potato samosa with spicy mango chutney

24th March 2024

I grew up in a small town in North Queensland called Home Hill. Home Hill is a sugar cane growing area; the surrounding sugar cane fields were our playground. In the burning season, when the farmers would light up the fires at dusk, the flames would reach meters high – there was something very entrancing and beautiful about it! Your first sight of a sugar cane fire is hard to forget; it’s a sight, and the smell is intrinsically North Queensland. As the cane burns, ash gets blown throughout the towns of the Burdekin. It is known as ‘black snow’, and as children, we would run around trying to catch the long black strands before they fell to the ground, keeping them intact to see who could catch the longest strand. My dad grew up cutting cane as a young man, it was very demanding work, but the pay was good, ultimately enabling him to marry and purchase his shop. 

To cross over from Home Hill to the bigger town of Ayr, we had to cross the Burdekin Bridge, a long bridge running over the Burdekin River. The Burdekin Bridge, also known as the Silver Link – is one of the longest multi-span bridges in Australia. As a child, I remember how the river would overflow in the rainy season, flooding the shops and the main street of Home Hill. The river would flow fast and wild, swirling below when you drove over it. At a later stage, a dam was built. I spent my childhood swimming in that river with my school friends despite having more than one crocodile sighting!

Ayr, in all honesty, wasn’t much more extensive than Home Hill, but its main street was more prominent and had much more exciting shops. When my mother had to run errands that could not be fulfilled in Home Hill, we would drive over that bridge into Ayr. For a young child, this was always an adventure! Despite the boring shopping part, I would happily tag along to stay behind in the car with a freshly baked savoury pastie from the local bakery.

This brings me to this recipe!

Each time I make these samosas, my whole being is whisked away to that moment of biting into one of those warm, flaky, buttery-filled, savoury pasties. 

I often crave savoury pastries, which are impossible to find without meat, onion, or garlic. These samosa always satisfy that craving and are a perfect entertaining food, receiving lots of ohs and ahs when bringing them out. They are very quick and easy to make. Once baked, the crackling layers of pastry contrast with the tender potato filling, and the spicy mango chutney is a match made in heaven.

potato samosa

preparation 1 hour ~ baking 30-40 minutes ~ makes 16 pieces

ingredients 

1 packet/250g rectangular-store-bought puff pastry

filling

360g/ 5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in half

3 Tbsp/30g melted ghee

½ heaped tsp cumin seeds

¼ heaped tsp curry powder

3 Tbsp frozen green peas

¼ heaped tsp fine rock salt

vegan eggwash

1 Tbsp non-dairy milk

2 tsp maple syrup

3 Tbsp sesame seeds, for garnish

to serve

mango chutney (recipe follows)

preparation

1. Place water and potatoes in a saucepan; bring to a boil and simmer until soft—approximately 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2.  Heat the ghee in a skillet, add the cumin seeds and fry for a few seconds. Add the curry powder and peas and fry for one minute, then add the potatoes, season with salt, mix well, turn off the heat, and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Allow the mixture to cool for 15 minutes.

vegan eggwash

3. Mix the non-dairy milk and maple syrup in a small bowl. Set aside.

assemble

4.  Roll out the puff pastry and divide it into two parts by slicing it down the centre – parallel to the longer side. Lift and separate each piece. 

5.  Divide the potato filling and arrange it in a sausage-like shape on the bottom of each of the pieces of pastry, leaving a 2 cm space at the near edge. Brush the near pastry edge with vegan eggwash, then roll the pastry over to encase the filling tightly, pressing with your finger and rolling the edge up again to seal with the tines of a fork.

6. Place the rolls on a prepared baking sheet and refrigerate or freeze for 10 minutes to firm up, then move them back to the work surface. Brush the rolls with vegan egg wash, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and cut each roll into eight portions, slashing decoratively (optional). Arrange the pieces on the baking sheet with a bit of room in between. Refrigerate until ready to bake.

7.  Preheat the oven to 200C/400F oven and bake for 30 minutes, until deeply golden. Eat straight away with the mango chutney.

mango chutney

I make this quick and easy chutney when I see green mangoes in the stores. It can also be made with barely ripe mangoes also. The greener the fruit, the sourer the taste will be. Balance the amount of sugar accordingly.

preparation 15 minutes

makes about 1 cup

ingredients 

1 medium-large/350g green mangoes (half-ripe, green outside and light yellow inside)

1 Tbsp peanut or coconut oil

¼ tsp mustard seeds

tsp asafoetida powder

¼ tsp turmeric powder

1 heaped tsp rasam powder (moderately spiced)

½ tsp fine rock salt

2 heaped tsp jaggery/brown sugar (depending on the sweetness of your mangos)

preparation 

1.  Peel the mango and cut into tiny cubes. Set aside.

2.  In a heavy-based saucepan, add oil and mustard seeds; when they turn grey and pop, add the asafoetida – fry for 20 seconds, then add the turmeric and mango, and saute until the mango becomes soft, adding water when it starts to stick – cover and simmer for about 8-10 minutes.

3.  Turn off the heat and add salt, jaggery, and rasam powder. Taste and add more jaggery or salt if necessary. Puree half the mixture with a hand-immersion blender, if necessary.

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