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pan-frying African, Indian
Curried Lamb Samoosas with Chutney Dip

Photo by: Joseph De Leo
Comments: 0


(South Africa)

Samoosas, which originated in East India as “sarnosas,” are meat- or vegetable-filled pastries. They are popular as snacks in much of eastern and southern Africa, where they are sold at street stands. “I make them bitesize so they can be served at parties as hors d’oeuvres,” Audie Odum-Stallato explains. “I made them for Kwanzaa and they went like crazy!” Audie suggests that when you fill the wonton skins, make sure you squeeze out all the air. “If you don’t, a bubble might form in the skin and burst open in the oven.”

Yield: Makes about 40


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound ground lamb or ground beef round
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup store-bought mango chutney
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 40 wonton skins, about 3½ inches square
  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying


1. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir 1 minute. Add the ground lamb and cook, stirring often, until the meat loses its pink color, about 5 minutes. Drain off any excess fat. Add the cinnamon, salt, cumin, curry powder, chili powder, pepper, and cloves, and stir for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let the lamb filling cool completely.

2. Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, process the chutney and orange juice until smooth. Cover, and let stand at room temperature until ready to serve.

3. Place a wonton skin on a work surface. Place about 2 teaspoons of lamb filling in the center. Moisten the edges of the wonton with water, fold it over diagonally to form a triangle, and press the edges to seal. Repeat the procedure with the remaining skins and filling.

4. Preheat the oven to 200°.

5. In a large skillet, pour enough vegetable oil to reach ½ inch up the sides. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it is hot but not smoking. (An electric skillet set at 350° works well.) In batches, fry the samoosas, turning once, until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried samoosas to a paper towel-lined baking sheet, and keep them warm in the oven while frying the remaining samoosas.

6. Serve the samoosas warm, with the chutney dip on the side.


Cook’s Notes: These bite-size pastries bursting with a tasty lamb filling, and served with a chutney dip, would be a hit at any holiday celebration. You can make the filling up to a day ahead, and fill the samoosas up to 4 hours before deep-frying.

© 1991 Eric V. Copage

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

Serving size is 1 samoosa.

93kcal (5%)
9mg (1%)
1mg (2%)
1mcg RAE (0%)
8mg (3%)
114mg (5%)
1g (4%)
4g (7%)
1mg (3%)

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