Saturday, 30 May 2009
Ahhhh, samosas- food of the gods. Deep-fried pastry stuffed with a spicy vegetable mix. An ideal quick snack. How can you go wrong? And yet so often they have gone wrong, very wrong.
I remember my mum making samosas every now and again when I was younger. They definitely were an occasional treat, as they were pretty time consuming to prepare. She'd make the filling with potatoes and peas, cooked with a few spices such as whole cumin seeds, chilli and some fresh coriander. Once this had cooled she'd make the dough for the pastry casing, roll it out into small sections, and then form these into sort of upside down pyramids which would be filled with the vegetable mix. Once sealed these would then be fried in batches in hot oil. Eaten hot these samosas (or shingaras in Bengali) would have a light, crispy outer skin, filled with a soft, spicy vegetable mix inside.
Unfortunately, most ready-made, supermarket-bought samosas seem to have mutated into a totally different creation. These flat, distant relatives of a proper Indian samosa are usually wrapped in a weird, stretchy, filo-ish type pastry (which still manages to be completely non-crispy on heating), and filled with a sort of bland, vegetable mush. Ugghh.
Luckily, there is an amazing alternative to samosas made by an Indian mother, and those are the samosas made by Ambala. I might even go so far as to say that I prefer the Ambala samosa (controversial I know!). Ambala has a number of outlets across London and other locations with big Asian populations, and sells a range of sweets and savouries (which I might review at a later date), but one of their best products is their samosas. The pastry is flakey, and quite dense but without being heavy. Inside is a mix of crushed potato with sweetcorn, peas, carrots and spices. I don't know exactly which spices they use but I can see (and taste) whole cumin, mustard seeds and ground chilli. Each samosa is generous in size, never excessively oily and the only issue I ever have with them is restraining myself from scoffing half a dozen in one go.
Cost: Hmmm- can't quite remember this, but something like £0.70 each.
I rate them 9.5/10.