The Delicious History of the Samosa
Ah, the Samosa. Its savoury offerings have tantalised the taste buds of the world’s population for hundreds of years and the triangular South Asian delicacy has become a staple in British Culture.
Who would’ve thought such an elegantly simple dish would have reached these untold levels of popularity? How did this immense following of the Samosa occur?
Read on to find out the history of the samosa and how to create the perfect tetrahedral snacks yourself!
The Samosa’s Origin Story
The beginnings of the samosa can be traced back prior to the 10th century! It was in Middle Eastern cuisine where its origins can be found under the name Sanbosag in Persian texts.
India and Pakistan had no knowledge of the Samosa until the 13th or 14th century when migrant workers travelled from the Middle-East to the South Asian countries to find employ in the kitchens of Muslim nobility.
In the following centuries, the many variants of the Samosa were created due to the diverse eating cultures in different regions e.g. the vegetarianism found in Hindu culture brought the Vegetable Samosa into fruition.
The Samosa can now be found in a plethora of countries including:
India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Maldives, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Xinjiang, Burma, Indonesia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Israel, Portugal, Brazil, The United Kingdom, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania.
It is remarkable how far and wide the samosa has travelled and it is because of this reach that we now have so many Samosa varieties to choose from. In 2017, we now have the real first world problem of deciding on which Samosa to devour.
Chole Samosas, Chow Mein Samosas, Pasta Samosas, Keema Samosas, Cheese Samosas, Chocolate Samosas, Fried Rice Samosas, Matar Soya Samosas, Egg Samosas, Paneers Samosas, Jam Samosas and Fish Samosas are just some of the concoctions the world has come up with.
But what is the perfect Samosa?
The Perfect Samosa Recipe
In this writer’s humble opinion, a Samosa is at its finest when it’s kept to its purest form…the vegetable samosa! Also, the perfect samosas have to be baked!
As time has passed and the health conscious among us have increased, Samosas have been forced to adapt to survive and they have done so splendidly.
The advent of the baked Samosa was a gamechanger; no longer are the triangular treats a greasy and oily encounter but a healthier non-dripping enriching one.
It is the simplicity of the Vegetable Samosas that make them so effectively scrumptious, providing all of the correct textures and ingredients for a melt in the mouth experience every time.
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- 60g chopped onion
- 1 tsp finely chopped ginger
- 60g frozen peas
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp red chilli powder
- ½-¾ tsp garam masala
- 1-2 tsp dried mango powder
- salt (to taste)
- splash water
- 600g potatoes
- 4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
- packet ready-made filo pastry
- 5 tbsp melted butter
- Heat the oil in a small non-stick pan and fry the mustard seeds for about ten seconds
- Add the onion and ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes over a high heat.
- Add the peas, spices, mango powder, salt, a splash of water and stir well.
- Cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the potatoes and coriander and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Taste your creation and adjust the seasoning if required.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
- Lay the pastry sheet flat on a clean surface and brush with melted butter.
- Fold in one third of the pastry lengthways towards the middle.
- Brush again with the butter and fold in the other side to make a long triple-layered strip.
- Place one teaspoon of the filling mixture at one end of the strip, leaving a approx 2cm/1in border.
- Take the right corner and fold diagonally to the left which should form a complete triangle.
- Fold again along the upper crease of the triangle until you reach the end of the strip.
- Brush the outer surface with more butter.
- Place onto a baking sheet and cover while you make the rest of the samosas.
- Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until golden and crisp, turning halfway through the cooking time.
- Serve with Chutney