Who would have thought that a healthy version of a typically fried-in-vegetable-oil snack could exist (unless you’ve already seen this one). My inspiration for this recipe comes yet again from the first inventor of a healthy samosa (to my knowledge) and my ultimate idol Sarah B. of My New Roots. I received her very inspired cookbook as a Birthday gift from my Sister early last year, and one of the first recipes my Sister and I made together was the Savory Spring Hand Pies. The very Australian gristly slop that springs to mind when you hear the word ‘pie’, could not be more different to Sarah B’s reinvention. Made from a spelt-flour crust and filled with fresh peas and lots of lemon, they are truly delicious. Perhaps the best bit about these pies is the flavoursome inclusion of ramps; an American species of wild onion which has an amazing garlic/lemon vibe that you doesn’t compare to anything here in Australia. If you’re overseas and you see ramps for sale, buy them, try them and let me know what you think.
After trying Sarah B’s pies, I was inspired to make a different kind of filling. The pastry of these pies has the most perfect balance of flaky/buttery, even though it’s made with coconut oil. I immediately thought of samosas and quickly began writing the recipe in my head.
Traditional samosas are heavy on potatoes… Promise you won’t stop reading after you read this next line… I don’t love potatoes. Sweet potatoes are another story though! Baked into chips, steamed and eaten with cinnamon, blended into a smoothie with banana, or baked into brownies, to say the least these tubers are ver-sa-tile.
And so it was, a sweet potato samosa. If you prefer white potatoes, you could absolutely use those here. The inclusion of a starchy carb is really just a vehicle for all of the amazing spices used in this recipe. I love using whole spices in all Indian dishes – curries, raita, flat breads, but doing so is most traditional in a samosa recipe. There’s something about crunching a cumin or coriander seed between your teeth inside a mouthful of food and anticipating the explosion of spice.
As far as nutrition goes, sweet potatoes are a healthier choice than regular white. They’re a complex carbohydrate, as opposed to a simple one, meaning they give you longer lasting fuel to go and go and not feel hungry again quickly. The beautiful orange hue of sweet potatoes is the result of the rich level of beta carotene they contain. Beta carotene within foods is converted to Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A plays an important regulatory role within the body– it helps maintain eye health, stimulates the development and function of the immune system and is required for the production of red blood cells. Just one small, roasted sweet potato provides over 100% of our daily requirement for Vitamin A.
If all that nutrition talk has got you yawning, the real message here is to just eat colourful things!
I’ve used Sarah B’s exact pie pastry recipe here because it really can’t be beat. Thanks Sarah B!
- 2 cups wholemeal spelt flour
- heavy pinch salt
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup water
- 1.5 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon grated turmeric
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
- 1 large brown onion, diced
- 400g sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 2cm pieces
- 3/4 cups fresh or frozen green peas
- 6 stalks kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF/175ºC.
- In a large bowl, sift together the spelt four and salt. Add in the coconut oil and give the mixture a good mix. Next, slowly pour in the water while mixing, until a smooth dough forms (just make sure the mixture comes together and isn't crumbly). Set aside.
- Meanwhile, place the sweet potatoes into a large saucepan filled with water. Bring to the boil, then simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes. You just want to par-cook the sweet potatoes here. When pricked with a fork, they should be soft, but not soft enough to mash. Drain and set aside.
- In a large frying pan, melt the tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat. Add the cumin, mustard and coriander seeds and toast until lightly browned and smelling fragrant (about 2 minutes). Add in the chopped onion and cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes or until soften and golden. Next, add the garlic and cook for a further 3 minutes.
- Add the sweet potato, ginger and turmeric to the frying pan along with 1/2 a cup of water. Simmer the mixture over a medium heat for 10 minutes, then, using a fork or potato masher, roughly smash the sweet potatoes.
- Throw the peas and chopped kale into the pan and stir for 3-4 minutes to wilt the kale and soften the peas. Turn off the heat, then set the mixture aside while you roll out the dough.
- Section the dough out into 6 even pieces. Using a rolling pin, roll out each section of dough into a circular shape. Spoon about 2.5 tablespoons of the sweet potato mixture into the middle of each dough circle. If there is any mixture left over, squeeze some more into your samosas, or enjoy it for a snack!
- Fold each dough circle onto itself so that it resembles a half moon. Seal the edges closed by pressing the sides down with a fork– move your way around the whole dough circle so that it's completely sealed closed.
- Bake on a baking paper lined oven tray for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.