Food Spot | Delhi

Delicious from all angles!

A friend asked me some days ago if there was anything that I could eat day in and day out and not get bored of it. I gave it some thought and then said, ‘samosa’. I am inordinately fond of this dish, and there is a good reason why I never tire of it. For, within a triangular flour casing, there can be various kinds of fillings.

Some of my favourite ones — from Kallan Sweets in the Jama Masjid area, for instance — are stuffed with minced meat. The Bengali singara may have cauliflower florets in it, or small pieces of potatoes with the skin, sautéed with peanuts. The small dry samosa, found in some parts of Delhi, is stuffed with peas. And I have also had kheerer singara, a Bengali khoya-stuffed samosa.

Delicious from all angles!
 

That is why, as the city went into festive mode earlier this week, I went looking, on the Net, for some samosas to mark the occasion. I had earlier come across an eatery called Samose (https://samose.in; Address: Shop No. 5, Lotus Plaza, Vaibhav Khand, Indirapuram, Ghaziabad) and found its menu rather interesting. I went to the site and decided that we could do with a Jodhpuri samosa, a Bengali samosa (₹20 for one), chicken masala samosa (₹55), mini chicken masala samosa (₹30) and aloo samosa ghugni chaat (₹65). I ordered through a food aggregator app, timing it such that the samosas arrived at tea time.

As I bit into the Jodhpuri samosa, I mulled over the fact that samosas have regional varieties from across the country. They are so intrinsically a part of our food culture that it is difficult to remember that they actually came in from West Asia (poetry from Iran of the 9th century mentions the sambusa). In India, food historian K.T. Achaya points out, Amir Khusro had described a samosa in 1300 as a dish prepared with meat, ghee and onions and eaten by aristocrats. In 1350 or so, Ibn Batuta referred to the samusak “as minced meat cooked with almond, walnut, pistachio, onions and spices, placed inside a thin envelope of wheat and deep fried in ghee”.

Now, of course, it doesn’t have to be deep fried, it can be baked. The fillings vary, though potatoes are largely the preferred choice. The Jodhpuri samosa had a boiled potato filling — deliciously spicy and just mildly sweet. The Bengali samosa was tasty but I thought it could have done without the haldi the diced potatoes had been tempered with. I particularly liked the chicken masala samosa — small pieces of chicken that had been cooked with spices. The casing in all the samosas was wonderfully crisp.

I love samosa chaats and have been fond of them ever since I had my first plate in Muzaffarnagar decades ago. I still salivate over the picture of the samosa being smashed in a dona, and then topped with curd, chutneys and spices. I had pictured the ghugni chaat somewhat differently though — I thought it would be more like the Bengali ghugni (matthra with onions and what have you). This had some yellow peas but it was largely a chaat preparation with a samosa, curd and chutneys. It was delightful and I scooped out the last remaining bits of the chaat once I had tasted the rest.

The samosas gave a festive touch to my tea that day. I used to enjoy visiting the food stalls at the Durga Puja pandals but this year the stalls had been disallowed, for obvious reasons. I couldn’t go for the festive food but the food came to me.


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Printable version | Nov 28, 2021 7:56:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/delicious-from-all-angles/article37033158.ece

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