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On Annapurna Sweets’ new home in the capital

Phulkopir Singara (cauliflower samosa)

Phulkopir Singara (cauliflower samosa)   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Bengalis have a way with sweets, especially when it's milky and fried

There is something about the word singara. It is the Bengali for samosa, of course, but has its own charm. For one, the Bengali singara is vastly different from its North Indian counterpart. The potatoes are not mashed, but are in small pieces, and you will find bits of peanuts and sometimes even potato skin in the stuffing.

Then there is a cauliflower singara, in which the filling consists of florets usually sautéed with potatoes. And, as I found to my pleasant surprise some years ago, there is even something called Kheerer Singara, a sublime sweet with a stuffing of thickened, sweetened milk.

I first had this sweet at a small eatery called Ramakrishna Sweets in I.P. Extension. I was floored. It looked beautiful, and the taste was superb. It’s called a singara only because it is shaped like one. But the outer casing, as well as the filling, is of sweetened, thickened milk.

Some days ago, we were given a boxful of this sweet. It came from a place called New Annapurna on Yusuf Sarai. I thought it was the best sweet I’d had in a very long time. So I decided I had to renew my friendship with this sweet shop that was once a favourite haunt of mine.

I have old links with Annapurna Sweets. The original sweet shop in Chandni Chowk was the first selling Bengali sweets in the city. The owners, the Mukherjee family, came from Lahore and set up shop near the fuara (fountain), opposite Gurudwara Sisganj, in the market area. Over the years, branches have sprung up.

There was a time when I used to go to the Yusuf Sarai Annapurna for its samosas. I loved the potato filling and the dry green chutney that came with it. You had to dissolve the paste in water and you had a tangy chutney you could dip the samosas in.

Then I heard, a few weeks ago, that the shop had moved to another end of the Yusuf Sarai Market. The old Annapurna sweet shop has its shutters down. The new one is two buildings away — and is called New Annapurna Sweets (G 12, Rakesh Deep Building, Balbir Saxena Marg, Yusuf Sarai; phone: 011-4213 8143, 9958047810).

The Kheerer Singara (₹25 for a piece, ₹750 for a kilo) was even better than what I had eaten some weeks ago; this had gur in it, which of course added to the taste. I also ate some Shor Bhaja (₹25 a piece, ₹450 for a kilo), and found it absolutely A-class.

This is a sweet made out of layers of malai thickened, sweetened, and fried. I had it for the first time way back in the ‘70s when my friend Kajal Ghosh got the sweet from Krishnanagar, a city in Bengal known for its Shor Bhaja and Shor Puriya. It was love at first bite.

New Annapurna has all the other Bong favourites, too — from Dorbesh and Rajbhog to Khir Kadam and Chomchom. The small Misti Doi (₹30), Sankh Sandesh (₹16) and Kancha Golla (₹25). The savoury counter has singaras (₹16), paneer chop, vegetable cutlet (₹30) and even kachoris (₹25).

I had the aloo and the cauliflower samosas, and thought they were delicious. The cauliflower one, in particular, was superb; the florets had been fried with potatoes and spiced well.

It is good to know that the Annapurnas — old and new — are all thriving. What could be sweeter than more sweets?

The writer is a seasoned food critic

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 2:44:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/on-annapurna-sweets-new-home-in-the-capital/article30999995.ece

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