Malappuram: The universal appeal of the crunchy, three-dimensional snack, samosa, is undisputed and its a must-have in iftar parties of Kerala.
At Samosapadi in Pazhamalloor, known as the samosa capital of Kerala, this is also one of the busiest times. Their samosas fill the bellies of not just Malappuram foodies, but also those from Kozhikode, Palakkad and Thrissur. According to PT Yasser Araffat, a member of Kuruva panchayat and a wholesale dealer of snacks including samosa, around eight samosa making units function in the locality.
Varikkodan Kunjammu introduces samosa
More than ninety vehicles, carrying samosas and other food items, travel to different locations from Samosapadi, every day.
Yasser is quite excited to explain how Samosapadi near Pazhamalloor in Kuruva panchayat got its name. “It was Varikkodan Kunjammu who introduced samosas to this place, around four decades ago. He used to work as a cook in Hyderabad. The people in the locality who learned the art of samosa making from him, then made it their livelihood. In the initial days, samosas were sent to various places in buses. The tins containing hot samosas would be loaded in the busses when they reached this stop. So, the place where the busses stopped to load the samosas came to be known as Samosapadi,” says Yasser.
People asked me 'which Moosa,' says Kunjammu
Kunjammu himself narrates the tale of him 'meeting' samosa, “I was really young when I left my hometown in 1958. Not just me, lots of youngsters had gone away during that time. People ran away from homes due to severe poverty. I had gone to Hyderabad.”
He washed plates at hotels for many years but gradually, got promoted to kitchen. He recalls, “I learned to make samosas when I was working at a hotel owned by a man called Burmakaran Moosakka; I can’t recall the name of the hotel. A cook named Haider had taught me how to make samosas. It was apparently a famous snack in Hyderabad at that time.”
In 1978, Kunjammu returned to Kerala and started selling samosas. The people here didn’t know about such an item. “When I said I was making samosa, they jokingly asked, ‘Which Moosa’?,'" Kunjammu recalls with a smile.
Interestingly, he used to sell samosa initially for 15 paisa per piece.
“I would make samosas and AP Abdu would sell them. Kunjalavi was the first person in the locality to learn how to make samosas, from me. Later, the fame of samosa grew immensely; and now, the place is called Samosapadi,” says Kunjammu.
Increasing demand during Ramadan
In the olden days, samosa was the only item that was made at the food production units. However, now, chapathi and porottas too are made at these units.
Yasser says that samosas have great demand during the Holy month of Ramadan.
So, the units would increase the production to meet the demand. The samosas for the iftar parties in the evening are sent to different places from the units from 11 am onwards.