Why It Works
- Adding flour to the meat filling helps to bind any free liquid remaining, which helps ensure that your samosas won't turn out soggy.
- Cooling the filling completely before stuffing it into the samosas will help keep them crisp.
- Vinegar helps cut through the fat of the ground meat filling.
When I was developing a recipe for aloo samosas, I wanted to give readers the option of making samosas with a non-vegetarian filling, too, so I developed an additional recipe for samosas stuffed with lamb kheema, or spiced ground lamb.
The process is basically identical to the one for the aloo samosas, and this recipe uses the same samosa pastry dough and method for filling. As with the potato filling, you'll have to follow the same two rules with the kheema filling to guarantee that your samosas turn out crispy and not at all soggy. The first, again, is make sure your filling isn't overly wet. To accomplish this, I first cook out much of the water in the ground lamb, and then I add some flour along with the peas to the mixture. The starch in the flour will gelatinize and help to bind any water that remains. The other rule is to make sure that the filling is completely cool when stuffing it into the samosas.
For the kheema, while I prefer using lamb, you can also use ground beef, but just make sure it's lean. Using excessively fatty ground meat means a lot of fat will render out of the meat, and you'll either have a greasy filling or will have to drain off a fair amount before cooling the cooked filling.
- For the Pastry Dough:
- 2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour, such as King Arthur, plus extra for shaping and rolling out the pastry
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoons caraway seeds, lightly cracked (optional)
- 1/4 cup (60ml) neutral oil, such as grapeseed
- 1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons (80ml plus 45ml) chilled water, divided
- For the Lamb Kheema Filling:
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) ghee or neutral oil such as grapeseed
- 4 medium garlic cloves (20g), finely grated
- One 2-inch (5cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri chile powder (see note)
- 1 pound (450g) 85% lean ground lamb or beef
- 1 tablespoon (6g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (60g) frozen peas, thawed and drained
- 1 to 2 fresh green chiles such as serrano or jalapeño, stemmed and finely chopped
- 1/4 cup (15g) tightly packed chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) apple cider or malt vinegar
- Kosher salt
For the Pastry Dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, salt, and caraway seeds (if using) and mix by hand to evenly disperse the ingredients. Drizzle oil over the flour and rub it in with your fingertips. Once the fat is completely incorporated into the flour, the mixture will take on a crumbly appearance.
Set bowl on stand mixer, and fit with dough hook attachment. Add 1/3 cup (80ml) of chilled water and mix on low speed until dough comes together in a ball, adding extra water 1 tablespoon (15ml) at a time as needed to form a cohesive dough; it should not be unduly sticky or wet, nor should it be dry and crumbly. Stop the mixer, scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula, then continue to knead on low speed until dough is smooth and slightly elastic to the touch, pliable and resistant to tearing, but not tough, about 5 minutes. Alternatively, the dough can be prepared by hand, or in a food processor; while the timing will vary, the dough will be worked until a similar texture is achieved.
The dough should weigh about 1 pound (455g). Wrap dough in plastic, and let it rest at cool room temperature, around 70°F (21°C), until dough is pliable, and jumps back when gently pressed, at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours. For a longer rest, it can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours, then brought to cool room temperature, around 70°F (21°C), before use.
For the Lamb Kheema Filling: In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 to 45 seconds. Add garam masala, turmeric, and chile powder and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 to 45 seconds. Add ground meat, and using a wooden spoon, break it into small pieces. Cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up any clumps, until meat is browned, and most of the liquid it released has evaporated, 10 to 12 minutes.
Reduce heat to low, add peas, sprinkle flour over meat mixture, and stir to combine. Remove from heat, then add chiles, cilantro, and vinegar. Season with salt to taste, and drain off any excess fat. If making samosas right away, let filling cool to room temperature, between 68°F and 77°F (20°C to 25°C), before using. Alternatively, transfer filling to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use. Allow to come to room temperature before stuffing into dough.
For Filling, Frying and Serving the Samosas: Divide dough into 10 equal portions by weight, and shape each into a ball over a cool and dry surface using minimal flour. If the kitchen is warm, read up on our hot-weather baking tips to ensure no problems with the dough. Transfer dough balls to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Fill a small bowl with water.
Working with one ball of dough at a time, roll out dough to form a 7-inch (17cm) circle. Using a sharp knife, cut the circle in half; return to the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough balls.
Working with one semicircle at a time, wet a fingertip in the bowl of water and dab halfway down the straight edge, and then fold the wet end over the dry side, pressing gently to seal. This will form a triangular pocket. Hold the pocket open like a little waffle cone, and gently spoon in 40g (about 3 tablespoons) kheema filling. Dab the tip of a finger in water and moisten the inner flap of dough, then fold it over the filling, and press gently to seal it against the dough on the other side, then gently pinch each corner of the samosa to ensure all three points are well sealed.
Transfer samosa to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Repeat the process with remaining dough and filling. Prior to frying, if the dough seems to have warmed up too much and feels too soft, briefly refrigerate samosas until dough is just firm. (If allowed to chill completely, the interiors may not properly cook through.)
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 200°F (95°C). Set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet, and set aside. In a large Dutch oven, add enough oil to reach a depth of at least 2 inches (5cm), leaving a few inches to spare at the top. Heat oil to 340°F (171°C) over medium-high heat. When oil comes to temperature, brush any excess flour from the samosas (see note). Fry samosas, 5 at a time, turning them occasionally, until golden brown and puffed on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes (the oil temperature will drop significantly once the samosas are added; adjust heat to maintain temperature between 325-340°F/165-171°C). Avoid overcrowding the pot, as too many samosas will reduce the temperature of the oil and make the finished pastry soggy. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer cooked samosas to prepared baking sheet, and transfer to oven to keep warm.
Skim any browned bits from oil and discard. Return oil to 340°F (171°C), and repeat with remaining samosas. Serve warm with either Maggi’s Hot and Sweet ketchup or chutney, such as mint, cilantro, or tamarind.
Stand mixer, Dutch oven, instant-read thermometer.
Whether freshly made, or made in advance and refrigerated, let the samosa filling come to room temperature prior to use (between 68°F and 77°F (20°C to 25°C). When too warm, it may melt the dough, and when too cold it may not cook through while frying.
Take care not to let excess flour get into the oil, or else it will continue to cook and burn, leaving an unpleasant flavor in the oil and samosas alike.
If Kashmiri chile powder is unavailable, blend 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika powder and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder together. Measure out 1/2 teaspoon of this mixture to use as a substitute.
Make-Ahead and Storage
The kheema filling and the samosa wrapper dough can be made up to one day in advance of assembly and frying. Fried samosas can be stored, when completely cool, in a sealed ziptop bag with the air pushed out and placed in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, place in a pre-heated 350°F (175°C) oven, either frozen or thawed, for 20-30 minutes.