Samosas with chutney and green chillies
Alternative names Samsa, somsa, somosa, somucha, sambosak, sambusa, samsa, singada, samuza, sambosa, somasi, somaas
Type Pastry
Course Entrée, snack
Region or state Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, Horn of Africa, North Africa, South Africa, South Asia, Portugal
Serving temperature Hot with chutney or mint sauce (raita)
Main ingredients Maida, potatoes, peas, onions, spices, chili peppers (especially green chili), cheese, meat (lamb, beef or chicken)
Variations Chamuça, Shingara
Cookbook: Samosa  Media: Samosa

A samosa (/səˈmsə/), or samoosa, is a fried or baked dish with a savoury filling, such as spiced potatoes, onions, peas, lentils, macaroni, noodles or minced meat (lamb, beef or chicken).[1] Pine nuts can also be added. Its size and consistency may vary, but typically it is distinctly triangular or tetrahedral in shape. Indian samosas are usually vegetarian, and often accompanied by a mint chutney.[2][3] Samosas are a popular entrée, appetizer or snack in the local cuisines of South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Southwest Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, the Mediterranean, the Horn of Africa, East Africa, North Africa and South Africa. Due to cultural diffusion and emigration from these areas, samosas in today's world are also prepared in other regions.

Name variation

Samosa (/səˈmsə/; Punjabi: ਸਮੋਸਾ smosa, Sanskrit: शृङ्गाटकं śr̥ṅgāṭakaṁ,[4] Bengali: সিঙ্গারা, Shingara, Hindi: समोसा, Manipuri: Singhara, Nepali: समोसा, translit. Singoda, Urdu: سموسہ) is generally used in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Other names are used in other areas (Arabic: سمبوسك sambūsak, Sinhalese: සමොසා, Hebrew: סמבוסק sambusak, Gujarati: સમોસા samosa, Kannada: ಸಮೋಸಾ samosa, Malayalam: സമോസ, Marathi: सामोसा, Persian: سمبوسه, Tamil: சமோசா, Telugu: సమోసా, Urdu: سموسه samosa, samsa (pronounced [ˈsamsə]), Sylheti: ছমছা Somosa or somsa in Turkic Central Asia (Kazakh: самса, [sɑmsɑ́], Kyrgyz: самса, [sɑ́msɑ], Uzbek: 'somsa', [sɒmsa], Uyghur: سامسا, [sɑmsɑ́]) and Turkey (Turkish: samsa böreği), sambusa (among Arabs, the Swahili, Djiboutians, Eritreans, Ethiopians, Somalis (Somali: sambuus) and Tajiks (Tajik: самбӯса)), sanbusé (Persian: سنبوسه; among Iranians), samosha (Burmese: စမူဆာ, IPA: [sʰəmùzà]; among Burmese), sambosa ([sam͡bosḁ]; among the Malagasy) or chamuça (among the Portuguese-speaking world).

In eastern India, a similar dish is called Singara, Bengali: সিঙাড়া shingara, Sylheti: সিঙারা shingara sing-ra in Assamese, Odia: ଶିଙ୍ଗଡା shingada.


The word "samosa" can be traced to the sanbosag (Persian: سنبوساگ).[5] The pastry name in other countries can also derive from this root, such as the crescent-shaped sanbusak or sanbusaj in the Arab World, sambosa in Afghanistan, samosa in India, (Sindhi: سمبوسو Samboso/sambosa), samboosa in Tajikistan, samsa by Turkic-speaking nations, sambusa in the Horn of Africa, and chamuça in Goa, Mozambique and Portugal. While they are currently referred to as sambusak in the Arabic-speaking world, Medieval Arabic recipe books sometimes spell it sambusaj.[6]


Preparation of wada for the Sultan Ghiyath al-Din, the Sultan of Mandu. Samosas being prepared. Small inscription 'sanbusa', samosa. Ghiyath Shahi seated on a stool in a garden is being offered a dish, possibly of samosas. A cook is frying them over a stove, while another is placing them on a round dish.

