Pork and Vegetable Samosas with Creamy Cucumber Dip

We’re now over halfway through the ninth series of The Great British Bake Off and the tent turned to pastry for the first time. The signature challenge was to make sweet and savoury samosas, the technical challenge was a bake using two types of pastry, rough puff and choux, to make a French dessert and the showstopper was a banquet pie fit for a Tudor banquet.

I was initially going to tackle the puits d’amour because they sounded so good with a choux ring on top of a puff pastry layer with crème patissiere and compote. But I decided to tackle a savoury challenge this week and I chose to make the simplest Pork and Vegetable Samosas with Creamy Cucumber Dip.

Back at home whenever we have made samosas – or samosa-inspired goods, we have always used spring roll pastry which can now be found very commonly in large supermarkets as well as Asian supermarkets. It’s around £2 for a pack of 30 sheets but each sheet can be used to make 3 samosas (or 4 spring rolls) so it’s really affordable and worth the purchase. Simply defrost it for 45 minutes to an hour at room temperature and the pastry will be flexible and soft enough to work with.

The hardest part of the samosa process is folding it currently so that it doesn’t unravel during the frying and so that it provides support for the filling. I spent 20 minutes looking up different folding techniques for samosas but the one I found the best was from Pinterest. It was easy to follow and ended up with 2 layers on both sides of the filling. There is perhaps a better method if you are making your own pastry however using spring roll pastry which is really thin, this folding technique still results in perfectly crisp samosas.

I serve the samosas with a creamy cucumber dip, almost like a raita but instead of being made with yoghurt, it uses a combination of mayonnaise, cream cheese and lemon juice.

For the pork filling: 

1 tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp black sesame seeds

250g lean pork mince

75g carrot, peeled and diced

60g frozen peas

30g frozen sweetcorn

½ tsp garlic granules

1 tsp ground cumin

1 dried chilli, but only the seeds and half the chilli thinly sliced

½ tsp lemon juice

For the samosas:

4 sheets of spring roll pastry

25g plain flour

300ml vegetable oil, for frying

For the cucumber dip:

40g mayonnaise

40g cream cheese

1 tsp lemon juice

¼ of a cucumber, rinsed and dried

In a dry frying pan, toast the cumin seeds over a medium-high heat until the seeds are slightly darker and there is a strong fragrant aroma. Place into a small bowl and either using a spice grinder, pestle and mortar or a very sharp knife, crush around three-quarters of the seeds coarsely. Combine the remaining cumin seeds with black sesame seeds and set aside.

In the same pan, add some oil and fry the pork mince until cooked through and beginning to brown, breaking It up into small chunks while cooking. Once cooked, add in the coarsely crushed cumin seeds, the vegetables, the garlic, ground cumin, dried chilli and its seeds and some salt and pepper. Continue to cook until the vegetables are soft, adding water if the pork begins to burn. Add lemon juice, taste and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Set aside and allow to cool fully.

When the filling is cool, cut up the 4 sheets of spring roll pastry into thirds. Cover with clingfilm or a teatowel to prevent drying out. Next make a paste mixing together the plain flour with enough water to make a thick but spreadable mixture.

To assemble the samosas, lay one strip of spring roll pastry with the longest edge facing you. Fold the bottom left corner to the top edge so that there is a triangle hanging over the top edge.

Use your finger to spread a small amount of the flour paste in the middle of the non-folded section. Fold the original top left corner down so it touches the bottom edge and press down. Lift up the pastry and use your hand to open up the pocket. Fill the pocket with 2 tablespoons of the pork filling, pressing down with the spoon.

Place it back on the board and cover the remaining pastry with a thin layer of the flour paste. Fold this back onto the filling, ensuring the corners are sharp and not open. Fold the final flap back on itself. Turn the samosa so the folded edge is on the base. Spread a small amount of the flour paste in the centre of the samosa and stick a few of the seeds on. Place onto a plate and repeat for the remaining 11 samosas.

When you are ready to fry, place the vegetable oil into a medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat. Heat the oil up to 180°C. Fry the samosas for around 3 – 4 minutes in total, using a pair of tongs to turn the samosas over when one side is a strong golden brown and the pastry feels crisp. Once ready, remove and place onto a plate lined with kitchen roll to drain the excess oil.

For the raita dip, mix together the mayonnaise and cream cheese until even. Add a small amount of black pepper and the lemon juice and mix again. Cut the cucumber into 1cm chunks and add to the dip and stir. Finish with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds and serve with the hot samosas.

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