Indian Samosa A Long Journey

by pateluday

A popular snack in India, samosa is visible on racks of all street food joints and tea shops. The triangle pastry comes in an amazingly diverse taste bouquet and is served hot.

Samosa is one of the most popular tea-time, deep-fried snacks in India, and can be eaten all over the subcontinent. On travel to any corner of the country, you will find the pastry stacked up on the racks partitioned by the glass to ward off the flies. Though more popular in the North, you can order the savory just anywhere without any disappointment. It is making inroads into major fast-food chains and finds a place among the burgers and pizza in India. There is no food like this one to incite and tingle your taste buds and none that could satisfy cravings so quickly.

The triangle-shaped pastry retains the shape and color everywhere but the size changes. It is served piping hot with tea or soft drinks just any time of the day and provides stiff competition to Indian fritters or pakodas.

The big established samosa joints do a million Rupee business every year, and their taste and flavor have become a label. There is at least one shop in major towns which is well established dating back to fifty or hundred years. People flock to such shops in large numbers to snack on the savory that is unique, robust, and almost legendry. The food concept finds a place in many countries, and finding samosas being sold in Europe, the USA and Canada is not a big surprise. Some companies are making custom samosas that are factory processed, labeled, and hygienically packed to be sold locally or shipped elsewhere.

It finds a central place in the ubiquitous Chaat Stalls which are micro street food joints on hand-driven carts in India. Here the samosa is crushed on a plate spiced up with chutney and hot spices garnished with onions and herbs before being served. It costs much less than a burger or pizza but delights equally. And before you start to guess, let me tell you it is not a poor man's snack and is consumed by all strata of the society.

Samosa With Chai

Samosa Snack
Samosa Snack
Waghbakri Tea Company

Origin of Samosa

Tea Time Snack Origin

ChutneyIndia adopts without any hesitancy that which propagates nonviolence and food that fits into its vegan profile. Samosa is one such tea time or any time snack that has become popular all over the country and is considered to be of indigenous origins. This is false, samosa like biryani was introduced from foreign lands and popularized by the Moghul invaders.   

Called Samsa a word that depicts the pyramids. In earlier times dating back to 2500 BC, it was more of a convenient food that could last longer during the travels.  It came to be known as Sambusak or Sambusa

In India, the snack finds mention in the annals of the Delhi Sultanate in the year 1300 AD. The nawabs used it during their travels, conveniently sealed in triangle-shaped pastries - they stayed preserved for long. They could be stored in tiffin or mini jars and consumed at leisure. The usual contents in those days were meat, spices, and dry fruits. Surprisingly no potato!     

In contemporary times, this snack has turned into a fast food with the spiced potato and peas being the most common filling.  You expect potato filling anywhere you go but at few places meat replaces potato. The potato was introduced by the Portuguese whence they colonized parts of India in the 17th Century. Now potato is indispensable not only in samosa and fritters but as vegetable curry for lunch and dinner.      

Tea & Samosa

Indian Snack Photo
Tea Accompaniment
Tea Accompaniment
Waghbakri Tea Company

Samosa in India

Evolution

snacksIt is here in India that samosa stood the test of time and found firm ground. Deep fry and potato filling are common characteristics besides the triangle shape created by wheat pastry wrap. The thick layers of pastry enclose now a much-varied mix of fillings with potato being the main ingredient.   

Like all food in India, the recipes undergo change with distance and place, and a lot of local ingredients now flavor this food. Fennel, pepper, peas, lentils, onion, garlic, red chilly, cumin, coriander, garam masala, herbs, and even carrom seeds and asafetida finds a place in the filling across the length and breadth of the country. 

The food product has evolved into Punjabi, Gujarati, Banarasi, Bengali, and a few other variants. Mind-boggling flavors are the first thing you notice about this much diversified common snack food as you travel across the country. The diversity of recipes for common food items is the unique aspect of cooking in the country often much influenced by locally available herbs and spices. Not surprisingly the recipes are a bizarre mix that without doubt appeals to the palate and taste buds of the people. And if you like the snack to be spicy and hot just place an order.   

