The samosa is a delectable Indian and Tibetan pastry, quite similar to the Greek spanakopita. Normally the samosa is made in a triangular form with pastry crust or filo dough. The interior may be stuffed with curried potatoes, peas, shredded lamb or chicken, and spices. They are most frequently fried producing a delightfully crispy exterior, though some varieties may be baked to reduce fat content. Often the samosa is eaten with mint sauce or with variants of chutney.
Though the samosa probably originates in India, one may also find these meat or vegetable pies in the Middle East. They are popular in South Africa, the United Kingdom, and are gaining attention in the US. One still typically finds them in the US at Indian or Himalayan themed restaurants.
In Indian restaurants, or in India, one may order the samosa alone, or as part of chaat. Chaat is an appetizer like dish of several different snacks. One might also expect fried green onion cakes and momos, a steamed lamb dumpling, accompanying samosa. Yogurt and chutney typically garnish the side of a chaat dish and are used for dipping.
Though chaat plates seem to have originated in Northern India, they are now popular throughout the country. There are small cafes devoted to serving only chaat, and also one may purchase chaat at roadside stands. At festivals and events, and in heavily frequented areas like railway stations, the smell of chaat stands is certainly enticing.
If one does not have access to a nearby Indian restaurant, or a nearby chaat stand, numerous samosa recipes exist online. Also, many specialty foods and Asian grocery stores carry samosas in the freezer section. These can be taken home and baked or fried, bringing the taste of India straight into one’s home.
Recipes tend to differ on what should fill a samosa, and on what pastry to use. If one is not a great pastry chef, filo dough may provide the easiest choice. As for ingredients, the primary goal is providing lots of flavor, so spice liberally with cumin, coriander and curry to give the ingredients the appropriate Eastern flair.