Monday, November 23, 2009


A Samosa is a stuffed pastry and a popular snack in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, throughout the Mediterranean Sea (Greece), Southwest Asia, the Horn of Africa and North Africa.

It generally consists of a fried or baked triangular-, half-moon-, or tetrahedron-shaped pastry shell with a savory filling of spiced potatoes, onion, peas, coriander, lentils, minced meat, or sometimes fresh paneer. Non-vegetarian samosas may substitute fillings of minced meat or fish. The size and shape of a samosa as well as the consistency of the pastry used can vary considerably, although it is mostly triangular.

The word samosa can be traced to the Persian ‘sanbosag’. The name in other countries also derives from this root, such as the crescent-shaped sanbusak or sanbusaj in Arab countries, sambosa in Afghanistan,"samosa" in India, "samboosa" in Tajikistan, samsa by Turkic-speaking nations, sambusa in parts of Iran and chamuça in Goa, Mozambique and Portugal. While they are modernly referred to as sambusak in the Arabic-speaking world, Medieval Arabic recipe books sometimes spell it sambusaj.

The Samosa has been a popular snack in South Asia for centuries. It is believed that it originated in Central Asia (where they are known as samsa) prior to the 10th century and were introduced to the Indian subcontinent in the 13th or 14th century by traders from the region.

Amir Khusro (1253-1325), a scholar and the royal poet of the Delhi Sultanate, wrote in around 1300 that the princes and nobles enjoyed the "samosa prepared from meat, ghee, onion and so on".

Ibn Battuta, the 14th century traveller and explorer, describes a meal at the court of Muhammad bin Tughluq where the samushak or sambusak, a small pie stuffed with minced meat, almonds, pistachio, walnuts and spices, was served before the third course, of pulao.

The Ain-i-Akbari, a 16th century Mughal document, mentions the recipe for 'Qutab', which it says, “the people of Hindustan call sanbúsah”.

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