The samosa is claimed to have originated in the Middle East (where it is known as sambosa[7]) prior to the 10th century.[8] Abolfazl Beyhaqi (995-1077), an Iranian historian, mentioned it in his history, Tarikh-e Beyhaghi.[9]

Samosas were introduced to the Indian subcontinent in the 13th or 14th century by traders from Central Asia.[5] Amir Khusro (1253–1325), a scholar and the royal poet of the Delhi Sultanate, wrote in around 1300 that the princes and nobles enjoyed the "samosa prepared from meat, ghee, onion and so on".[10] Ibn Battuta, a 14th-century traveler and explorer, describes a meal at the court of Muhammad bin Tughluq, where the samushak or sambusak, a small pie stuffed with minced meat, almonds, pistachios, walnuts and spices, was served before the third course, of pulao.[11] The Ain-i-Akbari, a 16th-century Mughal document, mentions the recipe for qutab, which it says, “the people of Hindustan call sanbúsah”.[12]

Regional varieties

Regions where the dish serves as a staple of local cuisine have different ways of preparing it.

South Asia

Samosas were brought to India by various Muslim merchants, and patronized under various Islamic dynasties in the region. Samosas from South Asia are now world renowned, and are probably the most popular type of Samosas globally.


Samosas being fried at a road-side restaurant in Raipur, India

The samosa contains Wheat flour or maida flour shell stuffed with some filling, generally a mixture of mashed boiled potato, onions, green peas, spices and green chili or fruits.[13] The entire pastry is then deep-fried to a golden brown color, in vegetable oil. It is served hot and is often eaten with fresh Indian chutney, such as mint, coriander or tamarind. It can also be prepared as a sweet form, rather than as a savoury one. Samosas are often served in chaat, along with the traditional accompaniments of yogurt, chutney, chopped onions, coriander, and chaat masala.

Samosa Pav in Mumbai. Hot Samosa stuffed in Pav, a sweetened bread.

In Delhi, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand, and other Northern States of India, a bigger version of the samosa with a spicy filling of masala potatoes, peas, crushed green chillies, and even dried fruits, as well as other variations, is quite popular. The samosa is bigger compared to other Indian and foreign variants.

Burmese-style samusa are flat and triangular, and usually smaller than their Indian counterparts.

In Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand, shingaras (the East Indian version of samosas) are popular snacks. They are found almost everywhere. Shingaras are easy to make, but the folding is a little tricky and many people do not know how to fold or make shingaras. Shingaras are a bit smaller compared to those in other parts of India and the filling mainly consists of small pieces of potato and unmashed boiled potato, along with the addition of other ingredients. They are wrapped in a thin dough and fried. The coating is of white flour, not wheat flour, and it is slightly sweet in taste. What distinguishes good shingaras are flaky textures, almost as if they are made with a savoury pie crust.

Usually, shingaras are deep fried to a golden brown colour in vegetable oil. They are served hot and consumed with ketchup or chutney, such as mint, coriander or tamarind. Shingaras are often served in chaat, along with the traditional accompaniments of yogurt, chutney, chopped onions, coriander, and chaat masala. Usually, shingaras are eaten during the tea time as tiffin. They can also be prepared as a sweet form, rather than as a savoury one. Bengali shingaras tend to be triangular, filled with potato, peas, onions, diced almonds, or other vegetables, and are more heavily fried and crunchier than either shingara or their Indian samosa cousins. Fulkopir shingara (shingara filled with cauliflower mixture) is another very popular variation. In Bengal, there are non-vegetarian varieties of shingara called mangsher shingara (mutton shingara) and macher shingara (fish shingara). There are also sweeter versions, such as narkel er shingara (coconut shingara), as well as others filled with khoya and dipped in sugar syrup.

Vegetable Samosa

In Hyderabad, India, a smaller version of the samosa with a thicker pastry crust and mince-meat filling, referred to as lukhmi, is consumed, as is another variation with an onion filling.

