Lentil Stuffed Samosas

October  7, 2013

Every week, we’re unearthing Heirloom Recipes -- dishes that have made their way from one generation's kitchen to the next.

Today: Kulsum Kunwa of Journey Kitchen shares a recipe that belongs to her grandmother, and an entire town. 


If I told you this is my grandma’s recipe, it would be both true and false. 

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It's true because in the most vivid memory I have of her, she is sitting on a green painted metal chair in the verandah instructing my aunts who are sitting on the floor with three large plates. One plate was stacked with whole wheat paper thin wraps covered in lightly damp cloth, another with pile of cooked lentils. The third plate was where they placed folded samosas. We kids would run around the verandah and were handed the folded samosas to eat while we passed by. The tradition has been handed down from my grandma to my aunts to my mom and now to us. So what makes it false?

This is not a scene that belongs to my house alone. This is a ritual of an entire town. You see, in my little town of Galiakot, located in dry and arid Rajasthan, samosa-making is a weekly, or at least fortnightly, affair in most houses. The recipe is the same for every house. It starts by kneading durum wheat atta (dough) and then preparing paper thin whole wheat wraps. The filling is prepared, the samosas folded, and then they hit the wok in which they are deep fried until golden brown.

The most commonly known vegetarian samosa consists of potatoes wrapped in a white flour pastry studded with cumin and green chilies, but you'll be surprised about how well this lentil filling goes over. Though it can be served with any kind of chutney, traditionally it is eaten by punching a hole at the center of the triangle and squeezing some lemon juice into it. 

I have globalized it a bit by suggesting you use any kind of wrapper you like: rice wraps, wheat wraps, or phyllo dough, even baked instead of fried -- it’s up to your interpretation. You can also shape them however you like. It might not be authentic, but it's still delicious.


Lentil Stuffed Samosas

Serves 10-12 

Dal filling

1 cup split moong dal/split pigeon pea or any lentil
1/2 cup spring onions, chopped along with the greens
1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped
1/4 cup coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon cumin powder, preferably freshly roasted and ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon Indian red chili powder
1 serrano chili or to heat preference
Salt to taste


4 spring roll wrapper sheets
1/4 cup wheat flour
3 tablespoons water

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.


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Freelance food photographer, food writer and recipe developer based in Kuwait. I'm passionate about familiarizing people with Indian cuisine through modern and contemporary take on Indian food on my blog Journey Kitchen.


Margo November 1, 2013
How much, what type of oil in the wok to cook samosa's and what temperature should the oil be before you drop them into the oil?
theflamingwench79 October 16, 2013
These look amazing! Looking forward to trying them out! October 14, 2013
Can't wait to try these. And Kulsum, your grandmother is gorgeous! What a beautiful photograph of your family. We are all so blessed to receive these loving traditions by way of your talent and artistry. Thank you.
Natasha J. October 9, 2013
Yummy. I'm going to make these.
Sajeda October 8, 2013
This is very hlpful site for me
thirschfeld October 7, 2013
These look so delicious!
LLStone October 7, 2013
I can't wait to try these.
em-i-lis October 7, 2013
These are beautiful, and I wish I had a batch to eat right now!!
TheWimpyVegetarian October 7, 2013
This looks FANTASTIC!