Samosa step-by-step recipe with photos.
What is samosa
Samosa is a popular snack and street food in India which is a flaky pastry filled with a spicy potato filling and deep-fried. From sweet shops to grocery stores to restaurants - these delicious indulgent snack is hugely popular not just all over India, but outside of India too. The classic and most common filling used is a spicy potato and peas mixture that is stuffed to the rim. Not only are they unbelievably delicious, but they are also very versatile. They are great as a snack, appetiser, or even as a complete meal when served with chole masala.
Read on for ingredients, variations, tips to make perfectly flaky samosas, FAQ, and troubleshooting techniques.
Origin of samosa
Even though it is one of the most popular snacks across India, the origin of samosa is said to be traced back to the Middle East. It is believed to travel to India along ancient trade routes. Traded by the Central Asian vendors, it was originally called 'samsa' named after the pyramid in Central Asia. Ancient Arab cookbooks name them as 'sanbusaq' or 'sanbusaj' referring to the Persian word 'sanbosag'. Some of the earliest mentions are in Persian scripts from the 9th century where pastries or dumplings were stuffed with meat, onions, pistachio, and spices. From India, they are said to have traveled further to North and East Africa.
Flour: Use plain flour to make the samosas. I used 2 cups plain flour which was 250 grams.
Potatoes: I used 4 large potatoes which was approximately 500 grams.
Ghee and oil: I use ghee to make the dough and sunflower oil to deep frying. For a vegan version, use oil instead of ghee in the dough.
Spices: Whole spices I use are cumin seeds and fennel seeds. The powdered spices I use are coriander powder, chilli powder, garam masala, and amchur (dry mango powder). You can replace amchur with lemon juice. These can be adjusted according to your preference.
Optional ingredients: You may use ½ tsp ajwain (carom seeds) while making the dough. You can also add 1 tsp coriander seeds to the filling.
The recipe I am sharing here is a classic Punjabi samosa that is made with a spicy potatoes and peas. However, here are some variations you can try to give this classic snack a delicious twist.
Singhara: Singhara is the Bengali version of this snack. The outer crust is the same as classic ones but the filling is very different. This popular cousin of samosa has a filling made with potatoes, cauliflower, and peanuts. Singharas are smaller in size when compared to Punjabi ones and are often made very spicy. Singhara has other variations too like mangshor singhara (made with minced goat meat) or macher singhara (made with fish).
Chole samosa: This is a common street food where the Punjabi samosa is served with chole masala.
Keema samosa: The stuffing is made with keema (minced meat) and spices. The most common meat stuffing includes chicken and goat meat.
Other filling options: There are a plethora of combinations when it comes to the filling. Paneer, cauliflower, mushroom, onions - there are so many ingredients and seasoning combinations that are commonly served as street food in food carts across India.
Fusion: Chinese samosa (noodle stuffing or sometimes even Maggi stuffing), cheese samosa, chocolate (or jam) samosa - just to name a few fusion variations.
Other ways they are served: Bun samosa or samosa pav (a samosa stuffed between a pav or dinner roll and seasoned like vada pav), samosa wrap, samosa chaat (broken into bits and combined with chutneys).
Air fryer samosa recipe
A samosa is usually deep-fried; however, it can be baked or air-fried too. For deep frying, follow this samosa recipe and see the tips below. To bake or air fry them, follow this samosa recipe until shaping. For baking instructions, see the FAQ section below.
Air frying the samosa is a great option if you are avoiding deep frying. I prefer air frying the samosa over baking them as they are the closest to the deep-fried ones. The air fryer gives a flaky and crispy crust just like the deep-fried ones.
To air fry the samosa, preheat the air fryer at 200℃ (or 400°F) for 2 minutes. Brush the samosa with oil making sure all the sides are coated well. Air fry for 12-15 minutes flipping at around 7 minutes.
Brush all sides of the samosa with oil and place in air fryer basket
Air fry as mentioned above
Crispy and flaky air fryer samosa
Tips for making perfect samosa
A perfect samosa should have a flaky and crisp outer crust which is free from any blisters with a spicy and flavourful filling. Read on for the tips and follow my samosa recipe to make perfect and delicious samosa.
For 2 cups of flour, I use around ¼ cup of ghee and just under ½ cup of water. These measurements are perfect to get crispy and flaky samosa. For this dough, 500 grams of potato is sufficient to make the filling. This recipe makes 12 samosas.
