Here's What Happens When Filipino and Indian Cuisine Collide

The flavors of South Asia and Southeast Asia meet in a cross-cultural samosa.

Willy Blackmore is TakePart’s Food editor.

From taco pizza to Korean-Mexican street food, cooking that crosses cultures can be as delicious as it is initially confounding. What seems culturally perplexing can snap into focus with one delicious taste—which appears to be the case with Filipino-Indian samosas.

What’s that, you ask? It’s an invention borne of our latest episode of Served.

“I’ve challenged Chef K to take her Filipino essence and infuse it into my Indian brilliance,” says actor Utkarsh Ambudkar, who’s appeared in the film Pitch Perfect and television's The Mindy Project. The problem is, the Indian American actor freely admits that while he’s an expert at eating Indian food, he doesn’t know how to cook it.

Growing up in the Ambudkar home, “the ladies were in the kitchen” making dinner, and the men played cards; everyone gossiped. As such, he says, the only thing he knows how to cook is popcorn.

That’s where the culinary know-how of Chef K—Khristianne Uy, a Filipino American who won the first season of the cooking-competition-show The Taste—comes in. With her deep understanding of both eating and cooking the cuisine of the Philippines and years of experience as a private chef and caterer, Chef K is able to put this kitchen mash-up in order. She ties the pair’s culinary traditions with mango—a fruit found in both South Asian and Southeast Asian cooking—using it to lend a sweet touch to the samosa filling.

Ambudkar says that “when and if I ever make Indian food again, I can infuse some of these things” learned from Chef K into his own culinary practice. So keep an eye out for that Filip-Indian food truck sometime soon.

Chef K’s Filip-Indian Samosas

Makes 30 samosas

Ingredients

For the sweet-and-sour tomato chutney:

1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, grated
Salt

For the mint-cilantro sauce:

1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 cup mint leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, grated
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sambal (chile paste)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the samosas:

1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound ground chicken
1 small onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 small jicama, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
1 mango, peeled and diced
1 to 2 tablespoon sambal 
1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce
Salt
12 ounces tomato puree
30 large wonton wrappers
1 egg, beaten
2 quarts canola oil, for frying

Directions

Make the sweet-and-sour tomato chutney: Combine all of the ingredients in a small pot and simmer, uncovered, until the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce has slightly reduced, about 10 to 15 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool slightly and puree until smooth.

Make the mint-cilantro sauce: Stir together all of the ingredients except for the olive oil in a small bowl. Whisk in the oil in a steady stream, and check the seasoning, adding salt to taste.   

Make the samosas: Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium heat, and cook the chicken, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Reserve the chicken. Add the onion, carrot, and jicama to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Mix in the curry powder, mustard seeds, sambal, mango, and soy sauce, stirring to scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking, stirring regularly, until the spices are fragrant, about 8 minutes. Check the seasoning, adding more salt if necessary. Return the chicken, along with the tomato puree, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat, pour out onto a sheet tray, and place in the refrigerator to cool.

Lay each egg roll wrapper out on the work surface, and place 3 tablespoons of cooled filling in the middle. Using a pastry brush or your finger, brush border of the wrapper with beaten egg. Fold the wrapper over to form a triangle, pinching the edges to make a seal. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.

Preheat oil to 350 F. Fry until golden brown (2–3 minutes), flipping over once. Remove and drain on paper towels. Serve with prepared dipping sauces.

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