Samosa Potatoes

December 27, 2006 at 6:36 pm (B plus (3 stars, like a lot), breakfast, Derek's faves, Indian, Madhur Jaffrey, Starches)

I really like samosas, but I don’t have the patience for rolling dough and deep frying. So I just make the potato filling and serve it as a side dish, or as a filling for dosas. This recipe, from Madhur Jaffrey’s World of the East cookbook, tastes very authentic to me–when I taste these I don’t think Indian potatoes I think samosa potatoes.Ingredients:

  • 4 medium-sized potatoes (how much by weight?)
  • 2 – 4 Tbs. oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup defrosted frozen peas
  • 1 Tbs. peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 fresh hot green chili, minced
  • 3 Tbs. finely minced cilantro
  • 2 Tbs. water
  • 1.5 tsp. salt (too high, decrease to 1? tsp)
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. ground roasted cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice + 1 Tbs. amchoor (or 2 Tbs. lemon juice)
  1. Boil the potates unpeeled and whole. (Start in cold water? Salt the water?)  Meanwhile, chop and measure out all the other ingredients.  When the potatoes are tender (about ? minutes), drain and let cool.
  2. While the potatoes cool, heat the oil in a 10- to 12-inch skillet over a medium flame. Add the onion, stirring and frying until it turns a light-brown color.
  3. Add the ginger, green chili, cilantro, and water, and simmer gently for a few minutes, until the skillet starts to dry out.
  4. Dice the cooked potatoes into roughly 1/4-inch pieces. Add them to the skillet, along with the salt, coriander, garam masala, cumin, cayenne, amchoor, and lemon juice. Keep heat on low and mix the spices with the potatoes. Continue cooking gently, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes. Taste before serving, and add more salt or lemon juice if needed.

My notes

These potatoes are very tasty with the 4 tablespoons of oil called for in the original recipe, but I’ve also made them with 2 tablespoons of oil and they’re still tasty. They don’t get crispy and they’re a tad powdery from all the spices, but they still have plenty of flavor.  The salt amount in the original recipe is definitely too high, but I’m not sure what the ideal amount is.  I’ve made these with only lemon juice, and with lemon juice and amchoor.  Both ways are good, but if you use amchoor the dish comes out slightly better.  I’ve also made this dish with parsley instead of cilantro and it was still tasty.  The original recipe says to add the peas with the ginger, but if you’re using frozen peas then I think this is too early–the peas end up a putrid green color.

The original recipe calls for 1 tsp. of anardana (dried pomegranate seeds) to be added with the other spices, but when I added them they didn’t soften, and it hurt to bite into them.  They did have a slightly sour taste that was pleasant, but the texture was too intrusive.  I wonder if I was supposed to grind them up?  If so, do they taste very different from the amchoor powder?

If you don’t have garam masala then you can make your own from 1.5 tsp. cardamom seeds, 1/2-inch stick of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. whole black cumin seeds (use regular whole cumin as a substitute), 1/2 tsp. whole cloves, 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns, and about 1/6 of an average-sized nutmeg. Grind in a coffee grinder until powdery. Yields: 1.5 Tbs. (This recipe is from the same cookbook.)

Rating: B+
Derek: A

Update March 2012:  I made this recipe again with about 1200g (about 2 2/3 pounds) of medium mealy (russett-like) potatoes.  It was about 6 medium potatoes, so I multiplied all the ingredients by 1.5.  I used 4 Tbs. of oil, 1.5 tsp. of salt, and forgot to add the peas.  The potatoes came out really ugly, but really tasty.  Derek and I both loved them.  I served the potatoes at a dinner for four people, along with dosas, sambar, and chutney.  Almost all the potatoes got eaten.



  1. Hanaleah said,

    I love Samosas and am also too lazy to make them so I decided to try out this recipe. I liked it but wasn’t thrilled. I thought the potatoes needed more flavor and could use another Chile. Also, the potatoes ended up less mushy than they usually are in Samosas. Is this the way it normally comes out for you? Maybe I should have cooked them longer?

  2. captious said,

    If the potatoes were a little bland, then maybe your potatoes were too big? I know the recipe doesn’t specify the potatoes by weight, and I could imagine that the imprecision could lead to problems.

    Did you use amchoor powder? I think that really adds a lot of flavor.

    Another thing that could affect the flavor is the garam masala. Was yours fresh and flavorful?

    I think you’re right that the potatoes are not as soft and mushy as in samosas. Since I don’t use the potatoes to stuff the samosas I like to leave a little more texture. But you could certainly cook them more to make them mushier.

    What is this about adding another chile? Are you really Hanaleah? I thought you didn’t like spicy food?
    Thanks for posting a comment!

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