The pull of nostalgia is what makes a dish greater than the sum of its parts, or shall we say ingredients. Indeed, while the crisp and flaky crust, the gentle cauliflower and potato filling accented with bits of crushed peanuts make this an absolutely sublime and sensational creation, the fact that this is something that reminds me of relaxed Sunday mornings as I was growing up is really what clinches the recipe for me.
Phulkopir Shingara: Bengali Samosa [Vegan]
- 1 and 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon nigella seeds
- 2 tablespoons oil or shortening
- 3/4 cup water (more or less to form a pliable but not too soft dough)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon panchphoron
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 3 medium sized potatoes, peeled and finely chopped
- 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 cup green peas (can be frozen)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
- 1 or 2 dried red chilies
- 1/4 cup dry toasted blanched unsalted raw peanuts
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- Oil for Frying
- Place the flour, salt, nigella seeds in a mixing bowl. Gently work in the oil or shortening until well mixed and the mixture is crumbly.
- Gradually add in the water and mix well into a pliable and still firm dough, not unlike any other pastry dough. Cover and let it rest while you prepare the filling.
- Heat the oil and add in the panchphoron and wait until the spices crackle. Add in the ginger and stir well. Add in the red onion and saute for 3 to 4 minutes until the onions are translucent.
- Add in the potatoes and mix well. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, until the potatoes are almost soft.
- Add in the cauliflower and the peas if fresh, if using frozen peas add in with the cumin mixture. Stir in the turmeric and salt and mix well. Add in about 1/4 cup water and cover and cook the mixture allowing the vegetables to soften. This will take about 10 minutes.
- In the mean time place the cumin, fennel (if using) and the 1 or 2 dried red chilies in a small skillet and gently toast the spices until fragrant. Grind to a powder and gently mix into the vegetable mixture.
- Cook the mixture until fair dry, The texture should be soft enough to squish with a spoon. Coarsely grind the peanuts and stir in with the cilantro.
- Cool the mixture until it can be comfortably handled.
- Break lime sized pieces of the dough, roll out to a circle about 1/4 cm thick, Cut into half and fold to shape like a cone. Fill with about 11/2 teaspoons of the filling. Carefully seal the cone, to form a pyramid. You want the shingara to be well filled, but not overstuffed. It is very important to effectively seal the base. Complete all the shingaras in this manner.
- Place on parchment paper as you make them. Chill for 30 minutes.
- In a large wok, heat 2 cups or more of oil. Test for the right temperature with a small bit of dough or bread crumb.
- Add 3 to 4 of the shingaras at a time and carefully fry them until golden brown. They need to be fried at an even medium low temperature to allow them to be nice and crisp.
- Remove and drain on paper towels and serve hot.