Saturday, October 17, 2009

Mughal Samosa

Mughal Samosa or Sweet Mava Samosa remind me of just one person, Pavshi Aaji!

A unique name and a strong persona is what I associate with her. I feel proud that I am from a community that gave women the freedom to earn their living and make choices freely. How certain foods are associated with a certain community that our world loves to hate were bought as treats for us by Pavshi Aaji.

She was one of my Grandfather's cousin, a Bazaarwali as in working women of today. She sold fish at the Crawford market, had prestigious clients. She sold the best fish, her credentials of being an excellent haggler, a sweet talker with the customer yet a tough women with anyone trying to cross her path. If you are familiar with the attire of the Koli women then you have seen a pallu spread across the midriff like an apron. It is called the OTi. This acts as a safe for tucking in the day's earning, paan pouch and many times treats.

When I was still a toddler, every evening I'd wait for Pavshi Aaji to come home with a treat tucked in her OTi. I would smell the ghee laden sweet Mava samosas and fondle her OTi, saying "A Aaji, de na ga, I know you have Mughal samosa in there". She would lovingly open the newspaper wrapped pudi (packet). This would be followed by my Dad's comment, "Don't get these Mughal things for my daughter." As if eating these sweet treats would cause an irreversible chemical change in me. Then she would hand me out one and say " Akha kha" (eat whole) then she would break the other Mughal samosa and give half to my Mothi Aaji and they would sit down to an after work chat with tea cups, as they discussed the profits made in the day.

I would cuddle up to Mothi Aaji and listen. These women were powerful and unabashed about weilding it.

My Dad's fave story of Pavshi Aaji is of they returning home from VT by BEST bus at peak time and being caught by the TC for not buying a ticket. My Dad then a young lad felt embarassed yet Pavshi Aaji fought with the TC that it was not her fault if the conductor did not reach her till she reached Colaba and so they could not buy the tickets. This lady being the women she was realized the she was not able to convince the TC did not accept her mistake. When she was asked to furnish her address, so that he could send her a notice for fine, she gave an incorrect address and escaped. Gosh! after that day my Dad sweared never to commute with her.

When I read about IFR: Memories and Manisha nudging us to pull out recipes from our memories, I smelt the Mughal samosas in the air out of nowhere. I had not had them after Pavshi Aaji died that was 2 decades ago. She died of heart attack at the age of 60 plus, she was a Bazaarwali till the end so we got the samosa till the end.

This recipe is out of those sweet memories and of living in a tiny house in Colaba, those doors were open to all inspite of the space constraint. The memories of working Koli women like Mothi Aaji, Janai Aaji, Gomai Aaji sharing laughter and gossip and the end of a long working day. It was such a pleasure to watch them some munching on snacks other rubbing Masheri (tobacco tooth powder) in their teeth before they retired to their waiting domestic chores, while I took mouthfuls from the Mughal Samosa.

Here is the recipe for you guys, I can do only this much and wish I could pass on the you those smells and tales of that era.

Traditionally these are regular sized samosas however since we have become a weight concious lot I have made them cocktail sized. I tried them with a really small amount of ingredients as it is a recipe strictly out of memories of the taste.


For the cover:

1 cup refined flour/ Maida
1/4 cup ghee
salt to taste
water for kneading

Rub in the ghee and then add water, enough to make a smooth dough. Let it rest.

Meanwhile prepare the sugar syrup and Mava.

For the stuffing:

1 cup mava (about 1/4 kg)
1/2 cup mixed nuts and raisins
1 teaspoon ghee
1/4 cup powdered sugar
4-5 cardamons powdered
1 small piece cinnamon powdered

Heat the ghee and fry mava till golden, add nuts and raisins and powdered sugar. Mix well. spice up the mix with cardamom and cinnamon powders. Save.

For the sugar syrup

1 cup sugar
3 table spoons water

Boil together to get a sticky syrup. Skim off the impurities. Keep aside.

