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History of the Samosa

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on 14 October 2016

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Transcript of History of the Samosa

History of the Samosa
by: Aidan Calverley
The samosa was first mentioned in text in the 11th century
It was served as a snack in the great courts of the Ghaznavid Empire, centered in present day Afghanistan
The samosa didn't arrive in India until the 13th or 14th century from Middle Eastern traders
India adapted the samosa to its own cuisine with the addition of New and Old World plants
Replacing the meat filling with that of potato, pea, green chilli pepper and a plethora of spices
Old World Ingredients
Nutmeg and cloves are indigenous to the Maluku islands of Indonesian, being introduced to India as early as the third millennium B.C.E.
Old World Ingredients
Old World spices native to India include: amchur, ginger, cardamom, black peppercorn and certain types of cinnamon and bay leaf
They grow naturally in the rain forests throughout south Asia
Old World Ingredients
Cumin and fennel are indigenous to the Mediterranean region
The last Old World spice is coriander; its seeds are native to a large region, spanning southern Europe, northern Africa and southwest Asia
Old World Ingredients
The pea is the only main filling ingredient (excluding spices) originating in India
The Columbian Exchange
The Portuguese were among the first to reach India in 1498
They introduced the potato and the chilli pepper shortly after
New World Ingredients
The Portuguese first landed in Goa, India (1498)
Potato, green chilli peppers, and red chilli powder were added to the filling to complete the ingredient list of the Indian samosa
The addition of these ingredients illustrates the prominent European influence on the Indian samosa
During the 15th and 16th century, the Columbian Exchange brought the potato and the chilli pepper to the Old World
Regional Variation
India's rich history of cultural interactions and diverse geography has resulted in many different variations of the samosa within the country
Mughal Dynasty
North India
Larger sized samosa, often referred to as the Punjabi samosa
Filling is spicier and can include dried fruits and nuts (influenced by the Mughal Empire)
West India
The samosa is known as the shingara, which are smaller in size and often folded in a circular shape (influenced by Bangladesh)
Cauliflower, a seasonal vegetable, is often used in the filling in place of potatoes
South India
Southern India has no distinctive samosa
Variations depend on local food habits in each area
Ingredients came from both the New and Old World
The samosa did not originate in India!
Regional variation due to historical events and geography
Core Ingredient List
Filling: potato, peas, green chilli peppers
Spices: cumin, coriander, black peppercorn, fennel, nutmeg, bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, amchur, ginger, red chilli pepper
Dough: flour, oil, salt, water
Thanks for reading!
The samosa is truly a symbol of the story of India - the humble product cultural interactions that shaped this diverse country into what it is today
Indian Samosa
Full transcript