I’m a big Eastenders fan, but I’ve never had it down as the kind of programme that would leave me drowning in my own drool. Until recently, that is, when Masood Ahmed became caught up in an offbeat samosa storyline that saw him learning how to make samosas using his aunt Mariam’s recipe, and selling them in Ian Beale’s chip shop. Sadly, Masood’s samosa venture didn’t last very long after Ian’s mum, Kathy, found out about it and reprimanded him. With a bit of persuasion, she agreed to a bet that traditional fish and chips would sell better than Masood’s samosas. When the samosas attracted a queue of people leading out the door, however, Kathy sabotaged them with hot chilli sauce and the samosa storyline went quiet. No matter how hard I tried, though, I just couldn’t stop thinking about Masood’s samosas and it left me longing to master the art of making these authentic Indian street food snacks for myself.
Arriving at Chai Street, we were invited to take a seat alongside the other workshop attendees and handed a refreshing glass of homemade lemonade, which was almost like a non-alcoholic mojito. On our table, we found a flyer featuring a detailed recipe and instructions on how to make samosas with a vegetarian Punjabi filling.
The class kicked off with a brief demonstration from one of the chefs. To save time, the samosa fillings had been prepared beforehand. Meanwhile, the dough was formed from plain flour, carom seeds, vegetable oil, salt and water, while the vegetarian Punjabi filling consists of various spices, coriander, boiled potatoes, red onion, chillies and a drop of oil. We were in for a real treat on the night, however, as the chefs had prepared two more fillings for us to stuff our samosas with, including minced lamb and, if I remember rightly, a cashew and pea mixture.
After showing us how to make samosa dough, stuff the samosas with fillings and assemble them, the Chai Street team handed each of us three flat triangles of rolled out samosa dough, along with the three different fillings. It was then up to us to stuff and seal our samosas, before sending them back to the kitchen for frying. Luckily, we had some piping hot chai tea on hand to calm our nerves.
It certainly was a lot trickier than it looked, and after my first samosa began falling apart at the seams (quite literally), I decided it was time to enlist the help of the chef. There is definitely a knack to making samosas. You have to wet the longest side of the triangular dough with some cold water, and then fold the two other sides over each other to form a cone that you can stuff with filling. Then, you wet the top edge of the dough and fold it downwards, pinching the edges together to seal the samosa.
After our samosa’s had been fried off, it was time for my favourite part of any cookery class – tucking in! My finished samosas weren’t exactly perfect – or even triangular for that matter – but it’s what’s on the inside that counts, right? These crispy, spicy little morsels were the most scrumptious samosas I’ve ever tasted – they were even better than the samosas I sampled during my time in India in 2016!
Fancy learning how to make samosas? Tickets for Chai Street’s samosa-making workshop are currently priced at £11.99 per person (£13.15 inc Eventbrite booking fees) and the restaurant will soon be announcing new dates for its future workshops, so keep an eye on the Chai Street website and social media channels for further details.