Samosa chaat: The perfect Indian snack for summers in the UAE


Samosa chaat: The perfect Indian snack for summers in the UAE

Indian expatriates talk about how they continue to enjoy this street food in the Emirates



Samosa chaat
Samosa chaat Image Credit: Supplied/Dhaba Lane

Dubai: Did you order more samosas or sambusek (a triangle-shaped hot pastry) than your guests could eat? Or do you have leftover chole (spiced chickpeas curry) from dinner? If yes, there is a delicious way to turn these leftovers into a summer snack. Make samosa chaat – an Indian street food snack that is spicy, sweet, and crunchy. As they say – waste not, want not!

Samosas are deep-fried with a filling of spiced potatoes or spiced vegetables, much like the Middle-eastern sambusa or sambusek, which are usually filled with either cheese or meat. The litmus test is the crisp outer pastry layer – as it makes all the difference between an excellent or terrible samosa. In fact, samosa chaat has quite a fan following.

Gulf News Food spoke to expatriates from the Indian community in the UAE who love this snack. Sphoorti Kshrisagar, a 40-year-old yoga practitioner in Dubai, said: “I like the crispy, crunchy, tangy hot and sweet combination mix of samosa chaat. Every bite feels like a surprise inside the mouth.” This dish reminds her of the bylanes of Varanasi (formerly known as Banaras), a city in Eastern India, which she visits for pilgrimage. She said: “The dish reminds me of the streets of Banaras and transports me back there.”

Every bite feels like a surprise inside the mouth

- Sphoorti Kshrisagar

Another expatriate, 28-years-old business development manager Shradha Verma, said: “I love samosa chaat, and it reminds me so much of my childhood in Delhi, India. I like both samosa and chole individually, but in chaat form, they just taste better.”

I love samosa chaat, and it reminds me so much of my childhood in Delhi, India

- Shradha Verma

Bijal Nagwaswalla, a Human Resource advisor and Indian expatriate from Mumbai, India, based in Ajman, spends most of her weekends in Dubai, exploring the food scene, especially Indian street food. One such dish is samosa chaat, which is a family favourite in the Nagwaswalla household. She said: “I was not very fond of samosas back home, but moving away from India made me like them. It reminds me of the good old Bombay (now known as Mumbai, India)." A routine where street-side vendors will be flash-frying batter covered snacks filled with the aroma of garlic chutney, fried green chillies and freshly brewed cutting chai or milk tea.

For Nagwaswalla, samosa chaat is like an “explosion of flavours”.

She said: “The combination of all the different tastes, textures, and temperature is so good that I can eat it every day. My friend - Tanya and I love to explore food in Dubai. She has been in the UAE for 25 years and is well versed, so she introduces me to the popular, old and hidden food gems. At this point in life, the only aim is to eat good food and samosa chaat happens to be one such dish.”

Samosa chaat is like an “explosion of flavours". The combination of all the different tastes, textures, and temperature is so good

- Bijal Nagwaswalla

For leftovers: Storing and reheating leftover samosas and chole

The best way to store samosas is in airtight containers and reheat them in a flat pan or in the oven. Take them out from the refrigerator a few minutes before reheating. If you use an oven, preheat to 180C and reheat samosas for 5 to 10 minutes.

Another way to reheat them is on a griddle or a non-stick pan. On a medium to low flame gently press them down to heat. You will have to turn them to ensure uniform heating. If it crumbles a bit, it is fine, as they will be used to make chaat. These two methods ensure the pastry cover stays crisp.

For chole or the spiced chickpea curry, heat them in a microwave, covered, by adding a couple of tablespoons of warm water. This will prevent the gravy from drying up. Alternatively, if you are heating chole in a pan, add water and then reheat the chole on low to medium heat. Add more warm water if you see the gravy drying up.

How to make it?

To make samosa chaat, place the samosa on a plate. Crush it a bit. Pour three to four tablespoons of chole on top, add a teaspoon of coriander and tamarind chutneys, and a slice of raw mango. Follow with a sprinkling of chaat masala, red chilli powder, a pinch of black salt and chopped coriander leaves. Samosa chaat is ready to be served.

