THERE ISN'T A palate MORE DIVERSE THAN AN INDIAN ONE. AND YOU'D BE HARD PRESSED TO FIND THAT KIND OF VARIETY FROM JUST A SINGLE SECTION OF THE COUNTRY ANYWHERE ELSE.
One of the earnest ideas behind The Permit Room is to introduce people to the sheer variety of traditional South Indian cuisine, but with a modern-day take on it. Essentially it's recipes from your ajji's (Kannada for grandma) kitchen, but served in a rather modern, and also cocktail-friendly form. Your ajji may or may not approve.
Thindi Tales is an attempt to take you one step deeper, the equivalent of getting you to eat meals with your fingers, and hopefully help you appreciate south-indian cuisine in all its gastronomic glory.
We took India’s favourite tea-time snack and put one of the tastiest forms of what can only be described as a thick meat stew, (although other words like ‘heaven’, ‘perfection’, ‘nomnom’, have also been used to describe it), and made it into the ultimate snack-meal tag team. Just for you.
Presenting, our Haleem Samosas.
A Little History
They both go back a long way, so let’s break it down.
What is a samosa?
Originally, the samosa was called samsa, meant to be representative of the pyramids in Central Asia, which were called sanbosag, in Persian. That’s also why they’re shaped that way.
Historians and food-enthusiasts (because we refuse to use the word ‘foodies’) are divided over whether it was first introduced during the Delhi Sultanate rule, or whether it was brought by traders to the country.
Either way, we’re pretty damn happy that someone decided to do it.
They made for a great travel snack, easy to carry, could be cooked over fires, and given the long trails of discovery being undertaken back in the day, (what with no Uber and all), we think traders bringing it in seems likely.
Since then, it’s become a snacking favourite not only amongst Kitty-Party aunties in the form of ‘cocktail samosas’, but also hungry and broke college students.
“Boss, ondu chicken samosa kodi”, has been repeated in college campuses across Karnataka more than any lecture ever has or will be.
Because of its inclusive, enveloping nature, it’s been stuffed with everything from pumpkin and feta cheese, to potatoes and minced meat.
Which brings us to our next main ingredient, Haleem.
What is Haleem?
Just like the samosa, haleem also traces its roots back to Central Asia, particularly Iran and Afghanistan.
You can find mentions of it in the Akbarnama, as a dish made in the Mughal Emperor Akbar’s kitchens, which is probably when India was also introduced to it.
This unique dish is a thick and filling stew made of mutton, wheat, channa dal, moong dal and assorted spices.
The mutton and dals are prepared separately, and then everything , along with a little water, is made to boil and simmer.
The stew is left overnight to thicken and is then served hot, usually with caramelised onions, cilantro and lime wedges as garnish.
Because of how healthy the contents of this dish are, it is also considered an ideal dish to consume when fasts are broken during Ramzan. It’s an immediate energy and nutrition booster. And also, so delicious.
It’s interesting to note that both the samosa and haleem trace their origins back to Central Asia.
It’s almost like they were waiting for someone to bring them together, a thought that gets our Chef all emotional while making it, every single time.
At The Permit Room
We combine both the deep fried samosa patty and the chunky, flavourful haleem, and give you the perfect snack option, whether you’re consuming tea, coffee or cocktails.
Our version is stuffed with lamb paté, along with the classic browned onion and lime garnish.
And when you get validation in the form of Masterchefs Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Matt Preston recommending the dish to people visiting the city, amongst others they tried and loved at The Permit Room, you know you're doing something right.
Our Chef Says
“The Haleem Samosas are easily one of the crowd favourites. They’re a combination of two beloved dishes, after all. The crunchy samosa patty combined with the succulent meat paté inside makes for great texture, and works really well as an accompaniment with drinks. They have so much in common, it’s like a natural pairing, meant-to-be almost. Patty and paté, samosa and stuffing—so poetic."