Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Samosa Empandas {Baked, Vegetarian}

In celebration of the latest addition to our family, we threw a little shindig to hang out while we still had the energy. I didn't want to expend too much energy so the majority of snacks were outsourced in the most spectacular fashion possible. Mini pies from Pie Sisters. Cupcakes from Baked and Wired. Fresh rolls from Bangkok 54. Mint Tea from Al Zaytoun. It was like the greatest hits of Noms + Bun gastronomy.

There was one item missing.... samosas.

That's when inspiration struck. Samosa Empandas. Empandas Samosas. That's right. All the pleasures of the samosa flavor without the fryer because these treats are baked! I made Potatoes and Peas Samosas in the past and honestly, I struggled with the fryer. The flavor was delicious but sometimes the wrapper would open while cooking and it would turn into an oil-filled mess. That's my burden. For a party, there's no time to deal with technical difficulties.

Hence... the empanda dough!

Much to my surprise... these were a big hit at the party and the first batch was snatched up in the blink of an eye. I think this recipe has wide appeal because it is a balance of sweet and savory. The  filling has flavors that I love with the curry and coriander; meanwhile, the crust is indulgent and rich. If you don't have time to make your own dough, you can substitute with pre-made pie dough from the grocery store. 

Samosa Empandas {Baked Samosas}
Serve with chutney or mint-cilantro dipping sauce

Samosa Filling 
slightly modified from Allrecipes.com

4 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small yellow onions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons coriander seed
1 tablespoon garam masala curry powder
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 roma (plum) tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas

Place potatoes into a pot and cover with lightly salted water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and transfer potatoes to a bowl; coarsely mash.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat; cook and stir onions, coriander seed, curry powder, ginger, salt, turmeric, cumin, allspice, cayenne pepper, garlic, and cinnamon until onion is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and stir tomatoes and peas into onion mixture; pour into mashed potatoes and thoroughly mix. Cool completely.

Empanda Pastry Dough
slightly modified from Epicurious

Unfortunately - I cannot share the recipe for pasty dough as it was received in a cooking class by Judy Harris. The closest opens-source recipe that I could find is listed below. The key to the pasty dough is the use of cream cheese. 

If you don't have time to make your own dough, you can substitute with 4 pre-made pie doughs from the grocery store.

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and chopped into 1/4 inch pieces 
1 1/3 cups + 4 teaspoons pastry flour or 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
3-ounces cream cheese, cold
1 1/2 tablespoons ice water
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon carom seeds (optional)
1 large egg with 2 tablspoons water (optional) for eggwash

Cut the butter into small (about 1/4-inch) cubes. Wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze it until frozen solid, at least 30 minutes. 

Place the flour mixture in a food processor with the metal blade and process for a few seconds to combine. Cut the cream cheese into 3 or 4 pieces and add it to the flour. Process for about 20 seconds or until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the frozen butter cubes and pulse until none of the butter is larger than the size of a pea. 

Remove the cover and add the water and vinegar. Pulse until most of the butter is reduced to the size of small peas. Fold in the carom seeds. 

Knead the mixture until the mixture holds together in one piece and feels slightly stretchy when pulled.Wrap the dough with the plastic wrap, flatten it into a disc and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 400F. Roll out until 1/4 inch thick and cut into 4 inch circles. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of filling and pinch shut. Brush with eggwash for a nice golden color. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until browned.