It is world samosa day on September 5. Frankly, for foodies, there could be no stronger legitimate excuse to serenade the sartorial snack, which enjoys a cult status in the pantheon of street foods, and dig into its perfectly done layers to reach the stuffing in the centre!
The world of gastronomy has such amazing creations and to think we could have a day dedicated in honour of a savoury snack does sound a bit Quixotic. However, as an Indian, I can understand why it needs to be treated with such deference.
A snack for all times
Back home, the samosa has always been an intrinsic part of everyday suburban life. It is the source of happiness for every student bunking classes at school or college, a staple in the amorous dates of teenagers savouring the flavours of forbidden love in clandestine dates. It has also been the fuel for inspiration of umpteen poets, many of who survived days on end on a steady diet of samosa chai while furiously putting pen to paper to create immortal poetry … The long and short of this entire matter can be summed up in one single line — It is difficult to imagine life without a samosa.
History says the ancient Mughals brought this delectable snack to India but if one digs deeper it appears that the entire Central Asian region had its version of the samosa.
History of the great street snack
The perfection begins with its name. Inspired by the Egyptian pyramids the triangular pastry was called samsa, after the pyramids. Over the years as travellers recreated the recipe with a twist in ingredients, in different regions, the name underwent delightful corruptions — sanobusak, sambusek and so on. Finally, in the South East region, particularly, the Indians clinched its nom de plume to Samosa, perfecting the art of sophisticated gastronomic plagiarism. That is the name by which, the snack has earned its ubiquitous honour around the globe.
There is no doubt that the creator of this delectable pastry snack must be part chef — part architect part romantic foodie. The layers of pastry come together perfectly in a triangle, holding the spicy medley of potato, peas and cilantro in a protective pouch that, when fried, makes it crisp on the outside even as the heart remains soft and aromatic. The creator must be someone who had a knack for perfect aesthetics.
It is still the same
Depending on the region, samosas may take different forms, including triangular, half-moon or cone shape.
The samosa, be it the dainty finger food variety served air fried at la di da kitty parties or hoity-toity afternoon high teas, or the larger robust deep friend version eaten by the masses, it just satisfies the taste buds like no other snack. The experimenters have over the years, coupled it the pav bread, the chickpea curry or the puris. Giving due credit to these imaginative food lovers, one must concede that every single combo has been a winner. Perhaps it is unique adaptability of the snack, with its size, the manner in which it affably gets paired with other snacks and yet wins hands down, that is secret of the worldwide following of the samosa.
Indeed, if you are a samosa fan like me, you would want to pay your tribute to the ingenuity of perfect creation by simply biting into one and celebrating its timeless existence. The UAE has its own special hotspots, where Samosa aficionados go to tuck into the snack. So from all of us here, go buy yourself a samosa on the world samosa day!