Most Indians think of the samosa as a humble street snack that has origins in India.
Considered a quintessentially Indian delicacy, few people know that the samosa does not have an Indian origin.
Historians claim that this savoury delight was first made by Egyptians in the 10th century and was a part of the meals. During that period, the Arab cookbooks were already giving the recipe.
According to food historian Alan Davidson, the very name samosa comes from the Persian word sambosag.
As conquerors and traders travelled, the samosa/sambusak spread all over the Middle East and it took various forms and various shapes in every country. The original sambusak was probably a halfmoon but as it moved, it acquired its current triangular shape.
During 13th and 14th century, the traders brought with them the recipe of Samosa to India where in no time it became a preferred snack.
Ibn Battuta, also known as Shams ad – Din, the medieval Moroccan traveller who visited India in the 14th century, mentioned that banquets at the court of Muhammad bin Tughlaq, served a dish called sambusak — triangular pastry packed with mince, peas, pistachios, almonds and other tasty fillings.
The first ever mention of Samosa in Indian history is found in Aina Akbari written in the 16th century.
One of the most delicious tea time munchy, Samosa is eaten across the country and is called by different names.
In West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha it is called Singhada and is called Sumos in Gujarati. In Farsi and Urdu it is called Sambuska, in Arabic it is Sambusk, in central asia it is called Samsa and Sanbuse in Persian.
Mostly prepared with a stuffing of potatoes and peas, Hyderabadi samosa is a different variant. The meat and keema stuffed samosa found in Hyderabad is as delectable as vegetarian samosa.
Samosa has found a mention in Amir Khusro’s works where it is tagged as a favourite among the royals of the Delhi sultanate where they would stuff the samosa with meat and enjoy the crisp taste.
Who knew our humble and favourite samosa had an exotic origin?