In Goa (India) and Portugal, samosas are known as chamuças. They are usually filled with chicken, beef, pork, lamb or vegetables, and generally served quite hot. Samosas are an integral part of Goan and Portuguese cuisine, where they are a common snack.

A samosa-inspired snack is also very common in Brazil, and relatively common in several former Portuguese colonies in Africa, including Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, Angola and Mozambique, where they are more commonly known as pastéis (in Brazil) or empadas (in Portuguese Africa; in Brazilian Portuguese, empada refers to a completely different snack, always baked, small in size, and in the form of an inverse pudding). They are related to the Hispanic empanada and to the Italian calzone.

Prep 20 mins | Cook 20 mins | Ready in 40 mins


– 2 large potatoes, peeled

– 1 cup frozen peas, thawed

– 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

– 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

– 1 bay leaf, crushed

– 2 large onions, finely chopped

– 1 pound ground beef

– 4 cloves garlic, crushed

– 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root

– 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

– 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

– 1 teaspoon ground cumin

– 1 teaspoon ground coriander

– 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

– 1 teaspoon chili powder

– 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

– 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

– 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

– 2 tablespoons chopped green chili peppers

– 1 quart oil for deep frying

– 1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough


Bring a medium saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Stir in potatoes and peas. Cook until potatoes are tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, mash together and set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium high heat, heat the oil. Brown cumin seeds and bay leaf. Mix in onions and ground beef. Cook until beef is evenly brown and onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Mix in garlic, fresh ginger root. Season with black pepper, salt, cumin, coriander, turmeric, chili powder, cinnamon and cardamom. Stir in the mashed potato mixture. Remove from heat and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until cool.

Heat oil in a large, heavy saucepan over high heat.

Mix cilantro and green chile peppers into the potato and beef mixture. Place approximately 1 tablespoon of the mixture onto each phyllo sheet. Fold sheets into triangles, pressing edges together with moistened fingers.

In small batches, fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve warm.