A few weeks ago, I had to the pleasure of taping a guest segment for Niqitsiat, a cooking show that is filmed and produced here in Iqaluit. Niqitsiat aims to showcase Inuit foods and is hosted by the charismatic Rebecca Veevee. If you haven't seen the show on APTN, you can stream some of the episodes online. Check out the link below if you want to know what to do with a fresh caribou head.
So how did I come to be involved with Niqitsiat? Well, one of the show's producers, Sylvia Cloutier, was looking for people to share recipes for international dishes made with country food. I answered the call, with a tuktu (caribou) samosa recipe.
Originally, Sylvia and I had planned to make the samosas with ground umingmak (muskox), but were unable to find any in Iqaluit. We used chopped up tuktu instead, though you could also substitute with ground beef or lamb, or make the entire recipe with just potatoes. But if you have access to hunted meat, please, try this recipe! The richness of game meat pairs so well with South Asian flavours and spices. My mouth is watering at the memory.
Tuktu Samosa Recipe
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 tsp salt 1/4 tsp fennel seeds 1/4 tsp coriander seeds 2 tbsp oil 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp waterbsp
For the filling:
1 lb ground or chopped tuktu 1/2 lb potatoes, boiled and cubed 1 tsp coriander seeds 1 tsp fennel seeds 1 tsp curry powder 1 tsp cumin powder 1/2 tsp sugar 1 tsp salt 1 hot chilli, minced 1 tbsp lime juice 2-3 tbsp oil 1/2 cup frozen peas
To make the dough, combine flour and salt in a bowl. Add oil and work into flour mixture; you want to really press the oil into the flour to create a flaky dough.
Once all the flour and oil is incorporated, add in the fennel and coriander seeds and mix together. Add the water and knead into a smooth dough. Wrap the dough in plastic and set aside for 20 minutes.
To make the filling, start by frying all the spices in hot oil for 1-2 minutes. Add in the ground or chopped tuktu plus the chopped chilli and fry until almost fully cooked, about 7-8 minutes. Add the sugar, salt, and cooked potato cubes, and stir to combine. Add the frozen peas and cook until thawed. Drizzle with lime juice and set the tuktu mixture aside. Try not to eat it from the pan.
While the filling is cooling, you can start to roll out the dough for the samosa pockets. Divide the dough into 4 sections; this will make 8 samosas. The steps to making the samosa pockets are listed below, but I highly recommend watching this video by Show Me the Curry - watching someone do it makes it so much easier!
Take one ball of dough and roll it out into on oval shape. Cut the oval shape in half, and use one half to make a cone, sealing the overlapping edge with water. Fill each cone with 2-3 tablespoons of the tuktu mixture, and seal the top with water. Press to ensure there are no tears or leaks.
Fry the stuffed samosas in hot oil until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Place on a paper towel to drain off any excess oil, and then serve hot with your choice of chutney or pickles.
Et voila, delicious, homemade samosas, filled with the flavours of the Arctic and South Asia. There are so many other country food fusion ideas I would love to try and share, like caribou coconut curry or hot and sour maaktaq soup. You can be sure that I'll post the recipes when I do, because as Sylvia kept saying as we stole bites of samosa, food is love.