India’s love affair with samosas
Introducing modern renditions of India’s most sought after snack!
Samosas have become an integral part of Indian cuisine and culture. They have come a long way, evolving from a mere street food snack to a staple dish commonly served at special events. A plate of hot samosas is the quintessential evening snack!
The Hindi word ‘samosa’ can be traced to the Middle Persian word ‘sanbosag’, meaning 'triangular pastry’. Alternatively, the name of this snack could be derived from the Sanskrit word ‘sam’, which means combine.
Traditionally, the main ingredients used in making samosas are potatoes, peas, minced meat and flour. The filling is made of boiled and mashed vegetables, seasoned with spices like red chili powder, coriander, mustard and cumin. The vegetable mixture is filled into thin, round dough sheets and then baked or deep-fried.
Let’s take a look at some modern and regional renditions of our favourite snack.
Filled with spicy and smoky minced meat then fried till it is crispy golden, the keema samosa is a great snack for non-vegetarians. The keema samosa is usually served in street stalls and restaurants during the month of Ramadan. The filling is sometimes infused with fragrant spices like cumin and cinnamon to give it a fragrant and smoky flavour. Keema samosas are a popular snack in Hyderabad.
Prawns are first marinated with chili powder, turmeric and salt. After a few minutes of slight steaming, the prawns should be chopped into small pieces, and combined with fried onions, ground coriander, cumin, and garlic. This stuffing is then wrapped in the pastry and fried till it is golden brown. These samosas go very well with tangy-sweet relish made with cilantro, coconut, cumin and lemon juice or also with sweet Thai chilli sauce. Prawn samosas are a common snack in Goa.
Chole and chaat go splendidly well together! Chole samosa is prepared by stuffing chickpeas prepared with aromatic spices and then seasoning it with coriander. The exterior of the samosa is bland in contrast to the filling in order to allow the flavours of the aromatic chickpea stuffing to emerge. At some popular chaat vendors, you might chance upon a version of chole chat that includes a traditional potato samosa mashed together with chole, curd, and tangy chutneys, creating a truly delectable culinary experience.
Cauliflower samosa, also known as the phulkapir singara is a deep-fried, short-crust pastry with a savoury potato and cauliflower filling. This delightful Bengali variety of the samosa, with a fiery cauliflower filling brings out so many flavours in each bite! These samosas are served with tangy tamarind chutney on the side. Phulkopir shingara is usually made using seasonal cauliflower in the winter and is sold at several local sweet and chaat stalls in West Bengal.
This unique samosa is a sweet variation of our favourite snack! Prepared with pistachios, caster sugar, sugar and ghee this delectable fusion recipe will surely satisfy your sugar craving! This scrumptious samosa usually has a crispy golden covering on the outside and creamy chocolate filling inside. Chocolate samosas are a common party snack.
Over the centuries, the samosa has truly evolved to become a popular snack, adored by people around the world. You can experiment with various fillings, and spices according to your taste and even use different types of dough other than the usual plain flour dough. Samosas can be made spicy or sweet with different combinations of fillings of your choice!
What are some other unique samosas you have tried and where? Let us know in the comments!