Vegetarian Samosa – Kenyan Style

Samosas are available in most places in the world as little triangle pastries filled with a variety of fillings – but only a few places make them the traditional Indian style. They can be made as vegetarian or non-vegetarian fillings.  They are eaten as a snack with a cup of tea, served as a starter at some meal or served up in a miniature version at posh receptions and serve as canapés.


Here’s my recipe for the traditional samosas – the way they were made in our restaurant in Kenya,  taught by my dad years ago and I follow the same recipe even today. The recipe is not difficult to make but as with most cooking – preparation is the key to making a good product.  Every time, I make these, I remember the factory style operation for making them where one person made the pastry and others all took turns in filling and sealing them ready to fry for the customers.

Ingredients for about the filling:

  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 3  medium carrots
  • One cup of frozen peas
  • I medium onion
  • A tsp of blended ginger
  • 2 or 3 green chilies (can be reduced or missed out if you do not like hot food)
  • Small bunch of coriander
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp. chilly powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbls sunflower oil
  • ½ cup plain flour to make paste to stick the samosa
  • 2-3 tbls plain flour for dusting.

Please note: Some of the spices can be adjusted to suit your personal taste. .

For making the pastry for the samosa 

  • 2 cups  of plain flour
  • quarter teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tsp of lemon


1. Add salt and lemon to the plain flour. Add some warn water to the flour to make a dough.  Keep kneading the dough until it feels smooth.  Cover and rest the dough.


2. Dice the potatoes and carrots.  Add the peas to the mixture. Wash the vegetables and leave them in a colander. Dice the onion finely, chop the green chilies and coriander finely but do not add them to the vegetables.


3. Warm the sunflower oil in a saucepan, add the cumin seeds. Once they start to go golden brown, add the vegetables to the oil. Add in the ginger, half the chopped chilies, salt, chilly powder and sugar. Let this mixture cook gently. Try not to add any water to the mixture. Wash your vegetables just before you add them to the hot oil so that there is enough moisture to enable the vegetables to cook. You can cook the vegetables in the microwave if you are worried that the vegetables may get burnt. When using the microwave, cook them for 5 minutes, stir and cook again for 5 minutes. Repeat this until the vegetables are cooked.

4. Add the lemon juice and  remove the mixture from the heat.  Add the onions, the rest of the green chilies and coriander to the mixture. By adding these items uncooked at the end will give the samosas a nice flavour to the mixture. When you eat the samosas, you’ll be able to taste all the spices as well as the onions and chilies.

5.  Spread the mixture so that it starts to  cool down.

Now make the PASTRY for the somasas.:

1. Divide the pastry into small balls as shown in my picture below:

2. Take two balls and roll both of them in a circle with to 3 inch diameter.

3. Lightly oil one of the rolled out pastry.

4. Sprinkle some plain flour to the second rolled out pastry. This will resemble a roti.

5. Put one pastry on top of the other as shown in my picture.

In the meantime – warm the griddle or dry flying pan on a warm setting.
6. Sprinkle some flour to this pastry and roll out the pastry in a circle.

7. Cook the pastry on the griddle for half a minute and turn to the second side.   By lightly cooking the pastry, it gets rid of any air bubbles that might be in the pastry.

8. Remove the pastry on a work top and separate the two rotis.

9. Cover the rotis  into two and  finish making the rest of the rotis.

10. Keep all the rotis covered using a clean tea towel.


Now the rotis are ready to be filled with the samosa mixture. You can  prepare and freeze the samosa rotis  for when you wish to use them.  Just remember to defrost them thoroughly.

Now  we need to make some  white flour paste  to sick the samosa pastry when assembling the samosas.

For the paste:

Take 2 or 3 tablespoons of plain white flour and add warm water to the flour. Stir the mixture and the consistency should resemble glue.

To fill the samosa:

1. Take the half roti.

2. Using a teaspoon, add some glue on half the semi circle side.

3. Fold it to form a cone

4. Fill the cone with samosa mixture.

5. Seal the  top of the cone using the paste.

6. Allow the samosas to rest for half an hour.  You can freeze samosas at this stage.

7. To fry the samosas, heat the oil.

8. Gently fry the Samosa in hot sunflower oil until crispy and very light golden.

9. Serve with any of your favourite sauces.  In Kenya and the Gujarati takeaways in UK, they are served with the  green coriander and chilly chutney.

Samosas do require a lot of preparations but once you have made them, you will not enjoy any ready made frozen varieties ever. Homemade are the best.


Leftover samosas are great for using in:

Other ways of using the samosa filling:

These samosas are typical Gujarati and East African style samosas.  Recipe for punjabi samosas is here. 

You can also use ready made short crust pastry to fill with the samosa filling. Try making these heart shaped samosa pastries 

If you are in a hurry and wish to cheat, you can use ready made tortillas as samosa pastry.  See the recipe for cheat samosas here .


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