We live and we die. And in between that living and dying, we also LOVE. I had my first share of a painful heartbreak as a six-year-old. I “fell in love” with my father’s friend – a pediatrician who I visited since I was a baby. He chose a gorgeous doctor from London over me and moved on. Now, how could I compete with that? All I could do then was sob silently. When done crying, I would urge my Mother to play You Are My Sunshine on her record player. Over and over again, till Doris Day lulled me to sleep.
I lived to love and get my heart crushed…again! I found shoulders in friends to cry on till I finally met the man to hold hands forever, that same someone who diligently “edits” my blog posts and samples my cooking. Everyday.
A heartbreak story unfolded today too. Not mine, but a friend’s, who has been battling the break-up blues on her own. She finally managed to take some time off her work and meet me. I suggested my place for privacy sake only, and not go to any coffee shop, in case she decided to be all teary-eyed and sniffy-nosed.
I wanted to make her something soothing, like a soup. But a quick check at the daytime high and I decided against it. Purely from experience I knew, that breakups are also a time for a little indulgence. One look at the potatoes and the leftover cauliflower made me make up my mind on Bengali Samosas for J.
J arrived a little before time, trying to hide behind large Jackie O sunglasses. I had never met The Boyfriend, sorry, ex boyfriend, who apparently was a jerk to have dumped J for another. Yes, its the same story of that Bermuda Triangle (of Love)!
While playing a good host, a therapist, a healer, and friend, I was also left to cautiously deep fry the samosas I had already done the stuffing for and kept aside.
After five scrumptious samosas or shingara as we say in Bengali and a cup of chai (with extra sugar to mend the broken heart), J seemed more bearable of her own heartache. I knew food medication worked, but to see the results so soon in front of my eyes was another thing.
Licking the left corner of her mouth of any last trace of the tamarind chutney she was so happily dipping her samosas in, J took her Blackberry out. I thought she was going to make that one last call to the The Ex and tell him how happy she was enjoying the afternoon sun and miniature samosas. But I was wrong!
She looked at me with a better-than-ever look in her eyes and said, “Pree, give me the recipe for these samosas, I will save it on my phone.” Who was I to deny my girl friend a road to recovery en route the culinary course.
Move over Doris Day, Samosas are here to stay!
Ingredients for Bengali Samosa / Shingara are:
For the filling:
4-5 potatoes, boiled and skin removed
One cup cauliflower flowerets
Quarter cup green peas
1 inch ginger grated or minced
Few green chilies chopped fine
Handful of coriander leaves, chopped
Few cashew nuts, chopped
Handful of raisins, chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2-3 teaspoons bhaja moshla (dry roasted cumin-coriander seeds coarsely ground)
Pinch of turmeric powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
For the pastry:
One and half cup all purpose flour
Half teaspoon nigella seeds
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Pinch of baking powder
Pinch of salt
Enough oil for deep frying
Blanch the cauliflower and peas and drain all water. Cut or break the boiled potatoes in uneven shapes and sizes. In a wok or pan, heat one tablespoon vegetable oil and add the cumin seeds. Sauté for a few seconds and add the cashews, raisins and green chilies. Fry till the nuts and raisins turn golden brown.
Now add the boiled potatoes. Keep frying till everything mixes well. Add the blanched cauliflower and peas along with the grated ginger. At this time, add all the spices like the dry roasted ground cumin-coriander mix, turmeric and salt. Fry all the ingredients till traces of moisture go.
Now add the chopped coriander and give it a nice mix. Be gentle with the mixing as all the vegetables are already cooked. Let the filling for the samosa come to a room temperature.
Knead flour, nigella seeds, one tablespoon oil, baking powder and salt with some water. Make a dough and keep aside for 30 minutes, covered.
Divide the dough into small, ping-pong ball-size portions.
Dust flour on your kitchen counter and start rolling small discs of dough (puris) and cut from into halves.
Now fill the potato-cauliflower filling into triangle-shaped pastries and smear the ends with water on your fingertips. Seal the ends pressing gently with your fingertips. Make samosas and keep on a baking dish/ non stick surface.
Heat enough oil for deep frying in a wok. Start adding 2-3 samosas at a time and fry them till golden brown. Drain out excess oil on paper towels. Serve piping hot with chutney or tomato ketchup.