Cape Malay Potato samoosas

Cape Malay Potato Samoosas

These Cape Malay potato samoosas are a delectable fusion of textures and flavors, designed to tantalise your taste buds and offer a satisfying crunch with every bite. The outer shell, crisped to golden perfection, encases a soft, fragrant filling that is both comforting and exciting.

Although my mom occasionally made potato samoosa, my dad was not a fan so she didn’t make it often. I only came to love potato samoosas when my mother’s friend, Aunty Mariam started making them. When she was alive she always brought a care package for me to bring back to Dubai with me containing potato samoosas, chicken samoosas and mince samoosas. 

Basic potato samoosa filling

The potatoes, once cooked, provide a soft, almost creamy consistency that contrasts beautifully with the crispy exterior of the samoosas. The smashed potatoes retain a slight bite, offering a hearty and fulfilling mouthfeel. The fresh coriander leaves and stems interspersed within lend bursts of freshness and a slight crunch, adding an extra layer of texture that is both surprising and delightful.

Flavor-wise, these potato samoosas are a complex amalgamation of spices and aromatics. The garlic paste and mustard seeds introduce a pungent, earthy base that is both aromatic and deeply flavorful. Turmeric powder adds a subtle bitterness and a beautiful golden hue, while the garam masala and cumin powder contribute a warm, aromatic complexity with hints of sweetness, heat, and a touch of smokiness. The chili flakes ensure that each bite carries a gentle heat, which builds gradually, allowing the warmth of the spices to shine without overpowering the palate. The salt enhances all these flavors, making the potato mixture taste even more vibrant.

The fresh coriander, with its lemony, slightly peppery taste, cuts through the richness of the spices, providing a bright, refreshing note that balances the overall flavor profile. Together, these ingredients create a harmonious blend that is characteristic of Cape Malay cuisine—richly spiced, deeply flavored, and utterly satisfying. Each bite offers a journey through the culinary traditions of the Cape, with the humble potato transformed into a delicacy that is both familiar and exotic.

Tips for making Cape Malay Potato samoosas

Making Cape Malay potato samoosas is as much about the process as it is about the final product. Enjoy the act of preparation, and don’t hesitate to put your personal spin on this traditional dish.

1. Perfecting the Potato Filling

  • Cooking Potatoes: Boil the potatoes until they are just tender, not too soft or mushy, to prevent the filling from becoming too wet or pasty.
  • Spices: Toast the spices (cumin, mustard seeds, etc.) briefly in a dry pan or with a little oil to enhance their flavors before adding them to the potato mixture. For additional flavor you may consider adding other spices like coriander seed powder, fennel seeds powder and carom seeds or mango powder. The fennel, carom seeds and mango powder and not often used in Cape Malay samoosas but do add lovely flavor to a vegetarian appetiser. 
  • Cooling Before Filling: Allow the potato filling to cool down before filling the samoosas. This makes the filling easier to handle and prevents the pastry from becoming soggy.

2. Working with the Pastry

  • Handling the Pastry: If using store-bought samoosa wrappers, keep them covered with a damp cloth to prevent drying out. If making your own dough, ensure it is rolled thinly for the best texture.
  • Sealing: Use a flour-water paste (a mixture of flour and water to create a thick paste) to seal the edges of the samoosas. This helps prevent them from opening up while frying.

3. Frying Techniques

  • Oil Temperature: Ensure the oil is at the correct temperature (medium heat) before frying. Too hot, and the samoosas will brown too quickly without cooking through. Too cool, and they’ll absorb too much oil, becoming greasy.
  • Batch Frying: Don’t overcrowd the pan when frying; doing so can lower the oil’s temperature, resulting in less crispy samoosas. Fry in batches for the best results.

4. Freezing and Storing

  • Freezing: Uncooked samoosas can be frozen for later use. Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet to freeze them individually, then transfer them to a freezer bag or container. Fry straight from frozen, adjusting cooking time as needed.
  • Storing: Keep leftover cooked samoosas in an airtight container in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven to maintain crispiness.

5. Presentation and Serving

  • Serving: Serve hot with dipping sauces like chutney or raita. A side of fresh salad can balance the richness and provide a refreshing contrast.
  • Garnish: A sprinkle of fresh coriander leaves or a squeeze of lemon juice just before serving can enhance the flavors.

