Savory Samosas

| August 20, 2010 | 5 Comments

For many Americans the idea of this nation as a cultural melting pot endures. But for many immigrants like myself, the idea of a melting pot no longer applies. Rather than discarding all of our unique cultural heritage to embrace a common, nondescript culture, many of us prefer to turn the analogy on its head and think of America as a Smörgåsbord.   

This idea of America as a Smörgåsbord was reinforced for me this weekend as I was watching Eat Pray Love. Facing a life crisis, the main character finds herself empty and void, wondering who she is, and she embarks on a healing journey to Italy to nourish herself with food, to India to nourish her soul, and then to Bali to nourish her heart back to health.  

I was thinking of living in California between ages 4 and 10 with children from many other parts of the world. And our parents encouraging us to speak only English and adopt the customs of our new homeland. And feeling much later as an adult, as many of my friends did, that there was a gaping hole inside of us. We looked different, but we had lost our original connection to what made us unique and different. And many of us ended up making journeys to our homelands as adults to reconnect with the pieces of us that we had left behind so long ago.  

One of my dearest friends, a native of India, has made it a point for many years to go home at least once a year for an extended sojourn. He maintains his fluency in his native language and is now raising his kids to speak Hindi in addition to English, even though they were born in the U.S.  

Wherever we came from, the cultures and traditions of our homelands help shape who we are and who we’ll become. Bringing all of those unique traditions, languages, customs and, of course, food, to the big buffet table that is America, or whichever nation you live in, helps make wherever you’re living a much richer place.  

I remember living in Singapore in my early teens and how distinct the culture was, with influences from the British, Malaysians, ethnic Chinese and Indians. Even though English was the official language, people there spoke many languages. And life was so vibrant…along with the food.  

One of my favorite foods while we lived there was Indian: Tandoori, samosas, curries. That memory of Singapore made me crave Indian food. So when it came time to figure out what I was going to make for dinner, samosas came to mind. Of course I had never made them before, but drawing from my memory of those fried pastries filled with meat, vegetables and curry seasonings, I was able to come up with a tasty treat for my family.  

So here’s a quick and easy contribution to your Smörgåsbord the next time you want to try something different. And get out to see Eat Pray Love.  

Pork samosas using Pillsbury Crescent Roll dough are easy and quick to make and pair wonderfully with a pear compote.


Pork Samosas  

Makes 8  

  1. 2 packages of Pillsbury Crescent Roll dough
  2. 1 cup (240 ml.) ground pork
  3. 1 finely chopped carrot
  4. 1 finely chopped potato
  5. ½ cup (120 ml.) finely chopped red bell pepper
  6. 2 tablespoons (3o ml.) curry masala or curry powder
  7. 2 teaspoons (10 ml.) salt
  8. 1 egg, beaten in bowl
  9. 3 tablespoons (45 ml.) cooking oil
  • Preheat oven to 350 °F (175 °C).
  • To make filling, heat cooking oil in skillet over medium-high heat and brown pork.
  • Add curry masala or curry powder, salt, and chopped carrots, potato and bell pepper, and stir until vegetables begin to soften.
  • Turn off the heat and set aside.
  • Spray or brush a non-stick cookie sheet with some oil.
  • Unroll the Pillsbury Crescent Roll dough and cut along perforations with a pizza cutter to create triangular shapes.
  • Lay one piece of dough on the cookie sheet and place some of the filling in the center of the dough.
  • Brush edges of the dough with egg wash.
  • Cover with another piece of dough and gently press down on edges to seal. For a flourish, you can fold the thinnest point of the triangle of dough back on itself  (see photos).
  • Repeat process until you’ve used all of the dough.
  • Brush some egg wash on the tops of the sealed somosas.
  • Place in oven and bake 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
  • Serve hot or at room temperature with pear compote.

Lay a triangle of dough on the cookie sheet, place some filling in the center, then brush the sides with egg wash.


Then cover with another piece of dough, gently press down edges to seal and for a flourish, fold over the longest tip. Repeat to fill all samosas and then brush the tops with egg wash.


The samosas will cook in about 10-15 minutes. When golden brown, remove from oven and let cool.


For the pear compote  

  1. 3 bartlett pears, peeled, cored and chopped into small chunks
  2. 1 cinnamon stick
  3. 3 cloves
  4. Nutmeg to taste
  5. ¼ cup (60 ml.) sugar
  6. 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) finely chopped ginger
  7. 3 tablespoons (45 ml.)  butter
  8. ¼ cup (60 ml.) orange juice
  9. ¼ cup (60 ml.) water
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and sauté ginger until it softens, add pears, cinnamon stick and cloves, and sauté until pear chunks start to soften.
  • Add orange juice, water, sugar and bring to a simmer, then turn heat to low and cook until liquid reduces to about half its volume. This should take about 15-20 minutes.
  • Stir in grated nutmeg and turn off heat, cover and set aside until ready to serve.
  • Before serving in a bowl as a condiment for the samosas, discard cinnamon stick and cloves.


— Vic

Tags: ,

Category: Appetizers, Meat

About the Author (Author Profile)

Victor Panichkul is a journalist and writer by training; a cook, wine lover and photographer by passion; and a lover of the outdoors since moving to Oregon more than 10 years ago. He is a native of Bangkok, Thailand.

Comments (5)

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  1. Marlene says:

    Vic, I enjoyed reading about your time in America and how you feel about the many cultures who live here. Your samosas sound quite tasty and easy to make. Thanks for sharing your feelings and I, too, enjoyed “Eat, Pray, Love”.

  2. VPanichkul says:

    Thanks so much Marlene. Charles and I are getting ready to head up to Seattle for the International Food Bloggers Conference. It should be fun!!

  3. VPanichkul says:

    PS, I don’t know if you’re still a vegetarian, but if you ever want to try this recipe, substitute chopped mushrooms for the ground beef or pork!

  4. M. says:

    I love both recipes, my grandma made a similar pear compote when I was a kid….so amazing….bring so many wonderful memories.

  5. wizzy says:

    I agree it is indeed so important to connect with that which makes us unique and differnt and celebrate it even as we embrace the culture of others

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