Healthy baked "samosas"
I know, I’ve got to stop diminishing myself by putting recipe names in quotes so much. But this time— quotations may as well stay. We know these aren’t really samosas. They’re turnovers, inspired by samosas. And they’ve been waiting to be shared for months.
Why have I been sitting on this simple, tasty recipe? It’s not because of the chagrin over these being samosa-posers, although I can think of many a friend and one in particular who would shudder at the presumptuous description. No, the reason for the delay was once again photography-related, but not in the usual sense. While my lack of photography finesse is an ongoing matter, this time the problem was less about the who was behind the lens and more about what was in front of it. (Also, Dave accidentally wiped out the decent photos I did manage to finally get…but he made up for it and we don’t have to talk about that.)
These “samosas” haven’t been easy to make pretty…but they are delicious. Crispy, fragrant, steaming with curry spice. And, YOU will make them beautiful. Because unlike me, you will already know how to turn out lovely phyllo triangles; if you don’t, you will go straight to YouTube, like I FINALLY did. Why oh why didn’t I just consult YouTube first thing? Maybe procrastination is a testament to how enjoyable the trials have been. Subconsciously I sabotaged my plating efforts for the sake of more attempts.
This samosa tribute was inspired by The Great British Baking Show, and my friend Sarah. Do you watch the Baking Show? Yay or nay, did you watch its BBC predecessor, The Great British Bakeoff? It’s really such fun, and somehow the buttery pastries and piled-high bread creations entertain without making me hungry. I put off watching the current series, partly because of time and accessibility, and partly out of loyalty for the original. No Mary Berry? It just seemed wrong. But that’s another conversation…what I’m getting to is that when we finally started watching the refreshed competition show, we couldn’t help but enjoy it as much as the previous, especially with charming and genuine hosts Sandi and Noel . And the contestants were all likeable, too. No cooking up drama for ratings (excuse the pun). The first season we watched, we found ourselves rooting for humble, awkward, talented Rahul, whose cooking stirred a wild craving for samosas. When Sarah, also watching, texted me with no prompting that she too was craving samosas, I had to experiment with some that I would allow myself to eat, perhaps even on a regular basis. Wouldn’t you?
Prepared in flaky—but not buttery—phyllo dough, these “samosas” resembled hot pockets more than turnovers at first. You have to work fast, and the thin sheets are fragile. The filling is easy to make and just as easy to change up. There’s a lot of good stuff in it—gold and sweet potato, peas, cauliflower, spinach or kale, turmeric. If you aren’t already comfortable whipping that pastry intro triangle shape, a quick YouTube search will serve you well.
One more side bonus of making these—let’s lose the quotes now—samosas? You’re bound to have extra phyllo dough. So, you can chop up whatever fruit you have on hand, stir it up with a healthy dose of ground cinnamon, and maybe some nutmeg and ginger, and roll it into whatever shape you like, then bake alongside as dessert. Chef F was the force behind our turnover treat (which were SO good), and he was SO proud of his *recipe*. Have fun with your remainders. Play with your delicious, healthy food. :)
Quick and easy vegan baked samosas
1 medium gold potato
1 medium sweet potato
½ cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 T fresh ginger, grated
1 cup chopped frozen cauliflower
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup chopped spinach or kale, fresh or frozen
1 t garam masala
1/4 teaspon ground turmeric
Salt and pepper
1 T cilantro chopped
1 box phyllo pastry, thawed
Peel and chop the potatoes (gold and sweet) into roughly 1-inch chunks.
Add the potatoes to a large pan of boiling salted water and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender, adding the cauliflower and peas for the final 3 -4 minutes. Drain.
Heat a large non-stick frying pan lightly coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add and onion and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the chopped spinach, garam marsala and turmeric, then cook for a further 2 minutes.
Add the cooked potatoes and cauliflower into the pan and crush gently with a potato masher. Squeeze in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the chopped cilantro and set aside.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 F.
Stack 3 or 4 sheets of phyllo together, and slice into 4 even rectangles with a knife or pair of kitchen shears.
Place roughly 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the potato and peas mix in one corner of the dough leaving a slight border, then gently fold diagonally to form a triangle. Continue folding through the rectangle, maintaining the triangle shape. Repeat with remaining filling and phyllo.
Place each samosa on a baking sheet, and lightly coat with cooking spray.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly golden brown.