Earlier this month I fried some delicious moose samosas using two recipes from Shubhra Ramineni’s Indian cookbook Entice with Spice. A samosa is a turnover or pastry that is stuffed with a savory filling and then fried until golden brown. The samosa is one of my wife’s sentimental favorites as it reminds her of the years she spent in Africa.
Shubhra’s ground lamb and peas recipe became the basis for my filling. I simply substituted the ground lamb with the ground moose and followed the rest of her recipe as directed. The filling can be created days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. In my opinion this aging enhances the flavor in that the meat gets to spend more time resting in the spices. It gets extra time to absorb the flavor compounds from the other ingredients.
(For those who are curious, moose tastes like wild game, such as elk. We like to use ground moose meat in tacos, meat loaf and samosas. Moose meat is fairly lean.)
For the pastry dough, I used Shubhra’s recipe for samosas. This is probably the easiest part since it literally involves no cooking. Rather, it involves a trip to the grocery store or a restaurant to obtain a common staple that can be used as the shell. Even better, this staple can be purchased days in advance and stored at room temperature. For more details on this ridiculously easy, fast and effective method, check out Entice with Spice. When the filling is prepared ahead of time, it takes a minute or less to prepare two samosas for the fryer. This is anything but labor intensive, in other words.
To accompany the moose samosas, I made Shubhra’s mint chutney using fresh peppermint, spearmint and julep mint from the mint garden on the north side of my house. In my plant hardiness zone, which is 9b, mint can survive the hot summer months in a shadier spot without too many problems. Mint chutney is a good pairing for the flavors in the ground lamb recipe.
Cooking the samosas has been a good introduction to frying. For the first two attempts, I used a cast iron dutch oven in which I heated vegetable oil to 350 deg. F. I also clipped a candy thermometer to the side to monitor the oil temperature. It was interesting to watch the change in temperature whenever I dropped two samosas into the oil. The oil temperature usually dipped about five to ten degrees several moments after insertion. To compensate, I turned up the gas burner temporarily.
Even though I had no significant experience with frying pastries, I was able to crank out delicious golden brown samosas in short order and with minimum hassle, and I got rave reviews from those who tried the moose samosas with the mint chutney. Shubhra Rhamineni’s recipes and techniques from Entice with Spice yielded solid results with fairly minimal effort. And remember that the possibilities for samosa stuffings and dressings are basically endless.