I think there are probably very few people in the world, who would refuse a samosa. Of course, it’s calorific and has all sorts of processed this and refines that, but a homemade samosa is marginally healthier than the greasy ‘thelawala’ ones, right? Or at least that’s a consolation I’d give myself.
Here, in Kolkata, samosas are called ‘Shingara’, and they’re made very differently than the usual North Indian one. They’re also smaller and are stuffed with potatoes, peanuts and in winters, with ‘phoolkopi’ or cauliflower, a delicacy every Bengali will swear on. In Mumbai, the samosas were larger, and filled with a mash of potatoes and sometimes peas, and deep fried in oil, while here it’s usually fried in Dalda…which is what turns me off! The ‘shingaras’ are no longer what they used to be, and that makes me sad, because sometimes, you really need to sate the cravings.
I know making samosas is relatively easy, so a few months back, I set out to make my own one evening, on a whim. I had some paneer lying in the fridge, and peas, and made a quick stuffing. The samosa casings were a challenge, and dad helped me knead the dough…and I did struggle a bit initially but ended up making some really good samosas, crisp, melt-in-the mouth ones.
Here’s how you can make it
For the casing:
- Maida/AP Flour – 2 cups
- Oil for moyan – 1/2 a cup (adjust if needed)
- Warm water – About 1/4th cup, just enough for kneading the dough..
- Salt to taste
- Ajwain or Jeera – optional, a tsp
For the filling:
- Paneer – 100 gms, chopped into small pieces
- Peas – 1/2 cup, frozen, shelled
- Garlic – 3 to 4 cloves, minced
- Onions – 2, chopped finely
- Salt to taste
- A pinch of turmeric
- A tsp of red chili powder
- A tsp of garam masala powder.
- A tsp of oil
To make the stuffing:
- Fry the garlic, onions, and peas, add the masalas, the paneer, a tiny bit of water, and cover until the peas and paneer have softened well.
- Take out, keep aside to cool.
Preparing the samosa dough:
- Take the maida in a vessel, and make a hole in the center.
- Add the oil and salt.
- Rub the maida with the oil with your fingertips, until it resembles soft sand.
- Now knead it a bit, and add as much water, little by little, it needs to make a soft, pliable dough.
- Keep aside for 10 mins.
- Now, begin to roll out the samosa casings. (I used a round plate with sharp edges to cut out circles, and then halved it, and made the casings)
- It should look like a roundish mountain, with a flat base.
- First, pull the right corner of the flat end inwards…make a triangle, then do the same with the left corner.
- Use some water on your fingertip to seal the line.
- Make a cone, using your forefinger and thumb, and place the samosa casing inside.
- Fill it with the stuffing, ensuring it’s not too full.
- Pinch the ends using water, and enclose it in..
- Deep fry the samosas in hot oil, keeping the heat on medium so it’s cooked evenly.
- Serve with chutney or sauce of your choice…