In South India, samosas are slightly different, in that they are folded in a different way, much more like Portuguese chamuças, with a different style pastry. The filling also differs, typically featuring mashed potatoes with spices, fried onions, peas, carrots, cabbage, curry leaves, green chillies, etc. It is mostly eaten without chutney. Samosas in South India come in different sizes, and fillings are greatly influenced by the local food habits. It can include many variety of fillings, such as meats and vegetables. Samosas made with a spiced mashed potato mixture are quite popular in the South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.


Both flat-shaped and full-shaped samosas are popular snacks in Bangladesh. The Bengali version of the full-shaped samosa is called a shingara and is normally much smaller than the standard Indian variety. The shingara is usually filled with pieced potatoes and vegetables, however, shingaras filled with beef liver, are very popular in some parts of the country. The flat-shaped samosa is called a somucha and is usually filled with onions and minced meat.


Samosas are called singadas in the Eastern Zone of Nepal; the rest of the country calls it Samosa. As in India, it is a very popular snack in Nepalese cuisine. Vendors sell the dish in various markets and restaurants.


Samosas of various types are available all over Pakistan. In general, most samosa varieties sold in the southern Sindh province and in the eastern Punjab, especially the city of Lahore, are spicier and mostly contain vegetable or potato-based fillings. On the other hand, the samosas sold in the west and north of the country mostly contain minced meat-based fillings and are comparatively less spicy. The meat samosa contains minced meat (lamb, beef or chicken) and are very popular as snack food in Pakistan.

In Pakistan, samosas of Karachi are famous for their spicy flavour, whereas samosas from Faisalabad are noted for being unusually large. Another distinct variety of samosa, available in Karachi, is called kaghazi samosa (Urdu: کاغذی سموسہ; "paper samosa" in English) due to its thin and crispy covering, which resembles a wonton or spring roll wrapper. Another variant, popular in Punjab, consists of samosas with side dishes of mashed spiced chickpeas, onions, and coriander salad, as well as various chutneys to top the samosas. The samosas are a fried or baked pastry with a savoury filling, such as spiced potatoes, onions, peas, lentils, and minced meat (lamb, beef or chicken).


In the Maldives, the types and varrities of samosa made in Maldivian cuisine is known as bajiyaa. It is filled with a mixture, which includes fish or tuna and onions.[14]

Central Asia

Uyghur-style samsas (samosas)

In Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Xinjiang, samosas are known as samsas. They are almost always baked and never fried. The traditional samsa is often baked in the tandoor, which is a special clay oven. The dough can be a simple bread dough, or a layered pastry dough. The most common filling for traditional samsa is a mixture of minced lamb and onions, but chicken, minced beef, and cheese varieties are also quite common from street vendors. Samosas with other fillings, such as potato or pumpkin (usually only when in season), can also be found.

In Central Asia, samsas (samosas) are often sold on the streets as a hot snack. They are sold at kiosks, where only samosas are made, or alternatively, at kiosks where other fast foods (such as hamburgers) are sold. Many grocery stores also buy samosas from suppliers and resell them.

Southeast Asia


Samosas are called samusas in Burmese, and are an extremely popular snack in Burma.

Filled and cut samsa ready to be baked in Karakol, Kyrgyzstan.


The local equivalent of samosas in Indonesia are known as pastel. They are usually filled with eggs, minced beef or chicken.

Horn of Africa

Somali sambusas being deep-fried

Samosas are a staple of local cuisine in the Horn of Africa (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia), where they are known as sambuus. While they can be eaten any time of the year, they are usually reserved for special occasions, such as Ramadan, Eid Al-Fitr, Eid Al-Adha and weddings.


In Israel, a Sambusak (Hebrew: סמבוסק) is a semi-circular pocket of dough filled with mashed chickpeas, fried onions and spices. There is another variety filled with meat, fried onions, parsley, spices and pine nuts, which is sometimes mixed with mashed chickpeas and breakfast version with feta or tzfat cheese and za'atar. It is associated with Mizrahi Jewish cuisine. An Israeli sambusak is not as spicy as the Indian version.[15] According to Gil Marks, an Israeli food historian, sambusak has been a traditional part of the Sephardic Sabbath meal since the thirteenth century.[16]

Portuguese-speaking regions

Goan chamuças

In Goa (India) and Portugal, samosas are known as chamuças. They are usually filled with chicken, beef, pork, lamb or vegetables, and generally served quite hot. Samosas are an integral part of Goan and Portuguese cuisine, where they are a common snack.

