Oh, Indian food. I could write an entire novel chronicling my love for this cuisine, but even that would fail to fully describe how I feel.
While I don’t cook it that much at home, we tend to get Indian takeout at least once every couple weeks. Perhaps my favorite dish is the vegetable samosa. Crispy crust stuffed with tender potatoes and peas, perfectly spiced, and begging to be dipped in chutney.
How can you go wrong?
The problem with samosas is two-fold.
1) They’re fried. I’m pretty much terrified of frying anything, so that’s a no-go.
2) They’re quite complicated. It’s nearly impossible to make a samosa recipe that will fall under my simple standards.
So, I decided to get creative.
Here’s the deal. Yes, the crust is delicious. If you want a fried pocket of dough, go to your neighborhood Indian restaurant and order a whole basket. There’s no shame in that. But if you want to make an inspired, simplified version at home, I have just the thing.
I’m convinced my favorite elements of a samosa are the tender potato-pea filling, the spices, and the chutney sauce for dipping (read, drowning).
I kept these elements intact while ensuring this recipe was simple, condensing it down to just 10 ingredients (give or take a spice). And to mimic the pastry crust, I provide an option of crusting them in panko bread crumbs.
This is entirely optional and can take them off of the gluten-free spectrum. But I found myself gravitating toward the panko-coated cakes more in the end.
And that chutney. Oh, the chutney. So green. So fresh. So perfect.
I’ve studied up on how to make a sweet, green chutney and it’s actually quite simple. The best grinder for the job is a small food processor. The next ideal option is a mortar and pestle. And lastly, if you’re like me, you can use a coffee/spice grinder in a pinch. Fair warning, clean up is a little messy as I don’t think they’re intended for wet herbs, but it gets the job done!
I hope you guys love these samosa-inspired potato cakes! They’re the best way I’ve found to mimic a samosa at home without a million ingredients or busting out the frying oil.
If you give them a try, let me know how you like them! Leave a comment and rate it – it’s super helpful to us and other readers. And don’t forget to show us how it goes by tagging a picture #minimalistbaker on Instagram! We’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers!
- 2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed clean, peeled + halved
- 1-2 Tbsp vegan butter, plus more for cooking (or sub a neutral oil of choice)
- 2 tsp curry powder, plus more to taste (I love Trader Joe's curry powder)
- 1/8th tsp ground cardamom, plus more to taste
- Salt + pepper to taste (~ 1/2 tsp each)
- 2/3 cup green peas (thawed if frozen)
- optional: 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (for coating | gluten-free for GF)
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro (~3 ounces), stems mostly removed
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- Salt + pepper to taste (~ 1/4 tsp each)
- 1 large lime, juiced (or sub lemon)
- 1 Tbsp sweetener (such as cane sugar, maple syrup, or honey if not vegan), plus more to taste
- Water to thin (1-2 Tbsp)
- optional: 1-2 Tbsp ripe avocado for extra creaminess
- Add potatoes to a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender and slide easily when picked up with a knife. Drain and set aside.
- While the potatoes cool, prepare chutney. Use a small food processor, mortar and pestle, or a spice grinder* to combine all ingredients until well blended and pureed. (A blender may work, depending on size - the smaller the better).
- Add only enough water to encourage blending. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more garlic, salt, sweetener, or lime as desired.
- Add cooled potatoes to a mixing bowl along with vegan butter, salt and spices. Mash to combine, trying not to overmix. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I found the cardamom really helped the curry flavor punch through. Don't be timid with the salt.
- Add peas and mix once more. Then scoop out about 1/4 cup measurements and form into round discs (should be enough for 8-10 cakes).
- Season the tops of the cakes with a pinch more salt, pepper and curry powder. If using panko bread crumbs - I tested with and without and would recommend for a crispier crust - sprinkle on top and gently press to adhere.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add enough vegan butter or oil to coat and add 3-4 patties spice side down, being careful not to crowd the pan. Sprinkle the tops with salt, pepper, curry powder and panko crumbs. Press gently again to adhere.
- Brown for 4-5 minutes, turning down heat if they brown too quickly. Gently flip (being careful as they can be fragile), and brown for 4-5 more minutes, or until deep golden brown.
- Remove from pan and repeat until all patties are cooked, adding more vegan butter or oil as needed.
- Serve with chutney. These work as finger food but are most ideal when plated and eaten with a fork. Leftovers keep well (separated) covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
*Chutney heavily adapted from Veg Recipes of India - a lovely, reliable website for Indian cuisine!
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 10 cakes calculated with all of the chutney (no avocado) and no bread crumbs.