Dubai: Whether you pick up a handful of the triangular treats at the last minute, or painstakingly make a batch at home, samosas are a big part of iftar spreads in the UAE.
I say samosa, you say sambousek …
From the Arabian Gulf, to the Levant region all the way to the Indian subcontinent, samosas can take many forms and names.
As reported by Gulf News earlier, food historians have found that this triangular pastry snack has its origins in the Middle East. Originally called samsa, after the pyramids in Central Asia, the fried triangle found many names as it travelled from Egypt to Libya and eventually from Central Asia to India. Arab cook books from the 10th to 13th century share the recipe of the snack under the names sanbusak, sanbusaq, and sanbusaj, all of which derive from the Iranian word sanbosag.
The basic commonalities, however, are the fact that you will have a triangular outer dough casing with a filling inside. And more often than not, this snack is fried.
The pastry can be thin and crispy, similar to filo, or thicker and bready texture. The filling can also be of various kinds: vegetarian, typically made using potatoes and peas, cheese or mixed vegetables; or non-vegetarian, usually made using minced chicken, meat or even egg.
How to make your samosa healthy
If iftar spreads are incomplete without a plate of samosas, you can make sure that you cut down on calories by following these simple tips that were shared by the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) on April 3. In the post, the Ministry said: “Make sure the samosas you serve are low in fat and high in fibre, as they are an essential part of every table.”
According to MOHAP, for low fat samosas, you should:
1. Bake or grill instead of frying.
2. Opt for vegetable fillings instead of cheese.
3. Look for healthy alternatives to dough, such as brown samosas that are low in fat and free of oils.
4. Eat in moderation
If you are feeling inspired to make your own samosas at home, check out our step-by-step video guide on how to make the perfect Indian samosa at home. The best part? It’s vegetarian.