Ask any Indian local about the face of the South-Asian samosa and they’ll say that it is a fried pie with potato.
When word about samosa reached the kings and court officials in India, the definition of samosa was something else. Samosa would contain rosewater and milk, sheep meat and rare spices, pistachios, peas, almonds and other tasty fillings. They may have gained fame in the royal courts, but since the 13th century, samosa has undergone many adaptations because it has travelled to different countries, embraced culinary heritages and evolved.
Ask any Indian local about the face of the South-Asian samosa and they’ll say that it is a fried pie with potato, onions, peas and sometimes chicken. Even maharajas would love it. Though low-key but delicious, it is less fancy compared to what was eaten then. Eating samosa in India has been highly recommended by Lonely Planet in the book, ’1000 Ultimate Experiences’.
The samosa eaten by the upper class is unheard of, except in rare cookbooks which the scholars left behind. That is why we sort of know where it came from. I often wonder which samosa recipe has emigrated due to cultural diffusion. We have sambousek in Arab countries, and calzones in Italy, pastels in Brazil and samusaq in Israel. So if samosa came to India, it had probably travelled to these regions too. The origin of samosa is known to be Central Asia, where it was called samsa which was prepared from meat, ghee, onion and so on. And the love affair with samosa carries on.
Here are some interesting versions of samosa — In Indonesia, it contains noodles or rousang, cheese and curry. It is served with sambal. In countries like Somalia and Djibouti, samosa is made with lentils and beef. But what is amazing to note is the sheer variety in every region of India too — shingaras are eaten in Orissa and West Bengal. In the markets of Chandni Chowk in Delhi, samosas are dipped in strawberry or chocolate sauce. And yet, the evolution continues. Nowadays, there is a new trend called ‘medley samosa’ which brings exotic flavours like mac and cheese or mozzarella and basil to the beloved samosa.