Durban-style mince and pea Samosas with spring roll pastry

These crispy mince and pea pastry triangles are very different to the more commonly found “Indian” version which has a thick crusty pastry. I am not sure what the origin of this style of pastry is other than this is how they are made by the Indian community in Durban, South Africa and this is how I grew up eating them.

Back then in South Africa with larger households often with dedicated cooks,hours were spent making the crispy pastry from scratch and creating these delicious appetisers for special events or just afternoon tea. When we moved to Australia my mum, Tilly, found the ideal replacement pastry to be spring roll pastry initially found in Chinese and Asian specialty shops but now readily available in mainstream supermarkets.

Fillings can vary between fish, potato and peas, chicken mince curry…but my favouite remains the lamb mince and peas.

All my friends loved coming over to Tilly’s for her freshly made samosas and she has actually been called upon for lessons by some samosa addicts! Here’s the recipe with some hopefully helpful photos to help with the fiddliest part which is folding the triangles.

Prep Time: 1.5-2hours Cooking time: 15 minutes
Ingredients

Filling:
400g lean lamb or beef mince
1 cup frozen peas
1 onion very finely diced
1.5 tsp ginger and garlic pounded into paste
1 tspn turmeric
1 tspn garam masala
1/2 tspn cummin powder
3/4 tspn chilli powder
1/2 tomato finely diced
Handful of coriander very finely chopped
1 piece cinnamon bark
1 tspn cummin seeds
Handful of fresh curry leaves
1.5 tbspn vegetable oil
1/2 cup water

Pastry
1 pack spring roll pastry in square sheets
Pastry “glue: 2 tspns flour mixed with 3tspns water to make a thick flour glue in a seperate bowl.

Method
Heat oil in a large saucepan, add cinnamon bark, cummin seeds and curry leaves and fry briefly until fragrant and curry leaves have spotte “spitting”
Add onions and fry until translucent
Add ginger and garlic, turmeric, garam masala, cummin powder, chilli powder and mix through onions and warm through
Add mince to brown and mix thoroughly with onions and spices, breaking up all lumps of mince using the back of a fork.
When mince is totally separated and browned, add tomato, salt and coriander.

Break up all lumps with the back of a fork as you mix through onion spice mixture, over medium heat.
Break up all lumps with the back of a fork as you mix through onion spice mixture, over medium heat.

Add water and Simmer over medium heat, stirring regularly for 35 minutes until mince is cooked and has absorbed the flavour of the spices…you are aiming quite a dry mixture with no “sauce” so limit the amount of water you add.

Add tomato, coriander and water to mince mixture and simmer for 35 minutes.
Add tomato, coriander and water to mince mixture and simmer for 35 minutes.

Add frozen peas and allow to defrost and par-cook for 3-4 minutes
Remove from heat and allow to cool totally,for at least an hour before using
At the same time remove spring roll pastry from freezer and bring to room temperature leaving sealed in packet

Allow lamb and pea filling to totally cool
Allow lamb and pea filling to totally cool

Making the pastry triangles

Make your pastry glue, remove the pastry from the packaging and place between slightly damp tea towels to the side of your board or preparation space
Take one sheet of pastry and cut into 3 equal strips

Cut spring roll pastry sheets into 3 equal strips
Cut spring roll pastry sheets into 3 equal strips

Place a teaspoon full of mixture within 4-5cm from the top edge, turn the top edge of the pastry turning the right corner over to the left edge, over the filling to create a triangular pocket where the newly created right corner is completely “closed so the filling can’t fall out.

Turn the right hand edge to the left edge, over the top of 1 tspn of filling, enclosing filling, pushing it all in if needed and creating a triangular pocket. Make sure your right corner here is enclosed ...no hole for filling to escape from!
Turn the right hand edge to the left edge, over the top of 1 tspn of filling, enclosing filling, pushing it all in if needed and creating a triangular pocket. Make sure your right corner here is enclosed …no hole for filling to escape from!

This is the most important step to get right because you will then easily be able to turn the triangle over and over until you get to the end and can seal up the pastry with your glue.

Different stages of
Different stages of “turning” the pastry with filling to get to end of the strip, use glue along the way as required.

If you do find gaps or pastry overlaps along the way, use your glue to seal up the edges to craete a fully enclosed triangle. Spring roll pastry is quite “hardy” so don’t be afraid of it and as they say practice makes perfect so if might take a few attempts before you get the hang of it. Makes 24-36 small samosas.