Here is a recipe for Samosa chaat shared by Chef Jitendra Negi of Dhaba Lane, Karama, Dubai

Ingredients for samosa:

250 gms boiled potatoes

100 gms white flour (maida)

2 to 4 tbsp of water to knead the flour

50 gms green peas (fresh or frozen)

20 gms red chilli powder

20 gms whole coriander seeds

3 green chillies

5 gms ginger, chopped

15 gms salt or as per taste

1 tbsp turmeric powder

1 tbsp jeera or cumin powder

2 tbsp garam masala

2 tbsp roasted kasuri methi or dried fenugreek leaves

5 gms crushed red chillies or flakes

¾ tsp carom seeds or ajwain seeds

For chole or spiced chickpea curry:

50 gms or ¼ cup Kabuli chana or white chickpeas

1 tbsp aniseed

30 gms green peas

10 gms chole masala, store brought 

3 dried amla or Indian gooseberries

2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (equal portions)

20 gms chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp amchur or dried mango powder or 1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp tamarind (soaked in water and strained)

Method:

1. Peel the potatoes, mash them in a bowl and keep them aside.

2. Heat a pan, add oil to it, and add whole crushed coriander, red chilli flakes, ginger, and sauté until they release an aroma.

3. Once the spices turn slightly dark in colour, add mashed potatoes, boiled green peas, salt, red chilli powder, jeera or cumin powder, garam masala powder and chopped coriander leaves. Cook it for another five minutes. Turn off the heat and keep it aside for 15 minutes.

Note: If you use frozen green peas, put them in hot water for about 2 to 3 minutes to cook, and they will turn to a nice green colour and taste fresh.

For the samosa dough:

1. Add white flour, carom seeds, warm oil, salt and water (room temperature). Mix them well until the mixture become crumbly.

2. After mixing them, add water and knead the mix for about 2 minutes. The dough must be semi-stiff, so do not over knead or add more water.

3. Freeze it for about 20 to 30 minutes to set once the dough is ready. It is advised to freeze the dough so it doesn’t break when the samosas are placed in hot oil, to fry.

4. After 30 minutes, knead the dough for a further 5 minutes and then break it into small round balls.

5. Take a rolling pin, dab a little oil on it, and then roll the dough into an oval shape.

6. Once done, from the centre, divide it into two equal parts.

7. Then, dab water at the edges with your fingers, as you will need the moisture to seal the samosas towards the end. Then, begin to roll it into a conical shape.

8. Once done, fill it in with the spiced potato mix and by pinching the edges, seal the samosas. Repeat the same for the rest of the dough, and remember to keep the filled samosas covered with a moist cloth to prevent them from drying.

10. Heat oil in a shallow base pan and gently slide the samosas. Keep the flame on low heat. Do not add too many at a time. Add only as much as the pan can accommodate, and you can turn them over at regular intervals. Once the samosas settle in, turn the flame to medium heat and begin frying the samosas. It takes time and patience. So wait until they turn a nice golden brown in colour. Remove samosas onto a kitchen towel to absorb excess oil.

For chole masala:

1. Soak chickpea overnight in water.

2. Then, wash the soaked chickpeas in running water a couple of times.

3. In a pressure cooker, add soaked chickpeas, dry amla powder, salt, oil, chana masala, tamarind water and water, approximately 1.5 cups. Cover with the lid and pressure cook for 6 to 7 whistles on low heat.

4. Meanwhile in a pan, add oil, ginger and garlic paste and sauté for a few seconds.

5. Then, add chopped tomatoes, salt, red chilli powder and amchur powder. Cook until the tomatoes begin to turn soft.

7. Next, add boiled chole with the water they were cooked in, into the tomatoes and cook for a further 15 to 20 minutes on low heat.

To make samosa chaat:

Place two samosas on a plate or bowl, pour chole, and garnish it with julienned ginger, chopped green chillies, freshly chopped coriander, and coriander chutney and tamarind chutney and serve.

How do you like samosas? Tell us more about your favourite recipes at food@gulfnews.com

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