Most people I know, adore Samosas and for some reason, the turnovers seem to be associated more with the sweet than the savoury items. When I visited India after about 17 years, I was starving to taste something ‘Indian’ as soon as I landed. We had landed in the middle of the night, and everyone really wanted to get home. As we were waiting for our car in the waiting area, I spotted this tired looking guy at a tiny tuck shop in the corner of the exit area. His only customers were the Airport Security guards who were queuing up for some Tea and a snack. I walked over to see what they were all eating, and I found square shaped turnovers.
They were not the freshly baked turnovers that we make at home, but these were some seriously tired looking turnovers but they had a strange appeal to them. Whilst I was debating whether I should be trying these or not, he was down to his last two square ones. Needless to say, I just had to buy one.
That was the first ‘Indian’ thing I ate when I landed, and it was probably because I was just as tired as that turnover was, but it tasted amazing – flaky old overcooked pastry but a flavour kick that I haven’t forgotten till today (5 years later!). I remember dissecting every little bit of food to figure out what they had filled it with but it was hard to make out. Everything just looked dark, mushed and spiced to the max! In the end, someone nearby helped me by explaining it was filled with Paneer (Indian cheese). They called it a ‘Patty’ and from then on, I found it at a lot of places across Delhi. They came in all kinds of shapes, sizes, fillings and accompanying condiments included a variety of chutneys and sauces. I have tried, many times to replicate the flavour here but its near impossible to get the ‘India’ flavour.
However, whenever I have a sheet of leftover puff pastry, I make a savoury turnover. Its quick, easy and oh so satisfying!
Simple Samosa Filling
1 large boiled potato, peeled and diced
3 tbsp frozen peas
3 tbsp finely chopped onions
1 green chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp coriander powder
lime zest (to suit your taste – I like mine a little ‘zingy’)
1/4 tsp lime juice
1 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 packet readymade frozen puff pastry
This is not your traditional Samosa filling, this is just the way I like to make mine. Its super quick and easy to make, and I like to keep a couple of boiled potatoes in the house just to make these for when the craving strikes or an unannounced visitor arrives (any excuse works).
Using a tablespoon of oil, saute the onions and the finely chopped green chillies. As soon as the onions soften, add the potatoes followed by the remaining ingredients. Remove the pan from the heat, and mix everything really well so as to combine the flavours. Let the filling cool down completely before making the turnovers.
Make turnovers as you would for any sweet turnover, using egg wash to seal and brush on top. Make two slits on the top ends to help the steam escape as the turnovers cook in the oven. Cook at 425F for about 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.
These are scrumptious with a spicy Ketchup and Mint Chutney accompanied with a cup of sweet Chai.
These turnovers can be made in a big batch and frozen. To freeze, first freeze them laying flat on a sheet and once frozen, transfer them to freezer bags. They keep well in the freezer for about 3 months, but believe me when I say they will not last that long in anyone’s freezer. They can be cooked from frozen, but its better to let them thaw for a few minutes whilst the oven heats up to temperature before baking them.
The fillings can be made with anything – chicken, beef, vegetables, spinach …. be adventurous! Let’s bring the good ‘ol turnovers back into fashion again please !!