Wednesday, April 13, 2011


In my early twenties, I lived in Ithaca, New York, home to great vegan and vegetarian fare... along with some awesome waterfalls! Unfortunately, I wasn't a vegetarian then, and I had no idea what I was missing when I walked by the original Moosewood Restaurant. I once stopped in for an Italian Soda on a hot afternoon, but that was about it. Little did I know that eating without meat could be not only manageable, but delicious! I've been meat-free for a few years now, and I've cooked and baked regularly using the wonderful cookbooks published by Moosewood.

This recipe for Samosas from The New Moosewood Cookbook is a favorite of mine. If you have some time to put in to the prep work, I promise you'll reap the rewards!

For the dough you'll need...
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk or yogurt
- extra flour as needed

For the filling you'll need...
- 2 large potatoes
- 1 TBSP butter
- 1 cup onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (I usually double the garlic)
- 1 TBSP freshly grated ginger (If you don't have fresh ginger, use 1 TBSP powdered ginger)
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp dried coriander
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked green peas (Thawed frozen peas work just fine)
- 2 TBSP lemon juice
- Cayenne pepper, to taste

For the dipping sauce you'll need...
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 TBSP brown sugar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp salt

How To Cook It

The Dough...
1) Place the flour in a medium-sized bowl. Mix in the salt.
2) Make a well in the center, and add the buttermilk or yogurt. Mix first with a spoon and then with your hand, to make a smooth dough. (or use a stand mixer)
3) Add extra flour, as needed, to keep the dough from being sticky. The dough will be quite soft. Knead in the bowl for about 5 minutes. Cover tightly and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the pastries.

The Filling...
1) Peel the potatoes and chop them into 1-inch pieces.
2) Place in a saucepan, cover with water, and boil until very soft. Drain and transfer to a medium-sized bowl. Mash and set aside.
3) Melt the butter in a heavy skillet. Add onion, garlic, ginger, mustard seeds, coriander, and salt. Sauté over medium heat 8-10 minutes, or until onions are quite soft. 
4) Add this to the mashed potatoes, along with the remaining ingredients. Mix well, but try not to smash the peas. Cool for at least 15 minutes before filling the pastries.

To Assemble and Bake...
1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously oil a baking sheet.
2) Keep a small container of flour, a fork, a small bowl of water, and a pastry brush close at hand. Flour a clean surface, and, one by one, roll 1-inch balls of dough into 5-inch circles, using a rolling pin.
3) Place approximately 1 1/2 TBSP filling in the center of each circle, and fold over, just like a turnover. Brush the inside edges of each circle with a little water, and fold the edges together to make a small hem. Crimp the edges firmly with a fork. Note: If you are storing the samosas to bake later on, place them on a heavily floured plate or tray, dust the tops with more flour, and cover tightly. Store in the refrigerator or freezer until baking time.
4) To bake: Place the samosas on the oiled baking sheet. Brush the tops with oil. Bake 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 10 minutes more. For maximum crispness, turn the samosas over when you turn the oven down.
5) Serve with dipping sauce within 5 minutes of baking. A nice way to serve the sauce is in individual saucers or tiny bowls, so each person can hold both samosa and sauce directly under his or her face while eating, and the sauce bowl can catch drips.

The Dipping Sauce...
1) Place all dipping sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
2) Heat to boiling, then let simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes. The mixture will reduce slightly.
3) Serve warm or at room temperature with hot samosas.


  1. I love Moosewood! However, I find their cookbooks less useful than How to Cook Everything Vegetarian - they tend to require too many ingredients I don't always have on hand. Also, a word of warning. If you ever come across their original cookbook in a used bookstore, don't make the pumpkin, cheese, and beer soup. It's so awful that they took it out of the updated version.

  2. Good to know! I'd heard that there were some wonky recipes in the original.