Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Baked Sweet Potato and Green Pea Samosas with Mango Chutney

Who doesn't love doughy pockets of goodness? You can choose from empanadas, turnovers, spanakopita, pierogi, gyozas, and, my favorites, samosas. Samosas are normally deep fried but that's not how I cook them since I don't deep fry anything. Don't get me wrong, I love deep fried goodies but they're not exactly healthy and they make a mess out of my kitchen. So it's really laziness that keeps me from making samosas the traditional way. The filling in these is not exactly traditional either, but I throw authenticity out the window any day if I can sneak sweet potatoes in a dish. That's why when I saw Robin Robertson's recipe for baked samosas, with sweet potatoes no less!, in Vegan Planet a few years ago I knew they'd become regulars at my dinner table.

Per the recipe's directions, I started off making my samosas really small which meant I had to spend a long time stuffing them. I used to ask Austin for help but it always took a little coaxing.

Me: Do you think you could help me fill the samosas?
Austin: Meh, I don't really feel like it.
Me: Pleeeeeease. You know mine come out kind of sloppy; I'm not very dexterous.
Austin: Fine. Let me show you how it's done.

Tired of having to enlist help, I decided to make my samosas much larger (it only took me making them oh, ten times, to realize this), which had the added benefit of giving me a higher filling to dough ratio. I am now a much happier samosa maker.

I like these best with mango chutney. We usually buy the Trader Joe's kind but I saw a couple bags of frozen mangoes in the freezer and decided to make my own. It does take some time but the process is pretty darn simple. This homemade chutney is just as good as the store bought stuff and it is definitely cheaper. You can also make a big batch and freeze whatever is left over in anticipation of future samosa nights.

One last thing. I tagged these as an appetizer but I must confess that we make a meal out of them, partly because making them is a bit of a process and partly because they're so delicious. Hey, we all have the right to indulge a bit every now and then.

Baked Sweet Potato and Green Pea Samosas
Adapted from Robin Robertson's Vegan Planet
Makes 18 samosas

For the dough
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the filling
  • 1 1/2 medium sweet potatoes, baked or steamed and cubed
  • 3/4 cup green peas, fresh or frozen 
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon red curry powder (you could use yellow curry powder for a more mild taste)
  • 1/8-1/2 teaspoon cayenne, depending on your desired spice level
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • Olive oil cooking spray or an extra couple tablespoons of oil for brushing
1.  In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flours and the salt. Form a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the water and the oil. Mix with a spatula until combined and then knead with your hands until the dough is smooth.  Drizzle the dough with a bit of oil and set it aside to rest while you prepare the rest of the ingredients, for about 30 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 F / 190 C. In a large saute pan, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Toss in the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, for about another 3 minutes. Season with the spices and the salt, cooking while stirring for another minute. Add the peas (if they're frozen they'll thaw, don't worry) and the sweet potato, stirring to coat in the rest of the ingredients, and saute for about 5-7 minutes or until heated through. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cilantro.
3.  Divide the dough into two pieces. On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 1/8 inch / 1/3 cm thick square. Cut into thirds in each direction, which should leave you with 9 samosa wrappers. Put a heaping tablespoon of filling in the center of a wrapper. Fold over one corner to meet the opposite one. Before you close the the samosa, dampen the inside rim with some water to seal it shut. If you'd like, you can crimp the edges with a fork, but that's more for flare than functionality. Repeat the process with the rest of the wrappers and the other half of the dough.
4.  Place the samosas on an oiled or parchment lined baking sheet. Spray them with some cooking spray, or brush them with oil, on both sides. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy them warm with some mango chutney.

Mango Chutney
Inspired by Alton Brown's recipe
  • 2 lbs / 900 grams fresh or frozen peeled and seeded mangoes, cubed (I used Trader Joe's frozen mangoes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons dried ginger or 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon red curry powder (or yellow curry powder if you'd like a more mild chutney)
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Salt to taste
1.  In a medium pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, which should take about 5 minutes. Season with the red pepper flakes, curry powder, and ground ginger, if using, and toast for about a minute. If using fresh ginger, add it and cook for about 3-5 minutes. Add the mango, stir to coat it in the other ingredients and cook for a couple minutes. Pour in the juice, vinegar and sugar, whisking to dissolve the sugar.
2.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until the mixture has the consistency of preserves. If you'd like to cool it down fast, put the pot over and ice bath and stir the chutney frequently until it's about room temperature. Serve with samosas, over rice, baked tofu or whatever else you'd like.


  1. Sara, this was an inspiring post. I realized you can stuff samosas with pretty much anything! Made samosas stuffed with parsnips and finely chopped green onions and green garlic. That's what my CSA gave this week. I fried them, though. Turned out great :)

  2. Thanks Kritika! Samosas are just such a great concept! I should try getting even more adventurous with my fillings. The parsnip, green, onion and garlic combo sounds delicious. Sadly, my CSA is heavy on the greens at the start of this season (I do love greens, but I was looking forward to some other veggies) so I'll have to look elsewhere for filling candidates.

  3. This sounds really delicious and something new to try. Thank you for sharing this.