For frying


Shaping the samosa

Now pinch off small balls of dough. Roll out into a puri. Cut with knife into halves. Make a cone with minimum overlap and fill a small amount of stuffing in the cone as you cup it in the hand. Seal the open ends by applying a little water. Ensure this is done well as you don't wanted molten mava and sugar to ooze out and spoil the frying medium.

Deep fry in ghee. Make them crisp and golden. Drain on a mesh.

Once all are fried pour the sugar syrup over the fried samosas.

These are a little too sweet even for a a sweet lover but there is no other way of recreating the same taste. I tried my hand at the taste though I wish to go back into that time again and know it is not possible.

These samosas are available in and around Crawford market area in Mumbai, for those of you who are adventurous enough to track the original thing down.

Update from Mumbai...

We are celebrating my brother and SIL's first Deepavali after marriage and it is a family reunion time. Chimi is as happy as me to be here with family.

I'll be busy breaking my head over what to buy for The Punarvasu's BD. No God's idols. No sports gear. It has to be something for the work desk as that's where most of the time is spent. How about a frame for the little gal's picture which is currently pinned on the soft board?

Wishing you a very Happy Deepavali!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Lets Go Home & Other Long Stories

No No don't sue me for copyright infringement! I have taken care to call this post 'Lets go home and other LONG~~ STORIES' :) (Have you heard of Lets go home and other stories? It is a good read for school going kids)

I have been away for a while from this blog with no mood to blog. There was nothing interesting happening in my life that I could blog about. Then may be this post is for those of you my loved readers who want to know what I was upto all these days and for some nosy ones who think I am a tight mouth in real life and they don't succeed in getting stuff out of me. They come here to read about the juicy bits in my life! I wonder how people find my life so juicy... it is a boring life if you ask me...or may be I glamorize it a bit over here.

Anyways... There I am toggling between topics. You don't come here to read focused stuff do you? I am like this only.

While the rest of the bloggers were busy participating in the Heirloom Click , some bringing back memories through age old recipes, some others joining The Annual Mad tea party. I had my hands full with life, routine things most times. Except two weeks ago...

We got Chimi spayed. Nupur had made me think deeper. I was convinced about the benefits though I had my concerns about Chimi's health after spaying. I was torn by my own thoughts. I wanted to see her having babies badly so. Yet I did what I had to. Got her spayed.

She was low for a day due to the anaesthesia but recovered fast n quick. I was with her till they shaved her and prepared her for surgery. Then waited out till every thing was done. Dr. Yathiraj, Dean of Hebbal Vetenary Hospital and his able nephew Dr. Govindraj did the surgery. I was happy she got the best doctors for this. They showed us her organs after the surgery it made me feel guilty. Its almost couple of months now "The Lakeside Vetenary Clinic" has been a fun place to meet up with friends for Chimi and us too. To watch every dog that walked in and see that each one of them had individual charachter. My Chimi gal is an absolute lady. No rowdiness and no much going bonkers over all the boyfriends hanging their tongue out ;)

I think she looked sexy in the multi-tie bandage as she sashayed around the house like a model in a sarong on the beach with a bit of a swagger from the anaesthesia. Atleast for a day she got full attention from Dad. He wanted her to recover fast :)

The next day on, Chimi was her usual self. We were visited by a tiger moth. Chimi was fascinated by it and its fluttering scared her a bit.

Coming back to the topic of Heirlooms rather non heirlooms. On the suggestion of a friend I bought a roti maker, what a big mistake! it makes the worst rotis I have ever tasted. Atleast you, my readers don't make that mistake.

I now try to make parathas with it which are decent is all I can say. In the picture you see an attempt at Naans.

On the note of memories. I have memories and a recipe to share about Mughal samosas. Go figure out if you don't know what they are. Else drool at the pictures and come back later to read about them. You don't see the dark spots do you? Ignore them if you do.

I'm not promising to come back soon or may be I will, don't know but I am singing "Lets go home" right now.

Take care all you people till then.

On Trail