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The capital’s samosa trail

No matter what the season, Delhi is always high on this puffy snack, writes Vaishali Bhambri.

india Updated: Jul 21, 2012 16:23 IST
Vaishali Bhambri
Vaishali Bhambri
Hindustan Times

There are a lot of food festivals going on from time to time in the city, but have you ever heard of one where the limelight is on the popular Indian snack — samosa? Well, if you are fond of this puffy snack, you can pay a visit to the ongoing Samosa Festival 2012 at Staying Alive - Bikers Zone in Gurgaon. Available here are samosas with different varieties of fillings such as paneer bhurji, spicy paneer tikka, spinach and corn, masala chicken, chicken hot garlic, lamb Bolognaise, meat ball and spicy chicken and more with sweet, tangy and green chutney. While today is the last day of the festival, we bring you all that is linked to the samosa in the city, from eateries to the latest fashion trend.

Hotspots for samosas!

This spicy snack is being served to foodies in the city by shops dating back to the 1940s. While some enjoy it with tea, others prefer chhola curry and chutneys on the side. Such is the samosa’s popularity that the traditional snack is sold at every nook and corner of the city. Here are some popular eateries in the Capital that are known to sell different and innovative varieties of the snack.

Maha samosa
If you want to have the biggest samosa in the city, then you’ll have to pay a visit to Delite Cinema. The cinema claims that their Maha Samosa is the biggest version of the snack in Delhi. Priced at R40 per piece, the huge samosa comes with a tangy mint chutney. A bonus here is the vintage ambience of the dining place. However, to have this wholesome snack, you’ll have to buy a ticket to enter the hall premises!
Where: Delite Cinema, Asaf Ali Road

Keema samosa
Anyone who is a regular to Haveli Azam Khan near Jama Masjid has tried the keema samosa here. Sold at only one shop in the market, the samosa (R7 per piece) is usually prepared during the holy month of Ramzaan. But you can also get it made on request. Served with two types of chutney, the shape of the samosa is similar to the traditional sweet — gujiya. Where: Ameer’s Sweets, Haveli Azam Khan, Matia Mahal, Jama Masjid

Moong Dal Samosa
The samosa sold at Janta Sweets in Paharganj is inspired by the kachori. Unlike the samosas available in other parts of the city, this snack, which is filled with plain moong dal, is less spicy. Served with a spicy curry of potato and chhole, the samosa is available for R8 per piece. Also available here is the usual potato samosa, also for R8 per piece. But you may have to walk quite a distance in the lanes of Paharganj to reach this shop.
Where: Janta Sweets, Multani Dhanda, Paharganj

Japani Samosa
The recipe for the Japani Samosa (R10), which has been sold at Manohar Dhaba in Chandni Chowk since 1949, was discovered by Manohar Shah in 1927 in Lahore. Though no one knows the reason behind the name, the snack is quite interesting. With 60 layers of flour and potato filling, the samosa is served with pindi chhole and bittergourd pickle. The owner has trademarked the name, ‘Japani Samosa’.
Where: Manohar Dhaba, opposite Moti Cinema, Chandni Chowk

Gobhi Matar Samosa
Leave the samosa with potato filling, and try the
gobhi-matar samosa for a change. Surprisingly, this variant is most popular in old Delhi. Mixed with dry fruit, this samosa comes with an option of chutney or chhole. A special feature of this shop is that when ordered as a takeaway, the samosa costs R10 per piece, and otherwise, it costs R40 with chhole.
Where: Vineet’s , Shop number 1483, Chandni Chowk

Macaroni Samosa
If you are willing to try a unique kind of samosa, then this eatery in Rani Bagh Market is apt for you. The shop is famous for its macaroni samosa, which comes for R11 per piece. Served with two variants of chutney, the samosa is a hit with shoppers in the market. Other popular variants available here include paneer and noodles samosa (R11 each).
Where: Bitto Samosay Wala, Rani Bagh Market

Special Samosa
The Munni Lal Frontier Samosa Wale is one of the most popular shops when it comes to spicy potato filled samosa. The shop used to be at Panchkuian Road earlier, but now has shifted to Gole Market. Serving hot samosas since 1947, it has its share of loyal customers. One can select the option of having either chutney or chhole with the samosa (R12 per piece). The stock usually finishes by 5pm.
Where: Munni Lal Frontier samosa wale, Bhai Veer Singh Marg, Gole Market

What about wearing a samosa salwar?
A hit with college-goers and young girls
in the city, the ‘samosa salwar’ has become quite popular in city markets. Available in markets such as Lajpat Nagar, Janpath, Sarojini Nagar, Karol Bagh and others, the salwar is a hot-seller nowadays. “I wear it to college with a T-shirt. It looks trendy and traditional at the same time,” says Shubhi Singh, 19, a Delhi University student. A samosa salwar in cotton fabric can be bought for anything between R150 to R250 at various markets in the Capital.

What is a samosa salwar?
A version of a Patiala salwar, a typical samosa salwar has pleats at the side and not on the back. It can be worn with a kurta for a traditional look and with a tee or a top for a Indo-western look.

Delhi University loves it too!
More than the taste and variety, the
economical price of a samosa has made it a big hit with students on the campus. Sold at many popular canteens of Delhi University colleges, it makes for a crunchy on-the-go snack. Here are some spots on the campus known for their hot samosas.

Potato Samosa
Ramjas College and Hindu College
Keema Samosa
Lady Shri Ram College and Jesus and Mary College
Sweet Samosa
Gwyer Hall, North Campus

A bite of Samosa history
* It is believed to have originated in Central Asia (where it was known as samsa) prior to the 10th century. Abolfazl Beyhaqi (995CE-1077CE), an Iranian historian has mentioned the snack in his history, Tarikh-e Beyhaghi. Traders introduced it to the Indian subcontinent in the 13th or 14th century.

* Amir Khusro (1253-1325), a scholar and the royal poet of the Delhi Sultanate, mentioned in his writings that royals and nobles enjoyed the “samosa prepared from meat, ghee, onion and so on”.

* It is also believed that Muslim traders and soldiers brought the samosa to India in the medieval period. Because the crisp, mince-filled samosas were small and quite easy to make around campfires, they were conveniently packed into saddle bags as snacks for the next day’s journey, as well as to be had during night halts.

First Published: Jul 21, 2012 16:22 IST