For most people who are familiar with Indian foods, the “samosa” is simply just a dish ordered as an appetizer in most restaurants. Or, if you’ve never heard of a “samosa” before, its a crispy pastry-like dough primarily filled with seasoned vegetables or meats and then deep-fried or baked and finally served with some mint and tamarind chutneys on the side. Sounds simple but its absolutely delicious! It’s really the perfect finger food.
What I love, aside from eating as many as I can, is that the samosa is found in so many different cultures and regions of the world. There are so many different versions of samosas out there! For example, there is the Afghani Samboosa, Spanish Empanadas, Polish Perogies, Chinese Dumplings, Greek Tyropita, Jamaican Beef Patties, Italian Raviolis, the English Sweet Pasty, and so many other types. Basically, I’ve learned that the samosa can be sweet or savory according to your preference. India Times has a cool article on a few different ways the Samosa can be stuffed. Check it out at http://www.indiatimes.com/culture/food/14-different-variants-of-samosa-you-must-try-at-least-once-227593.html
All of these look great, and of course its always exciting to try a new version of a popular dish, but for me – the samosa is a bit more personal. You see, the last time I had the best samosa (in my opinion) was in Memphis, TN on November 12, 2016. I went to go visit my mom for a few weeks in Oct/2016 and keep an eye on her. She was very sick and could hardly walk because her cancer had taken over her entire body. My whole purpose of the trip was to just be by her side and handle all the cooking, cleaning and daily items for her so she could rest. I made many of her favorite dishes, got critiques from her on how to improve on the dishes I already knew how to make (thanks to mom), and got a chance to try out a few new dishes I had created on my own, for my mom. It was a special time meant for the care and comfort of my sick mom, but she remembered in the midst of her discomfort that my husband and I loved her samosas.
So on Nov. 12th, she mustered up all her strength, woke up early and started the whole samosa process – cutting all the vegetables, prepping the dough for the crust and getting all her spices and ingredients ready to make the stuffing for the samosas, and eventually attempt to stuff over 30+ samosas on her own! When I woke up and saw her in the kitchen, I got upset with her, telling her to sit down and just walk me through her recipe and I’d make it! I told her she was crazy to even think about making anything when she wasn’t feeling well!! You could tell she was in excruciating pain just walking back and forth in the kitchen, and her hands were so weak and shaky as she tried to cut the potatoes, AND knead the dough for the samosa crust. I couldn’t believe this woman was cooking in the midst of her sickness and discomfort!! And, all because she said she wanted to make something special for us during our visit.
My mom passed away a few weeks later on December 9, 2016 and I always think of her that day. It was the last meal she prepared for me. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe her making samosas one last time for me was her way of saying “Chetna..Never forget me, my cooking and our special memories making something together one last time.” OR maybe, it just reminds me about how powerful a mothers love can truly be to do something so kind and heartfelt for their child in the time of their own pain and sickness. I’ll never know for sure, but I do know that every time I’ve eaten a samosa since that day, I think of my mom. Her samosa’s were perfectly seasoned, the potatoes were cut into perfect little cubes and consistent in every samosa. The peas were tender, the dough on the outside was crispy and light and always the most beautiful golden brown color.
Then there was the sauce she made for the samosa! It was the perfect addition. It wasn’t the typical mint and tamarind chutney most commonly served. It was the perfect combination of coriander, ketchup, grated carrots, sriracha, salt, garlic and her magic touch. Seriously, this is probably the best chutney to accompany any meat or veggie samosa. And for me, nothing is better than my moms samosa and carrot chutney.
Years ago, I used to tell my mom to try to make her samosas less complicated to prepare. She would spend all day making a tray of samosas because she did everything the old-school, traditional way. Once, I told her to use eggroll skins instead of her homemade pastry dough and she almost beat me. It was like I had cursed her out! Hahaha. Needless to say, I learned NOT to tell her how to make her own dishes. She was the boss in her own kitchen, and everything she made was just incredible!
Now, I make samosas for my family and since I’m in my OWN kitchen, I have made up my own version which is simpler, yet just as satisfying as my moms used to be. And yes, I make my own pastry dough for the samosa but I’ve also made a modified version with the MEAT SAMOSA QUESADILLA.
Yes, it still has the same Indian samosa flavor, but with simpler ingredients that you can find in any Indian grocery store. Yes, it can be either veggie or meat or both. And, YES – its cheesy, crispy, spicy and so deliciously easy! Plus, it looks pretty and perfect for a quick Indian-type meal without the hours of prep when making traditional samosa’s. :O)
If you’d like to try something different for your next meal, here is the recipe:
1 lb of ground meat (chicken, beef, turkey, etc.)
1/2 cup of frozen or fresh peas
1 medium onion finely chopped
1-2 tsp of salt (add more if desired)
1 Tbsp of Mint Chutney (recommend Nirav Brand)
1 Tbsp of Coriander Chutney (recommend Nirav Brand)
1 Jalapeno or preferred chili pepper finely chopped
1/4 tsp of Dabeli Sandwich powder
Shredded Cheddar Cheese (any brand)
Pack of 8-10 Ready Made Tortillas/Burritos (any brand)
- In large skillet or pot, brown your meat on medium heat halfway and make sure to ground it completely.
- Add in your onions and peas and cook for another 5 minutes to lightly soften the veggies.
- Add in your mint chutney, coriander chutney, salt, jalapeno and dabeli powder and mix completely with the ground meat.
- Let cook on medium-low heat for another 10-15 minutes till most of the liquid burns off and meat is completely cooked.
- Once cooked, turn off heat and set aside.
- In large pan, warm up your tortilla on low heat, and add about 2-3 Tbsp of meat mixture and then sprinkle as much shredded cheese as you’d like.
- Cover with another tortilla and once cheese is melted, flip with spatula to cook other side of quesadilla to a light golden brown color.
- Eat with your favorite salsa or alone.
Let me know what you think of this recipe in the comments…I’d love to know how it turned out for you!
And I hope you will take the time to make this recipe, or any other, with someone you love dearly. Life is short, create special memories that you can cherish forever. :O)