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Title: Samosa  
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Subject: Dumpling, Cifantuan, Caozaiguo, Har gow, Lo mai gai
Collection: Arab Cuisine, Articles Containing Hebrew-Language Text, Balochi Cuisine, Bangladeshi Cuisine, Bangladeshi Fast Food, Bangladeshi Snack Foods, Bengali Cuisine, Bihari Cuisine, Brazilian Cuisine, Burmese Cuisine, Central Asian Cuisine, Djiboutian Cuisine, Dumplings, Eritrean Cuisine, Ethiopian Cuisine, Goan Cuisine, Hyderabadi Cuisine, Indian Fast Food, Indian Snack Foods, Iranian Cuisine, Iranian Pastries, Iraqi Cuisine, Israeli Cuisine, Jordanian Cuisine, Kashmiri Cuisine, Kazakhstani Cuisine, Kyrgyz Cuisine, Malaysian Cuisine, Middle Eastern Cuisine, Nepalese Cuisine, Odia Cuisine, Pakistani Cuisine, Pakistani Fast Food, Pakistani Snack Foods, Palestinian Cuisine, Pashtun Cuisine, Portuguese Cuisine, Punjabi Cuisine, Rajasthani Cuisine, Saudi Arabian Cuisine, Savoury Pies, Sephardi Jewish Cuisine, Sindhi Cuisine, Singaporean Cuisine, Somalian Cuisine, South African Cuisine, Syrian Cuisine, Tajik Cuisine, Tatar Cuisine, Telangana Cuisine, Uttar Pradeshi Cuisine, Uzbekistani Cuisine
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Samosas with chutney and green chillies
Alternative names Samsa, somsa, sambosak, sambusa, samoosa, singada, samuza, somasi, somaas
Type Pastry
Course Entrée or snack
Region or state South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, Horn of Africa, North Africa, East Africa.Popular in Pakistan,India,and Bangladesh
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
Cookbook: Samosa 

A samosa () or samoosa is a fried or baked pastry with a savoury filling, such as spiced potatoes, onions, peas, lentils, macaroni, noodles, Jake and/or minced meat (lamb, beef or chicken).[1] Pine nuts can also be added. The samosa is claimed to have originated in Central Asia.[2][3] 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 sauce (raita) or chutney.[4] Vegetarian samosas originated in Uttar Pradesh.[5] Samosas are a popular entrée, appetizer or snack in the local cuisines of the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Southwest Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, the Mediterranean, the Horn of Africa, East Africa and North Africa. Due to cultural diffusion and emigration from these areas, samosas in today's world are also prepared in other regions.


  • Name variation 1
  • Etymology 2
  • History 3
  • Regional varieties 4
    • India 4.1
    • Bangladesh 4.2
    • Nepal 4.3
    • Burma 4.4
    • Pakistan 4.5
    • Central Asia 4.6
    • Indonesia 4.7
    • Horn of Africa 4.8
    • Israel 4.9
    • Maldives 4.10
    • Portuguese-speaking regions 4.11
    • English-speaking regions 4.12
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Name variation

Samosa (; Punjabi: ਸਮੋਸਾ smosa, Sanskrit: शृङ्गाटकं, Hindi: समोसा,Manipuri: Singhara, Nepali: समोसा, Urdu: سموسہ‎) is generally used in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Other names are used in other areas (Arabic: سمبوسكsambūsak, Bengali: সিঙাড়া, sing-ra in Assamese, Odia: ଶିଙାଡା shingada, Sinhalese: සමොසා, Hebrew: סמבוסקsambusak, Gujarati: સમોસા samosa, Kannada: ಸಮೋಸಾ samosa, Malayalam: സമോസ, Marathi: सामोसा, Persian: سمبوسه‎‎, Tamil: சமோசா, Telugu: సమోసా, Urdu: سموسهsamosa, samsa (pronounced ) or somsa in Turkic Central Asia (Kazakh: самса, , Kyrgyz: самса, , Uzbek: somsa, , Uyghur: سامسا‎, ) 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: ; among Burmese), sambosa ([sam͡bosḁ]; among the Malagasy) or chamuça (among the Portuguese-speaking world). A new variety known as the "Shae McDonald" has become a popular choice in Darwin, Australia.


