With Ramadan just under 3 weeks away, it’s that time of the year where preparations for samosas, spring rolls, kebabs and various other Iftar snacks begin.
I have very fond memories as a child of Ramadan when me and my parents, all my Chachis and Chachus (Aunts and Uncles) and my grandparents lived together. During Ramadan my Chachis, my Mother and my Grandmother would gather on the floor in the living room with a mountain high stack of spring roll wrappers, a pot full of filling, either potato and peas or minced meat, and would prepare samosas and spring rolls for the next few days. Someone would be assigned the role of filling the wrapper with the filling, someone would roll, someone would brush on the ‘glue’, a gummy mixture of flour and water. I would sit by my Mother and observe, itching to join in. Eventually, I was allowed to fill the samosas with a spoonful of the masala, but soon after I graduated to rolling the wrappers into long spring rolls or triangular samosa shapes. It would be the highlight of my day.
My Mother and Aunts stopped making samosas and spring rolls years ago. My grandmother became very sick and bedridden not long after, two of my Aunt’s moved out when I was 13, then my Mother also moved when I was 16. I think it’s a real shame that this beautiful Ramadan family tradition died before any of my younger cousins or sisters could witness it. Maybe I’m just being over-attached to those memories, or maybe I’m imagining this false sense of responsibility over traditions bound to die down sooner or later, but I feel like I shouldn’t let this tradition out of my hands.
When I told my Mother I planned on making my own samosas and spring rolls this year, she tried to talk me out of it, telling me ‘It’s effort you don’t need to do. Everything you need is available in the shops. Those conveniences are there for a reason.’
I just think there’s something special about something homemade. The love and care that goes into making them outshines those prepacked mass-manufactured ready-made things – God only knows how truly hygienic and fresh the ingredients used for those are. Plus I like having control over the spices and ingredients. Sometimes with the ready-made samosas, I find myself thinking ‘If they added just a bit more pepper/coriander powder/cumin, this would taste so much more better’. When making the filling yourself, you have free reign over what and what not to add. The only real effort is wrapping the samosas. I usually dedicate a few afternoons to this – I turn on the radio and time flies without me even noticing.
This year, I plan on making chicken and potato, minced lamb, fish and perhaps paneer samosas, and Chinese style prawn and veggie spring rolls. I’ve already made a batch of vegetable spring rolls consisting of carrots, cabbage, capsicum, sweetcorn and spring onions.
This cumin-spiced potato filling was met with praises by everyone who tried them. They are just the right amount of spicy – enough to be cooled down by a side of raita (yogurt and mint sauce) but not hot enough to be uncomfortable without. If you’re a bit sensitive to spice or don’t want your samosas to be spicy, then omit the chilli powder.
Enjoy this filling in samosas, spring rolls or parathas, or use to make pastries or cutlets, like Aloo ki Tikkiyan.
Enjoy, with love x