Mama Mariam's Mariakani Samosas


 Coastweek   Kenya

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Coastweek - - Samosas are deep-fried pastry pockets, filled 
with local delicacies - a favorite snack throughout East Africa.



This first recipe calls for the medium-hot potato and green pea filling popular among vegetarians. Reduce the amount of green chilies and garam masala for a milder flavor.


INGREDIENTS: (24 pieces)

  • one cup all-purpose flour

  • one tablespoon melted butter

  • one tablespoon ground coriander

  • one teaspoon salt

  • three quarters of a cup warm water

  • one pound potatoes

  • half a pound (1 cup) green peas (fresh or frozen)

  • one tablespoon vegetable oil

  • one onion, finely chopped

  • one teaspoon chopped fresh ginger

  • one teaspoon cumin seed

  • two green chilies, chopped (optional)

  • two tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves

  • one teaspoon garam masala (see index)

  • one tablespoon dry mango powder or lemon juice

  • one tablespoon all-purpose flour mixed with ˝ cup water

  • good quality vegetable oil for deep frying.



  1. Sift flour and mix with melted butter, ground coriander, and half a teaspoon salt.

  2. Rub butter into flour well.

  3. Use about three quarters of a cup warm water to prepare a stiff but smooth dough.

  4. Knead about five minutes. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside for 30 minutes.

  5. Clean and wash potatoes.

  6. Boil with green peas in two cups water until potatoes are cooked. Drain and cool. Peel potatoes and cut into small cubes.

  7. Heat one tablespoon vegetable oil in a skillet. Add onions and sauté two minutes. Add ginger, cumin seed, green chilies, peas, potatoes, chopped coriander leaves, garam masala, remaining half a teaspoon salt, and mango powder or lemon juice. Cook five minutes. Cool.

  8. Mix one tablespoon flour with half cup water. Set aside. Knead dough a few minutes. Divide into 12 equal parts.

  9. Shape into 12 balls. Roll into disks as thin as possible. Cut each disk in half. Moisten edges of the semicircles with the flour and water mixture. Fold them into cones.

  10. Fill each cone with the potato mixture. Do not overstuff. Seal the top and all other openings completely.

  11. Heat vegetable oil for deep frying.

  12. Fry samosa until golden and crisp.

Serve with a sweet and hot chutney.



These rich ground meat samosas are a favorite with non-vegetarians.

Incidentally, samosas vary in shape and fillings. In certain towns they are semicircular, while others favour the traditional triangular style.

(For the samosa pastry - see preceding recipe)


INGREDIENTS: (24 pieces)

  • two green chilies, chopped (optional)five cloves garlic, choppedone teaspoon chopped fresh ginger

  • quarter of a cup chopped fresh coriander leaves

  • one tablespoon vegetable oil

  • one small onion, chopped

  • one pound ground Iamb or beef

  • half A teaspoon turmeric

  • one teaspoon salt

  • quarter of a teaspoon ground cloves

  • quarter of a teaspoon cinnamon

  • half teaspoon ground cardamom

  • one tablespoon dry mango powder or lemon juice

  • one tablespoon garam masala (see index)

  • good quality vegetable oil for deep frying

  • chopped coriander leaves for garnish



  1. Prepare samosa pastry as in the preceding recipe and set aside.

  2. Grind the chilies, garlic, ginger and coriander leaves to a smooth paste.

  3. Add about one tablespoon water if necessary.

  4. Heat one tablespoon vegetable oil in a skillet.
    Lightly sauté onions.

  5. Add seasoned paste and cook two minutes.

  6. Add meat, turmeric, salt, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom.

  7. Simmer on low heat until all the liquid dries up.
    Break up any lumps that may have formed.

  8. Add mango powder or lemon juice and garam masala.
    Set aside to cool.

  9. Fill and fry the samosas as in the previous recipe.

Sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves before serving.

We are always interested in your opinions, suggestions, comments or 
contributions - If you have a favourite 'traditional' recipe that might go 
down well along the East African Coast, do send it in to us and we can 
share your pleasure and treasure with our readers around the world.






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