Today I am going to share with you all, a very special dish, absolutely close to my heart , Bengali phulkopi singara / aloo -gobhi ke samose and this was supposed to be my last post in my winter food series. But an acute bronchitis had kept me away from my daily routine for over a month. Spring is here and it looks promising.
This dish was also part of my food festival recently held in my neighborhood to commemorate the 70th Republic Day of our Nation. The only food that truly captures the essence of unity in diversity of our nation, I believe is none other than this humble simple samosa – which had marked its presence in every nooks and corners of the country. From village, towns to cities, you will find samosa in its many variations and am yet to meet anyone who does not love a bite of crispy samosa.
Potatoes are truly indispensable in samosa filling but the taste could differ to great extent, depending upon from which region the samosa is hailing from. Punjabi samosa will taste very different from the Bengali singara and so as the South Indian ones with undeniable presence of curry leaves.
But apart from potatoes, there is another variation of samosa which is hugely popular in Kolkata, that is Phulkopi singara or cauliflower samosa and is a winter favourite among the Kolkatans. Arguably this was also our family favourite as my dad used to make some kick ass phulgobi singara, truly unmatched in its taste. But as life could be, I never got that opportunity to learn the tricks and skills to make such lip smacking samosa and hence my sinagra making journey coursed through many years. Although I had perfected it to large extent from my previous attempts.
This phulkopi singara, I guess not popular outside Bengal and in the food festival, this had surprised many. Nonetheless, everyone enjoyed it.
What is Bengali Phulkopi Singara ?
Bengali phulkopi singara is nothing but the regualr samosa but with a entirely different filling – phulkopi or cauliflower in this case. A less spicy mash of tiny cauliflowers and potatoes which is well seasoned with bengali spices forms the core of this samosa. Cauliflowers are cut into tiny florets, discarding the stems, mixed with potatoes cut into tiny cubes, sesaoned with ajwain, little bit of hing (some uses it, some dont) cumin and coriander powder, a generous sprinkling of finely chopped green chillies and coriander leaves. Yes, you have read it right. No red chilli powder here. Green chillies will provide enough heat to savour this samosa. You can mash the filling slightly , as this will be easier to tuck in the fillings into the samosa.
How Bengali singara is different from the rest of the Indian Samosa ?
The ratio of crust to filling is different in Bengali singara. That is you will get to taste more filling per bite of singara / samosa in Bengali version. Also Bengali sinagras are smaller in size too.
How to make perfect crust for samosa ?
This depends upon lot on personal choices and the crust of samosa everywhere does not taste the same. Some like it khasta or flaky and some like it crispy. Some samosas are khasta but not crispy. Some like to have tiny blisters or air pockets on its surface which gives a nice crunch to the samosa and also this kind is lot photogenic than the rest ones.
Plain potato samosa needs khasta shell, need not be that crispy but this particular variety of phulgobi singara needs little to be on crunchier side. This will truly enhance its taste.
How to roll out the perfect shell for samosa?
Thickness of rolled out samosa dough decides how your samosas are going to taste like. If you rolled out the samosa dough too thick, it will never get the blisters or air pockets but it will take long time to get cooked through. Say around 20-25 minute. And the shell will be smooth and evenly browned one.
If you rolled out the samosa dough too thin, it will puffed up with lots of airpockets and upon cooling, this kind will become soggy.
Ideal way is to roll out the samsoa dough neither too thick nor too thin, just on the median. That is the tricky part but with practice you will be able to nail it down perfectly.
For this recipe, I have rolled out the dough slightly thinner than I usually do it for potato samosa, becasue this will ensure both khasta / flaky with nice crunch. This will give you samosa with few tiny airpockets or blistered shell but it taste great that way.
How to make your samosa super khasta or flaky?
First you need to use only all purpose flour or maida. I ahve tried it with aata / whole wheat flour too but maida gives the best khasta ones. Second, oil to flour ratio. For a cup of flour, you will need atleast two tablespoon oil. But each flour behaves differently. So to judge the ratio and also to figure out the perfect ratio, first rub the oil generously with the flour till it resembles bread crumbs. Then take some flour-oil mixture in your palm and pressed it tightly. If it is able to hold its shape and yield to the slight pressure of your fingers, then oil-flour ratio is perfect. This will ensure that the samosa will be absolutely khasta.
Can I make ahead samosa dough and the fillings?
Absolutely, in today’s time multitastking and make – aheads truly saves lots of overheads and time.
Pepare the chutney and fillings a day before. You can also prepare the dough (I usually do it for large batch) a day before, ziplock it tightly and refrigerate it.
Before using it, take it outside the fridge and let it come to room temperature. Knead it again and start making the samosas.
- Maida / all purpose flour : 2cup
- Oil : 2 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Water: as required
- You can add some nigella (kalonji) seeds too
- Cauliflower : 1 small cut into mini florets
- Potatoes : 1 cup, cut into cubes
- Green Peas : ½ cup
- Grated ginger: 2 tsp
- Cumin and coriander powder : 1 tbsp each
- Green chillies : 1 or 2 finely chopped
- Green mango powder / amchur: ¼ tsp
- Turmeric powder : ¼ tsp
- Coriander / cilantro leaves (finely chopped) : 1 tbsp
- Cumin seeds : 1 tsp
- Oil : 1 tbsp
- Oil for deep-frying the samosas
- Prepare the dough by sifting flour and salt together, make a well in the centre and pour the oil in it. Mix the dough with your hands, and add the water gradually. Knead it really well to make a stiff dough. Use water sparingly.
- Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let the dough sit for 30 minutes or more.
- Heat some oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds, let it splutter and then add the finely chopped cauliflowers (cut into mini florets) and potatoes, saute for few minutes till the cauliflowers become little browned. Add the green peas, green chillies, along with the other spices and ginger. Fry for some time on low heat, add little water to keep the filling moist and finish it with the chopped cilantro leaves.
- Let the filling cool down a little bit. Cool the filling for few minutes and keep aside.
- Knead the samosa dough once again and you will see that dough has absorbed moisture from the damp cloth and is soft and pliable now. Gluten get its time to work and the dough is little stretchy now.
- Divide the dough into big portions.
- Roll out each dough into circle on a greased surface. Cut the circle from the middle with the help of sharp knife. You will get two semi circle now.
- Apply water with fingers along the straight edges of the semi circle and bring the two edges together to make a cone. Pinch the edges nicely so that filling should not come out.
- Put one heap spoonful of filling in the middle of the cone. Tuck the filling nicely and firmly into the cone with the help of thumb finger.
- Now apply water with the fingers along the round edges of the samosa. Join the two edges together and pinch the edges properly to secure the filling inside.
- Make rest of the samosa like this. Keep them covered.
- Heat enough oil for deep frying in a kadhai. Once the oil is warm enough, should not reached its smoking point, lower the heat to medium low.
- Slowly add the samosas in the hot oil. Do not overcrowd it.
- Fry till the samosas are evenly browned.
- This will take around 15-20 minute. Keep flipping over the samosas from time to time.
- Slot them out on kitchen towel and serve hot or warm with tamarind chutney.