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Samosa dough: what went wrong?

r
rweater Apr 18, 2008 07:58 AM

I made samosas at home the other night using a recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook. The filling was spot on in terms of Indian flavors and was quite delicious. The dough, though, was a problem.

I don't do much baking and I am not really good at making things that are dough-based, but I decided to take the plunge with this. I figured if I followed the recipe to a T, then I wouldn't go wrong.

The dough only called for three ingredients:
2.5 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 c. buttermilk or yogurt
extra flour as needed

I used yogurt because I had it on-hand. The result was something that was very heavy. It was not inedible, but it took some work to get through. My husband said it tasted "kind of like hippie dough."

So, any ideas where I went wrong? Would buttermilk have been better? Should I have used more yogurt/buttermilk? Or does someone have another recipe for samosas?

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  1. g
    gordeaux RE: rweater Apr 18, 2008 08:09 AM

    I made some for the first time a few nights ago as well. I'm lazy so I used pieces of a pie crust. I made vegetarian ones, so I used potato, peas, and green chili pickle. The filling was perfect, but the dough left a little to be desired. I'll be watching this thread. Sorry, I don't have anything to offer about your dough. I'm not a baker at ALL either.

    1. LNG212 RE: rweater Apr 18, 2008 09:21 AM

      My sister and I went to a cooking class last month about Indian foods (it was called Indian Feast and it was so much fun). One of the items we made was vegetable samosas. I thought the dough came out quite nice -- it was easily handled and pretty light (well, as light as fried dough can be). Here's the recipe we used (made about 12, I think):

      1 1/2 c all purpose flour
      1 tsp fine salt
      1/4 c. notrans fat vegetable shortening, chilled
      1/3 c. cold water
      canola oil for frying

      We mixed it by hand and it seemed quite dry. But once we started working with bits to roll out, it came together just fine. The instructor said to add more cold water in very small amounts if it didn't come together.

      Hope that helps you.

      1. r
        rweater RE: rweater Apr 18, 2008 11:14 AM

        I should add that the recipe calls for baking the samosas, rather than frying as a healthy twist. So I wonder if the dry dough is okay for the frying, but not for baking? I wonder if I tried your ingredients LNG, but baked them if they would turn out.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rweater
          LNG212 RE: rweater Apr 18, 2008 11:25 AM

          I don't know. My only attempt at substituting baking was when I made leek pastries that were supposed to be fried (a similar, though not same, dough) and they came out horrible!! But fried they were to die for!

          If you are definite about baking them, should you maybe use something closer to a pizza type dough?

        2. a
          adrienne156 RE: rweater Apr 18, 2008 11:33 AM

          You need fat in your dough for it to turn out flakey - Mum uses ghee, but I've used pie dough on several occasions. LNG212's recipe sounds perfect.

          3 Replies
          1. re: adrienne156
            LNG212 RE: adrienne156 Apr 18, 2008 11:39 AM

            I wondered why we didn't use ghee in the class for the samosa dough, though we used it in just about all the other recipes. I'm glad to know it would work just fine in the dough too.

            1. re: LNG212
              a
              adrienne156 RE: LNG212 Apr 18, 2008 01:00 PM

              What other stuff did you get to make?

              1. re: adrienne156
                LNG212 RE: adrienne156 Apr 22, 2008 07:50 AM

                Sorry I didn't reply sooner; I didn't see it. We made samosas (vegetable); raita; split pea dal; basmati rice; chicken with roasted coriander in coconut curry sauce. The staff made chapati for us to have once we sat down to eat the feast and they prepared masala chai for after dinner. It was terrific fun.

          2. m
            mattrapp RE: rweater Apr 18, 2008 11:55 AM

            I would say the immediate problem was the lack of fat in the dough. You need shortening, or the like, to get the right texture. Otherwise it would be very dense and unappealing. Here is a very solid recipe from Julie Sahni that works like a champ.

