Day 26: Lamb Samosas
inspired by Coriander
I love planning a trip to a restaurant. Maybe it’s a special occasion. Maybe it’s a treat, a date night or a meet up with friends and family. I love the discussions about where to go, the checking of menus (yes they can do vegan, this one has gluten free options) and comparing locations (well this one is more convenient for us, we’ve got to get back for the dog you see, can’t go anywhere on the central line, there’s engineering works). We’ve all been part of those conversations.
All this, totally pointless, chat. All for the sake of having something to eat. And I miss it. It’s too soon to plan future outings with friends and family. No one can predict when we can see each other again. Nor when restaurants might reopen.
So tonight I’m not writing about a restaurant that we plan to visit. I’m taking inspiration from one of those restaurants that you end up in, time and time again, with no planning involved. I’m talking about going for a curry.
The Coriander is an Indian restaurant near Barbican in London. It’s round the corner from one of Aidan’s pubs so we’ve ended up there countless times. After a few beers. Or when we can’t be bothered to cook. And the food is always great.
I can make an OK curry at home. But as for everything else that comes with eating out at an Indian restaurant (the poppadoms, the sides, the starters) I never usually bother with those. But tonight I’m making samosas.
Actually when I say I’m making samosas perhaps I should be more clear. I’m aiming to take some of last weekends roast lamb (I’ve frozen it, don’t worry I’m not eating week-old meat) and my leftover sheets of filo (see my feta & honey cheesecake post) to make lamb stuffed triangles. That might in some very small way resemble samosas.
In short, I’m totally making this up.
When Aidan discovers I’m not working from a recipe he does well to hide a look of mild panic spreading across his face. But I know what he’s thinking. He (quite wisely) leaves me to it.
However I’m optimistic. The lamb tastes good. It’s shop bought filo. What can go wrong?
I chop an onion and a chili, grate some garlic and ginger and fry them together in a pan for about 10 minutes. In go some spices, some frozen spinach and some peas. I add the leftover lamb and a dollop of mango chutney and heat through. So far so good.
Now to research how to fold samosas… I look at a few descriptions of how to make them with filo.
This description from BBC Good Food seems clearest. Which still isn’t very clear to be honest.
“Unroll the pastry and cover with cling film and a damp tea towel. Peel off one piece and keep the rest covered so that it doesn’t dry out. Lay the pastry sheet flat on a clean surface and brush with melted butter. Fold in one third of the pastry lengthways towards the middle. Brush again with the butter and fold in the other side to make a long triple-layered strip. Place one rounded teaspoon of the filling mixture at one end of the strip, leaving a 2cm/1in border. Take the right corner and fold diagonally to the left, enclosing the filling and forming a triangle. Fold again along the upper crease of the triangle. Keep folding in this way until you reach the end of the strip. Brush the outer surface with more butter.”
Right. Here goes.
I take a sheet of filo, brush it with oil (I know they use butter but I’m running low) and fold in the sides to give me a layered strip. But now it’s so narrow that when I add in filling it spills out as soon as I try to fold it. I could use smaller amounts of filling. But I’ve only got another six sheets of filo. I’ve got loads of filling. No I’m going to try and make the filo sheet a bit bigger.
So the filing gets scraped back into the pan (I’m not wasting the filling, the lamb is too good!) and the first sheet of filo goes in the bin.
Now I try again. This time I fold each side of the filo into the centre. This creates a slightly wider, double layered, strip that can hold a decent tablespoon of filling. OK this seems more like it…
The folding is tricky. And very messy. I have to keep washing bits of curry sauce off my hands so that this stays on the inside, rather than the outside, of the samosas. But after a couple of attempts I think I’ve got the hang of it. I worry I’m brushing too much oil on the sheets of filo. I don’t want them to be greasy.
So one last (very light) brushing with oil once folded and onto a baking sheet. Into the oven they go.
I think about making a kind of chutney to go with them. I find this recipe from My Food Story which is super simple to make. It taste really zingy and sharp, which I think will be perfect with the samosas.
Out of the oven after about half an hour. They look golden and crisp. I totally forgot to turn them half way through, but they don’t seem any worse for it!
I try one. They’re OK! Crispy, holding together well. Nice lamb filling. OK not like any samosa I’ve had at Coriander (or any Indian restaurant for that matter) but I think they’re really tasty. And I could have been more generous with the oil. They’re not at all greasy. They almost taste a bit too healthy!
Aidan has one. I ask him what he thinks….
This is not a good start.
They’re nice enough… (a long pause, also not good) You seem to have made a sort of spicy Cornish pasty.
Cornish pasty? Cornish pasty??? They are triangular! No pasty (Cornish or otherwise) would ever be triangular! And don’t get me started on the fact that they’re made from a totally different type of pastry! These are filo! Not short-
Oh hang on. He’s having another one. They can’t be that bad.
Recipe below for anyone who wants to try them. I won’t be offended if you don’t. Just don’t call them a Cornish pasty.
- 6 sheets filo pastry
- 100 g leftover cooked lamb, cut or shredded into small pieces
- 1 onion
- 1 small piece of ginger
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 green chilli
- 1 tbsp mango chutney
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 50 g frozen spinach
- 50 g frozen peas
- 1 tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- ½ tsp tumeric
- groundnut oil
- Finely chop the onion and green chilli (take out the seeds if you don't want it too spicy). Add to a frying pan on a medium heat with a dash of groundnut oil. Grate the garlic and ginger and add to pan.
- Add the spices to the pan. Cook until the onion is soft and slightly coloured, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato puree and stir.
- Now add the frozen spinach and peas to the pan with a splash of water. Let them defrost and cook into the sauce. You want quite a dry mix so let excess water evaporate.
- Finally add the lamb and mango chutney and mix well. Now let the mixture cool completely before making the samosas
- Preheat the oven to 200°C
- Take a sheet of filo and brush all over with oil. Fold in each side to the centre so you create a double layer. Brush with oil again.
- Add a heaped tablespoon of filling at the top of the filo sheet. Fold over the right hand corner to the left edge to make a triange.
- Now keep folding the triangle over until all the filo is wrapped into a triangle shape. Brush both sider with oil and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
- Once you've made all six samosas put them in the oven for about 30 minutes. Until they are golden and crispy.
- Let them cool slightly and serve with your favourite chutney for dipping.