Friday, 9 August 2013




         This year’s monsoon is the strongest ever we have known. Victims of global climate change, we have received more than 3 meters of rainfall in just 2 months with not a single wink of sunlight. Most of our vegetables perished in the rain. Kerala is plagued with floods and landslides. The dams are overflowing and there is mud everywhere. As you walk in the hill country with a heavy heart and with downcast eyes, what should surprise you but the thrilling sight of large wild mushrooms peeping out from beneath the mud! Though battered and splotched with mud, these welcome gifts from the boundless mercy of Mother Nature quicken your heart and instill hope and joy.

         Yesterday being a holiday, bitterly cold and raining as usual, we finished our breakfast and went to sleep for want of anything else to do. Hardly had we closed our eyes, than the doorbell rang. There was our neighbour, smiling, with a cover full of wild mushrooms in his hands. Lo! This recipe is born. Aren’t you lucky? Of course, we are luckier as we got to eat them first as did some of our neighbours to their sheer delight.

          Though edible wild mushrooms are exceptionally tasty, you can use any type of cultivated mushrooms such as oyster, milky or button mushrooms available in the supermarkets. While collecting wild mushrooms, one should be cautious since a good number of poisonous mushrooms grow alongside the edible ones. The traditional knowledge of the native population is invaluable in this regard. Turmeric is invariably added with every mushroom preparation as turmeric is believed to have the power of neutralizing toxins and poisons if at all present therein.

Ingredients (for around 50 to 70 samosas):

     a)   For the filling

     1)    Wild mushrooms (or grown ones) 350 gm.

     2)    Soy chunks – 200 gm.
     3)    Onion – 250 gm.
     4)    Hot green chilies – 4 Nos.
     5)    Powdered salt – 1¼ teaspoons
     6)    Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
     7)    Hot red chili powder – 1½ teaspoons
     8)    Garam masala powder – 1 teaspoon
     9)    Tomato – 100 gm.
     10)     Curry leaves – 1 sprig
     11)     Eggs – 4 Nos.
     12)     Black pepper powder – ½ teaspoon

     b)   For the jacket

     1)    Maida (refined white wheat flour) – 750 gm.
     2)    Gingelly (sesame) seeds – 2 teaspoons
     3)    Powdered salt – 1 teaspoon
     4)    Coconut oil or any other cooking oil – 2 tablespoons
     5)    Water – 360 ml.

     c)    To deep-fry

     1)    Coconut oil or any other cooking oil – enough to cover the samosas as they deep-fry

To prepare the filling:

Soak the mushrooms in a basin containing around 2 litres of water and 15 ml. of vinegar for 20 minutes. This will help dislodge all the mud. Rinse well in tap water, drain and chop to fine pieces. Soak the soy chunks in water for 30 minutes. Drain, chop finely and set aside. Peel the onion. Chop the onion, the green chilies and the curry leaves finely and set aside. Chop the tomatoes finely and set apart.

Put the chopped mushrooms and the chopped soy chunks in a basin. Tip in the salt, the chili powder, the turmeric powder and the garam masala powder. Mix in as thoroughly as possible with your fingers and set aside.

Set a non-stick wok or deep pan on high heat. Pour in the coconut oil. Tip in the chopped onions, the chilies and the curry leaves. Stir continuously. As the onion starts to brown, turn down the heat and continue to stir till it turns golden brown. Now tip in the chopped tomatoes and stir for a minute on medium heat.

Chuck in the mushroom soy mix and stir well. Cover with a lid and cook for 12 to 13 minutes. Now break in the eggs and stir well. Turn up the heat and keep stirring for around 8 minutes or until all the excess water at the bottom has evaporated. Now sprinkle the pepper powder, mix well and switch off the heat.

To prepare the jacket:

Put the maida (flour) in a mixing basin. Tip in the coconut oil, the salt, the gingelly seeds and the water. Knead nicely. Roll the dough into lime sized balls with your palms. Use a rolling board and pin to flatten each ball into small round chappatis (flatbread) of around 2 mm. thickness. If you like a thicker jacket, you have to roll the flatbread thicker.

          Cut each chappati into two halves and set aside on a wide platter or on paper (if you pile up too many, they may stick together). If you have one or two friends to help you, you can finish making all the jackets. If you are alone, it is better to make the samosas in batches of 15 to 20 per batch to keep the dough from sticking.

To fill:

Take up one of the halves and folding it slightly in the center, put one side of the cut end over the other, overlapping the edges slightly, press them lightly with your forefinger inside and the thumb outside to form a cone. Take care to see that the edges have stuck together perfectly as you do not want the filling to fall into the oil or for the oil to soak into the filling.

Now use a spoon to fill the cone loosely with the filling. Press the open edges of the jacket to close it firmly. Fill up the rest of the samosas likewise.

To deep-fry:

         Set a wok or deep pan on high heat. Pour in the coconut oil or any other cooking oil you prefer. As soon as the oil is hot (it should never be overheated to the point of smoking), gently slip in the samosas one by one so as to fill the pan comfortably leaving a little space to turn them over. Turn them gently every now and then till the jacket feels crisp when you turn it. Lower the heat and lift out before it browns. Drain off the excess oil and do the next batch. 

         Serve hot or warm. These samosas are quite easy to make and highly nutritious. Even though they take up some time, people of all age groups will love them. Do try!


         You can make different types of samosas; savory, hot or sweet, veg or non-veg, by preparing creatively various fillings of your choice. The only thing is a filling needs to be fairly dry.

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