            5-1/2 oz. (1-1/4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for dusting
            1/2 tsp. kosher salt
            1/8 tsp. baking soda
            1/4 cup vegetable shortening
            2 Tbs. plain yogurt, mixed with 1/4 cup water
            In a wide, shallow bowl, mix the flour with the salt and baking soda. Make a well in the center and drop the shortening into the well. Pick up some flour and fat in one hand. Rub the other hand lightly over this mixture, moving from heel to fingertips, letting the fat-coated flour fall back into the bowl. Pick up more fat and flour and continue this rubbing action until the flour is evenly coated; it should have a fine texture with no lumps.
            Add the yogurt-water mixture a little at a time. Add just enough liquid until the dough comes together in a mass. Depending on the the flour and humidity, you may not need all the liquid; if you need more, add plain water a tablespoon at a time. Knead the dough until it's smooth and elastic. The dough is ready when it's no longer sticky and feels as soft as an earlobe, after about 5 minutes of kneading. Roll the dough into an 8-inch log, wrap it in plastic, and let it rest for about 15 minutes. (The dough can also be wrapped tightly and chilled for a day. Bring it to room temperature before continuing.)

            I usually bypass the bowl mixing and do the whole thing in a food processor. It's quick and works quite well.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mattrapp
              h
              hasman RE: mattrapp Oct 4, 2009 02:44 PM

              I tried this recipe and it worked very well. I skipped the baking soda because I was told that it reacts with the oil for frying. Don't know if this is true. Next time I will make it with the baking soda to test the difference. I didn't have yogurt on hand so I spooned in sour cream instead. Less then a tablespoon. Even with the deletion and the substitution it tasted great. Better than other recipes that I tried in the past.

            2. Miss Needle RE: rweater Apr 18, 2008 11:59 AM

              Not a recipe (I'm a dough-a-phobe), but I found that spring roll or egg roll skins work wonderfully for samosas. I've only made samosa dough once using a Madhur Jaffrey recipe and it turned out OK. If you want, I can look it up for you when I get home.

              And I also rarely deep-fry and have gotten good results using spring rolls skins and brushing them with olive oil and baking them. May not be as tasty as deep-fried but it's still good.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Miss Needle
                a
                adrienne156 RE: Miss Needle Apr 18, 2008 12:59 PM

                Agreed. Same with filo dough. The only diffference is that you get a thin, crisp outside than the slightly softer, bubbly dough that's characteristic of samosas.

                MN, I've had pretty good results with store-bought pie dough and your method of baking. I promise it's not as fussy as when using the dough for pies. :)

                1. re: Miss Needle
                  q
                  QSheba RE: Miss Needle Oct 4, 2009 05:48 PM

                  Or if you're feeling especially sinful, use frozen puff pastry dough- yum!

                  1. re: QSheba
                    s
                    sweetTooth RE: QSheba Jul 8, 2013 08:59 PM

                    Actually, in India we could buy this very thing at neighborhood bakeries - it was called puff samosa. Samosa filling baked in puff pastry dough. At that time (say about 10-15 years ago) puff pastry dough was not available and so unless one made it at home, puff samosa was firmly a store bought treat.

                    For fried samosas, Julie Sahni's recipe seems spot on. I've had wonton wrapper fried and baked samosas, but they don't hit the spot in this desi's belly. Too much chewiness and not enough shortness. Also, a little too thin, though that can perhaps be fixed if one uses thicker wrappers.

                  2. re: Miss Needle
                    p
                    pine time RE: Miss Needle Jul 8, 2013 08:48 AM

                    I used to make homemade samosa dough for years and years, then discovered using wonton wrappers instead--perfect, and so much less work!

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                    adamantius RE: rweater Nov 10, 2009 05:45 AM

                    I'm not sure about another recipe, but it appears pretty clear that simply eliminating the fat, as this recipe seems to do (both by eliminating any shortening and by baking instead of frying), isn't the most practical solution. If you want to bake them I'd use pastry flour and less shortening than a standard shortcrust recipe, which is pretty typical of samosa recipes, but still some shortening in there. Maybe even a very small amount of some sort of leavening, like yeast or baking powder to lighten it just a touch without making it poufy.

                    1. thew RE: rweater Nov 10, 2009 05:48 AM

                      everything from moosewood tastes kind of like hippie something

                      as well it should

                      1. s
                        sosogood RE: rweater Jul 8, 2013 03:23 AM

                        Samosa dough MUST be very thin. Madhur Jaffreys recipe does use yogurt and I like it much better than substitutes.

                        It's a simple dough. I'm guessing you just didn't quite get the thickness right.

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