Growing up, having Singharas and Samosas as “tea time” snacks were really common. Because of the British influence, having “tea” at around 6:00 p.m. everyday was the norm and then dinner would follow about 8:30 – 9:00 p.m. Tea time would usually include all manner of foods, including seasonal fruits, home made snacks, biscuits (cookies), Nimkis (savory home made chips), Singharas or Samosas and tea, of course. Here’s the main difference between a Singhara and a Samosa. Singharas are usually eaten in Bangladesh and in the West Bengal area of India. They have a crispy shell and although they are triangular in shape, they can “sit” upright. Samosas also have a crispy shell but are flat and triangular. The fillings can be as varied as the region and depends on the cook. Some samosas sold street side as snacks have vegetarian fillings, some are beef or chicken while others are tiny and filled with caramelized onions. Most samosas and singharas are served with a chutney or dip of some sort. Usually a Cilantro Chutney or a Tamarind Chutney.
I used to try to avoid making samosas because they are time-consuming. They sure are delicious though and great to have as a treat. I figured out a quick and dirty version of making samosas. Most of the time is taken up in making the dough, rolling it out and shaping them since the filling is pretty fast to cook. I started using tortillas as the shell and really liked how they turned out but they had a little difficulty staying together. Then I discovered the uncooked tortillas. They are sold at any Costco or even in Walmart (and several other grocery stores). Uncooked tortillas are fantastic to use as the dough for samosas, empanadas and a myriad of other dishes. By the way, I usually make a large batch and freeze them in ziplock bags. That way all the up front work is done and when I have guests or need a quick appetizer, I can fry up a batch while they are still frozen and serve fresh and hot with some chutney. Just add a couple of extra minutes when frying frozen samosas. Here’s my quick and dirty version.
Samosas – The quick and dirty version
4 medium-sized potatoes, cooked and cubed
1/2 onion, chopped
2 green chillies, split in half
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup frozen green peas
4 tbsp oil
15 uncooked tortillas
additional oil for frying
To make the paste:
1/2 cup flour
1/4- 1/8 cup water
In a medium skillet or frying pan, heat oil and saute onions, cumin seeds and chilies together until the cumin seeds begin to pop. Add coriander powder, turmeric and salt and stir fry for a few minutes. Add the potatoes and the green peas and cook about 4-5 minutes until peas are tender and everything well blended together. Set aside.
In a small bowl make a paste out of the flour and water. It should be thick and the consistency of a thick glue. Cut tortillas in half. Place the round side of the cut tortillas towards your body and place about 2 tbsp filling on the top right hand corner. Fold right corner down and place flour paste in an inverted “v” on the dough. Flip the left side of the dough over to form a triangle and press down over the paste to adhere. Flip the triangle around and using your thumbs push in the filling towards the top tip of the triangle. At the bottom of the triangle place some flour paste on the dough and fold it over and press to adhere. Press your fingers along all the seams to make sure everything held together. Place on a pan or platter. When all the Samosas are done they can be frozen in a large zip lock bag for later use or fried immediately. To fry, place oil in a medium size frying pan and heat to about 350 degrees. Fry until golden brown and serve hot with Cilantro or Tamarind Chutney. Makes 30 samosas