A samosa-inspired snack is also very common in Brazil, and relatively common in several former Portuguese colonies in Africa, including Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe, Angola and Mozambique, where they are more commonly known as pastéis (in Brazil) or empadas (in Portuguese Africa; in Brazilian Portuguese, empada refers to a completely different snack, always baked, small in size, and in the form of an inverse pudding). They are related to the Hispanic empanada and to the Italian calzone.

English-speaking regions

Samosas are popular in the United Kingdom, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania, and are also growing in popularity in the Canada,[17][18] and the United States. They may be called samboosa or sambusac, but in South Africa, they are often called samoosa.[19] Frozen samosas are increasingly available from grocery stores in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. At McGill University in Montreal, samosas are seen as a staple of students' diets and are accordingly used as a common fundraising item daily.[20][21]

While samosas are traditionally fried, many Westerners prefer to bake them, as this is viewed as more convenient and more healthful by some diners. Variations using filo,[22] or flour tortillas[23] are sometimes used.

See also


  1. Meat Samosa
  2. Arnold P. Kaminsky; Roger D. Long (23 September 2011). India Today: An Encyclopedia of Life in the Republic. ABC-CLIO. p. 151. ISBN 978-0-313-37462-3. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  3. "A short history of the samosa". Quartz. February 8, 2016. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  4. Colloquial Sanskrit "kind of pastry or minced meat"शृङ्गाटकं&trans=Translate
  5. 1 2 Lovely triangles "Hindustan Times", 23 August 2008.
  6. Rodinson, Maxime, Arthur Arberry, and Charles Perry. Medieval Arab cookery. Prospect Books (UK), 2001. p. 72.
  7. Uzbek samsa Consulate General of Yemen in New York City. Retrieved 13 March 2008.
  8. Davidson, Alan (1999). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-211579-0.
  9. Beyhaqi, Abolfazl, Tarikh-e Beyhaghi, p. 132.
  10. Savoury temptations The Tribune, 5 September 2005.
  11. Regal Repasts Jiggs Kalra and Dr Pushpesh Pant, India Today Plus, March 1999.
  12. Recipes for Dishes Ain-i-Akbari, by Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak. English tr. by Heinrich Blochmann and Colonel Henry Sullivan Jarrett, 1873–1907. Asiatic Society of Bengal, Calcutta, Volume I, Chapt, 24, page 59. “10. Quṭáb, which the people of Hindústán call sanbúsah. This is made several ways. 10 s. meat; 4 s. flour; 2 s. g'hí; 1 s. onions; ¼ s. fresh ginger; ½ s. salt; 2 d. pepper and coriander seed; cardamum, cuminseed, cloves, 1 d. of each; ¼ s. of summáq. This can be cooked in twenty different ways, and gives four full dishes.”
  13. Samosa recipeSamosa recipe from Gujarat. Retrieved 26 November 2010.
  14. Xavier Romero-Frias, Eating on the Islands, Himal Southasian, Vol. 26 no. 2, pages 69-91 ISSN 1012-9804
  15. "Gems in Israel: Sabich - The Alternate Israeli Fast Food".
  16. Olive Trees and Honey:A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World Gil Marks
  17. "Lineups threaten to stall Fredericton's hot samosa market". 30 January 2007. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  18. Fox, Chris (29 July 2009). "Patel couldn't give her samosas away". The Daily Gleaner. p. A1. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  19. South African English is lekker!. Retrieved 13 June 2007.
  20. "Samosa Search shakes up McGill Samosa game | The McGill Tribune". The McGill Tribune. Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  21. "Cheap/Free Montreal & McGill Services" (PDF). The Frugal Scholar. McGill University. Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  22. Fennel-Scented Spinach and Potato Samosas. Retrieved 6 February 2008.
  23. Potato Samosas. Retrieved 6 February 2008.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 12/2/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.