I am eating leftover potato & pea samosas for lunch today and feeling rather smug about them. After six weeks of fretting over the perfect samosa wrapper, (not philo dough, not pastry puffs, not egg roll wraps … so many NOTS, i've even forgot a few) I finally broke down two days ago and asked the woman behind the counter at Spice of India, what might work.
Now asking the woman behind the counter about ANYTHING at all is something I would have normally been too intimidated to do. In fact, even going into the little Indian market is something I spent most of my life being too intimidated to do until my friend Susanne The Scot scoffed at me.
"What do you think they're going to do? Yell at you for daring to spend your money in their store?"
The truth is, I grew up in a way that left me half expecting that if I dared to go explore the little ethnic markets tucked here and there around town, that someone was going to think or say or even shout, "YOU DON'T BELONG HERE!". And yes, there's a whole other tangent I could go off on here, but let's save my personal cultural ignorance essay for another day, because I really want to get back to these samosas.
So I ask the woman behind the counter for her suggestions, and I tell her what I've tried and she nods and cuts me off with a wave of her hand, and I'm thinking that she's going to direct me down one of the crowded little aisles to some secret stash of samosa wrappers, but instead she says this:
"Mexican tortillas, the thin flour ones. You cut them in half, and use the flour with water glue, you know about the glue, right?" I nod. "And then you make the cone and close the top."
She's gesturing, folding an imaginary samosa made from an imaginary tortilla, sealed with her imaginary flour paste. And I'm getting all excited because I know how to make the cone and how you close the top with your thumbs and then pinch out to make the perfect triangles, and oh oh oh, I actually have flour tortillas at home and seriously, who woulda thunk it?
"And they fry up right?"
"Yes, just right."
I try to keep myself from clapping with glee as she's ringing up my butter chicken sauce and minty chutney and I can hardly wait to get home, to cut up some tortillas and make the cone and shove in the filling and glue 'em up and drop 'em in the fryer and see if it works.
It works. And it makes me laugh, because all that time that I was running all over town and the internets and compiling my list of things that didn't work, for that whole six weeks, I had the perfect samosa wrappers sitting right there in my fridge and it never once occurred to me to use them because what serious maker of Indian food would use a Mexican flour tortilla to wrap their appetizers in?
Now maybe, its time for that cultural ignorance essay.