Delhi’s really unique samosa is not your regular triangular flour puffs. It is the Japani samosa found in an Old Delhi lane.
A Japani samosa is actually not a true-blue samosa. It certainly does not look, taste or behave like the conventional samosa. It’s a big, layered puff pastry – something like a cheese puff – with a delicious filling of lightly spiced potatoes and peas. The samosa is doused with a layer of chholey – and the two together are like those unforgettable pairs of Hindi cinema – say, Raj Kapoor and Nargis, or Dilip Kumar and Madhubala. Or, if you insist, Govinda and Dilip Dhawan.
Walk up to Jama Masjid and then take a rickshaw to Moti Cinema Hall. After getting down at the mouth of Dariba, the old silversmiths’ hub, take the road between Moti Cinema and Lajpat Rai Market. And right there is Manohar’s Japani Samosa.
Nobody quite knows why the samosa is called Japani. Umesh, the friendly owner, doesn’t know the reason, but knows that it has been called so since its very inception in 1949.
The crispy outside and the soft inside of the samosa sum up an interesting bite. The bland pastry goes well with the vegetable filling. And the chholey leaves its tangy taste behind.