For the filling
500gm (5 large) potatoes
18gm (1½-inch) ginger
4 green chillies
25gm (2 tbsp) mustard oil
10gm (2 tbsp) peanuts
10gm (1 tbsp) sliced coconut
1 dried red chilli
1 tsp panch phoron (Bengali five-spice)
¼ tsp hing (asafoetida)
5gm (2 tsp) alu’r torkari moshla mix (see recipe below)
4gm (¾ tsp) salt
12gm (2 tsp) sugar
4gm (¾ tsp) black salt
½ tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek)
Alu’r Torkari Moshla Mix
5gm (2 tsp) coriander powder
4gm (2 tsp) cumin powder
4gm (1½ tsp) turmeric
3gm (1 tsp) red chilli powder
2gm (1 tsp) amchur powder (dried-mango powder)
2gm (1 tsp) Bengali garam masala
For the coating
240gm (2 cups) maida (all-purpose flour)
3gm (½ tsp) salt
5gm (1 tsp) sugar
60gm (¼ cup) ghee or vanaspati (vegetable shortening)
Neutral oil or ghee for frying
For the sweet chutney
10gm (1 tbsp) tamarind
20gm (2 tbsp) mustard oil
1 dried red chilli
½ tsp (total) fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds and nigella seeds
½ tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
¼ tsp coriander powder
3gm (1 tsp) grated ginger
50gm (3 tbsp) aankhi gur (cane jaggery)
8gm (1¼ tsp) sugar
½ tsp salt
Mortar and pestle
Step I: Make the filling
1. Wash the potatoes well and chop them in 1-cm cubes. Leave the skin on for flavour.
2. Boil the potatoes in a saucepan for about 15 minutes, or until they are soft. Be careful, though, to not let them turn mushy; they should be soft, but still hold their shape. Strain to stop them from cooking further; reserve the water.
3. Make a fresh paste of ginger and green chillies. It is easiest to do this in a mortar and pestle with some salt for abrasion.
4. Slice the coconut and halve the peanuts.
5. Prepare the spice mix according to the proportions given above.
6. Heat mustard oil in a kadai, and wait for it to smoke gently and change colour to a pale yellow.
7. Fry coconut slices until golden (about 30 seconds). Set aside. Fry peanuts until golden (45–60 seconds). Set aside.
8. Now temper the oil with a dried red chilli, panch phoron and hing. Immediately add the ginger and green chilli paste. Fry on low heat for 30–45 seconds.
9. Add the spice mix (5gm), salt, black salt, sugar and kasuri methi. Fry these together for another minute or so, making sure not to burn the spices. Keep adding splashes of water if they start sticking to the pan.
10. Add the boiled potatoes, along with about 200ml of the reserved water from boiling the potatoes. Note that if your potatoes are mushy or disintegrating, you won’t need as much water.
11. Cook everything together on medium-high heat until the liquid dries completely.
12. Fold in the fried coconut and peanuts.
13. Turn off the heat and allow the filling to cool down. Meanwhile, make the dough.
Step II: Make the dough
1. In a mixing bowl, take maida, salt, sugar and ghee/shortening. Mix these well until the mixture resembles wet sand. This will distribute the fat evenly within the flour and allow it to form a flaky crust.
2. Add water and mix further to bring the dough together. You don’t need to knead this dough for too long and develop gluten in this case, as we want the crust to be tender and flaky.
3. Cover and rest for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the chutney.
Step III: Make the sweet chutney
1. Soak tamarind in hot water for 10 minutes. Extract the pulp and strain it.
2. Grate some ginger with skin on.
3. Heat mustard oil in a pan. Temper with a dried red chilli. Once it has imparted its flavour to the oil, remove it from the oil.
4. Add fennel, fenugreek and nigella seeds and allow them to crackle.
5. Turn off the heat, and add red chilli powder, kashmiri red chilli powder, coriander powder and grated ginger.
6. Add tamarind pulp. Turn the heat back on.
7. Add the cane jaggery, sugar and salt.
8. Bubble on heat until the chutney becomes syrupy. This shouldn’t take more than 2–3 minutes.
9. Remove from the heat while it is still relatively thin; the chutney will thicken as it cools. The only thing left now is to fold and fry the singaras.
Step IV: Fold the singaras
1. Divide the rested dough in 50gm portions. You will get seven portions from this quantity of dough. Each portion will yield two singaras.
2. Roll out each portion into an oval shape, 28cm long, 16cm wide, and of 1mm thickness.
3. Divide it in half along the width. You now have two wrappers.
4. Apply water down the straight edge. Bring these together to form a cone.
5. To fill the singaras, hold the cone within your thumb and index finger, such that the seam rests on your thumb.
6. Add the filling. Singaras, unlike many samosas, are not flat. So add enough filling to make them plump, but at the same time do not overfill, or the coating will burst. You will typically need about 2 spoons of the filling.
7. Singaras are more pyramidical than conical – they have a base to stand on. To achieve this type of base, they have to be folded twice.
Apply water along the rim of the cone. Bring A to B, and then C to D, as shown in the diagram below.
This dual fold will help create the base on which the singara can sit upright without toppling over.
8. Once all singaras are filled, drop them in lukewarm oil. Fry each batch for about 25–30 minutes on low heat, turning them over every five minutes for even colouring. Singaras need to be started in lukewarm oil (less than 100°C).
You should typically be able to dip your finger in the oil at the beginning without flinching (but perform this test carefully, of course!) If the oil is too hot, the pastry will remain doughy inside. If your singaras are turning brown sooner, it means your oil is too hot!
9. Remove from the oil and allow them to sit for 15 minutes before digging in. Serve with tea
Spice mix: This is a typical set of spices that flavour several spicy potato preparations found in the food shops/stalls in and around Kolkata. The proportions we’ve given here for the spice mix will yield a larger quantity than needed for this recipe. But if you store it in an airtight jar, you have a mix ready to go for future singara fillings, roll fillings, or luchi or mughlai porota sides.
How long can I store them before frying: As long as they are not sticking to the greased tray they're placed on or one another, you should be able to fill singaras ahead of time until you are ready to fry. If you intend to fold them a day ahead and store them in the fridge, you will need to air-dry them for at least 2–3 hours. This isn't ideal, as the fridge often adds to the moisture in the dough, and there is a chance they might stick if placed close together.
Reheating: These are best served off the oil, but to reheat, place them in the oven at 180°C until the centre is heated through (about 15 minutes or so). Microwaving will make them soggy.
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