Mushroom & paneer samosas with garlic & chilli dip

by Roopa Gulati

Southern Indian street food snack from resident expert Roopa Gulati


For the garlic and red chilli chutney:
8-10 dried Kashmiri red chillies, broken and de-seeded
2 tbsp vegetable oil
25g ginger, grated
8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3-4 tomatoes, skinned and finely chopped
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
Squeeze of lime

For the samosas:
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
250g chestnut mushrooms, chopped
1-2 green chillies, deseeded, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp garam masala
125g paneer, crumbled if freshly made, or grated if shop-bought
2 tbsp coriander, chopped
2 tbsp plain flour
30 samosa strips or 1 x 270g packet of filo pastry sheets
Vegetable oil, for deep frying


For the chutney: soak the chillies in hot water for 20 mins. Drain, then grind to a paste with a pestle and mortar or small food processor. Leave to one side.

Heat the oil and fry the ginger and garlic for 1 min over a moderate heat. Add the tomatoes and sugar and cook until well reduced—about 5-7 mins. Stir in the ground cumin and coriander followed by the chilli paste. Continue cooking for 2-3 mins.

Take the pan off the heat and add enough lime juice to sharpen. Leave to cool before storing in a tightly-lidded sterilised jar. This chutney keeps for about 5 days in the fridge.

For the samosas: heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large pan and fry the onion until softened. Add the chopped mushrooms and green chillies and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have coloured—about 3-4 mins.

Stir in the lime juice, ground cumin and garam masala and cook for 1 min. Turn off the heat and add the crumbled or grated paneer and chopped coriander. Leave to cool.

Mix the flour with enough water to make a slack paste—this will be used for sealing the pastry strip edges together.

Lay out 3 samosa strips on the counter and put another 3 on top to give double thickness. Spoon 1 heaped tsp of mushroom mix on to the top corner of each of the 3 strips and fold the pastry over the filling so that you have 3 pocket-shaped triangles.

Keep folding each pastry triangle over until you have a neat triangular package. Seal any open edges with the flour and water paste and press in place. Repeat the process with the remaining samosa strips.

Deep fry the samosas in hot oil until crisp and golden—it’s best to do this in batches. Drain and serve straight away with the garlic and red chilli chutney.

ALTERNATIVE: You can buy samosa strips from the frozen food section of south Asian grocery shops, but filo pastry makes a good substitute. Stack up 4 layers of filo pastry, brushing each sheet with melted butter before putting the next one in place. Cut the pastry into strips of 25cm x 8cm and fold the samosas in the same way as above.

Recipe: Roopa Gulati