Onion Samosa: The Popular Street Food of Old Hyderabad

Samosa is a popular snack all over India, and each region has its own variations. The stuffed savoury which originated in Middle-East Asia, and is known as Sambusak in Persia, was brought to India by Persian traders in the thirteenth century. We Hyderabadis love our own variant of samosa and be it any season or place in the twin cities, you often come across street hawkers on bicycles selling onion samosas. 

The bite-sized snack, which is also called Irani samosa, Patti samosa or Chota samosa, is a quick eat any time of the day and is often topped with a little masala and served with fried green chillies and curry leaves. A set of five samosas, which are sold for a paltry Rs 5-10, is often a perfect accompaniment to Irani chai. Usually, to feel satisfied, one has to eat a minimum of four to five of these.

Apart from the size, what differentiates Hyderabadi samosa from those available in other places is the crispiness of the patty. It is a treat to watch vendors making samosas in various outlets in the city. Small chapatis from wheat flour dough are made into rectangular shapes before the filling is deftly tucked inside, which is then folded and sealed to prepare the snack. It is important that the dough is kneaded to the right consistency before the chapatis are rolled. The filled triangular pastries are then deep-fried in oil, often twice, to provide the crunchiness. Frying the second time gives these a nice golden brown colour too. Often a little bit of poha or flattened rice is added to the chopped onions, chillies and masala to provide a base to the stuffing. Hyderabad also has other popular samosa variants that are prepared in the same way like the kheema samosa, alu samosa, and even corn samosa.

Irani cafes of the city are also another set of places where onion samosas are in demand and some names are especially known for their samosas. Rio CafĂ© near Patny in Secunderabad is one small cafe which is identified with onion samosas. The place sells huge volumes of samosas throughout the day apart from biscuits and tea, and there is always a huge rush for these at any time. Here the samosas are a tad larger in size and have a well-spiced onion based stuffing inside a crispy triangle-shaped patty.  At Rio, the samosas are usually sold out within a few minutes of their preparation.  Some other places all over Hyderabad such as Blue Sea Snacks near Secunderabad station, Sarvi at Mehdipatnam and Broadway Tea and Bakery in Abids can also be tried out for their onion samosas.

Note: This is an updated version of the article originally published in New Indian Express Hyderabad on 7th October 2017.

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