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CHOTE miyan BADE miyan

What is Delhi without its ruins? What is a samosa without its potatoes? Boil it, mash it, mix in the spices, scoop it up in a flour patty, deep fry and serve it with tamarind chutney.

india Updated: May 10, 2010 00:40 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi

What is Delhi without its ruins? What is a samosa without its potatoes? Boil it, mash it, mix in the spices, scoop it up in a flour patty, deep fry and serve it with tamarind chutney.

But just as there is more to Delhi than its forts, there is more to a samosa than the tuber. A few stalls in Old Delhi’s Chandni Chowk have samosas with peas, only peas. The Muslim quarters in Nizamuddin Basti and Ballimaran have shacks selling keema (minced meat) samosas.

The vegetarians gamely opt for a paneer (cottage cheese) filling. Mithai stores such as the Bengali Sweet House in Bengali Market have tiny triangles of golden brown maida crust stuffed with khoya (dried milk). In south Delhi’s Bhogal Market, a corner shop called Kadimi sells gobhi, dal and palak samosas.

However, the samosa’s traditional identification in Delhi lies with the potato. The Capital’s biggest sized samosa, aptly called Maha Samosa, is the specialty of Delite, the circa-1951 movie theater. You will have to buy a movie ticket to get to the samosa counter. Beneath the crisp shell lies a potato mixture so richly spiced with coriander and cumin that the aroma alone makes you dizzy. Delite’s samosas are so popular that the movie-watching crowd makes an advance booking for them to be delivered on their seats during the film’s interval.

In a bylane near Scindia House in Connaught Place, vendors sell samosas that are as small as cocktail samosas you nibble on at parties. The potatoes, cooked with peas and groundnuts and spiked with cardamom and black pepper, are shoved inside a flour patty within which they guard their flavour as Mughals did their harem women. One bite of it and the samosa is over. The taste lingers on.

Price for a samosa in Delite Rs 35; Price of 8 samosas in Scindia Lane Rs 10