Onion Samosas

‘Super crispy on the outside and with a soft, sweet and spicy onion filling inside, these samosas are sold in Chennai on carts both large and small, beautifully displayed as a samosa mountain decorated with fresh chillies.’ – Chetna Makan, author of Chai, Chaat and Chutney


1 tablespoon sunflower oil, plus extra for deep-frying

4 onions, finely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon chilli powder

1 small green chilli, finely chopped

12 sheets of filo pastry

1 egg, beaten

extra small green chillies, to decorate (optional)

Peanut Chutney  or Coriander and Spinach Chutney  to serve


Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add the salt, chilli powder and green chilli, mix well and set aside to cool.


Take 1 sheet of pastry and cut it into strips, each 5cm (2 inches) wide. While you work with each piece, keep the other pastry sheets covered with a damp tea towel to prevent the pastry from drying out. Set

1 strip of pastry on your work surface and place a heaped tablespoon of the onion mixture at 1 end. Fold 1 corner of the pastry over the filling to form a triangle, then continue folding in alternate directions along the strip to make a triangular parcel. Brush the loose end with beaten egg and seal the triangle. Place the filled samosa on a plate and cover the plate with a damp tea towel so the pastry doesn’t dry out

while you continue making samosas with the remaining pastry and onion mixture.


Fill a deep-fat fryer or a large saucepan with enough oil for deep-frying the samosas (ensuring the pan is no more than one-third full). Line a plate with some kitchen paper. Heat the oil to 190°C (375°F).

Fry the samosas in batches for about 2 minutes each, until golden brown. Watch them carefully as they cook, since the filo pastry browns quickly.

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Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer the samosas to the paper-lined plate to drain excess oil. Decorate with extra small green chillis, if you wish, and serve hot with Peanut Chutney or Coriander and

Spinach Chutney.

This is an extract from Chai, Chaat and Chutney by Chetna Makan