It was in the dark space under the main staircase. The chapel was right next to it but who cared about god other than during exams? The building was otherwise beautiful—large, bright, and airy, with huge expanses of playgrounds around it. Tall conifers stood testimony to the many generations that made their way through the mighty gates. During recess, children poked out their stuffed faces through the multi-colored grilles of the corridors and called out to friends threatening to start a game without them. There wasn’t enough time to eat and play or gossip.

Seconds before the recess bell rang, hungry students would dig into their pockets or satchels for the two rupees and fifty paise they fought for in the morning. It was never easy to convince mothers about the role of the canteen samosa in one’s overall personality development. As soon as the bell rang, classrooms would burst out children racing to get downstairs before the day’s stock got over. The grumpy Catholic couple who ran the canteen would have been arguing all this while, but the ringing of the bell meant business. Within seconds, there would be a zillion hands poking through the square grille, holding out loose change and green five rupee notes; a zillion voices calling, “Aunty, one samosa! Aunty, two chatar-matar!” The bullies stood right at the back, with one leg pressed against the wall, coolly assured that someone will get them their snack. The money would go first, the snack would arrive moments later, after a dangerous journey through the square grille.

Golden, short crust on the outside; spicy, soft, green inside. An occasional punctuation of a coriander seed. Beads of sweat on the brow, red nose, and the kind of smile that automatically makes you close your eyes. A dash to the Warana stall at the gate to wash it down with cool lassi. It was always worth it.

I’ve tried to recreate the samosas I ate in my school’s canteen. Guru Kripa, the people who supplied the samosas to the canteen, always serve their samosas with this dipping sauce. I urge you to try it—you won’t regret it!

Potato and pea samosas

Ingredients:

  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. semolina
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. ajwain
  • 6-8 medium-sized potatos
  • ½ cup frozen or blanched peas, roughly mashed
  • 1 tbsp. coriander seeds, bruised
  • 1 tbsp. coriander seed powder
  • 1 tsp. garam masala powder
  • ½ tsp. turmeric powder
  • 3 green chilies
  • 1 inch piece ginger, grated
  • A handful of cilantro, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil, 2 tbsp. + 1 tbsp. + for frying

Method:

  1. Boil, peel, and roughly mash the potatoes.
  2. In a pan, heat the 1 tbsp. of oil.
  3. Add green chilies ginger, and bruised coriander seeds and fry until fragrant.
  4. Add the coriander seed powder, turmeric powder, and salt.
  5. Tip in the potatoes and peas. Combine and cook for a minute.
  6. Add the cilantro and turn off the heat. Leave to cool.
  7. Place the flour, semolina, 2 tbsp. oil, and some salt in a large basin and knead to a tough but pliable dough using as little water as possible.
  8. Leave to rest for about 5 mins.
  9. Meanwhile, prepare your deep fat fryer or heat oil for deep frying in a wok.
  10. Pinch out small golf ball-sized balls of the dough and roll into oblong shapes.
  11. Cut through the center to get two semi-circles.
  12. Moisten the straight edge of the semi circle with a spot of water using your finger.
  13. Bring the two straight corners together and press them together to get a cone.
  14. Stuff this with the potato and pea stuffing, leaving a little space to seal.
  15. Moisten the edge of the cone and press to seal.
  16. Deep dry over a low to medium heat until golden.
  17. Serve piping hot.

Sweet fennel and chili dipping sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. fennel seeds, bruised
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds, bruised
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. In a saucepan, heat the oil and add the fennel and cumin seeds. Immediately after, add the chili powder and turn off the heat.
  2. Add the sugar and water and combine.
  3. Return to the heat and cook until you achieve the consistency of runny honey. Add salt to taste and simmer for another minute, just to let the flavors combine.
  4. Cool and serve with samosas.

Other samosa recipes on this blog: