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This is the Bengali version of the celebrated samosa from the north of India – a small triangular pastry filled with spiced vegetables and deep-fried. A tamarind chutney can be served with this at teatime.
MAKES 12 SAMOSAS
1. Sieve the flour into a bowl with the baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Stir in 150 ml (1/4 pint) cold water, then knead for 5 minutes until it forms a smooth dough. Place in a clean bowl, cover with a plate and set aside for 30 minutes.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok and add the panch phoran. Once the seeds splutter, add the turmeric, ginger, remaining salt and the asafoetida. Stir, then add the chillies, followed by the crushed potatoes. Saute for 2 minutes.
3. Heat a frying pan or a griddle over a gentle heat. In a small bowl, mix a little flour with a few drops of water to make a thick glue. Divide the dough into 12 equal balls. Roll out each ball of dough to a 12 cm (5 inch) circle, flouring your surface to prevent it from sticking.
4. Place the circles on the griddle for 30 seconds each, then remove – this makes them easier to handle. Cut each circle in half. Take once semicircle, apply a little of the flour glue to half the straight edge, then fold into a cone shape overlapping by 5mm (1/4 inch) and press to seal.
5. Hold the cone with the pointed end downwards and fill with 1 tablespoon of the potato mixture. Seal the shingara with more flour glue, pressing the edges firmly together.
6. Heat the oil for deep-frying to 180oC/350oF. Fry the shingaras in batches for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Serve hot.