One of the first things I thought of when my pasta machine arrived, was the prospect of using it to make dough strips for samosas! I spent a few years of my teens in Chennai, where there were these metal kiosks housing tea and snack stalls. My first taste of these crisp little patti samosas was from a glass jar at one of these stalls around 1994, whilst studying computers at this institute on Woods road in Chennai. They used to cost about 25 paise apiece and were really common; I didn’t miss them until a memory surfaced years later and I found they weren’t available anywhere in the north of India. Yesterday, a brave friend tried sending me some from Chennai, but the poor things didn’t make the trip and in the memory of those brave samosas, Cherie and I tried making them at home for the first time.
The plan was to make them using sheets rolled out by the pasta machine, but the machine had stuff under the hood and wasn’t rolling out smooth sheets, so I had to roll out the dough by hand, cut them into strips and pass them on to the daughter who was assembling and sealing the samosas. I’d already made the onion filling, and later, we fried and ate them with pickles, chutneys and hot tea from cutting chai glasses – they seemed so appropriate!
Onion Filled Patti Samosas
for the filling
- 500gm Onions, thinly sliced*
- Handful Curry leaves
- 2 Bay leaves
- 5 – 6 cloves
- 2 pinches Asafoetida powder
- 3 – 4 Red chilies, dried
- 1 tsp Turmeric powder (haldi)
- 1 tsp Salt to taste
for the dough
- Put all the ingredients for the filling into a pan with some oil. Mix well. Cook on low heat until the onions are soft, limp and fragrant.
- In the meanwhile, knead the dough and let it rest for a bit.
- Roll out the dough about .5 – 1mm thick, and cut out 3 inch wide strips, about 6 – 8 inches long from it. Remember not to make the dough/strips too dry with too much dry flour.
- Make the samosas:
- Place a small amount of filling in the left corner of the patti/strip.
- Pick up the top left corner of the patti and pull it down and across the filling, until it touches the bottom of the strip, the rest of it parallel to the bottom. At this point, you have a strip, with a triangular flap at one end, perfectly aligned with the strip, with the onion filling under it.
- Now keep folding the triangular flap, and with each fold, keep the strip tight, ensuring the flap aligns perfectly with the strip and is tight.
- When you reach the end of the strip, wet the end with a little water and fold it over the samosa, pressing down a bit so it seals.
- If your samosa has holes in the corners through which the filling can be seen, it isn’t properly folded. You’ll fix this with practice. For now though, just pinch well, so the dough seals off the hole.
- Place on butter paper/floured surface or they’ll stick to the plate.
- Deep fry and serve your crisp patti samosas with pickles, chutneys and whatever else you like!
- Use a food processor or mandolin if possible. They’ll do the really thin slices we require here. Thin slices will cook faster than the thick ones and will also be easier to fill into the samosas, than thick ones.
- If you’re not serving immediately after frying, let rest for 5 minutes and re-fry the samosas. They’ll get crisper and stay crisp longer.
- Remember not to wrap them too much. It may seem like you’ll get these delicious, thick layers of crispness, but what’ll happen is that the insides won’t be cooked and will be soft and sticky in there. Just two layers is enough.