Every week, we’re unearthing Heirloom Recipes -- dishes that have made their way from one generation's kitchen to the next.
If I told you this is my grandma’s recipe, it would be both true and false.
It's true because in the most vivid memory I have of her, she is sitting on a green painted metal chair in the verandah instructing my aunts who are sitting on the floor with three large plates. One plate was stacked with whole wheat paper thin wraps covered in lightly damp cloth, another with pile of cooked lentils. The third plate was where they placed folded samosas. We kids would run around the verandah and were handed the folded samosas to eat while we passed by. The tradition has been handed down from my grandma to my aunts to my mom and now to us. So what makes it false?
This is not a scene that belongs to my house alone. This is a ritual of an entire town. You see, in my little town of Galiakot, located in dry and arid Rajasthan, samosa-making is a weekly, or at least fortnightly, affair in most houses. The recipe is the same for every house. It starts by kneading durum wheat atta (dough) and then preparing paper thin whole wheat wraps. The filling is prepared, the samosas folded, and then they hit the wok in which they are deep fried until golden brown.
The most commonly known vegetarian samosa consists of potatoes wrapped in a white flour pastry studded with cumin and green chilies, but you'll be surprised about how well this lentil filling goes over. Though it can be served with any kind of chutney, traditionally it is eaten by punching a hole at the center of the triangle and squeezing some lemon juice into it.
I have globalized it a bit by suggesting you use any kind of wrapper you like: rice wraps, wheat wraps, or phyllo dough, even baked instead of fried -- it’s up to your interpretation. You can also shape them however you like. It might not be authentic, but it's still delicious.
1 cup split moong dal/split pigeon pea or any lentil
1/2 cup spring onions, chopped along with the greens
1/4 cup mint leaves, chopped
1/4 cup coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon cumin powder, preferably freshly roasted and ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon Indian red chili powder
1 serrano chili or to heat preference
Salt to taste
4 spring roll wrapper sheets
1/4 cup wheat flour
3 tablespoons water
See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.