I love making party foods. Not that I ever really throw parties anymore, as most of our friends live thousands of miles away, (pause to feel sorry for me) but I still really enjoy making the finger foods I used to make to soak up the booze. Samosas were one of my favourite things to make because they're spicy, which is just what you want when you're a three (or seven) sheets to the wind. They're a little different from your normal chips and dips party fare, and you can vary the filling to suit the guests' or your tastes. They're deceptively easy to make, and once you get the first couple out of the way, you'll be done in no time.
These are a meat version, but they can easily be made vegetarian by substituting potato for the minced lamb.
As with a lot of production line type stuff, like making dim sum or frosting cupcakes, I like to take everything to the dining table and do it there, but I'm probably a lot lazier than you...
Lamb Samosas With Fresh Chutney
Makes 24, takes 90 mins including dough resting time.
500g minced lamb
large handful frozen peas
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1 cm ginger root, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
For the pastry:
250g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp plus 1 2 tsp veg oil
100ml warm water
1/2 tsp ajwan or onion seeds
1 egg, beaten
500ml veg oil for frying
For the chutney:
2 tsp caster sugar dissolved in
2 tbsp hot water
juice of 1/2 lemon
large handful each fresh coriander (cilantro) and mint leaves, very finely chopped
1 large fresh green chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
First, make the dough. In a bowl, mix the flour, salt and spices then make a well in the centre of this mixture and pour in the warm water and oil. Use a knife to blend well together, then knead for a few minutes on a clean work surface until the dough is smooth and elastic. Wrap in cling film and rest at room temp while you make the filling.
Heat a frying pan over a high heat, and add the lamb and spices. You wont need oil, as most minced lamb has enough fat to fry without it. Fry the minced lamb for several minutes until dry and well browned, then add the onions, ginger and garlic. Lower the heat and cook for 5-7 minutes longer, until the onions are soft and translucent. Stir through the frozen peas, remove from the heat and set the pan aside for a few minutes to cool a little while you sort out the pastry
Weigh the ball of pastry and divide into 12 equal balls (approx 35 grams) and keep them in an air tight container to prevent them drying out. Roll out a ball of dough without flour (the oil in the dough will prevent it from sticking too much.) to a circle about 12 cm/5" about 2mm thick.
Cut the circle in half and carefully lift one half into the palm of your hand and brush a thin line of egg halfway along the straight edge. Fold into a cone shape and press the two straight edges together firmly to seal well. Use a tablespoon to fill the pocket most of the way with the lamb mixture. Brush more egg along one half of the inside of the top edge and carefully press together to form a seal. Take care to try to press any air out so that it doesn't expand and burst during frying. Repeat 23 times until you have 24 pretty little triangles, then go back through and double check the seals along the edges.
Heat the oil in a deep skillet until 190C or hot enough to quickly sizzle a small piece of left over dough when dropped in. Cook 3-4 in batches, depending on the size of your pan by carefully lowering each samosa into the hot oil. When golden brown and blistered on one side, turn and repeat on the other, then remove to drain on paper towels.
You can prepare the samosas ahead of time and reheat in a hot oven for a few minutes before serving. They even freeze well if in an air tight container.
For the fresh chutney, make sure all the sugar and salt have properly dissolved and mix together well. This is actually a fabulous sauce for all manner of tasty nibbles, so feel free to make lots, as it stores well for a few days in the fridge.