Spiced crab samosas

Spiced crab samosas

Chamuças de caranguejo


Chamuças (samosas) have been beloved in Portugal ever since our explorers travelled to India in the sixteenth century and brought back this spiced-up version of a traditional Portuguese snack. I’m particularly fond of chamuças made with seafood – which aren’t as common as the meat-filled variety – and my friend Jesus Lee serves the best ones at his small Goan restaurant Jesus é Goes. Pay him a visit and tell him that I sent you; you’ll be extremely well looked after.


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 small red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
1 small onion, finely diced
10g fresh root ginger, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
A pinch cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
1 small plum tomato, finely chopped
200g white crab meat
a small handful coriander, leaves finely chopped
freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste
12 spring roll wrappers
vegetable oil, for frying
sea salt flakes


  1. Heat the grapeseed oil in a pan over a medium heat, add the red pepper and cook until soft and gently caramelised. Add the onion, ginger and garlic and cook for 10 minutes, or until soft. Stir in all the spices and the tamarind paste and cook until the mixture starts to sizzle; the aim is to toast the spices for maximum flavour. Add the tomato and cook for another few minutes, then stir in the crab meat and coriander. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and lemon juice, then cook for another few minutes. Transfer the filling to a plate and leave to cool.
  2. Cut each spring roll wrapper into 2 rectangular strips about 9 x 18cm. Place a heaped teaspoon of the filling at one end of each strip, leaving a 2cm border. Take the bottom right-hand corner and fold it diagonally to the left to enclose the filling and form a triangle. Fold it up again along the upper edge of the triangle, then repeat the folding until you reach the end of the strip. Moisten the edge with water to help seal it. Chill for 30 minutes.
  3. One-third fill a large heavy-based pan with vegetable oil and heat it to 180°C, or until a cube of bread sizzles and turns golden brown almost immediately. Fry the chamuças in small batches for 2–3 minutes, or until pale golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
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