These samosa bites showcase the best part of the classic Indian appetizer—the perfectly spiced potato filling! They’re baked, not fried, and are served with a cooling cucumber raita.
I love Indian food, and am a huge fan of going to Indian buffets for lunch. I actually find it pretty easy to follow a primal diet there–I avoid the breads, of course, but many of the curries, chutneys, and tandoori meats are fine. Indian food uses so many great spices and flavor-packed vegetables like ginger, garlic, and chiles that I never feel like I’m missing out on anything.
Samosas, though, have always been a sticking point. The potato filling is so delicious, especially with some raita on top, but I’ve never been a fan of the heavy, gluten-laden, deep-fried wrappers. Since it’s a little bit uncouth and definitely not in the spirit of paleo to go to a buffet and unwrap a samosa and eat only the insides, I decided to take matters into my own kitchen.
Potatoes are a nutrient-dense food and a great source of healthy carbohydrates since they’re naturally gluten free. They have more potassium than bananas, and a serving of potatoes also gives you almost half of the Vitamin C you need for the day (for more info, check out the Potato Board’s nutritional facts page here). Most people now consider potatoes an integral part of a paleo diet, and as of July of 2014, they’re even Whole30 compliant! (You should have seen how happy I was the day that change was announced. There may or may not have been some dancing involved.)
So, when the Potato Board asked me to come up with a healthy potato recipe to help everyone stick to their New Year’s resolutions while still enjoying great food, I was really excited. I knew immediately that I wanted to make grain-free samosa bites that were baked, not fried, and could be enjoyed by paleo and vegetarian eaters alike. And since these samosa bites pack a little bit of heat, I decided to make raita to go along with them. If you haven’t tried raita, I bet you’ll love it. It’s a yogurt and cucumber sauce that goes amazingly well with spicy food. Raita’s cool, creamy texture tones down the heat while complementing the other savory flavors of curries, kebabs, samosas, and whatever else you can think of. Since I’m doing a Whole30 this month, I developed a dairy-free raita made with cashews, but have also included instructions for how to make the traditional raita with real yogurt. (And don’t worry–I tested the yogurt raita last month, before my Whole30 began.)
These samosa bites take a bit of advance planning since the potatoes need to cool in their cooking water after they’ve been boiled, so if you’re short on time I recommend doing that part the day before you plan to serve them. You can also soak the cashews for the raita beginning the day before–just make sure to cover and refrigerate them if they’ll be soaking for longer than four hours or so.
You may have already thought of this, but in case you haven’t: this is the perfect Super Bowl appetizer! It’s fun, unexpected, and flavorful, but super healthy. (In case you want to make some wings, too, though, I recommend these.)
Honest Cooking and the Potato Board also put together a video recipe for a potato and butternut frittata, which looks absolutely amazing. Since it’s already gluten free and grain free, I’m planning to try it after my Whole30 ends. If you don’t eat dairy but are eager to try it, here’s where I’d start (keep in mind that I haven’t tried this yet, though!): use avocado oil instead of the butter, omit the cheese, use coconut milk instead of the heavy cream, and add about a tablespoon of nutritional yeast to the egg mixture when you add the garlic.
And if you’d like to see all the other awesome potato recipes my fellow food writers have created, you can see them here or click on the banner below the video.
- 2 pounds red potatoes
- 2 small cloves garlic, unpeeled and crushed
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- ⅓ cup raisins
- 2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeño (deseeded if desired), minced
- One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated or minced
- ¾ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 scallions, trimmed and chopped
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Scrub the potatoes. If some of your potatoes are a lot bigger than the other, halve or quarter the larger ones so that all the pieces are about the size of the smallest potatoes. (If the potatoes are all quite small, you can just leave them whole.)
- Put the potatoes, garlic cloves, and kosher salt in a large saucepan. Pour in cold water until it reaches one inch above the top of the potatoes and set the heat to high. Once the water has come to a rolling boil, let the potatoes cook for 3 more minutes and then turn off the heat. Allow the potatoes to cool to room temperature in the water. (If you’d like, you can drain the potatoes at this point, discarding the garlic, and store them in the refrigerator for up to two days before making the samosa bites.)
- When you’re ready to make the samosa bites, put the raisins in a heatproof bowl and pour in about a cup of very hot water. Preheat the oven to 450 and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Finely chop the cooked potatoes; you should have about 5 cups of them.
- Put the ghee in a very large skillet over medium heat and add the cumin seeds. When they start to sizzle, add the shallot and sauté for about 3 minutes, until somewhat softened. Reduce the heat a little and add the jalapeño and ginger. Cook, stirring constantly, until the raw, pungent aroma subsides, about 2 minutes. Stir in the coriander, black pepper, cardamom, and cinnamon, raise the heat to medium high, and add the potatoes. Stir until the potatoes are heated through, and then mix in the scallions.
- Drain the raisins, reserving the soaking liquid. Add the raisins to the potato mixture, stir well, and turn off the heat. Use a potato masher or the bottom of a heavy jar or glass to mash the mixture a little so it holds together better. Stir in the egg.
- Use a greased tablespoon measure (or cookie scoop) to portion out rounded tablespoonfuls of the samosa mixture onto the baking sheet. You should have about 30 samosa bites. Bake for 15 minutes, or until they’re sizzling and nicely browned on the top and bottom. Enjoy hot with raita (recipe below).
- ¾ cup cashew halves and pieces, soaked in warm water for 2-4 hours (or ¾ cup plain full-fat yogurt)
- 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice (if using cashews)
- ¼ cup water (if using cashews)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Half of a large cucumber, peeled, deseeded, and minced
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
- If you’re making the raita with cashews, make sure you’ve soaked them in warm water to cover for 2-4 hours. (If you’re using yogurt, skip to the next step.) Drain and rinse the cashews, and then place them in a blender with the lemon juice, water, and salt. Blend, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of the blender jar with a spatula, until you have a very smooth cashew cream. This can take up to three or four minutes in some blenders.
- Put the cashew cream or yogurt in a bowl and stir in the minced cucumber and cilantro. Taste and add more salt if desired. Serve cool or at room temperature with samosa bites or your favorite spicy dish.