I’ve always loved samosas, those deep-fried pastry triangles stuffed with spicy potatoes. I have to ration my intake as they aren’t in the “light” category but when I smell that luscious, sizzling aroma of the dough and the potato mixture wafting up into my nostrils, I can barely contain myself. Over the years, I’ve also developed a deep attachment to the tamarind chutney/sauce that is often served with them. And my resistance melts. I give in to that yearning to savor their crispy exterior and the delightful contrast of the soft yet seasoned to perfection potato mixture contained inside.
So when I bumped into the large corner stall, Shahi’s in downtown Jodhpur, Rajasthan, I stopped in my tracks. My heart started to race and my pulse quickened. I don’t give in to just any fried street snack. I can’t afford to. If I over eat (and that is my inclination) I blow up immediately and regret it for far too long. So I narrowed in on this corner and had a serious look around, trying to determine if this place was worth the indulgence.
Everywhere I looked people were eating and clearly enjoying themselves. Satisfaction rang out, unsung in the air, loudly and to my ears (and stomach) clearly.
But this was nothing more than a stall. There were no tables and just a few rickety benches to accommodate the customers. And they didn’t even serve the samosas on plates. Squares of old torn off newspaper function as plates for the triangles. My signals were busy. The wheels in my brain were turning. My taste buds were salivating. Yes! I must have one of these samosas. I went up to the counter and ordered one. When I wasn’t given any chutney, I asked for it. The counter man looked at me, deeply insulted. “No chutney, madam. Not necessary.” Oh, I thought to myself. Well, I will just have to see if I agree. Off I went to find out. I was, as often is the case, the only foreigner there. And although a few people looked my way with curiosity, most were too busy enjoying their own tiffin to pay me much mind.
One bite was all I needed. This was a heaven-sent samosa. The flavors were so perfect yet so complex. They were spicy, tangy, peppery and sweet, all at the same time. And tossed in were cashew halves! When the samosa disappeared from my oily newspaper square, I almost wanted to cry. I sat a moment but not for very long before I was back at the counter ordering another, and they were a good size. After my palate danced with pleasure, I pulled out my camera. I wanted to record this. It sure is difficult to capture the deliciousness of a samosa in a photograph but here is my attempt.
And I agree, the samosas are utterly delicious without chutney!