Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Singara ~ The Bengali Samosa

Singara was all that I could ask for when it rained ludicrously for all day long last week. Singara and a cup of chai...perhaps I have never wanted anything so badly!! So I kneaded the dough, cooked the stuffing and made the singara. Piping hot pastry stuffed with a spicy potato and peas filling...is exactly what I was dreaming of.

bengali style pure vegetarian samosa recipe

how to make samosa

In my home, I loved samosas. Almost every evening I had to have at least one singara with the sweet and sour tamarind chutney. I loved every bit of it whereas my sister ate only the skin of it. Then she used to give me the filling and I sometimes gobbled them up also (if I had the apetite of it). In my nursery I read a poem about singara. It said “ singara re, singara, tor to duto sing khara” (smaosa, oh samosa, you have two pointy horns!!). Everyone used to ask me about the poem and I being that small child of nursery used to recite the poem to almost everyone. I loved that poem very much. Now I can remember only one line of it.

singara recipe
Mix the the spices and chopped ginger and green chillies with the boiled potatoes.

bengali style singara recipe with step by step pictures
Heat oil and temper it with cumin seeds. Then fry the cauliflower and peas in it.

vegetarian singara recipe with step by step pictures
Add the mashed potato and cook until they form a dough.

samosa stuffing recipe
Mix in the bhaja mosla and raw mango powder and transfer to a bowl.

how to make indian pasty samosa recipe
Make the cones with the dough and fill it with the potato filling.
No one makes sinagra in Kolkata, or Bengal. Because it is available abundantly there. Even my mother had never cooked them in home. Be it for any occasion or just to munch some snacks, sinagara was always a store bought item there. But in Abidjan every Indian makes Samosa / Sinagara often in the evenings. Even our African maids know how to make them. Till now, whomever we have interviewed have spoken three common dishes that they know to cook. They are dal, alu paratha and samosa. Not that everyone can make them perfectly but they all know the basics.

how to cook vegetable samosa recipe

how to make vegetable singara recipe bengali style

The first time I made samosa, it turned out like puri and bhaji.  A soggy half cooked pastry with some potato fillings in it. The trick is in the dough and the frying technique. Not always deep frying means that the oil has to be hot like hell!! So be patient and fry slowly on the lowest flame you can have and you will get there sooner or later. Also do not make the pasty thin like silk. It needs to be thick and then you will get the crispy desired crust.

how to cook bengali sinagar recipe

bengali phulkopir singara recipe how to cook phulkpir singara

Singara – The Bengali Samosa
Makes 8-10 large samosas

easy samosa recipe

 For the stuffing:
2 medium potatoes
4 whole green chillies
½ cup green peas
½ cup very small cauliflower florets
A handful of fresh coriander leaves
A handful of peanuts
A handful of raisins (golden / brown)
1 inch stick of ginger
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp aamchur / raw mango powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp coriander powder
1 tbsp bahja mosla (dry roast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, dry red chillies and black peppercorns for 2 minutes and then grind them to a fine powder. Store in an airtight container.)
1-2 tbsp oil

For the wrapping:
2 cups of all purpose flour
½ tsp nigella seeds
½ tsp carom seeds
2 tbsp oil
Water to knead the dough

 For the stuffing:
Dice the potatoes with skin and boil them in water with some salt until they are properly cooked. Drain the water and keep the potato aside. Let them come to room temperature.
Once they are cool enough to handle peel out ther skin and add in the chopped ginger, cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, chopped green chillies, chopped coriander leaves and salt. Mix well and make sure that the potatoes are mashed nicely and no big lumps remain there. If you want you can leave some small chunks.
Heat oil in a pan and add in the hing / asafoetida, dry red chillies and cumin seeds. As they start to splutter add the green peas and cauliflower florets. Sprinkle some salt and stir for 2-3 minutes or until the cauliflower florets start to have some nice golden spots in it.
Now add a dash of water and cook till the cauliflowers are soft. They will take another 3-4 minutes.
Once the cauliflower is soft add the mashed potatoes in it and also sprinkle half of the bhaja mosla.
Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the mashed potatoes has formed a dough like shape and it is no longer sticking to the pan.
At this point taste and adjust the salt in it. Sprinkle the rest of the bhaja mosla, peanuts, raisins and the amchur / raw mango powder.
Stir for another 2 minutes and put off the flame.
Transfer the entire mixture in a bowl and let it cool down.

Make the dough:
In a big bowl take the flower, oil, nigella seeds, carom seeds and salt. Mix in with hand so that the oil totally mixed into the flour and has created a crumbly texture.
Now add a little water and start to knead. Do not take too much water at a time. Knead and if you feel the dough is still dry add some more. The dough for making singara / samosa should not be very soft. It should be a little elastic and firm. Knead the dough until all the dough is no longer sticking to your finger or the bowl and you can give a nice firm round shape to it.

Make the singara / samosa :
Make a medium sized ball out of the dough. Roll it to a thick tortilla and slice in half. Give it a cone shape and fill the stuffing. Press the stuffing with a spoon a little. Now seal the edges nicely. Also seal the head of the cone. You can slightly tilt it to make it look good. Use water as glue to seal the edges.

Fry the Singara / samosa:
Take enough oil to deep fry. Simmer it on low flame for 2-3 minutes. When you see that the oil is starting to warm up put the samosas in oil.  Do not make the oil piping hot and then fry the singara. It will become puffed up. Which is not the way it should be. And besides samosas take 12-15 minutes to be fried properly. Start frying on low flame and if the oil starts to become hotter just put off the flame. When you see that the skin of the samosa has become stiff and of slightly reddish in colour put the flame on the flame on medium and keep frying. When the skin is brown take out the samosas out of the oil and keep aside.
Frying on low flame is necessary because otherwise the inner parts will not be cooked and the skin will become brown too quickly.

Make sure that the oil is cold enough before you fry the next batch of samosas.


  1. The best Singara shell (shape and the smooth skin) pictures have seen in the web. very interesting Recipe with Aamchur in the stuffing and adding Nigella and carom seed in the dough. It already smells delicious.Excellent I will try in this weekend.

  2. Thank you for your appreciation and wonderful words. Do try and share how they turned out!!

  3. One very important difference between the Bengali singara and the hindustani samosa is the size. Bengali singaras are smaller, ensuring very good proportion between the shell and the filling.