Ready for fridge or freezer, fry before serving
Ready for fridge or freezer, fry before serving

You can freeze the samosas or Refrigerate for an hour or so to allow glue to seal before shallow frying in vegetable oil over medium heat until golden brown on each side. If frying directly from frozen, then you will want to lowe the heat slightly to allow the filling to defrost and heat through. One golden brown, place on kitchen paper towel to absorb oil. They really need to be served hot and crispy for best enjoyment. Delicious dipped in plain yoghurt or spicy chilli sauce for extra bite!

Durban-style mince and pea samosas with spring roll pastry
Durban-style mince and pea samosas with spring roll pastry

Durban-style Lamb and potato curry

The smell of curry leaves frying in oil with spices and onions is one that always transports me to the kitchen of my Aunt Vimala. Even though it was a regular occurrence in our own home, there was something very special about staying over at Uncle Pat and Aunty Vim’s with all the cousins. She was a wonderful cook and inspired my love of cooking. This traditional lamb and potato curry is a staple in many South African Indian homes and now in the homes of my family and many friends in Australia.

Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time:1.5 hours
Ingredients
800g diced lamb, preferably lamb chump chops with fat removed and diced so that there are some small bones but plain diced lamb can be used too
3 teaspoons ginger and garlic ground together into a paste
1 large brown onion diced finely
1 tomato chopped
1/2 bunch coriander including stalks
2 pieces cinnamon bark
5 cardamom pods
Handful of curry leaves removed from stalks
1.5 teaspoons cummin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
1.5-2 teaspoons chilli powder
1 teaspoon fennel powder
1.5 teaspoons cummin powder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium size potatoes quartered
2.5-3 cups water or chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
4 dried chillies(optional)

Ginger, garlic, cummin seeds, cinnamon bark, cardamom pods, turmeric, cummin powder, fennel powder and chilli powder Ginger, garlic, cummin seeds, cinnamon bark, cardamom pods, turmeric, cummin powder, fennel powder and chilli powder

image
Method
Heat oil in a heavy based, medium sized casserole pot
Add cinnamon bark, cummin seeds, cardamom pods and curry leaves
Stir for a minute until fragrant on medium heat
Add onions lower heat and cook slowly until translucent
Add ginger and garlic and stir fry for 1 minute still on low heat
Add turmeric, cummin, fennel, salt and chilli powder and stir fry for 1 minute ensuring the spices don’t burn – take off heat if necessary.

Onions cooking with curry leaves and dry spices Onions cooking with curry leaves and dry spices

Add tomatoes and chopped up coriander stalks and stir fry for a minute, then add lamb and increase heat to medium high
Cook lamb to seal it, adding 1/2 cup of water or chicken stock if sticking
Once lamb is sealed, add enough water or stock to just cover, bring to a boil and then lower heat to low and cover with lid to simmer for 35 minutes
Check lamb every ten minutes or so stirring and ensuring there is suffient liquid for the meat to stew
After 35 minutes add potatoes and 1/2 cup of water or stock if necessary so potatoes can cook in liquid for another 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender
Taste to see if extra salt needed
Take lid off and I crease heat to reduce liquid if necessary without allowing potatoes to disintegrate
(If potatoes are too tender and you want to reduce liquid, take the potatoes out, reduce liquid to a viscous gravy consistency and then add potatoes back in.)
Remove cinnamon bark and excess curry leaves when transferring to serving dish.
Garnish with coriander and serve with roti and/or basmati rice and salad and red lentil dhal.

Lamb and potato curry served with basmati rice and red lentil dhal Lamb and potato curry served with basmati rice and red lentil dhal
Lamb and potato curry garnished with coriander Lamb and potato curry garnished with coriander

Baked cauliflower with garlic, chilli, coriander and lemon

There’s something very rustic and comforting about baking a whole cauliflower. This version with chilli, coriander, garlic and lemon is delicious as a side for an Indian feast or seved simply with grilled fish or meats and a green salad.

Prep time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 1 hour

Ingredients
1 whole medium size cauliflower with outer leaves removed
3 small red chillies
4 cloves garlic
Zest and juice of one lemon
Handful of coriander leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt

Method
Heat oven to 200 degrees celcius
Cut away base of the cauliflower so it will sit flat
Cut a cross in the base
Crush garlic, coriander, salt and chilli into a paste using mortar and pestle
Add lemon zest and lemon juice and then muddle with olive oil
Rub paste well all over the cauliflower using plastic gloves
Place on an oven tray lined with baking paper
Place on middle rack of oven for about an hour or until cauliflower is tender
Serve as a delicious accompaniment to meat and fish dishes
Seves 4-6