Now what did I love so much about this triangular Indian snack? (I will slap anyone who says samosas are not Indian but an import. We have internalized samosas like no other country). In my early days, my tongue was not ready for the chilly that the potatoes inside the samosa hid between their crevices. Those round potato bits not mashed perfectly just to give you a wholesome feel. Those chunks would roll off along with the peas as you would break open the crispy corner of a piping hot samosa- they did have a story to tell. It was the story of how food makes us adventurous.
No one in their right mind would binge-eat samosas. They are dangerous, they go into your stomach and heat it up like a furnace. It is like shoving chilies down your throat, only more exciting and tastier.
A samosa can be eaten in multiple ways. The way you treat a samosa shows a lot about your character. If you are an aggressive, passionate person, you would just dunk the samosa in chutney and shove it down your mouth. Someone who is more discreet would just peel off the cover and eat it while leaving the inner masala. Personally, I think it is safe but also horrible. No samosa deserves to be stripped naked and abandoned. Not even the South Indian Samosa which cheats with its Dosa infested flavour.
Some people savour the crispy exterior and offer the masala to their companions. I think it is the most humane way you can reject a samosa and I really appreciate the gesture- nevermind the mouth ulcers that you give the other person in the process.
Some people break off a chunk of the samosa and eat it tastefully- showing how it is done. The crumbs falling on the plate can be picked up by the masala that your chunk holds- not wasting any bit. This is the classiest way to eat a samosa. Well, one of the classiest ways actually. Samosa being the fire-in-the-mouth that it is, needs a companion and although the green and red chutneys do a handsome job, nothing accompanies a hot samosa better than some ice-cold curd. The curd somehow mixes with the spicy masala and creates a whole new sweet-tangy flavour. It is an assault on the the taste buds which brings nothing but delight.
Samosa is not just about the chilly or the potatoes though. It also has a hint of sour coming from aamchur powder which most people neglect. That sourness is actually the mysterious factor that makes the whole thing so addictive. The lack of ability to bring out the sourness is the reason why chefs and halwais in some parts of India just cannot whip up a good samosa. The South Indian samosa for example is an abomination. It is filled with masala from masala dosa and isn’t event that crispy. The samosas sold at Cafe Coffee Day restaurants also fails to grasp the philosophy behind this delectable dish. You cannot just fill it with chunks of potato and let the microwave oven cook it for you. You have to deep fry it and make it like an arsonist makes fire. The cover of the samosa is not just to wrap it or pack it. It is the first act. It sets the stage. The CCD samosas have a thick, chewy cover. You cannot make it chewy. It has to be the right thickness and consistency.
If a person bites into a samosa and the deepest he can dig brings him no potatoes, it is no samosa, sir. A real samosa doesn’t feel likes pizza. The only way you know you are eating a samosa is when you know that you will wake up with pimples the next morning. The Rajasthani counterpart comes quite close to it. It has the potatoes, it is larger than usual and its cover is crispy too. The only problem is, it just isn’t sour enough. It is a close cousin to the tastiest samosa but, not quite there.
Some halwais do the mistake of adding too many raisins and dry fruits in there. It is like adding balloons and confetti in your bomb. But yes, a raisin or two inside it surely are needed. They work as good exclamation points.
In cases of samosa, you actually don’t want to go too big. Mathura and the region around it has a good hold over the proper samosa size. They are not too large to kill your appetite and neither too small to just serve as disappointments. They serve it with an aloo sabzi (gravy) though and it sort of takes away the focus from the samosa. Also the locus of the sourness is situated out of the samosa which is cool with me but, I’d rather have my favourite samosa with no side dishes.
The mark of a good samosa is that it tastes good even when eaten cold. Sometimes a cold samosa out of the fridge with some curd is pure bliss.
On a side note, I would like to mention that the Southern part of India has been murdering one more dish which is the golgappas. They put hot peas and chholas inside the puris! One- that makes no sense, two- stop doing that!
Until next time!