Friday, July 15, 2011

Let's Celebrate: Samosa-Shingara Pies & (faux) Champagne!

Cheers! Hooray! Let's here it for #Letslunch on its second anniversary!

What's #Letslunch? Why it's one of the most fun groups you'll find in all of twitterverse.Spearheaded by Cheryl Tan (author of the wonderful foodie memoir, A Tiger in the Kitchen), food enthusiasts from all over the world, who come together to share recipes, stories, friendship and virtual lunch in cyberspace. Want to join us? Just send a tweet with the hashtag #LetsLunch!

Anyhoo, we are celebrating this month with Champagne and bubbly-friendly bites. Something special. Of course, that brought up mouth-watering memories of hot shingaras and samosas enjoyed as a treat on wet and chilly Monsoon evenings in my childhood. Ahhh, I miss those treats.

So what are Samosas and Shingaras?

Bangla(my mother tongue) is a very precise language. For example, in English your father's sister is your aunt and your mom's sister is your aunt as well. But Bengalis(the people) would call the first Fooppee and the latter Khala, denoting relationship and respect all at the same time.

So Samosas, in Bangladesh (the country), would be a triangular meat-filled deep fried snack with a crispy-crackly shell.

(The image is from, which has some really good desi recipes)

Shingaras are vegetarian pot-bellied deep-fried faintly triangular snacks with a softer, melt-in-your-mouth crust. The filling is spiced up potatoes and peas and sometimes cauliflower.

(This image is from Pakistani Food Recipes, which has a variety of samosa & shingara recipes from all different places).

I prefer the Shingaras, but I have noticed that online as well as in restaurants, "Samosa" is the go-to word for both the veg and non-veg snacks.Call it by whatever name, every bite is just as yummy!

The reason I don't make them at home is I detest deep frying. Yes, I know I live in TX where they deep fry everything -- from pickles to oreos. And I'll eat these deep-fried delicacies once in a blue moon, but I'm not deep frying. So, I decided to bake. Healthier and easier.

But then, y'all know how I like to play around with tradition and add my own twists. So from my desi-Texas kitchen, you have: bite-sized Samosa-Shingara Pies!

1. Boil some potatoes (I thought the sweetness of a sweet potato would go great in the samosa recipe so in it went). Peel, mash and set aside.

2. Measure out the other ingredients:

1/2 cup minced red onion
1/2-inch ginger, peeled and minced
2 green chillies, minced (I had to skip this for the kidlets)
A small handful of cilatro leaves, finely chopped

Whole Spices/seeds: 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon caraway, 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Ground Spices: 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon amchur (dried mango powder), 1/2 teaspoon garam masala, 1/4 teaspoon seasoned pepper, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon salt.

3. Heat 2 teaspoons of canola oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the whole spices and cook for about 1 minute. (The aroma should have you swooning)
4.Add the onion and chillies (if using), cook until they soften. Add 1 cup frozen green peas, ginger, and ground spices.

5. Cook it all together and sprinkle some water to keep from sticking. About 5 minutes. Add mashed potatoes and gently mix well. It should look like this:

6.Fill in prepared pie shells. I used a refrigerated pie crust, a wine glass to cut the circles out and a 12-count mini-muffin pan.

7. Bake in a 350 oven until the crust is golden. Next time, I might pre-bake the shells and then scoop in the filling. Let rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro (if you really like cilantro, you can also add this to the potato mixture.

8. Serve with your favorite condiment (we went with ketchup for the kids and Green Chili Sauce found in Indian grocery stores for the grownups) and bubbly. Um, yes, our bubbly wasn't exactly Champagne...but the kids really wanted to be part of the celebration. The end result was still fun & yum!

Happy Birthday #Letslunch! And may there be many more :)

Here's other bubbly & bites posts to enjoy:

Cheryl & Mike's Cheddar Pecan Crisps

Steff's Southern Style Finger Foods

Free Range Cookies Cheese Straw Crackers

Zestbakery's Bacon, Apple, Swiss Quiche

Emma's Cold, Cured Salmon

Ellise's Sundried Tomato Pesto Palmiers

Caitlin's Gruyere Lace Cookies


  1. I so love the looks of these -- and love that they're baked! I seriously can't wait to try these. Thanks for sharing...and happy anniversary! (Wait, it occurs to me...I should have posted the picture we took together! Next month, perhaps...xx)

  2. Oh, these look divine and I love learning about new spices. I've never tried amchur and I will go to the Spice Station here asap so I can try this. I loved the personal story and it seems that many other languages have specific words for things that the English language leaves ambiguous. I think it is our loss. Happy 2nd LetsLunch anniversary to you/us! {{{Clink}}}

  3. I echo Cathy, in that these are so tasty looking! I also like the "Faux" champagne aspect so the kiddos could play!

  4. Those look delicious! I know my kiddos would love them!

  5. to Cathy @ ShowFoodChef s

    SALT is not a spice!