Riaz Surti, founder of Crave Foods, Los Angeles, CA, began as a manufacturer of halal-certified American-style products for ethnic markets. After finding success among ethnic consumers, Mr. Surti focused on introducing traditional ethnic fare made with halal standards for mainstream audiences.
“Samosas are one of the most beloved foods throughout the Indian subcontinent and Africa,” Mr. Surti said. “My goal was to make the most premium, authentic samosas ever.”
He realized that before people could appreciate the quality of the samosas, they would first need to understand the product. During demonstrations of the product in Costco, Mr. Surti defined samosas as an Indian egg roll, rationalizing that many traditional ethnic dishes have common overlaps that make them familiar to multiple nationalities. “Every culture has a dish that contains meat wrapped in pastry,” he noted.
Once he established a reference point, Mr. Surti found that consumers would naturally gravitate to their favorite fillings. While all varieties are not traditional samosa flavors, Mr. Surti selected fillings that would have similarities to other wrapped savory pastries such as Greek spanakopita (cheese and spinach pie) and traditional meat-based pot pies. The savory samosas are available in Veggie, Cinnamon Sweet Potato, Feta Cheese and Spinach, Zesty Chicken, Savory Beef and Sizzling Lamb. The Veggie and Cinnamon Sweet Potato varieties are vegan. Crave Foods will consider a Mexican-style samosa in 2010.
Following traditional samosa preparation, Crave Foods wraps each samosa three times. The dough is made of water, unbleached wheat and malted barley flours and salt. While other samosa products seal fillings inside a pocket, Crave Foods created a custom machine to cook the fillings, deposit and wrap the samosas in a traditional triangle shape. The form provides three crispy points after the product is baked or fried. Following the wrapping process, the samosas are immediately frozen for freshness.
The samosas are one of the first halal-certified products available in club stores, according to Mr. Surti. He chose to certify the products halal based on his own religious beliefs but has found halal certification to be a positive point of differentiation for the product.
The samosas are available at Whole Foods, Costco and in the natural foods channel. An 8-oz box of 8 samosas retails from $3.99 to $4.29 and serves 2 to 3 people. A serving of three samosas contains 100 cal, 2 g of fiber and 2 g of fat. The samosas can be prepared using the traditional method of frying, or they can be lightly brushed with oil and baked or microwaved for fewer calories.