City Food – The Best Cocktail Samosas, Scindia Lane
Taste of the street.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Who doesn’t go greedy for those yummy greasy finger foods doled out in glamorous Delhi cocktail get-togethers. While waiters in bow tie mill around in these swish gatherings carrying heavy platters with all sorts of exotic unpronounceable canapés, it’s very rare to spot the good old teeny-weeny samosas.
But no problem.
Delhi’s best cocktail samosas need no excuse of farmhouse parties and they are so democratic that they are accessible to people living outside the cocktail class as well. Two street vendors at Scindia Lane in Connaught Place have been making these cocktail samosas for more than a decade.
Lalita Devi’s stall was started by husband Ram Babu in the 1990s. These days her sons, Yogesh and Manoj, and helper Veeran takes care of it. All day long, the boys can be seen slapping the potato mix inside the samosas and deep-frying the little triangles in hissing oil, while the ketchup and green chutney lie filled up in plastic mugs, the kind we use in homely buckets baths. This entire sight, and the crispy-spicy smell, is almost always too tempting for the busy passersby not to at least slow down for a quick glance at the shack.
The other similarly modest establishment, run by Rajesh Kumar, was founded by his late father Shri Ram in 1998. It is tucked under a Banyan. Long-time customers often sit down under the wild tree with a plate of samosas and a glass of adrak chai from the adjacent tea stall of Vinod Kumar. The entire scene looks like a picnic spot.
Don’t ask which stall makes the better samosa. Both are delicious, their potato filling cooked with peas and groundnuts and spiked with cardamom and black pepper. And the samosas are so cheap — ~10 for six.
The trick is to get equal quantities from both, jumble them up in a plate before passing them around to guests. Your cocktail will be a success.
Two culinary landmarks