thicker and more buttery dough. I prefer to make my samosas using spring roll pastry. It’s a much thinner dough, so it’s quicker to fry up and the samosa are little less heavy on the stomach this way. Although I just end up eating more of these samosas, so I’m not sure which is actually better!
The bonus as well with using spring roll pastry, is that you now also have vegan samosas. Depending on your filling as well of course.
With the spring roll pastry, because they are relatively large sheets, I cut each sheet up into three long vertical strips. This method will make you mini bite-sized samosas which is what I like.
The technique for folding the samosas using spring roll pastry is fairly easy. All you have to do is place a teaspoon of the potato and pea mixture at the bottom of the cut up pastry sheet.
If you’re not sure about the placement, take one edge of the pastry sheet and fold up to make a little triangle. Then place the mixture into the triangle pocket. Press down in the middle slightly to spread the mixture out a bit but be careful not to let it spill out the sides.
Then just keep folding the triangle up and use a bit of water to seal the last bit of the pastry edge down. And there you have it! A perfect little potato and pea samosa triangle.
Can samosas be air-fried or baked?
Typically samosas are deep fried. But for obvious reasons, many people prefer to bake or air fry the samosas as a healthier option.
I tried baking the samosas, air frying them and also deep frying. Of course deep frying came out tops. In all areas including colour, presentation, crispiness and flavour.
Air frying and baking still produced good results and the samosas did taste good. But while the edges of the samosas crisped up and browned nicely, the middle didn’t colour as well and didn’t get as crispy. So those methods definitely don’t present as well although the taste was still good.
A small difference in taste was that with air frying and baking, the flavour of the spring roll pastry was a touch more prominent, whereas with deep frying the flavour of the filling really shone through.
Air frying or baking is a good option if you’re just making snacks at home and are prioritising health over presentation. But if you’re making these for a party then I would definitely deep fry.
If you’re planning to air fry, lightly brush the samosas with oil and place five of them in at a time for eight minutes at 200°C or 392°F. Don’t stack them as they won’t crisp up nicely. I used my Phillips air fryer for this recipe.
If baking, preheat your oven to 180°C or 356°F, and brush with oil. Bake for 15 minutes, flipping half way.
Deep frying samosas
If deep frying, use a neutral flavoured oil like vegetable or canola. Test if the oil is hot enough by tearing a bit of pastry off and placing it in the oil. If it fries up in 10 seconds you’re ready to start frying. Fry till just golden brown and place on a paper towel to soak up the excess oil.
The main difference with using spring roll pastry vs puff pastry is how hot the oil needs to be before frying.
If you’re using puff pastry then you’ll actually want to fry the samosa, low and slow. So you’d put the samosa in at a lower temperature and let the oil gently and slowly bubble so that the thicker pastry has enough time to cook through. If you go high heat, only the outside of the pastry will cook, leaving you with raw pastry in the middle.
Spring roll pastry however is much, much thinner which is why you want to fry it quickly at higher heat for beautifully crispy samosas.
Can you freeze samosas?
You can absolutely freeze samosas. This recipes makes about 40 to 45 pieces of mini samosas and understandably you may not want to fry all of them up right away.
If freezing samosas, place them down flat in a container and use aluminium foil to separate the layers. Try not to place them too close to each other, you don’t want the pastry to stick together.
While technically you can freeze cooked samosas, I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s really hard to get the same crispness back. So I would only freeze uncooked samosas. They’ll keep in your freezer up to six months, ready to be fried up for a quick snack or for any last-minute guests!
And if you can’t finish the samosas you fry up (although I can’t imagine this happening), you can keep them in the fridge for two to three days.
What to serve with samosas?
More from B’s Bites
Hope you enjoy! If you tried this recipe, let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
- 2 tbsp oil
- 3 medium potatoes
- 1/3 cup frozen peas
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp mango powder
- Salt to taste
- Approx. 14 sheets spring roll pastry
- 1.5 cups of oil if deep frying
- 1/3 cup oil for brushing samosas if baking or air frying
- Take pastry sheets out of the freezer and leave to defrost while you get the other ingredients ready.
- Wash the potatoes thoroughly and pierce holes in them with a fork. Approximately 3 to 4 pierces on each side.
- Microwave the potatoes for 8 mins to begin with and then use a fork to see if they're soft enough. Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes longer if you think they need to be softer.
- Let the potatoes cool and then peel the skin off and mash into largish chunks. You want to keep it relatively chunky for texture.
- To a pan, add 2 tablespoons of oil and then add the coriander, curry and cumin powder and cook for 10 or so seconds.
- Add the potato and peas and mix well with the spices.
- Then add the chilli, turmeric and mango powder.
- Add salt to taste and mix thoroughly. If the mixture is looking too dry, add a splash of water to bring everything together.
- Turn off the heat while we work on our pastry.
- Have a bowl of water and a damp tea towel ready. Cut up the pastry sheet into 3 even vertical strips with scissors.
- Place the tea towel on top of the pastry sheets so they don't dry up while you're folding the samosas.
- Place a teaspoon of the potato and pea mixture at the bottom of the cut up pastry sheet. If you're not sure about the placement, take one edge of the pastry sheet and fold up to make a little triangle. Then place the mixture into the triangle pocket.
- Press down in the middle slightly to spread the mixture out a bit but be careful not to let it spill out the sides.
- Keep folding the triangle up and use a bit of water to seal the last bit of the pastry edge down.
- If air frying, lightly brush the samosas with oil and place 5 of them into the air fryer at a time for 8 mins at 200°C or 392°F. Don't stack them as they won't crisp up nicely.
- If baking, preheat your oven to 180°C or 356°F, and brush with oil. Bake for 15 mins, flipping half way.
- If deep frying, add 1.5 cups oil (or however much you need for your pot size) to a deep, rounded pot.
- Test if the oil is hot enough by tearing a bit of pastry off and placing it in the oil. If it fries up in 10 secs you're ready to start frying.
- Fry the samosas till just golden brown, remove and place on a paper towel when done.
- Serve hot with a green chutney.