Breakfast Special: What Makes The Bengali Samosa So Unqiue
Image Credit: Pixabay, Relish the Bengali version of samosas for breakfast.

The Indian fascination for all things crispy and fried is no stranger to us. Be it early morning breakfast or late evening snacks, a crispy bite with a condiment on the side does the job for most North Indians. Take poori aloo for instance. Puffed roundels of dough deep-fried and served with a spicy potato curry are the most loved breakfast treats in parts of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. Similarly, in Delhi, you would find scores of people queuing outside a street food vendor on a Sunday, just to grab their share of chole bhature. Then of course, you have kachoris which fit the bill for a lazy breakfast or indulgent snack. The crispy round is filled with all sorts of stuffings and serve with aloo ki subzi on the side. This is commonly seen in several parts of North India. 

In similar vein, samosa is also quite common when it comes to such crunchy delights. For those untouched by the phenomenon, samosa is a deep-fried conical puff pastry that is usually stuffed with diced potatoes and some masala. Despite its foreign origins from the Persian land, it has been well-accepted by people of India as their own. From street side stalls and halwais to huge restaurants, you would find the humble samosa mentioned in a corner of the menu often. Traditionally, the samosa is served with a tamarind chutney and a green mint-coriander chutney but you’d also find items like samosa chaat being sold on the streets. In this, the samosa is crushed and hot and tangy chole are poured over it. Chopped onions and green chillies are garnished on it along with some tamarind and green chutney. 

Across the country, there are plenty of varieties of samosa that are available. One such samosa which is popular in Kolkata is Singhara or Shinghara. An Eastern counterpart of the North-Indian samosa, the shinghara is eaten with as much joy in Odisha and Jharkhand as Bengal. However, the Bengali version definitely has certain distinguishing factors which make it so unique. The difference largely lies in the crust of the shinghara as well as the things that are stuffed in it. Usually packed in thin and puffed coating, the shingharas are comparatively smaller in size than the samosa. 

The samosa is made from maida or all-purpose flour and so is the shinghara but you’ll notice that the crust is usually thicker for the former than the latter. In fact, the name shinghara is derived from water chestnuts due to its triangular shape. Then comes the most important part, the filling. While most samosas are aloo samosas, shingharas can have diced potatoes and spices mixed together or could also be a meaty delight. Take the Maangsher Shinghara for instance. Minced mutton is spruced up with chillies and spices and stuffed into the conical pastry. Then there’s a cauliflower version called fulkopir and a sweet twist to the Shinghara, where it is stuffed with coconut called Narkel er Shinghara. 

Seems like the penchant for samosas is not limited to the northern part of the country alone. Here’s a recipe of the Bengali Shinghara that you can try for breakfast.