Growing up in Dehradun, Punjabi Samosa used to be a treat during the monsoon and winter weekends. One person who remains in my memory is Sitap Singh, our house help, who also dished out scrumptious North Indian dishes. As my mom mostly cooked traditional South Indian, Sitap Singh’s Punjabi dishes were always a welcome change. From soft phulkas (thin wheat tortillas) with aloo gobhi (potato cauliflower dry curry) to his famous Punjabi Samosas, his dishes were delectable. Looking back, they were sadly taken for granted. As a 9 year old boy, I used to hang around Sitap Singh while he cooked and it amazes me that these are still etched in my memory. I still remember his tips for making samosas, and the tip about rolling the dough to a thin, transluscent disc (almost wonton like) which adds to the crispy flaky texture. We tried this for the first time ever last weekend and were quite proud of the results. Let’s just say this one was for Sitap Singh:)
Ingredients for Samosa Crust:
Olive oil – 3 tbsps
All purpose flour or maida – 1 cup
Carom seeds or ajwain – 1/2 tsp
Water – 1/4-1/2 cup as needed for dough consistency
Method for crust:
1. Mix the flour, carom seeds, salt and oil in a mixing bowl.
2. Add water little by little and knead to a stiff dough.
3. Cover with a damp paper towl and set aside for about 10 minutes
Ingredients for filling:
Potato, 1 inch cubes 4-5 medium
Green peas, boiled 1/2 cup
Olive oil 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Ginger, chopped 1 inch piece
Green chillies, chopped 3-4
Red chilli powder 1 tsp
Dry mango powder (amchur) 1 tsp
Garam masala 1 tsp
Coriander seeds 2 tsp
Fennel seeds 1 tsp
Salt to taste
1. Take the coriander seeds, fennel, cumin seeds and crush in a mortar pestle into a coarse powder
2. Boil the potatoes and roughly chop or mash them into cubes; do not over mash the potatoes into a mushy paste.
3. Add the thawed frozen or boiled peas.
4. Add the ginger, green chilies , ground coarse powder of coriander, fennel and cumin, and the garam masala, chili powder and salt to taste.
5.Add some oil to a heavy bottomed vessel and when the oil is hot, add the potatoes peas mixture.
6. Saute for a few more minutes, then add the dry mango powder or amchur. Mix well.
7. Cool before making the samosas.
8. Divide the filling into sixteen equal portions.
9. Divide the dough into eight equal portions and roll them into balls.
10. Apply a little flour and roll them into round chapathi or small tortillas.
11. Cut into half, apply water on the edges. Shape each half into a cone and stuff it with the potato and peas filling. Seal the edges well.
12. Heat sufficient oil in a kadai (wok) and deep-fry the samosas in medium hot oil till crisp and golden brown. Drain and place on an absorbent paper.
13. Serve hot with sweet date and tamarind chutney.
Contributed by Girish Ratnam