A Tale of Love and Samosas
Today, samosas are enjoyed around the globe — but where did they come from?
At first glance, you may view samosas for what they are, a delicious snack. Once you bite into the crust, revealing complex flavours, you soon realize that its more than that. In many ways, it’s a historical food, showcasing cultural identity.
Although samosas are now commonly consumed around the world, this wasn’t always the case.
The History of Samosas
Although it would be great to say when the first samosa was stuffed and by whom, we simply do not have this information. We do, however, know the origin of the word itself. Being referred to in Persian literature, this triangular-shaped snack was known as sanbosag — which may very well translate to ‘lovely triangles.’
Although this snack was cooked over an open fire during travels, it is also described in the literature as a snack served within the great courts of the Ghaznavid empire. As you’d expect, the pastry would be filled with nuts, dried fruits and, of course, meats. By the 13th or 14th century, samosas were introduced to the Indian subcontinent by traders coming from Central Asia.
Just like today, throughout history, as various people and cultures moved across the land, they influenced those around them. As migrants made their way into India, the samosa would be transformed time and time again based on waves of new people.
Sure, this snack saw many varieties based on its use, but no one shaped samosas quite like those in India. Creating combinations to meet local tastes, spices such as pepper, ginger and coriander were thrown into the mix. Vegetables were also added, replacing much of the meat.
Perhaps that’s what is most exciting about the evolution of the samosa — it has seen many different cultures, and today, it continues to be one of the most trans formative snacks. Varying from region to region, depending on where you are in the world, or even within India, this treat will differ slightly.
This is based on both geography and historical events. As Old and New World ingredients collided, new variations were made. It’s said that peas are the only core filling ingredient that originated in India, as the Portuguese introduced the potato and green chili pepper.
At the end of the day, the samosa is much more than a snack. It symbolizes the ways in which cultural interactions shape our world, showcasing the true flavors of India, based on its vast history.