Living in Singapore throughout my childhood and then later with my husband and children, samosas were a highlight every time I visited Little India, an Indian neighbourhood known for outstanding Indian restaurants, Dosa* cafes and bakeries. After spending several hours bargain shopping at the many stores and street vendors, my appetite was always ready for Indian fare, especially freshly made samosas. To me, it didn’t matter what filling it had, as long as it was spicy and perfectly fried.
I have been lucky to come across some homemade samosas in Vienna – either at shops or restaurants, but since going gluten-free, I have missed them so much. Here’s a recipe I developed that makes samosas possible for us “gluten-free eaters”. It is awesome either fried or baked; spicy or mild; vegetarian or with meat. With a bit of effort making an authentic filling and a worthy pastry, I am sure you will be so pleased with the results.
A word about xanthan gum: As many of you know, gluten-free pastry can be tricky to perfect, due to the missing gluten that normally keeps the pastry together. By adding xanthan gum, this samosa pastry recipe behaves and hardly tears while rolling and filling the samosas. This is why it is essential to add xanthan gum, otherwise, you may have a tricky time assembling the samosas. Xanthan gum is starting to hit the shelves at many health stores, but there appears to many online companies worldwide selling it. With a bit of planning ahead, buy this important ingredient which will make your baking so much easier and satisfying.
*Dosa is an Indian thin pancake or crêpe made from lentils and rice, served as a snack with various chutneys and sauces. I will be posting this amazing gluten-free recipe soon!!
Gluten-Free Beef Samosas
For the meat samosa filling:
- 60g ghee or butter
- 2 onions, chopped coarsely
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 green chilli, chopped (add an extra one if you like it spicy)
- 6cm piece ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 tablespoon cumin powder
- ½ tablespoon coriander powder
- 2 tablespoons store-bought or homemade garam masala
- 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
- ½ tablespoon chilli powder (add an extra ½ tablespoon if you like it spicy)
- 1 large potato, cubed
- 300g minced beef
- 100g fresh or frozen peas
- 250ml water or homemade beef stock
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- Sunflower or vegetable oil, for deep-frying
For the samosa pastry:
- 480g store-bought or homemade gluten-free plain flour
- 1 tablespoon xanthan gum
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons sunflower or vegetable oil
- 300 – 340ml warm water
- 1 egg, lightly beaten with a teaspoon of water (egg wash used if baking samosas)
For the samosa paste/glue:
- 1 tablespoon store-bought or homemade gluten-free plain flour
- 2-3 tablespoons cold water
Deep frying pan or pot
Step by Step Instructions
1. Start by preparing the beef samosa filling: Heat the ghee or butter in a large frying pan over medium heat and add the onions, garlic, green chilli, ginger, cumin, coriander, garam masala, turmeric and chilli powder, stirring often for 2 minutes.
2. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the potatoes. Fry for 5 minutes.
3. Add the beef mince, stirring and breaking apart any clumps for 5 to 8 minutes.
4. Add the peas, water or stock and tomato paste, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook gently for 20 minutes.
5. In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice with the cornflour, add this to the pan and blend in. This will thicken the beef mixture and remove any excess liquid.
6. Allow the beef mixture to simmer for another 5 minutes, or until the mixture starts to appear dry with a very small amount of liquid. This is important so the samosa pastry does not get soft from too much liquid.
7. Set aside the beef samosa filling and allow it to cool down at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before filling the samosas. Otherwise, cover and place in the fridge for several hours or overnight to develop more flavour.
8. Next step is to prepare the gluten-free samosa pastry: Whisk the flour, xanthan gum and salt in a medium bowl.
9. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the oil.
10. Add half the warm water and using a wooden spoon, bring the flour into the centre, adding more water as all the flour is incorporated.
11. Using your hands, form a dough ball and give it a short knead inside the bowl. Cover and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
12. Divide the dough into equal balls the size of a tennis ball.
13. Between two sheets of baking paper, roll the dough out as thinly as possible. 1 cm thick is ideal.
14. Using a pastry cutter or a large knife, cut out rectangular shapes measuring approximately 7cm by 17cm.
15. Mix the ingredients for the samosa paste/glue and apply a small amount along the edges.
16. Place a heaped tablespoon of the beef filling on the corner of the pastry and begin to fold the pastry over in triangles until it reaches the end of the pastry.
17. Press the seams together gently with your fingers and rest on a floured tray while continuing with the remaining samosas.
18. Heat a deep pot or frying pan with the oil on medium-high heat. Allow the oil to increase in heat gradually. Test the oil by adding a small piece of pastry dough to the oil. If it sizzles and rises to the top quickly, the oil is ready. Otherwise, increase the heat slightly.
19. Add the assembled samosas one or a few at a time, depending on the size of your pot. It is important not to overcrowd the pot as this will lower the oil temperature and not cook the samosas well.
20. Fry the samosas for approximately 5 minutes, flipping them over twice. Remove with a slotted spoon and allow to drain on kitchen paper and continue with the rest.
Alternative tip: For those wanting a healthier cooking method, bake the samosas with a light brush of egg wash in a 200°C/400°F oven for 20 minutes, flipping them over halfway through.
Makes 18-20 large samosas
- Serve with mango or tomato chutney
- Suitable to freeze either pre-fried or fried
- Keeps for 3 days chilled
The beef samosa filling can be made ahead of time and will improve in flavour over a few days in the fridge. The filling also freezes well.