Do not cut down on the ghee or oil in the dough. With less fat, you will get dry and hard samosa. At the same time, do not add too much fat or you will end up with a lot of cracks on the crust. The measurement I have given makes a perfectly flaky crust that does not have any cracks (the dough can have roughly up to 10-12% fat so measure accordingly).
I add ghee to the dough which gives best results. You may replace it with oil for a vegan version.
Rub the flour and fat together well. This is an important step that is often overlooked. Do not skip it. Rub them well for at least 4-5 minutes. To see if the fat is fully incorporated, take a small portion of the flour and press it in your fist. It should come together without falling apart (see step by step picture). Start adding water only after that.
Roll the dough into a slightly thick disc. If you roll it too thin, it may tear while frying and if it is too thick, it may not cook completely.
The dough must be stiff. Make sure you add water gradually and in small batches.
When shaping, keep the dough and samosa under a damp tissue to make sure they do not become dry. Also, when sealing the dough use minimal water and apply water towards the inside of the fold, keeping the outer layer of the dough moisture-free.
Do not knead the dough too much. Bring it together and gently knead for just 1-2 minutes.
The temperature of the oil is as important as getting the dough right. The oil should not be sizzling hot for samosas. To check if the oil is ready, drop a small piece of dough in it. If it comes to the top slowly (and not too quickly), the oil is ready. Add the samosa at this stage and do not flip them for the first 5-6 minutes. They will slowly come to the top. Flip them carefully. At this stage, increase the heat to medium. Each batch should take 8-10 minutes for frying.
Once you flip the samosa, increase the heat to medium. Be patient and do not keep flipping it.
Once a batch of samosa is fried, let the oil cool down slightly before adding the next batch.
For the filling, do not mash the potatoes completely. Keep a few small chunks while mashing.
Pro-tip: Adjust the spices as per your preference to suit your taste buds.
FAQ and Troubleshooting
Why is my samosa not crispy?
If the dough is soft, it will affect the crispiness of the crust. Also, the temperature of the oil is important. If the oil is not hot enough or too hot, they will make the samosa soggy.
Why is my samosa oily?
Soft dough results in oily samosa. Add water in small batches when making the dough and make a stiff dough. See measurements above.
Why is my samosa hard?
Not adding enough ghee or oil to the dough will make the crust hard. Also, if you knead the dough too much, it will make the crust hard.
Why does my samosa have blisters or bubbles on the top?
Frying them in very hot oil gives them bubbles on the crust.
Can I freeze samosa?
Yes. You shape them and freeze them before frying. You can also fry them and then freeze them. Reheat them in the oven or air fryer, but never in a microwave or they will turn soggy.
Can I use atta to make samosa?
Plain flour (maida) gives a flaky and crispy crust. If you want to replace it with atta (whole wheat flour), use 1:1 atta and maida.
Can I bake samosa?
Yes. To bake them, preheat the oven at 200℃ (or 400°F). Brush the samosa with oil making sure all the sides are coated. Place them on a baking tray and bake them for 25-30 minutes flipping midway.
These homemade samosas are:
- flaky and crispy
- spicy, flavourful, and delicious
- easily customisable to make vegan friendly
- easily adjustable as per your liking and preference
Samosa recipe with step by step photos
1. Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. Add ghee or oil and mix well. Rub the ghee and flour together well for 3-5 minutes
2. To check if it is done, take some dough and press it in your fist. It should hold together without falling apart
3. Slowly add water and knead into a stiff dough. Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes
4. Boil the potatoes until they are just done. Peel the skin and mash them lightly. Set aside
5. Heat oil in a pan or kadhai. Add cumin seeds and fennel seeds. Add ginger and green chilli, and saute for a few seconds
5. Add potato, peas, coriander powder, chilli powder, garam masala, amchur, and salt. Mix well
6. Divide the dough into six parts
7. Lightly grease the rolling surface with some oil and roll the dough into a slightly thick disc (approximately 8 inches)
8. Cut it into two parts making a semi-circle
9. Take one part and apply water at the straight edge. Bring the two corners together to form a cone
10. Add approximately 2 tbsp filling in the cone. Press it lightly
11. Apply water on the edges and seal it
12. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling
13. Heat oil and check if it is ready (see tips above)
14. Deep fry the samosa in batches on low heat. Do not flip them for the first 5-6 minutes. Once they begin to firm, increase the heat to medium and carefully flip the samosa (see tips above)
Perfectly golden, crispy and flaky
For the dough
For the filling
Oil for deep frying
To make the dough
To make the filling
To shape the samosa
Frying the samosa