The word "samosa" can be traced to the sanbosag (Persian: سنبوساگ‎‎).[6] 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.[7]


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[8]) prior to the 10th century.[9] Abolfazl Beyhaqi (995-1077), an Iranian historian mentioned it in his history, Tarikh-e Beyhaghi.[10] It was introduced to the Indian subcontinent in the 13th or 14th century by traders from Central Asia.[6]

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".[11][12]

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.[12][13]

The Ain-i-Akbari, a 16th-century Mughal document, mentions the recipe for qutab, which it says, “the people of Hindustan call sanbúsah”.[14]

Regional varieties

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


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

The samosa contains a maida flour shell stuffed with some filling, generally a mixture of mashed boiled potato, onions, green peas, spices and green chili.[15] 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.

In Delhi, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, 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. Samosas made with a spiced mashed potato mixture are quite popular in the South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, 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 Nepal. As in India, it is a very popular snack in Nepalese cuisine. Vendors sell the dish in various markets and restaurants.


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.


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 ("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).

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 best 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.


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 sambusa. While they can be eaten any time of the year, they are usually reserved for special occasions, such as Ramadan, Christmas or Meskel.


In Israel, a sambusak 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.[16] According to Gil Marks, an Israeli food historian, sambusak has been a traditional part of the Sephardic Sabbath meal since the thirteenth century.[17]


In the Maldives, the type of samosa made in Maldivian cuisine is known as bajiyaa. It is filled with a mixture, which includes Maldive fish or tuna and onions.[18]

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 Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania, and are also growing in popularity in the United Kingdom, Canada,[19][20] and the United States. They may be called samboosa or sambusac, but in South Africa, they are often called samoosa.[21] Frozen samosas are increasingly available from 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 viewed as more convenient and more healthful by some diners. Variations using phyllo,[22] or flour tortillas[23] are sometimes used.

See also


  1. ^ Meat Samosa
  2. ^ "Samosa Connection". Samosa Connection. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  3. ^ "Did you know Samosa didn't originate in India?!". IBN Live. 17 August 2014. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  4. ^ Arnold P. Kaminsky; Roger D. Long (23 September 2011). India Today: An Encyclopedia of Life in the Republic. ABC-CLIO. p. 151.  
  5. ^ "10 Best Recipes From Uttar Pradesh". NDTV. October 25, 2013. Retrieved 26 October 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Lovely triangles "Hindustan Times", 23 August 2008.
  7. ^ Rodinson, Maxime, Arthur Arberry, and Charles Perry. Medieval Arab cookery. Prospect Books (UK), 2001. p. 72.
  8. ^ Uzbek samsa Consulate General of Yemen in New York City. Retrieved 13 March 2008.
  9. ^ Davidson, Alan (1999). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press.  
  10. ^ Beyhaqi, Abolfazl, Tarikh-e Beyhaghi, p. 132.
  11. ^ Savoury temptations The Tribune, 5 September 2005.
  12. ^ a b "Origin of the Samosa". The Samosa Connection. sambusak: "minced meat cooked with almonds, pistachios, onions and spices placed inside a thin envelope of wheat and deep-fried in ghee". 
  13. ^ Regal Repasts Jiggs Kalra and Dr Pushpesh Pant, India Today Plus, March 1999.
  14. ^ 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.”
  15. ^ Samosa recipeSamosa recipe from Gujarat. Retrieved 26 November 2010.
  16. ^ "Gems in Israel: Sabich - The Alternate Israeli Fast Food". 
  17. ^ Olive Trees and Honey:A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World Gil Marks
  18. ^ Xavier Romero-Frias, Eating on the Islands, Himal Southasian, Vol. 26 no. 2, pages 69-91 ISSN 10129804
  19. ^ "Lineups threaten to stall Fredericton's hot samosa market".  
  20. ^ Fox, Chris (29 July 2009). "Patel couldn't give her samosas away".  
  21. ^ South African English is lekker!. Retrieved 13 June 2007.
  22. ^ Fennel-Scented Spinach and Potato Samosas. Retrieved 6 February 2008.
  23. ^ Potato Samosas. Retrieved 6 February 2008.

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