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Madras curry paste, a Pantry Special (Recipe: potato and broccoli samosas)

Potato and broccoli samosas

Madras curry paste and Madras shorts share a place of origin, but otherwise don't seem to have much in common. Along with Thai red and green curry pastes, Madras curry paste, also called madrasi masala, makes frequent guest appearances in my kitchen, which Madras shorts do not. A specialty of the South Indian region around Madras (renamed Chennai in 1996), this yellow paste is a blend of coriander, cumin, brown mustard seed, black pepper, cayenne, turmeric, garlic, ginger and vinegar; sometimes it will have cinnamon and paprika, as the blend varies from cook to cook. The amount of cayenne determines the heat level of the final product, but as a rule, Madras curry is considered medium hot. Stirred into coconut milk, it makes the base of a quick weeknight curry, and pairs well with almost any vegetables, tofu or fish. Stored in the refrigerator, it will keep for up to one year.

Is this Pantry Special new to you?


How to make your own Madras curry paste:
Madras curry paste
Madrasi masala
Doc's Madras curry paste

Where to buy online:
Pataks (Amazon.com, 10 oz., $4.64)
Pataks (Ethnicfoodsco.com, 10 oz., $5.75)

How to use Madras curry paste:
Lamb curry with cauliflower and double cilantro
Malaysian mango chicken curry
Egg curry
Tomato, squash and spinach curry
Chicken korma curry
Smoked salmon kedgeree


Potato and broccoli samosas

You can use this filling with store-bought or homemade pie dough, or discos, or wonton or eggroll skins, to make samosas in any size or shape. Traditionally they are triangles, but don't let that limit you. Makes enough filling for 10-12 large samosas, which can be frozen and reheated in a 350°F oven.


1/2 lb potatoes, any type, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 Tbsp Madras curry paste, or more to taste
1/4 lb broccoli florets or peeled stems, diced
1 Tbsp agave nectar (or sugar)
1/2 cup frozen peas
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup unsalted, roasted cashew nuts, chopped
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro (optional)
1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry


Remove puff pastry from packaging and set out on the countertop to thaw while you make the filling.

In a small saucepan, bring one quart of water to boil. Add potatoes, and cook 5 minutes; remove from heat, drain, and set aside. In a frying pan, heat olive oil and sauté onions and curry paste for 3-4 minutes, stirring, until the mixture is fragrant and the onion golden. Add potatoes, broccoli and agave nectar. Cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in the peas, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. (If the mixture is sticking, add 1-2 Tbsp water). Cool to room temperature. When the mixture is cool, season with salt and pepper. Stir in cashews and cilantro.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

When the dough has thawed but is still cold, roll out slightly and trim off the edges. Cut each sheet into 6 large squares, or cut with a 3-inch or larger round cookie cutter. Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of each piece of pastry. Paint the edges of the pastry with water, and fold in half. Seal with the tines of a fork. Place on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. If using discos, brush with egg wash (one egg beaten with one Tbsp water). Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:

Curried mushroom, bean and barley soup
Green chicken curry with eggplant
Pineapple shrimp curry
Curried green tomatoes

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Hi Lydia, I am surprised to find Madras paste included in your post. Thanks for that.

thanks for the mouthwatering pictures. I could eat ten of those right now and it isnt even 7 am yet

Mmm, I love Madras Curry Paste, and Pataks is great! They are definitely not afraid of flavour. I am obsessed with their mango pickle and have been known to put it on a hamburger... well, I am Irish and not Hindu!

YUM.....I love these flavors and can't wait to make this recipe.

Nope never had Madras Curry Paste but I think I may have had some madras plaids at one time.
Wish I had these for lunch.

I have madras curry powder in my kitchen which is a staple... but I've never seen the paste. Hmm. The samosas look fantastic!! I could go for one right now..

Arundhati, my pantry is quite worldly!

Milton, I think my husband might have done that for dinner last night....

Natashya, Patak's is the only brand I could find online, but others are available at my local Asian market.

Cindy, the filling is really good on its own, too.

MyKitchen, I must confess that I went through a Madras shorts phase. But that was a long time ago!

Julia, the paste is a great convenience product. I find it at 88 Supermarket in Boston.

I've only used Madras curry powder, which I like a lot, so if this is similar in flavor I think I would love it. (And I did have madras shorts at one time, but not lately!)

I haven't had or made samosas in ages - yours look fabulous, particularly the dough. Totally craving them now.

Oh these look so good! I'm going to make them this week. I wonder what they would taste like in a whole wheat pizza dough? Love love love Madras curry paste. Thanks so much for the post.
Dana Zia

Definitely do not have this in my pantry but I do love samosas!

it's the food of my people! :) actually, I don't get to claim Madras curry paste because I'm a North Indian, but hey, it's the same subcontinent, right? I'm going to buy some on my next trip to the Indian grocer. love the addition of cashews to the filling--yum!

Lydia, maybe you should give Madras-plaid-shorts another shot? they've been making a comeback!

Kalyn, this has the same rich warmth as Madras curry powder. (And see above -- I've confessed to a prior affinity for Madras shorts, too.)

Cate, I love using refrigerated puff pastry for these, but I've also used the filling in almost every type of dough.

Dana, the filling is full-flavored, so it would hold up well to the richness of whole wheat pizza dough. Have fun with that.

Veron, I love samosas, too, and this is an easy way to get a good blend of spices into the mix.

Bluejeangourmet, I've heard that about madras shorts....!

Lydia, those look awesome - this is going into my "must try" file. I have a number of different masalas, but not madras - I must rectify that!

This one is new to me, Lydia. Now I've got to look for it.

Lydia, those look absolutely amazing. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE samosas. Thanks for the awesome idea!

Judy, Susan: I always think of this one as the middle of the stoplight, and medium hot. Hope you like it.

Sarah, I love samosas too and they're so easy to make if you don't make the dough from scratch.

Skirts, not shorts -- c. 1959?

Those samosas look fabulous. I'd most often use wonton wrappers rather than puff pastry though.

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