Samosa: The middle eastern dish that is here to stay in India

It is a lesser known fact that the now staple delicacy Samosa is not an Indian dish! The origin of the Samosa can be traced to the middle east in the 12th century. Originally named Samsa after the triangular pyramids of Egypt, it has been called Sanbusak, Sanbusaq and even Sanbusaj in different parts of the middle east. All of these names have been derived from the Persian word Sanbosag. A lot of middle eastern poets have mentioned and the 'Sanbosag' in their works. 


While some say that the Samosa was introduced to India somewhere between the 13th and 14th century by Central Asian traders, other say that it was brought to India during the Delhi Sultanate. 

Back in the day, travellers would cook and eat mince filled triangles over a campfire. But in today's time, Samosas have come a long way and they have become a daily consumable in India. 

The samosa is a popular snack in many parts of the world. In Kazakhstan, the people prepare Somsas, a baked version of the pyramid filled with meat. The Hyderabadi Lumqi is a version of the Samosa which is strictly meat filled and has a crispier crust. The fillings of a Samosa range from chickpeas, minced lamb, vegetables and even pumpkin! The samosa was considered as a dish, fit for a king. 

As a dish, the Samosa gives the maker a lot of creative freedom. The method of preparation and taste of the Samosa is different in each state. Even the way of serving the dish varies from place to place.

Some people like to have the Samosa with nothing but chutney, some have it stuffed inside a pav. The Samosa also serves as a great base for a number of Chaat dishes. Some places prepare the Chaat with sweet Dahi and some places top it off with steaming hot Chole! 

As a dish, the Samosa gives the maker a lot of creative freedom. The method of preparation and taste of the Samosa is different in each state. Even the way of serving the dish varies from place to place. Most of north India makes samosas with the traditional potato fillings. The northeast makes smaller samosas which have a sweet filling and are often dipped in syrup. In south India, samosas are usually filled with spicy meat and the shell is thinner and crispier. Gujrat has its own variant called as a Patti Samosa and it is filled with Dal and other pulses. Maharashtrians improvised the Samosa by adding the filling they used for Bhakarwadi and turning it into a dry snack that can be stored!

In most regions of India, the Samosa is filled with Potatoes, green peas and a mixture of spices. This kind of Samosa is considered as the traditional variant of the Samosa. The funny story here is that the key ingredient of the Indian Samosa also came from abroad! Potatoes were originally brought to India by the Portuguese in the 14th century. However, it didn't become a part of daily Indian cooking until the 18th century.

Over the years people have experimented with the samosa in every way possible. People have made Chocolate Samosas, Banana Samosas and even Mutton Kheema Samosas. In Mumbai, there are a few places that sell varieties of samoosas such as cheese Samosa, spinach and corn Samosa, green Pea Samosa and even Chinese Samosa!

While Samosas are available at literally every street corner in Mumbai, I am loyal to a few places in the city. Some of the best Samosas can be found at  Gurukripa in soon. They serve a ton of Samosa based dishes too!

But my most favourite samosa in the city has to be the Pure Ghee fried Samosa made by Tewari Bros in Sion. These Samosas cost 24 rupees a piece and just one is enough to fill you up.

While the Samosa is such a humble looking dish, it is a difficult task to make them! Workers are trained for months before they can make these pyramids in bulk. The samosa has become such an integral part of Indian cuisine that there are now production lines for the dish. 

A1 Samosa in Mumbai has a huge kitchen where they produce thousands of Samosas every day which are then distributed across the city in a number of movie theatres and stores. 

Over the years, the Samosa has become an integral part of Indian cuisine. From office meetings to birthday parties to social functions and to first dates! The Samosa can be found in every city and almost every major street in India.

WRITTEN BY  - Atharva lobo atharvalobo@gmail.com

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