Though many versions of this dish exist, beef or chicken samoosas filled with traditional spices are most popular in the Cape Malay communities of South Africa. They are served at parties or anywhere that people gather, and often with peach chutney. The sweetness of the chutney paired with crispy spiced beef parcels keep people coming for more. You can buy South African chutney online now, as well as most of the spices used. Traditionally, pur or readymade Indian pastry is used. Pur is a common item at any Indian grocery store, but I could only find phyllo pastry where I live. Both work wonderfully.
I remember my mom frying samoosas last December when I visited home for the first time in eight years. Making them in large batches (necessary during holiday season) is time consuming, so she had ordered 250 premade but unfinished from a lady who is well-known for her samoosas. Every town has that Aunty - One who has perfected the art of samoosas, savory pies or smaller confections like lamingtons. Those aunties are a godsend for people like my mom who work full-time. If you do not order by November, you can forget about it because they are that popular. The fragrant aroma of coriander and leaf masala filling our house during the holidays is always magical. Mom knew how much I had missed samoosas while living here in the states, and 250 seems like a lot, but we enjoyed them so much almost every day. If only I could've brought some back with me!
When I returned home to Mississippi in January I was inspired to make them here and shared the image to Instagram, but never made the recipe available. I'm sorry for the wait :) We booked our tickets back to Cape Town the other day and thinking of all the samoosas I'll soon be eating, I remembered. You can substitute the beef with ground chicken thighs or even lamb - I just wanted to share how I make mine, but feel free to change it up as you wish :)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb ground sirloin or lean ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon fenugreek powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon South African curry powder OR mixed masala
1/4 cup finely minced fresh coriander
1 teaspoon each sugar and salt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
10 sheets phyllo pastry (You may need more depending on how much filling added)
1 small egg, beaten (to seal pastry)
olive oil spray
Optional to serve: Peach Chutney
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add ground sirloin until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, garlic and spices and sauté until onions are golden and soft. Finish the filling by adding coriander, sugar, salt and lemon juice. Stir and remove from heat - Allow to cool. Can be made ahead of time, stored in the fridge and assembled later.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Place phyllo on a clean, dry surface and use a sharp knife to divide phyllo rectangle into three parts lengthways. You should have three equal long stacks of pastry. Take one at a time and cover the remaining sheets with a clean damp kitchen towel so that they don't dry out.
Lay the phyllo strip on a work surface and add a tablespoonful of filling to the top corner, then fold the filled pastry across to close the open side. Keep folding from one edge to the other, keeping the triangular shape and making sure the corners are tight, until you're left with a lip. Brush it with the beaten egg and secure. Alternatively you could make a slurry of 1 tablespoon cake flour and 2 tablespoons water to do this. If you prefer, you could also just cut this portion off. Set finished samoosa aside on a baking sheet covered with a clean damp kitchen towel and repeat this process with all phyllo pastry sheets. Makes 30 - These freeze very well in an airtight container and then you can bake it off later.
Spray with olive oil spray and bake for 8 minutes or until pastry is golden. Serve immediately.