Of Laloo and aloo and the MIGHTY samosa which felled him!

Jab tak samose mein aloo rahega,

Tab tak Bihar mein Laloo rahega! 

I’ve always been a bit of a newspaper snob, reading only the Hindu and turning my nose up at all the other papers – and there are SIX of them that get delivered every morning. These last few days, however, convalescing, I finish the Hindu and then, since there’s very little else i can do, find time hanging on my hands a bit. Idly picked up the Times of India – a paper which, from cursory earlier reading, I’ve always thought had not much news worth reading nor much commentary worth reading – I owe a BIG apology to the Times – it has livened up my mornings by telling me sundry happenings in India which include how the administrators of Bareilly want to paint dangerous dogs blue (yes, i know i’ve written a whole story about it but i still can’t get over it!) and today’s item about Laloo Prasad Yadav and the samosa!

I CANNOT, for the life of me, imagine the staid Hindu publishing something like this. I still love it but am realising that the Hindu is my curd rice (perugannam/thayir saadam) to the paneer-butter masala that the Times offers! Can’t do without the former but the latter offers occasional exciting possibilites to the palate!

Lalu, the politician you cannot ignore, even if you try. The man is so newsworthy that he MUST have got voted to power time after time and all the way to the Chief Ministerial gaddi (seat) in Bihar purely on the strength of his ability to make his voters laugh! Sample these:

My mother always told me not to handle a buffalo by its tail, but always catch it by its horns. And I have used that lesson in everything in my life, including the Railways.” And the even more pithy, “If you do not milk the cow fully, it falls sick!” Except that Lalu mistook the state of Bihar and then the Ministry of Railways for members of the bovine species and proceeded to keep them “healthy” by milking them very, very well indeed!

Apocryphal stories abound… NASA was interviewing professionals to be sent to Mars. Only one person could go, and he will not return to Earth.

The first applicant, an American engineer, was asked how much he wanted to be paid for going.

“A million dollars”, he answered. “Because I wish to donate it to M.I.T.” The next applicant, a Russian doctor, was asked the same question. He asked for two million dollars.

“I wish to give a million to my family, he explained. “And leave the other million for the advancement of medical research.”

The last applicant was a Indian politician (Lallu Yadav). When asked how much money he wanted, he whispered in the interviewer’s ear.

“Three million dollars.” “Why so much more than the others?” the interviewer asked.

The Indian politician replied, $1 million is for you, I’ll keep $1million, and we’ll give the American engineer $1million and send him to Mars.” 😉

In Hindu mythology, stories abound of men and women attaining divine powers through the practice of austerities but there’s always a twist in the tale – a Catch 22 loophole which enables god to defeat them when they grow too big for their boots (an almost inevitable consequence of too much power). Like the case of Hiranyakashyapu, for instance who gains a boon that he will be killed neither by man nor beast, neither indoors nor outdoors, neither during the day nor night… he ends up being killed by Narasimha half-man, half animal, at twilight, on the threshold of his palace – all absolutely correct as per the letter of the boon.

But in the case of the samosa, Lalu ji seems to have forgotten about Irani samosasjis mein aloo nahin hain! (there are no potatoes in this variety of samosa)! And I think that’s why he lost the elections and got indicted – all because of the lack of an aloo in a samosa – talk about for want of a nail…

So, Laloo-ji, aapke liye special…

IRANI SAMOSA to make about 12-14

  • 1 cup maida
  • 1/2 ts salt
  • 2 tsp hot oil
  • Water

Knead all this into a smooth dough, cover and set aside.


  • Onions – 2 – sliced fine
  • Green chili – 1 – minced
  • Red chili powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Dhania/coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida – 1 pinch
  • Dried dill – 1/2 tsp (sooya in Hindi/soyya koora in Telugu) – this is what gives Irani samosas their distinctive flavour
  • Poha/beaten rice/atukulu – 2 tbsp – roasted and powdered
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander leaves – chopped – 2 tbsp
  • Lemon juice or amchoor powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Oil – 1 tbsp


FOR SEALING: 2 tbsp maida mixed with 1 tbsp water.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan and add the onions and green chilies. Fry till onions are golden brown.

Add all the other ingredients and stir till the mixture is reasonably dry.

A too-wet mixture makes the samosas soggy. The poha helps absorb excess liquid. Let it cool.

Make small balls of the dough and roll out into thin pooris – you should be able to see your nails under the poori!

Cut each poori into half. Gather the two radii together and make each half into a cone.

Place a spoonful of filling into the cone and bring the circumference together. Seal the edges using the maida-water slurry.

Deep fry in batches – the oil should be medium hot. Too hot will make the surface erupt in large bubbles and the samosa will not be crisp. Too cool will make the samosas oily.

Remove and drain on paper.

And Laloo-ji – huh… where IS he? Bihar mein tho nahin hain? (He’s disappeared from Bihar) – defeated by the tiny samosa – henceforth to be known as the MIGHTY Samosa!

P.S.: One more trick or kituku – before you start frying the samosas in oil, fry 2-3 flakes of garlic in the oil and remove. The samosas will have an absolutely divine fragrance 🙂