The tea time snack is named according to the prevalent language but it is instantly recalled anywhere if you place an order for samosa. 

Samosas are usually consumed in pair with the addition of tamarind chutney or tomato sauce. Takeaways or home delivery is usually in dozens. It is also served to guests at lunch or dinner and is a key item for parties, events, and picnic baskets.  

 

Video Samosa Recipe

How to make samosa

Tea Accompaniment

How to consume?

Indian snackIt is usually had with tea in the morning as breakfast or in the evening with high tea. But that does not stop the pastry from being labeled as anytime food. You can place an order as late as during supper time. Late-night snacks enthusiasts keep it on the top of their wish list. 

Like in the case of the low-income chai wallahs, it provides sustenance as a major source of income in the country to thousands. With necessary culinary skills, anyone looking for employment can start his or her own venture selling samosa with tea in the street corners.    

Such snacks are very popular in India and these small-time ventures can turn big if the recipes go viral. Although health enthusiasts decry the product as it is deep-fried, people do not bother since for many it is consumed daily and for some it is an occasional delicacy easily available and cheap. Samosa is a gastronomically delightful snack full of spices and yummy potatoes. Beware! You can be addicted.

How to Samosa Recipe?

Recipe

Prep time 30 min  -  Total time 45 min
Ingredients for 3 servings
Wheat Dough  • Potato 3  • Cumin  • Fennel  • Asafetida  • Onion  • Garlic  • Salt  • vegetable Oil  • Ghee or Clarified Butter

How To?

Make a wheat dough. For filling add boiled and crush potato along with all the ingredients as per taste. Make a small ball of the filling. Place it on the round dough sheet and then give it a triangular shape. Deep fry till light brown in vegetable oil or ghee. Serve hot with tamarind of green chutney.

Recipe  5.0/5 Stars (12 Votes)
Updated: 07/23/2021, pateluday
 
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pateluday on 08/07/2021

Samosas go down well with all forms of tea. Jaggery is less popular though it is regular sugar that is used everywhere.

DerdriuMarriner on 08/05/2021

Elsewhere, you mentioned in answer to one of my questions that Indian tea may be sweetened with cane sugar or with jaggery. Would samosas go with tea more likely to be sweetened by cane sugar or by jaggery or would it be always individualized to personal preference?

pateluday on 07/16/2021

Soft drinks go well with samosa in cafes and fast food joints. But in the chai shop in the corner it is hot tea as usual. Samosa is also part of lunch and dinner especially whence someone is invited.

DerdriuMarriner on 07/15/2021

When I read this article the first time around, I meant to ask what kind of soft drinks would be served with samosa and whether tea ever is served cold.

pateluday on 06/17/2021

It is bit heavy to digest if eaten in large numbers one or two is the usual consumption level since it is deep fried. Yes people to consider it as short meal. Now at homes they bake them sometimes. It is basically a tea accompaniment but people have it any time of the day.

blackspanielgallery on 06/17/2021

I thought it might be a dessert, but once I read on and realized it can be filled with potatos and peas it seem versitile enough to be a main dish in a meal.

pateluday on 06/16/2021

Ghee is considered superior to vegetable oil hence popular shops use it in spite of it being bit harder to digest. The fillings are completely sealed by the dough in all variants. Filling are never visible in a perfectly shaped samosa.

DerdriuMarriner on 06/16/2021

pateluday, Thank you for all the practical information, pretty pictures and product lines.
In particular, I appreciate the recipe, which I'll try this weekend. There's an Indian food store in the area so I can get clarified butter. Would you be more likely to make the samosas with ghee or with vegetable oil?
Are samosas always sealed on all sides so that their fillings are inside and not visible (and therefore can't dribble on the eater)? Or is it possible in some regional variations to fold them into unsealed triangles?
Recently, I read the children's book Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao, by Kat Zhang. I wonder if samosas can be bao bun-like in having the filling visibly between unsealed folds of the triangle.

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