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The triangle of gastronomy

Every now and then, a triangle comes up in my dreams. It is brown and crispy and is filled with potatoes. 1t is a samosa.

If you do a survey on people’s favourite snacks, the samosa is likely to emerge as the winner. I have been asking some of my chef friends about their favourite snacks or street food items, and quite a few have said the samosa rules. In fact, Corporate Chef Ravi Saxena of the Dhaba (earlier known as Dhaba By Claridges) doesn’t just vote for the samosa – he wants it covered with a dollop of chholey.

Often enough, friends and readers ask me how a particular dish can be cooked at home. So I am now going to ask professionals for recipes that we can try out in our kitchens. This week, Chef Saxena has shared his samosa recipe with us.

Of course, you get samosas in every nook and corner of the city. I have many favourite samosa makers. Among them is the man who stands by the roadside on the road that connects Aurobindo Marg to Siri Fort. He sells the most delicious samosas, as does the Bengali sweet shop Annapurna, which is located right there. Those are the Bengali singaras, where the potatoes are cooked differently.

Samaosas were served in different ways when I was growing up in Uttar Pradesh. The samosa would be fried, crushed and then topped with curd and all the spices that go into a plate of papri chaat. Occasionally, cooked chholey would cover the samosas.

The best chholey samosa was prepared by a man in Panchkuian. He would fry a samosa, layer it with a thick blanket of chholey, add some masalas on top — and then serve it. I used to go there regularly for the samosas, and then I would finish my meal with a hot gulab jamun. The place was always crowded, and one had to keep an eye and hand on one’s pocket – for there were quite a few nimble-fingered pickpockets hanging around there those days. The Panchkuian shops were demolished, and the samosa maker moved out and is now in Pitampura.

Paharganj’s samosas

In one of the lanes behind Scindia House, a mother and son make the most delicious samosas. Those are small in size, but really tasty. You get moong dal samosas in Multani Dhanda and some of the best samosas are fried in a shop called Sri Bankey Bihari Samosa Wallah in Paharganj. In my neighourhood, Duggal Sweets does delicious samosas – hot, fluffy, fresh and tasty.

So go for your favourite samosa this rainy season. And if you would rather fry some at home, try out Chef Saxena’s recipe. I don’t know if it is sinful, but it is certainly blissful.

RECIPE:

Aloo samosa with chholey

Ingredients

For the dough:

500g refined flour

50ml ghee/oil

3g ajwain

Salt to taste

Water as required

Filling

500g potatoes

50ml oil

5g cumin seeds

5g turmeric powder

3g red chilli powder

10g green chillies

10g chopped ginger

10g chopped garlic

10g coriander leaves

Salt to taste

100g green peas

10g chat masala powder

5g garam masala

Juice of 1 lemon

Topping

250g cooked chholey

150g saunth chutney

Oil for deep frying

METHOD:
Cook the potatoes until soft. Peel and mash them well. Chop the green chillies, ginger and coriander leaves. Mix all the ingredients for the dough except the water. Mix well. Add a little water at a time and knead into a hard ball of dough. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes. Divide the dough into small balls according to the size of the samosa required. Heat oil in a pan, add cumin seeds. When they crackle, add garlic and sauté for a while. Then add the rest of the ingredients for the filling except the potatoes. Stir. Add the mashed potatoes and mix well. Roll each dough ball into a thin oval shape and cut into 2 semicircles. Apply water to the straight edge of one semicircle. Roll the circled edge, forming a cone. Put some filling inside and seal the edges forming a samosa shape. Repeat with the rest. Deep fry the samosas in hot oil till crispy. Slightly crush a samosa, top with hot cooked chholey and some saunth chutney. Serve hot with chopped coriander on top.

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