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Delhi’s biggest and smallest samosas.
[Text and pictures by 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).
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 1951 circa movie theater on the fringes of the Walled City. 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 interval.
In a bylane near Scindia House, in the shopping district of Connaught Place, vendors sell samosas that are small enough to be passed off as cocktail samosas in the party circuit. 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. But the taste remains with you for a long time.
Price for a samosa in Delite Rs 35 Price of 8 samosas in Scindia Lane Rs 10
Delite's big samosa
Samosa counter, Delite
The cocktail variety, Scindia Lane
Samosas ready to be deep-fried, on Curzon Road
Samosas in Chandni Chowk
His samosa moment