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Apr 18, 2008 07:58 AM

Samosa dough: what went wrong?

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. 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. 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. 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

          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. 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

            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

              What other stuff did you get to make?

              1. re: adrienne156

                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. 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

              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.