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History of Samosa: The World's Best-Known Indian Snack


History of our most beloved Indian snack is fascinating. It's a story that spans continents and centuries, being widely considered a classic Indian delicacy, few people know that samosas do not have an Indian origin. Yes, you read that right. The deep fried, tightly packed pockets of spicy goodness that we thought belonged to India is actually a delicious and well-travelled immigrant from Central Asia!

From Egypt to Libya and from Central Asia to India, the stuffed triangle with different names has garnered immense popularity. Originally named samsa, after the pyramids in Central Asia, historical accounts also refer to it as sanbusak, sanbusaq or even sanbusaj, all deriving from the Persian word, sanbosag.

Samosas made their place in the heart of India!

Ibn Batuta, the medieval Moroccan traveller who visited India in the 14th century, has chronicled the glittering banquets at the court of Muhammad bin Tughlaq. According to his accounts, a dish called sambusak — triangular pastry packed with mince, peas, pistachios, almonds and other tasty fillings — was placed on the guests’ plates right after the sherbet had been sipped.

In India, it was introduced by

the Middle Eastern chefs who migrated for employment during the Delhi Sultanate rule, although some accounts also credit merchants for bringing the fare to this part of the world. Later, having earned the blessings and love of the Indian royalty, the samosa soon became a snack fit for the king.

An interesting note here is the breadth of social classes making and eating the samosa, with the dish recorded in both trade routes and noble houses. The samosa proudly wore both the grand stamp of royal approval as well as the honest humility of being a snack of the streets. Herein lies a hint at the dish’s continued, unwavering popularity and success, even hundreds of years into its lifetime – its universality.

Global Takeover

It wasn't until the 19th century that samosas were brought to England by Indian immigrants. They were served at curry houses and tea gardens and became a popular snack in Indian restaurants. It also became a prominent part of American cuisines, as well. The Spanish, who got them from the Arabs, took to them with cheerful readiness, renaming them empanadas and carrying them over to the New World immediately, along with the beef and pork for the stuffing, available in Central and South American restaurants.

The "deliciousness" finally found its way to America.

Indian restaurants are all over the map of America. Yes, we’ve come a long way since 1921 when the first Indian restaurant opened in New York on 42nd Street, the Taj Mahal Restaurant serving ‘Hindu’ and Persian food. Indian food is getting a stronger profile from the generations. Indians are so much a part of the culture now that awareness of Indian food – in whatever variations – is coming to the forefront. And that is what we are trying to do at Seattle Samosa – Our dedicated team of enthusiastic samosa lovers has curated a menu of our most favorite Authentic Indian flavors. Offering options for your hasty-tasty snacking with Authentic, Fresh & Pure Samosas. This is our own take on American convenience food that you can eat at work or home. After all, who doesn't like some quick snacking?

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