Cali Tardka Samosas

Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Yields Makes 12 samosas
Prepared samosas with tamarind and mint chutney alongside from Cali Tardka home restaurant in Riverside.
(Paul Rodriguez / For The Times)
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These hand-held, savory pastries are filled with a mixture of garam masala-spiced potatoes and peas and served with a sweet tamarind chutney and a mint chutney. For extra-crispy pastry, refrigerate the assembled samosa overnight. Bring to room temperature before frying the next day.

Samosa dough
Potato filling

Make the samosa dough: In a medium bowl, mix together 354 grams (2.5 cups) of flour, carom seeds and salt. Add the oil and mix, rubbing the flour and oil together between your palms to form a dough. Take a handful of flour and squeeze it to form a clump. The dough should hold its shape and not crumble. If it crumbles, add a little more oil. Add the water little by little and mix to form a smooth, stiff dough. Knead in an additional 1 tablespoon of oil. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let dough rest for at least 25 minutes, up to 4 hours.


Make the potato filling: Heat a medium saute pan over medium-high heat and add the oil (or ghee, if using). When the oil is hot, add the onion and cumin seeds (if using). When they begin to sizzle, add the ginger and serrano chile (if using) and reduce heat to medium. Cook until ginger is fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Add the peas and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garam masala, stir and saute for 30 seconds. Add the potatoes and sprinkle with the salt. Mix and saute until the potatoes are heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Rub the fenugreek leaves between your palms to make 1 teaspoon of “powdered” fenugreek and stir it into the mixture. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt if needed.


Assemble the samosa: Knead the dough gently to smoothen a bit. Divide it into 6 equal portions and roll each into a ball. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel. With some of the oil from the dough bowl, grease a clean work surface. Flatten a ball and place it on the work surface. Drizzle a little oil on it and use a rolling pin to roll to an oval approximately 8 ½ inches long by 6½ inches wide, ⅛” to 1/16” thick. With a sharp knife, cut the oval in half to make two semi-circles. If the edges are too thick, gently roll them so that the dough is an even thickness throughout. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 4½ teaspoons of flour with the remaining 2 tablespoons of water to make a thin paste. Using a finger, apply some paste over the straight edges (towards the cut side) of each semicircle of dough. Gently grasp one corner of the straight edge and bring it up toward the rounded edge. Lift the other corner in the same manner so that the two straight edges overlap each other and the dough takes the shape of a cone. Press down gently on the edges to seal the cone from inside as well as the outside. Fill the cone with the potato filling and press down with your finger to push it all the way inside the cone, leaving about ½ inch at the top. Smear some paste on the cone edges, bring them together and create a seal by pinching the edges together. Repeat with the other semicircle of dough and then with the remaining dough balls. You will have 12 samosas.


Fry the samosa: Fill a deep pot with enough vegetable oil to submerge samosas as they cook. Heat the oil to 400 degrees F and one at a time gently slide three or four samosas into the hot oil being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Deep fry the filled samosas, turning for even cooking, until golden brown, about 4 minutes total. For even crisper samosas, shape and fill them the day before you want to serve them and refrigerate overnight before frying.

Serve with Sweet Tamarind Chutney and Mint Chutney.

Sweet Tamarind Chutney


Put the tamarind in a medium pot and cover with water by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat and using a wooden spoon, break the tamarind to several chunks and let it cook until the pieces are broken down. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 30 to 60 minutes.


Pass the pulp through a fine mesh sieve into a small pot, using the back of a ladle or your hand to push the pulp through the strainer, mixing in more water as necessary to moisten the tamarind pulp enough to pass it through. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. If making mint chutney, remove 1 ½ tablespoons of puree and set aside for that purpose.


Add the sugar, chile powder and cumin, place the pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thick, smooth and opaque when it sticks to a spoon, 20 to 30 minutes.

Mint Chutney


Add the onion, serrano chiles, mint, salt, tamarind paste and brown sugar to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings to taste. If too spicy, add more onion or more sugar.

Carom seeds (ajwain), tamarind paste and garam masala can be purchased at Indian grocery stores.
Make Ahead:
For extra crispy pastry, refrigerate the assembled samosa overnight. Bring to room temperature before frying the next day.