Vegetable Samosa

Learn how to make your very own samosas at home.

Traditional Vegetarian Samosas

If you like to prepare dinner under 30 minutes, this isn’t the recipe for you because it’s a heck of a load of work. However, this is a great team building exercise a whole family can enjoy doing together on a Saturday afternoon. Little Sis can mix and roll the dough, Mum cooks the filling, Big Bro folds and Dad fries. That’s just one example, you can even get a little production line going with a bunch of friends!

The samosa, pronounced “sa-mo-sa”, originated in Central Asia before making its way to India via trade routes. As with most traditional recipes, there are variations of samosas and here we’ll do the Punjabi version, which is differentiated by North Indian spices such as ginger and carom seeds.

If you can’t be bothered to make your own dough or are on a low-fat diet, fret not, you can use filo pastry instead and bake the morsels in the oven.

Filling-wise samosas are much like pies – you can put almost anything in them; curried potato and peas are quite common as well as minced meat. You can even create dessert ones with chocolate or fruit filling. The sky’s the limit. The only thing you have to be careful of is that the actual filling isn’t too runny. It might cause leakage or mess with the consistency of the pastry.

Below you’ll find the step-by-step guide to making the ultimate, traditional samosa. A special thanks to head chef Sameer Taneja and Benares restaurant for taking the time to demonstrate how to do everything properly. We also made Kerala Paratha and Coconut Fish Curry on the day, so check them out. If you’re a fan of Indian food, you must visit Benares. Why? You can find the reasons in my review.

If you don’t live in London, you should probably check out these cookbooks:

Cooking the Vegetable Filling

Bowlfuls of onion, ginger, carrot, potato and peas

One thing you don’t want is a crunchy filling so make sure all the ingredients are cooked thoroughly before filling the samosas. You either have to cook the vegetables for longer or you can blanch them before making the filling. We did the latter in this case. It’s up to you.

Indian Spice Box

Here’s a masala dabba which contains essential spices. No Indian household is without one.

Cumin seeds in a pot

Heat oil in a heavy bottomed, stainless steel saucepan and fry whole cumin seeds for a minute.

Onions and Cumin Seeds in a Pot

Add the onions to the pot.

Frying spicy vegetables

Gently fry the onions until they have softened.

Vegetarian filling for samosas

Now you can add the rest of the vegetables and spices. Stir thoroughly.

Placing vegetables on tray

Place the vegetable mixture on a tray to cool down. Now it’s time to make the dough.

Preparing the Samosa Pastry

Stainless Steel Bowl with contents

All you need to make the dough is flour, vegetable oil, salt and lukewarm water.

Steel bowl

You can add a pinch of carom seeds if your like. They are medicinal in the sense that they aid digestion.

Preparing Samosa Dough

Make a well in the flour and add the oil….

Stirring samosa ingredients

… and water.

Chef at Benares Restaurant

Look! Say hello Sameer! Now it’s just a case of mixing everything together.

Preparing samosa pastry

Carry on mixing until the dough comes together.

Ball of samosa pastry

Add a bit of flour or water as you see fit.

Finished Samosa Pastry

Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth and roll into a ball. Cover in plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.

How to Fold Samosas

Marinated Chicken on Skewers

Anyone who has visited or worked in a commercial kitchen will tell you it gets very hot in there. The staff works on a huge scale? See that guy skewering pieces of chicken? At the bottom left is the tandoor. Whole chickens are getting cooked in there.

Big pots in Benares' kitchen

Pots are heavy and filled to the brim. This isn’t just a 5 litre pot but a humungous one that I doubt I will be able to lift. A popular restaurant such as Benares needs huge quantities of, in this case, Masala Potato Mash on a daily basis. It’s a pretty spectacular scene.

Fresh batch of vegetable samosas

Oh yes, I’m getting side tracked. We were about to start folding samosas.

Pastry ready for rolling

Roll the rested pastry into the shape of a baguette.

Partitioning pastry portions

Use a knife and cut the pastry into 12 equal portions.

Little dough balls

Roll each portion into a little ball.

Pastry, dough and rolling pin

Start rolling the pastry.

Flattening dough

You should aim for a circle or an oval shape.

Chef at Benares

You get the idea.

Pastry and Knife

Cut the pastry in half. Each half forms a samosa.

Pastry in Hand

Dampen the straight edge of the dough with a bit of water.

Dough cone

Form a cone.

Spoon vegetables

Now you can spoon in some filling. The latter should definitely have cooled down by now.

Closing Samosas

Slowly and carefully pinch the samosa closed..

Closing the samosa's opening

… until it is completely sealed.

Final Samosa


Traditional Samosa Folding

Now repeat with the rest of the dough.

Samosas ready for frying

A trayful of samosas, ready for frying.

Deep Frying the Samosas

Pot full of frying oil

Heat a pot full of vegetable oil to (160°C/320°F).

Tray full of Samosas

It helps it the samosas are chilled before frying.

Pot full of hot frying oil

Place the pastries carefully into the oil and watch the mesmerising bubbles.

Authentic Samosas

Carry on frying them until they’re crisp and well browned. Remove them from the oil and let them drain on a paper towel.

Fried Samosas

There you go, the quintessential Indian starter.

Once they’re cooked, you can freeze them. Serve with tamarind or mango chutney.

Vegetable Samosa
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 24
  • Serving size: 39.7g
  • Calories: 62
  • Fat: 1.8g
  • Saturated fat: 0.2g
  • Unsaturated fat: 0
  • Trans fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 10.2g
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Sodium: 219mg
  • Fiber: 1.1g
  • Protein: 1.6g
  • Cholesterol: 0
Recipe type: Starter
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Samosas remain the quintessential Indian starter.
  • 1 potato
  • 1 carrot
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 250ml (1 cup) frozen peas
  • 10ml (2 tsp) curry powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 100ml (3 fl oz) vegetable stock
  • 225g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 10ml (2 tsp) salt
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) lukewarm water
  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan.
  2. Add the onion, garlic and curry powder and fry until the onion has softened.
  3. Add the vegetables and seasoning and stir well until coated.
  4. Add the stock, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until cooked.
  5. Place the vegetable mixture on a tray and let it cool down.
  6. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl.
  7. Make a well into the centre and add the oil and enough water to make a firm dough.
  8. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth and roll into a ball. Cover in plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  9. Divide the pastry into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and roll out into a circle of about 15cm. Divide the circle into two equal pieces with a knife.
  10. Brush each edge with a little water and form a cone shape around your fingers, sealing the dampened edge.
  11. Fill the cases with a tablespoon of the vegetable mixture and press the two dampened edges together to seal the top of the cone.
  12. Deep fry the samosas in hot oil (160°C/320°F) until crisp and brown. Take them out and drain on a paper towel.
Serve with tamarind or mango chutney. The nutritional values provided are for the samosas before they are deep fried.

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