Samosa with chutney from Mumbai, India
|Alternate name(s)||Samsa, Somsa, Sambosak, Sambusa|
|Region or state||South Asia, Central Asia, West Asia, the Horn of Africa and North Africa|
|Main ingredient(s)||maida, potato, onion, spices, green chili, cheese, meat|
The samosa (pronounced [səˈmou̯sə])in South Asia (Punjabi: smosa, Hindi: samosa), sambusak (Arabic: سمبوسك), samsa (pronounced [ˈsamsə]) or somsa in Turkic Central Asia (Kyrgyz: самса, IPA: [sɑmsɑ́]; Kazakh: самса, IPA: [sɑmsɑ́], Uzbek: somsa, IPA: [sɒmsa]), sambusa among Arabs, Ethiopians, Somalis (Somali: sambuusa) and Tajiks (Tajik: самбӯса), sanbusa among Iranians (Persian: سنبوسه), samuza (Burmese: ဆမူစာ) among Burmese or chamuça in the Lusophone world, is a stuffed patties and a popular snack in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, throughout the Mediterranean (Greece), Southwest Asia, the Horn of Africa and North Africa.
It generally consists of a fried or baked triangular, semilunar, or tetrahedral patty shell with a savory filling which may include spiced potatoes, onion, peas, coriander, and lentils. The size and shape of a samosa as well as the consistency of the patty used can vary considerably, although it is mostly triangular. Samosas are often served with imli chutney or curd.
The word samosa can be traced to the Persian "sanbosag". The patty 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.
Different regions which have inherited this food have significantly different ways of preparing it.
In Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, samsas are almost always baked and never fried. The dough can be a simple bread dough, or a layered pastry dough. The most common filling for traditional samsa is lamb and onions, but beef, chicken, and cheese varieties are also quite common from street vendors. Samsas with other fillings, such as potato or pumpkin (usually only when in season), can also be found.
The North Indian samosa contains a flour (maida) shell stuffed with a mixture of mashed boiled potato, onion, green peas, spices, green chili. The entire patty is then deep fried to a golden brown colour, in vegetable oil. It is served hot and is often eaten with fresh Indian sauces chutney, such as mint, coriander or tamarind. It can also be prepared as a sweet form, rather than as a savory one. Samosas are often served in chaat, along with the traditional accompaniments of yogurt, chutney, chopped onions and coriander, and chaat masala.
In South India, Samosas are slightly different, in that they are folded in a different way, not as stuffed as in the North, more like Portuguese chamuças, with a different style pastry. The filling also differs and typically features a lot of fried onions, peas, carrots, cabbage, curry leafs,green chillies ..etc, but completely lack the mashed potato filling of it's Northern variant. It is mostly eaten without chutney.
In Pakistan, the Faisalabadi samosa are very well known. They are abnormally large topped with spicy red and white chutney with a side portion of onion salad. The filling is usually mixed vegetable, however the meat version also remains very popular.
They are called "samusa" in Burmese, and are an extremely popular snack in Burma.
Samosas are a staple of local cuisine in the Horn of Africa, particularly in Somalia and Ethiopia, where they are known as sambussa. While sambusas can be eaten any time of the year, they are usually reserved for special occasions such as Christmas, Meskel, or Ramadan.
Sambusak in the Near East is often prepared by folding a thin circular piece of dough over the filling, either in half to form a semicircle or at three edges to form a triangular shape. The resulting pastry is shallow fried on both sides or baked.
Traditional fillings are:
In Israel, sambusak is usually filled with mashed chickpeas. It is associated with Sephardic Jewish cuisine and considered an Iraqi dish. It can be eaten with hummus as part of the mezza (appetizer spread before a meal).
Samosas have become popular in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Kenya and in Canada and the United States. They may be called "samboosa" or "sambusac", and in South Africa they are often called "samoosa". Frozen samosas are increasingly available in grocery stores in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.
While samosas are traditionally fried, many Westerners prefer to bake them, as this is more convenient and healthier. Variations using phyllo or flour tortillas are not unheard of in Western countries.
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. Abolfazl Beyhaqi (995-1077), an Iranian historian has mentioned it in his history, Tarikh-e Beyhaghi. It was introduced to the Indian subcontinent in the 13th or 14th century by traders from the region.
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.