Panchami – Day 5 of Durga Pujo
What are the folks of West Bengal doing now, I wonder! It’s day 5 of the Durga Pujo tomorrow and I’m sure the pandals are completed and Durga protima (Durga idol) is already in place. Are they still preparing, checking their lists twice, giving everything a once-over or are some of them eager to get out of the mad rush, perhaps escape to a holiday destination.
There are sure to be local addas (long sociable chats) and family get togethers during the pujo. It is a must, a ritual. Deep fried samosas are what we Bengalees call singara (pronounced shing-ara). With singara starts the Bengali morning for some, a mid morning break for a few, lunch for office-goers … but it retains its most famous attachment to gatherings of the minds – be it to discuss politics, or peanuts. Where there is a Bengali adda there has to be pots of tea and platefuls of singaras. I beg to call the curried potato filled phyllo-wrapped triangular pasties sold in may places anything else but Samosas, because they are a far far cry from what a real dough-wrapped spicy potato filled deep fried pastries would be. A Singara is fat. It has three poky corners. It crumbles easily under pressure. It is meant to and it dissappears quickly.
Deep fried in vegetable oil, these pale coloured crunchy singaras filled with potatos, cauliflowers and green peas are a perfect accompaniment with coriander chutney and a hot cup of milky tea.
For filling, you need:
- Potatoes: 1 cup diced and boiled
- Cauliflower: 1 cup, florets separated into small bits, par boiled
- Green peas: 1/4 cup
- Salted peanuts: 4 tbsp
- Whole Cumin seeds: 1 Tsp
- Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
- Chilli powder: 1/4 tsp or adjust to your likeness
- Ginger: 1 tsp fresh ground
- Fresh coriander leaves: 2 tbsp chopped
- Ghee or clarified butter: 4 tbsp
- Salt to taste
To make the filling:
- Heat ghee in a pan. When hot add the cumin seeds and let the seeds release it’s aroma.
- Add the fresh ground ginger at this point and lower the heat. Fry for a few minutes.
- Add the turmeric and chilli powder to the ginger and fry for a minute.
- Add the veggies and peanuts. Season with salt and add two tablespoons of water and stir to combine.
- Cover pan and let the filling cook for a few minutes on low heat.
- When done add the coriander leaves and stir. Let cool.
For Dough(adapted from here)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp Nigella seed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup each cold ghee or butter and cold water
To make the dough:
- In food processor with pastry blender, combine flour, nigella seeds and salt.
- Pulse the mixture before adding the cold ghee or butter.
- Pulse till the dough resembles fine crumbs.
- Pulse or stir in cold water until ball begins to form.
- Press into a ball and wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
For the final samosa assembly (completely adapted from Canadian Living):
- Cut dough into 12 pieces; form each into flat round. On floured surface, roll out each to 6-inch (15 cm) circle; cut in half. Working with 1 piece at a time, moisten half of the cut edge with water. Form cone shape by overlapping cut edges by 1/4 inch (5 mm).
- Fill with rounded 1 tbsp (15 mL) potato mixture. Moisten top inside edges of pastry; press to seal. Trim jagged edges. Crimp with fork.
- In wok or deep saucepan, heat oil to 350°F (180°C) or until 1-inch (2.5 cm) cube of white bread turns golden in 45 seconds.
- Fry samosas, in batches, until golden, about 4 minutes. Remove to paper towel–lined tray. Or bake in 425°F (220°C) oven for 15 minutes. Serve warm.
For a great step by step direction with pictures please visit Canadian Living’s Cooking Class: Vegetable Samosa Recipe