Samosa Exploring The King Of Snacks History


By Maj Hussain, Halal Incorp

Growing up many people from the Indian Sub-Continent were able to enjoy a finely cooked samosa normally fried in oil of varying sizes and a diverse range of fillings. Samosa’s were served and are still present at banquets, weddings, parties, Eid celebrations, birthdays & even on regular days. The samosa is made with special pastry rolled into a flat circular shape similar to chapattis. It can then be cut in half to form a semi-circular shape.


The samosa is then filled with a range of ingredients often depending on personal preferences. Some ingredients revolve around minced meat sourced from lamb and sheep as well as mutton. Other people who prefer the vegetable option will use a variety of vegetables such as chick peas, onions, peas & potatoes.

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Alongside the staple ingredients there is also a vast variety of spices and herbs used such as green chillies, coriander, masalas, red chillies and the famous ‘Bangla March’. The samosas are then sealed and fried in oil. The pastry then becomes crispy and biting into a samosa allows the taster to experience a tingly feeling when crunching into the fried pastry which reveals the specific filling to the delight of the taster.

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Besides the amazing ingredients and full flavours associated with the samosa its history and origins are deep and long as the variety of ingredients they contain. Traditionally from a British or South Asian perspective samosa’s are thought to have originated from India & are commonly associated as an Indian snacks across the world. It is true that samosas are a famous and popular snack in the Indian Sub-Continent but actually it is thought that these delicacies were first created in the plateaus of Persia through early civilisations.

The origins of the name samosa is actually Persian and comes from the word ‘sanbosag’. There is an initial mention of the delicacy in 11th century writing by the Persian historian Abul- Fazi Beyhaqi. He mentions that this snack was used by the Ghaznavid Emperors in their lavish banquets often containing nuts, dried fruit and minced meats.

Migration is a natural occurring phenomenon and has occurred for millennia. Often people have moved to find more food, escape drought, avoid war and hunger or are generally looking for a better quality of life. The Aryan tribes moved from the Persian plateaus centuries ago down into the Indian Sub-Continent.

Whilst making their long arduous and often dangerous journey naturally they brought with them skills, trade, knowledge and of course foods. This is also how the samosa delicacy travelled from one part of the world to another. Overtime recipes and ingredients have changed with different waves of migration and ruling Empires controlling localities.

Over centuries the style, shape and size as well as ingredients of the samosa moulded to fit into its geographical location. Through the British Raj, many people from Britain became enthused with the delicacy of the samosa. Samosa’s were also brought with migrants post WWII to the UK just as they had 2000 years previously into India by the Aryans.

Contemporary society has seen health conscious individuals even grill or steam samosa’s to make them healthier. However this does affect the taste as fried samosa’s are likely to have more taste elements rather than ones which are grilled for example alongside changes in texture.

The samosa snack is now widely available in supermarket shelves, restaurants, takeaways, households and many other places in contemporary British society. The samosa still maintains its position as the king of snacks across many international boundaries and culinary circles.

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