We all know that deep fried foods are not healthy foods, and we all love samosas. I created this savory Samosa Pie as a healthy option to traditional fried samosas. Serve Samosa Pie as an entree for lunch or supper or as an appetizer after cutting into thin slices with your favorite chutney. Try my new invention: Goji Berry Chutney.
Ingredients for the crust:
2½ cups unbleached white flour
8 tbsp (1 stick) butter, or vegan “buttery” alternative, chilled and cut into pea-size pieces
½ tsp salt
4 tbsp chilled water
For the filling:
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp finely chopped green or yellow onion
4 cups potatoes, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
1 cup grated carrots
¾ cup shelled peas, fresh or frozen and thawed
¼ teaspoon each cumin, turmeric, and coriander powders
1 tsp garam masala or a mixture of ¼ tsp each ground cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom
3 tbsp cilantro, freshly chopped
½ cup water
juice of one lemon
salt and cayenne powder to taste
You can use your favorite pie crust recipe or follow one of the following two methods.
i) Using a food processor, combine all the ingredients for the crust except for the water. Pulse for a few minutes until the butter is integrated into the flour. Add the water, a little at a time, just until the dough starts to form a solid mass.
ii) To make the dough by hand, combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture has the consistency of corn meal. Add the water, a tablespoon at a time, mixing it in with a fork until the mixture begins to hold together. Gather the dough into a ball. Do not overwork the dough. Divide the dough into two balls, wrap them in a plastic or wax paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes while preparing the filling.
To prepare the filling: Heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the onions until limp. Add the vegetables and spices. Sauté for several minutes. Add the water and lemon juice, cover, and cook until the potatoes are just soft. Do not overcook. If too much liquid remains, stir fry the mixture uncovered for a few minutes to dry it. Add salt and cayenne to taste. Set aside.
When the dough has chilled, place one of the two pieces on a piece of waxed paper and flatten it a bit. Cover with another sheet of waxed paper and roll it out into a 10-inch circle. Repeat with the other piece. Place the crusts, waxed paper and all, into the freezer for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the pie crusts from the freezer and let them thaw for a few minutes. Remove the waxed paper and spread one crust into an oiled pie plate. Prebake this crust for 15 minutes, until it starts to change color.
Remove it from the oven and fill with the vegetable mixture. If the mixture looks dry, sprinkle the surface with a few drops of water. Cover the filling with the second crust, pinching the edges to seal. Prick the top crust all over the surface with a fork, brush with oil, and bake for about an hour until the pie is golden brown. Serve with a chutney.
Goji Berry Chutney
Goji berries are native to China, where they are traditionally used as a tonic to reduce age-related vision problems, inflammation, diabetes and high blood pressure. The nutritional profile of these berries is extremely impressive, with a good amount of antioxidants. Goji berries that have been dehydrated in the sun or at a very low temperature are often found in the “raw food” section of health food stores. Their mostly sour, slightly sweet flavor makes them a good ingredient for condiments.
1 cup dried goji berries
½ cup hot water
3 tbsp sweetener: honey, sugar, agave syrup or maple syrup
l tbsp freshly grated ginger
1/8 tsp each ground cardamom, cinnamon, and cayenne
Soak the berries in the hot water for 30 minutes.
Place them with the water and the rest of the ingredients into the jar of a blender or food processor. Blend to a fine puree. Let the chutney sit, covered, for at least 15 minutes before opening. Transfer to a glass jar with a tight lid and chill before serving. This chutney will keep well in the refrigerator for at least a month.
Shanta Nimbark Sacharoff, author of Flavors of India: Vegetarian Indian Cuisine, lives in San Francisco, where she is manager and co-owner of Other Avenues, a health-food store.