Washington D.C. is home to a wealth of beloved restaurants, but Rasika stands out for its longevity and popularity. The modern Indian eatery takes classic preparations and modernizes them using local, seasonal produce. The ambiance, service and beverage program have all contributed to Rasika’s long reign as one of the Capitol’s favorites. These sweet potato samosa purses will delight your holiday guests — make a big platter!
We put these on the menu in the fall close to Thanksgiving and Christmas because sweet potatoes and cranberries are so much a part of the American table at that time of year. In the summer, we may fill the samosas with corn and fava beans.
Samosas are the traditional, pyramid-shaped fried pastries common in India, especially in the northern part. They are usually filled with potatoes and peas and served with mint-cilantro chutney and tamarind chutney.
We use square spring roll pastry sheets instead of a heavy dough because it makes the samosas lighter and crispier. Also, it’s a lot easier to use. These are wheat-flour- based and made without eggs, so they are vegan. Do not confuse them with egg roll wrappers, which are thicker than spring roll sheets and made with eggs, or with rice paper, which is used for Vietnamese spring rolls.
Assembled samosas freeze well, so you can make these through Step 5 up to a month ahead, provided they are wrapped well. Thaw them before baking.
- 1 green onion, dark green tops only, cut lengthwise into 8 strips
- 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch-cubes
- 1/4 cup canola oil, plus 6 cups for deep-frying
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh Thai green chili
- 1/2 teaspoon chaat masala
- 1/4 teaspoon deggi mirch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 8 6 x 6-inch spring roll pastry sheets, such as Spring Home Brand
- Cranberry Chutney
For the samosas
Set up a small bowl of ice and water. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Dip the green onion strips into the boiling water, then transfer them to the ice water. Drain them and blot them dry on paper towels. You will use these as “strings” to tie the purses.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a small baking sheet with foil or parchment.
Coat the sweet potatoes with 2 tablespoons of the oil and spread them on the baking sheet. Bake until soft, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and mash the potatoes with a potato masher. (You can do this right on the pan.)
In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the cumin seeds and let them crackle. Add the ginger, green chili, chaat masala, deggi mirch and salt, stirring to combine. Sauté for 1 minute, then mix in the mashed sweet potatoes and lemon juice. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and let the filling cool.
Lay the spring roll wrappers on the counter. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling the center of each. Join two opposite corners, then bring up the other two to create a purse and hold it together by tying a green onion string around it with a double knot.
Line a plate with paper towels. Pour the 6 cups of oil into a wok or kadai and heat to 350°F. Fry the samosas until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn them constantly with a spider strainer or skimmer so they brown evenly. Transfer to paper towels to blot them and serve with cranberry chutney or sauce.