History of Samosa and its immigration to India

History of Samosa and its immigration to India

History of Samosa and its immigration to India


Samosa is a popular South Asian food. It is a baked or fried pastry, filled with spiced potatoes, onions, peas, different kinds of meats, or lentils. Samosa has different forms, such as triangular, cone, or half-moon shapes. Its shape depends on the region in which it is made. Samosas are often accompanied by chutney. In addition, samosa’s origin is in medieval times or earlier.

Samosas are a popular snack in these regions:

  • South Asia
  • Western Asia
  • Southeast Asia
  • The Mediterranean
  • Africa

Because of cultural diffusion, nowadays, samosas are almost made in all regions. In this article, we will talk about the history of samosa and its immigration to India.


The word samosa is derived from ‘samosa’. Samosa is a Hindi-Urdu word. This word has an origin in the Middle Persian word “sanbosag”. The meaning of sanbosag is “triangular pastry”.

History of Samosa and its immigration to India

In Arabic-speaking countries, similar pastries are referred to as “sambusak”. Medieval Arabic cookbooks often write the name of this food as “sambusaj”. In South Africa, people call this food “samosa”.

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History of Samosa:

The origin

The origin of South Asian samosa is Central Asia and/or the Middle East.

Arab Countries

Recipes of samosa are found in Arabic cookery books written inn the 10th-13th centuries,. In these cookery books, samosa is written as:

  • sanbusak
  • sanbusaq
  • sanbusaj

History of Samosa in Persia

All forms of samosa names are derived from the Persian word “sanbosag”. In Iran, samosa was popular until the 16th century. However, its popularity was decreased in certain provinces by the 20th century.

In addition, Abolfazl Beyhaqi, an Iranian historian, named samoosa in his history book, called Tarikh-e Beyhaghi. In a poem that is written by the Persian poet, Ishaq al-Mawsili in the 9th century, a praise of the precursor of the samosa can be seen.

Immigration to India

The history of samosa and its immigration to India began during the 13th or 14th century. At that time, Central Asian samosa was introduced to India. Samoa is believed to come to India by the traders from Central Asia, or the Middle Eastern chefs migrating for employment during the Delhi Sultanate rule.

Around 1300 CE, Amir Khusro (1253–1325), a scholar and the royal poet of the Delhi Sultanate wrote that the princes and nobles like Indian samosas that are made with meat, ghee, onion, and so forth The medival Moroccan traveller, Ibn Batuta, traveled to India in 14th century. He has written about an Indian dish called sambusak, and described it as a triangular pastry packed with tasty fillings.

Nimatnama-i-Nasiruddin-Shahi is a medieval Indian cookbook. In this cookbook, the art of making Indian samosa is mentioned. The Ain-i-Akbari, who is a 16th-century Mughal document, mentioned the recipe for qottab, and added that the Indian people call it “sanbúsh”.

History of Samosa and its immigration to India

Regional Varieties:


Indian samosas are made with all-purpose flour, locally known as “maida”. Its fillings are often a mixture of:

  • cooked and diced, or mashed boiled potato
  • onions
  • lentils
  • ginger
  • spices
  • green chili

Depending on the fillings, Indian samosas can be either vegetarian or non-vegetarian. The entire pastry needs to be fried. It needs to be served hot. In addition, it can be served often with fresh green chutney, for example, mint, or tamarind. Indian Samosas can be made in a sweet form too.


In Bangladesh, both forms of triangle samosas and triangular pyramid samosas are so popular. The Bengali version of the triangular pyramid samosa is called “shingara” and it is slightly smaller than the standard form.

Shingara is usually made of:

  • pieced potatoes
  • vegetables
  • nuts

In addition, shingaras that are filled with beef liver are so popular in some parts of Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, The triangular-shaped samosa is called a “somosa” or “somucha”, and is often filled with minced meat and onions.


In the eastern part of Nepal, Samosas are called “singadas”. The rest of the country calls this dish samosa. This dish is a popular snack in Nepalese cuisines. Sellers sell samosa in many markets and restaurants.


There are various kinds of Pakistani samosas. The Pakistani samosas, made in the west and north parts of the country, are filled with minced meat and are also less spicy. However, in the southern Sindh province and eastern Punjab, Pakistani samosas are spicier and contain potato-based or vegetable fillings. In addition, in Karachi, Pakistani samosas are popular and famous for their spicy flavor. Meat samosas are a popular snack in Pakistan too.


In the Maldives, samosas that are made in cuisines are known as “bajiyaa”. This kind of samosa is filled with a mixture of fish or tuna and onions.


This was a brief explanation of the history of Samosa and its immigration to India. We talked about the etymology, history, and variations of samosa very briefly.

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