Samosa pot pie combines classic oven baked American pot pie with the flavors of an Indian potatoes and peas samosa. It is an easy dish that feeds a large crowd and doesn't require frying!
Samosas are an Indian fried appetizer that can be filled with just about anything. I grew up eating savory samosas filled with chunks of meat and caramelized onions as well as sweet ones filled with molten chocolate.
This samosa pot pie recipe is inspired by the Punjabi samosa which is one of the most popular varieties. The Punjabi samosa is filled with two main ingredients, potatoes and peas. The potatoes are boiled until fluffy and slightly chunky. They are seasoned with an array of punchy spices like chaat masala, Kashmiri chili powder, and turmeric. Last but not least, the green peas offer pops of sweetness and freshness throughout the filling.
Some home cooks choose to cook their potato and peas filling on the stovetop before stuffing it into the samosa. My recipe opts to make the filling like the street side samosa vendors who simply mix the spices in with the potatoes to give a sharper taste. As the potatoes and spices warm in the oven, their flavors marry and mellow creating a drool-worthy samosa filling.
Samosa Filling Ideas
If potatoes and peas aren't your thing, you can definitely fill your samosas with whatever your heart desires. Here are some tips on choosing fillings for your samosa pot pie.
- Make sure to cook the filling before adding it in. If you are substituting a meat for potatoes in your samosa pot pie, make sure to saute and fully cook your meat before adding it to the pie.
- Remove excess moisture from your filling to ensure a crunchy crust. For the potato filling, I take extra care to boil the potatoes with the skin on and remove them from the water once cooked to make sure that the filling doesn't retain excess moisture. If you are adding onions, make sure to cook them until they sweat. Taking these extra steps make sure that you have a crunchy instead of a soggy crust.
- Cool the filling before stuffing your pie. Make sure that the filling you are adding is cool before adding it to your pie crust. If the filling is too warm, it can melt the butter in the pie crust, creating a greasy and soggy pie.
- Season the filling liberally. The buttery and flaky pie crust is very rich and needs a filling with enough salt and spice to counterbalance that richness. Always taste your filling before stuffing your pie and adjust for salt as needed.
Pie crust techniques
This samosa pot pie crust has a few special techniques. These techniques will make the flavors taste like the traditional Indian samosa but with the flakiness of an all-American pie. Here are the tips to creating a flavorful and flaky pie crust.
- Ajwain (caraway or carom) seeds are the secret ingredient for a tasty crust. Ajwain seeds are almost always sprinkled into samosa dough and provide an earthy and anise-y flavor. This seed when added in moderation brings another level of depth to the dough but when used in excess can cause it to become bitter or even medicinal in taste.
- Cold butter is the key for a flaky pie crust. Keeping the butter cold in the dough as it hits the oven is crucial for forming a flaky crust. As the butter melts, the steam creates air pockets which result in the flaky layers that are iconic to pie crust.
- Diligently work pea sized butter pieces into the flour. It is important to work the butter pieces into the flour which will create more air pockets or flakiness when the butter melts in the oven. If the butter is not sufficiently coated in the flour, it can leak out of the crust, causing a mess and a greasy crust.
- Use water sparingly in pie dough. Adding excess water to pie dough will result in a chewier rather than a flaky crust. The end dough should barely come together but not have any dry patches. As the dough rests in the fridge, the flour will hydrate and the dough will come together.
- Dust the crust with chaat masala. As soon as the pot pie is removed from the oven, I dust it with a bit of chaat masala. This adds another layer of tang that will cling onto the warm crust. This technique is much like salting fried foods with a bit of salt right out of the frier; it gives it that extra bit of seasoning for the outer layer.
Using puff pastry as a shortcut
Making pie dough is probably the most difficult but worthwhile part of this recipe. However, sometimes we just don't have time to make a homemade pie dough and that is absolutely ok.
Especially during the holidays, I stock up on store-bought puff pastry for an easy shortcut. Simply sprinkle and gently pat in some ajwain (carom/caraway) seeds into the puff pastry, assemble the pie, and bake. This gets a similar taste that comes together so quickly.
Speaking of the holidays, this is a great make-ahead Thanksgiving or Christmas vegetarian option that can feed ~8 people.
If you are looking to make this dish vegan, fear not, as most store-bought puff pastry sheets are vegan. Next, simply swap the egg wash with non-dairy milk and voila, the dish is vegan!
You can even assemble this recipe months in advance and stick it in the freezer until you are ready to pop the dish in the oven on the day of your event. Just remember that the cooking time will be slightly longer if the pie is completely frozen.
Samosa dipping sauces
This samosa pot pie is super flavorful on its own but I do love eating it with some sauces for that added depth of flavor. I love pairing this pot pie with an herbaceous cilantro-mint chutney which gives it beautiful brightness and acidity.
I also love a good tamarind and date chutney. It is a sweet, sour, and syrupy chutney that gets its sourness from the tamarind and sweetness from the Medjool dates. You can easily find this sauce at your local Indian grocery store.
Last but not least, I love a good Maggi hot and sweet sauce. It's an Indian staple condiment that is a hybrid between ketchup, sweet and sour sauce, and hot sauce. I always douse my samosas in it so it makes sense that it would also go all over my samosa pot pie.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cold butter that is worked into the flour is key for an extra flaky crust. During all steps of making the dough, it is important that the butter remain cold. Once assembling the pie, place it in the freezer for another 10 minutes for an extra flaky pie.
Yes, simply swap out the pie crust for puff pastry for a shortcut. Sprinkle carom/caraway/ajwain seeds to give the recipe a samosa flavor.
An herbaceous cilantro-mint chutney, a brown tamarind date chutney, or Maggi hot and sweet ketchup are great sauces that pair well with samosas or samosa pot pies.
First, swap the homemade pie crust with store-bought puff pastry which is typically vegan. Second, roll in some carom/ajwain seeds to give the iconic samosa taste. Last but not least, brush the top with non-dairy milk instead of egg wash.
Yes! You can make and assemble the uncooked pie up to 3 months in advance and freeze. Make sure to tightly wrap the pie to prevent freezer burn. The pie can be popped into the oven on the day it is ready to be served. Remember that the cooking time will be doubled for a pie that is fully frozen.
You can reheat slices of this pie in the air fryer or convention oven on 375F for 5-7 minutes for the ultimate crispy crust and warmed center. You can optionally microwave the pie but it may not result in a crispy crust.