Cape Malay Potato Samoosas with spicy dip

Filling variations

  • Incorporate Additional Vegetables – adding finely diced carrots, peas, or sweet corn can introduce a sweet contrast to the spicy filling, enrich the nutritional profile, and add a pop of color and visual appeal. These vegetables would bring a subtle sweetness and varied textures, making each bite more interesting.
  • Add a Touch of Sweetness – introducing a hint of sweetness can balance the heat and the savory elements. This could be achieved by adding a small amount of grated apple or mango chutney to the potato filling. The sweet component would complement the spices beautifully, adding depth to the overall flavor profile.
  • Enhance the Spice Mix – while the current spice mix is robust, adding a pinch of cinnamon or cardamom could introduce a warm, sweet note that pairs well with the other spices. These spices are often found in Cape Malay cooking and would contribute to the aromatic complexity of the samoosas.
  • Experiment with Herbs – besides coriander, consider incorporating mint or parsley for a different flavor profile. Mint could offer a cool contrast to the heat, while parsley would add a fresh, slightly bitter undertone, enhancing the freshness of the dish.
  • Introduce a Tangy Element – a squeeze of lemon juice or a dash of amchur (dry mango powder) mixed into the potato filling before assembling the samoosas could introduce a bright, tangy element. This acidity can lift the flavors and cut through the richness, making the samoosas even more irresistible.
  • Improve the Dough – if you’re making the samoosa wrappers from scratch, adding a touch of semolina flour to the dough can enhance the crispiness of the shells. Alternatively, for a lighter version, you might explore using phyllo pastry as a wrapper, brushed with a little ghee or butter for flavor.

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Cape Malay Potato Samoosas

Cape Malay Potato samoosas

Simone Fortuin
These Cape Malay potato samoosas have an outer shell, crisped to golden perfection, encasing a soft, fragrant filling that is both comforting and exciting and offer a satisfying crunch with every bite.
5 from 1 vote
Servings 25
Calories 109 kcal


Potato Samoosa filling ingredients

  • 1.5 kg potatoes, peeled and cubed approximately 6 large
  • 30 ml butter or ghee
  • 5 ml mustard seeds
  • 15 ml garlic paste
  • 5 ml cumin powder
  • 2.5 ml turmeric powder
  • 2.5 ml garam masala
  • 5 ml chili flakes
  • 5 ml salt, to taste
  • 125 ml fresh coriander leaves and stems finely chopped


  • 25 samoosa pastry strips
  • 60 ml cake flour
  • 30 ml water


Potato filling

  • Cook the potato cubes in salted water for 20 mins until soft.
  • Strain the water from the potato cubes and put back on the stove on low heat to let it dry out excess water.
  • Mash the potatoes roughly to break it up but not fine like mashed potato.
  • Melt the butter or ghee in a pan over medium heat and add the mustard seeds. Cook until it pops.
  • Add the turmeric powder, garam masala, cumin powder, chili flakes and 60 ml water to prevent the spices burning and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the salt and the spice mixture to the crushed potato and mix thoroughly to combine. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  • Add the chopped coriander leaves and stems and mix again to distribute.


  • Mix the flour and water for the glue when the potato filling is cool and you are about to assemble.
  • Keep the length of the pastry facing away from you and fold the bottom right corner across to the left edge.
  • Now fold that across to the right side again to form triangle shaped pocket. Ensure that the bottom tip of the pocket is tightly sealed or all the filling will escape during frying.
  • Fill the pocket with two tablespoon of samoosa filling. Use more or less depending on the width of the samoosa pastry strips.
  • Fold the long end of the pastry strip over the pocket and continue folding the triangle until only a short flap remains.
  • Use your finger or the back of a teaspoon to spread samoosa glue onto the pastry strip.
  • Fold the glued section against the triangle and ensure that all the corners are tight.
  • Pack flat into zip lock bags and freeze until required or fry immediately.
  • Fry the samoosas in hot oil at least 2 cm deep for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes until golden.


Calories: 109kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 3gFat: 0.5gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 212mgPotassium: 285mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 89IUVitamin C: 12mgCalcium: 21mgIron: 1mg

Disclaimer: Nutritional information for the recipe is an approximation and varies according to the ingredients and products used.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    February 23, 2024 at 1:38 am

    I can just feel the snappy crunch of these pastries. Will be a lovely addition to the table of goodies.
    Thankyou for the recipe. :))

  • 5 from 1 vote

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