Vegetarian Samosa Cakes with Tamarind Chutney

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samosa cakes

Happiness to me often comes in the form of savory Indian appetizers, such as samosas. I never can resist playing around with the classic preparation and so, after recent fusion dishes such as samosa potpie and samosa-style stuffed baked potatoes, I now present these soft, lovely little savory "samosa" cakes that reminded me very much of koftas.

samosa cakes

These are perfect as an appetizer, but substantial enough to serve as an entrée. It is true that I don't have a samosa "proper" documented on this blog, but my best friend Basil keeps encouraging me to make it happen. And I will, as I have before, complete with photos and recipe this time for my readers. I think that I am going to try a baked version to cut down on the oil. You will all have to stay tuned to see what I come up with. On that note, if you want to skip shallow frying, I think these little cakes could easily be baked in a preheated 350° oven for about 20 minutes until browned on both sides, much the way I do with kofta.

samosa cakes with tamarind chutney

The tamarind chutney is simply divine with the samosa cakes, but equally delicious would be a tomato or cilantro based sauce or chutney.

Vegetarian Samosa Cakes with Tamarind ChutneyVegetarian Samosa Cakes with Tamarind Chutney
Recipe by
Cuisine: Indian
Published on September 19, 2013

Soft, savory fried potato and vegetable "samosa" cakes served with a tart, tangy and spicy tamarind chutney

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  • 1/3 cup tamarind pulp
  • 1 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ajwain seeds (or use extra cumin seeds instead)
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/3 cup pitted dried dates, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons dry-roasted cashews, broken into pieces
  • 3 tablespoons dried grated unsweetened coconut
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
Samosa cakes:
  • 2 lbs potatoes (900 g or about 4 large)
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 large shallot or small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 2 to 3 fresh red or green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon amchoor powder (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat or chickpea flour (besan), or more as needed
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons butter or oil for frying
  • Start by making the chutney. Place the tamarind in a medium bowl and cover with the boiling water. Let sit for about 1 hour. With your clean fingers (that are about to get dirty), mash and squeeze the tamarind to separate it from any seeds or fibers. Place a strainer over another bowl, pour in the tamarind water mixture and push hard to get as much of the purée out of the sieve. Scrap off any remaining tamarind from the bottom of the strainer and discard the remains.

  • Stir in the remaining ingredients, cover, and let sit for 2 to 3 hours or longer to let the flavors blend.

  • To make the samosa cakes, begin by scrubbing the potatoes and poking them a few times with a fork. (I left the skins on to preserve those nutrients just under the skin, but you may peel if desired.)

  • Roast the potatoes in a preheated 425° oven until fork tender — about 50 minutes. Alternately, steam or boil them until tender. Let the potatoes cool and then mash along with 2 teaspoons of the sesame oil in a medium large bowl.

  • Heat the remaining sesame oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. When hot, toss in the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and stir for 30 to 60 seconds or until the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to splutter and pop. Add the shallot or onion and carrot, and continue to stir for another 5 to 8 minutes or until the carrots have softened.

  • Now add the ginger and green chilies to the pan and stir for another 2 to 3 minutes. Toss in the turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, chili powder, amchoor powder if using, cayenne and salt, and stir for another minute.

  • Transfer this mixture to the mashed potatoes and stir until well combined. Stir in the peas and flour. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

  • When the mixture is cool, shape into small patties. Heat a few tablespoons of butter or oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. When hot, fry some of the patties until golden brown — about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Repeat, adding more oil as necessary to the pan until all of the patties are cooked. Drain on paper towels and serve warm with the chutney.

  • Notes: If you are using fresh peas, boil them in hot water for 2 to 4 minutes before adding to the potatoes. If frozen peas are used, simply defrost them before adding. The cakes can be reheated in aluminum foil before serving. The tamarind chutney will keep in the refrigerator in a well-sealed container for a few days or can be frozen for up to several months.

Makes 12 to 14 cakes
vegetarian samosa cakes

Other potato based dishes from Lisa's Kitchen you are sure to enjoy:
Aloo Gobi
Bengali-Style Crunchy Potatoes
Potato and Green Bean Chaat Salad
Sweet Potato Roti

On the top of the reading stack: Indian Cooking Unfolded: A Master Class in Indian Cooking, with 100 Easy Recipes Using 10 Ingredients or Less by Raghavan Iyer


Stephanie said...

These sound delicious. What exactly is the chili powder? I see it's not cayenne and I'm guessing it's not the "chili powder" used in Tex-Mex style food. Is it Kashmiri chili powder? Thanks so much. I really appreciate your blog, I have made and loved many of your recipes! Peace, Stephanie

Lisa Turner said...

Thanks for your comment Stephanie. I did indeed use Kashmiri chili powder. Always a favorite of mine. And I did use cayenne too, as that is like gold to me.

Stephanie said...

Great, thanks! Yes, I saw the cayenne listed and that's why I wanted to know what the other chili powder is.I know the cayenne is like gold to you...I have learned to usually use a bit less than you call do like it HOT!! :)

Swathi said...

Delicious samosa cake looks perfect for tea.

Johanna GGG said...

samosa cakes sound like a fun twist on a classic - they remind me of pakoras I had last weekend which actually didn't seem at all like the pakoras I have had before but were very yummy

Rachel Cotterill said...

These look perfect. I love samosa filling, but I don't always fancy deep-fried pastry.

Anonymous said...

I think I would like to try these but wondered if you use the more floury Idaho baking whites or the more watery reds. Just a fine point from an Irish guy in Maine.

Lisa Turner said...

Your favorite white potatoes would work great. I don't usually buy baking potatoes. Yukon gold are rather nice.