A samosa, a stuffed pastry, is a common snack in South Asia, in countries such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal. It generally consists of a fried triangular- or tetrahedron-shaped pastry shell with a savory filling of spiced potatoes, onion, peas, coriander, and sometimes fresh paneer. In a variety called chamuça they are also very popular in Portugal.


The popular vegetarian version contains flour (maida), potato, onion, spices, green chili. It is often eaten with chutney, such as mint, coriander or tamarind. It can also be prepared as a sweet form, rather than as a savory one. Non-vegetarian versions can contain meat (e.g. keema) or sometimes fish filling.


The Samosa has been a popular snack in the Indian subcontinent for centuries. It is believed that it originated in Central Asia (where they are known as samsa) prior to the 10th century and were introduced to the Indian subcontinent in the 13th or 14th century by traders from the region.

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".

Ibn Battuta, the 14th century traveller 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, pistachio, walnuts and spices, was served before the third course, of pulao .

The Ain-i-Akbari, a 16th century Mughal document, mentions the recipe for 'Qutab', which it says, “the people of Hindustan call sanbúsah”.


The word samosa can be traced to the Persian ‘sanbosag’ . The name in other countries also derives from this root, such as the crescent-shaped sanbusak or sanbusaj in Arab countries, sambosa in Afghanistan, "samboosa" in Tajikistan, samsa in Turkish-speaking nations, sambusa in parts of Iran and chamuça in Goa and Portugal.


Non-vegetarian samosas may substitute fillings of minced meat or fish. The size and shape of a samosa, as well as the consistency of the pastry used, can vary considerably, although it is mostly triangular. Samosas are often served in chaat, along with the traditional accompaniments of yogurt, chutney, chopped onions and coriander, and chaat masala.

In Hyderabad, India, a smaller version of the samosa with a thicker pastry crust and mince filled is called a Lukhmi.

In Goa and Portugal, samosas are known as chamuças, usually filled with beef or pork, and generally quite hot. Chicken and vegetarian versions are rare. They are an integral part of Goan cuisine and Portuguese cuisine.


Samosas have become popular in the United Kingdom, South Africa and East Africa, Persian Gulf countries and in Canada and the United States. They are often called "samboosa" or sambusac by the Arabs. In South Africa they are often called "samoosa". Frozen samosas are increasingly available in grocery stores in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

While samosas are traditionally fried, many Westerners prefer to bake them, as this is more convenient and healthier (this could be seen as an example of fusion cuisine). Variations using phyllo or flour tortillas are not unheard of in Western countries.

Portuguese and Goan beef or pork chamuças are very popular. Due to Portuguese influence, chamuças are also very in several countries along the Atlantic coast of Africa (such as Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe and Angola) and in Mozambique.

See also

Video links

  • Samosa Video demonstration to make a samosa


External links

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