Singara is the Bengali version of the ever-popular Samosa, and is known for its unique taste and flavour. The Singara is smaller than a samosa and is usually filled with a mixture containing potatoes, cauliflower, and peanuts especially during the winter months. These days of course, we see a lot of variations and the unique Bengali singara is losing its significant taste.
Kheer er Singara though, is an antithesis; it is the sweet version of the savoury singara, and is still relatively unknown among people.
Kheer is nothing but cooked mawa/khoya, or even milk, until it’s thickened and formed a beautiful, coagulated mass of heaven…yum! I remember my Dida (maternal grandmother) make bowls of kheer for me when she lived in Faridabad; Haryana producing some of India’s best milk, this was an easy task. These days though, making kheer from milk is a gargantuan task, so khoya it is 😉
Don’t let the lengthy process intimidate you, making these samosas is not that difficult, especially if you multi-task, or prepare the filling before-hand. Also, the ones I’ve eaten from sweet shops contains a filling made of khoya, sugar and sometimes chenna/chana/paneer, but I’ve made this slightly differently, with the addition of coconut, gur or jaggery and some ground up almonds and cashews.
Also, while soaking the samosas in syrup, I prefer if they didn’t turn soggy, so I’ve soaked it for lesser time. This helps to retain their texture, while letting the syrup sweeten them just enough. You may keep them for longer if you wish!
Kheer-Narkel er Singara (Bengali Sweet Samosas)
For the Stuffing –
- Khoya/Mawa – 100 gms
- Coconut – 1/2 a coconut, shredded/grated, about 1 cup packed
- Jaggery/Gur powdered – 1/4 cup (adjust as per sweetness preference)
- Almonds – 2 tbsp, powdered
- Cashews – 2 tbsp, powdered
- Ghee – 2 tbsp
For the Samosa dough –
- Whole wheat flour/Atta – 1 cup
- Plain flour/Maida – 1 cup
- Ghee/Oil – 1/2 a cup approx (you may reduce quantity if you wish)
- Baking soda – a pinch
- Salt – 1/2 tsp
- White sesame seeds/til – 1 tbsp
- Water – to knead dough
- Oil – for deep frying
For the sugar syrup –
- Sugar – 1 cup
- Water – 1/2 cup
- Saffron – a few strands
- Cardamom pods – 3 to 4
- Heat a non-stick pan and add the ghee.
- To this add the shredded coconut, and let it brown slightly on a low flame for 2 to 3 mins.
- Add the crumbled khoya and mix well.
- Now add the powdered almond and cashews, and the jaggery and mix well.
- Cook this until the mixture is well-combined and has dried up enough, so that it begins to clump into a ball when stirred.
- Take off the heat and keep aside to cool completely.
- Start making the dough; mix the two flours, salt, sesame seeds and soda in a large bowl.
- Heat the ghee in a pan until it’s smoking, and pour this into the flour mixture. (this ensures a crispy covering)
- Use a spoon or fork to mix the hot ghee with the flours; be careful, it will be very hot.
- Once the flour resembles coarse breadcrumbs, add water, bit by bit, kneading until you have a smooth, tight dough.
- Cover with a cloth and keep aside for 20-30 mins.
- Make lemon-sized balls out of the dough, and keep aside.
- Roll out each ball into an ellipse/oval shape on a flat, greased surface.
- Cut down the middle of the oval with a knife.
- Wet your fingertip and run it down the straight line you just cut.
- Join the straight edges together and form a cone.
- Fill cone with the stuffing, and close the samosa by applying water on the circular edge of the cone.
- Pull the straight jointed line of the samosa to the opposite end of the circle and seal the samosa close. (This will give the samosa its shape, and will keep it standing upright).
- Repeat process for each, and keep aside for 10 mins, while you prepare the syrup and heat oil for frying the samosas.
- Heat a deep-bottomed vessel, and add the water, and sugar together.
- Add the bruised cardamom pods, and saffron strands.
- When the syrup begins boiling, stir it around to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
- Let syrup reach one-string consistency, and lower the heat and thicken syrup for another min or two…essentially creating the ball-stage (when picked between fingers, the syrup should form a ball).
- In another deep-bottomed vessel, heat enough oil for deep frying the samosas.
- Check if oil is hot enough (drop a dough ball and see), turn heat to low and drop the samosas, one by one.
- Fry on medium-low heat for 2 to 3 mins, until they turn golden brown and crisp.
- Pick with a slotted spoon.and drop into syrup.
- Let the samosas soak in syrup for about 15 to 20 mins, and then transfer to another plate.
- Drizzle syrup on top, let cool.
- Garnish with silver leaf and serve hot/cold.
(We’re not soaking the samosas too much in the syrup or they’ll turn soggy. Since they’re hot, and the syrup is hot, they’ll soak just enough to keep them sweet, and also help the casing hold their shape.)