Samosas are best known as this triangular-shaped pastry, with a savory filling. While it is often associated with Indian cuisine, it is said that the original samosa can be traced to the Middle East and Central Asia way back to the 9th century. It was introduced to the Indian subcontinent in the 13th or 14th century by traders from Central Asia. The earlier incarnations of samosas did not really have humble beginnings, as these were enjoyed by royalty and nobles.
- Samosa can be associated with different names, coming from different countries such as the Persian sanbosag, the sanbusak or sanbusaj of the Arabs, Afghanistan’s sambosa, the Turkic speaking countries’ samsa and many more.
- The etymology of samosa can be traced to the word samsa, in reference to the pyramids in Central Asia, pertaining to its shape.
- The Guinness World Records has recorded the largest samosa in the world from London, UK, made by Muslim Aid. It weighed 153.1 kg, measured 1.26m x 1.40m x 1.33m, and had a height of 28 cm.
- September 5 is celebrated as the World Samosa Day.
Samosa Buying Guide
Samosas are pretty much a street food icon in India. You can see these prepared and fried in stalls and you can eat them fresh. But in other countries, these are sold in supermarkets and groceries in frozen and ready to cook variations. Of course, Indian restaurants are also great sources of these yummy, savory pastry.
Samosa Production & Farming in Texas
With Indian restaurants abound in Texas, it is not hard to get your samosa fix! Yelp even lists down top samosa producers or restaurants in different areas of the state.
Preservatives, Additives, and Chemicals
There was a recent study about samosa versus burgers, on which snack is healthier. One of the facts that gave major points to samosas, that it is preservative and additive-free versus a burger which was made with emulsifiers and the likes. Other non-wholesome ingredients used in making samosas include refined flour, as well as the oil used in deep frying these pastries.
However, for the frozen and processed samosas, other uncommon names can be found on their ingredients list.
- Sodium phosphate – This is an additive used for the potatoes in the filling as it helps thicken the texture, and is also an emulsifying and leavening agent. This is recognized by the FDA as safe for consumption.
- Carrageenan – This food additive can be derived from red seaweeds as well as in other vegan products. With it being derived from a plant, this is one of the manufacturer’s substitutes to replace gelatin which can be obtained from animals. However, there were some reports of side-effects of carrageenan such as inflammation, bloating, glucose intolerance, colon cancer, food allergies, and some more. And in 2016, the National Organic Standards Board ruled that food with carrageenan in its ingredients should not be labeled as “USDA organic.”
When you buy samosa in India as freshly fried street food, these are served to you in recycled paper/newspaper pouches, along with the sauces poured into plastics. These are also usually served in brown bags or butter paper bags. But for the frozen versions, you can often see them in boxes, with the samosa in vacuum-sealed plastics inside.
The earliest samosas from Central Asia were actually more like meat pies, but in India, it is popularly known to be filled with savory mashed potatoes. If you’re on an Indian food binge, you will actually love traveling through multiple regions in India as they prepare it differently per area. They feature all sorts of fillings, from the mundane to the innovative, such as jam, fish, keema, cauliflower, cheese, mushroom, chocolate, onion, carrot, egg, chicken, and even chowmein noodles and pasta samosas!
Samosas can be deep-fried or baked and are recommended to be dipped in chutney, and is best complemented by a glass of chai – perfect as a tea-time snack!
If samosas are prepared in advance, it is best suggested to freeze them while uncooked. It must be completely thawed before frying or reheating in the oven. This will prevent the samosa from being soggy and can extend its shelf life up to 6 months.
Cooked samosas can be wrapped in foil or plastic and can last for about 2 to 3 days.
Making your own samosa might not be the easiest, but eating this deliciously rich pastry will definitely make everything worth it! Food.com published their own version of this recipe.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 boiled large potatoes
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 finely chopped green chilies
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 1⁄2 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1⁄2 teaspoon crushed garlic
- coriander seed
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
- 1⁄2 lemon juice
- 1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1⁄2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1⁄2 teaspoon red chili powder
- Mix the flour, oil and salt and add a little water until you reach a crumbly consistency.
- Keep adding more water gradually, kneading the mixture until it becomes a soft pliable dough.
- Cover the dough with a moist cloth and set aside for about 20 minutes.
- On a flat surface, remove the cover and beat dough. Then knead again.
- Cover and set aside.
- Start on the filling by heating 3 tbsp oil then add the ginger, garlic, green chilies, and few coriander seeds.
- Stir fry for about a minute, then add onions and saute until it turns into light brown.
- Add cilantro, lemon juice, turmeric, red chili, salt, and garam masala then stir fry for 2 minutes.
- Add potatoes and stir fry again for 2 minutes.
- Set aside and cool completely.
- Divide the reserved dough into 10 equal portions.
- Use a rolling pin, roll a piece of dough into a 5″ ovals.
- Cut into 2 halves.
- Run a moist finger along the diameter.
- Make a cone using your finger as a reference.
- Put about a tablespoon of the filling into the cone and seal the pastry using a moist finger.
- Deep fry the samosas on low to medium heat until light brown.
- Best served with chutney or tomato sauce.