Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the ‘one bite samosa’ shop that hails from the University of Karachi (UoK or in simpler terms, KU).
Those crispy golden triangles are a lovely snack to munch on between classes and with a cup of warm tea, it will take away all of your stress. These samosas are to die for!
If you are not a student there, don’t worry. You can always go to the infamous Prem Gali and spot this blue canteen which is called ‘Qassim Samosa Shop‘. They also sell vegetable rolls, but they are famous for their one-bite samosas.
You will find people from all circles of life there. Students, alumni, staff and faculty members wait in the queue to get their bags ready. If you are a spice lover, don’t forget to add the chaat masala they have there on top of it.
We all love these savory potato bites, but do we all know the history behind its legacy? So in today’s episode of Food Diaries, lets learn some quick facts about these small pockets of happiness.
This Canteen Has Been Here For a Long Time
You’ve heard that right fellas! It was set up in 1971, which means that it is 49-years-old now. Today, the shop is run by Qassim’s grandson Mohammad Saleem Sheikh.
“I was in Grade 4 or 5 when I first visited the shop which was opened by my maternal grandfather known as Qasim bhai,” he said.
Saleem Sheikh has been running the shop for the past nine years. He has seen the university evolve over the years, and has particularly seen the transformation of Prem Gali, which is a go-to food corner.
“If I remember correctly, there were two canteens here at that time,” he says while recalling how the shop was when he was a child.
If you are a KU-rian, you know there are several canteens in Prem Gali today. From biryani to chaat and sizzling hot rolls and fries, you can get all of these at one spot. And the good news is that you can also grab a soft-serve ice cream any time there.
- Appetizer = check
- Main = check
- Dessert = check
And you can enjoy all of this under Rs 200, which is insane.
These one-bite samosas cost around Rs 4 each. So even if you only have 30 Rs in your pocket, you can get a bagful of these beauties.
The Concept Has a History Too
The concept of these one-bite samosas came from Gujarat in India. Some of you might be surprised, but being born in a Gujarati household, I have never seen a samosa as big as my index finger. We like our samosas to be small and cute, which keeps it crispier for longer.
Speaking of the difference between Gujarati samosa and the traditional samosas we get here, Sheikh said,
“The other popular samosas, those that are bigger in size, are called Punjabi samosas. In Punjabi samosas, the potato is roughly crushed, whereas in the Gujarati version it is in a mashed form.”
Not to mention, Gujarati samosas have a variety of fillings. So if you are wondering if we only fill our triangles with potatoes and minced meat, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Be it small or big, every eatery has a special recipe for their star dishes. Qassim Samosa Shop too has a secret recipe that they have been following for decades. But its biggest secret lies in the spice powder mix.
“Our chaat masala is unique. It is prepared with a special recipe.”
So what is the magic that keeps their customers coming for more?
“It is probably the honesty and sincerity with the way we prepare these that gets the customers hooked despite the profit margin being low for us now.”
So if you haven’t tried your hands on these beauties yet, you are missing out on life. Looking back at my university days, I would rely on the one bite samosas to get through the existential dread. Sigh! Dark times.