Updated: Sep 6
Crunchy and Delicious. The snack shared worldwide and made unique by cultures across Asia and Africa.
September 5th is World Samosa Day. A day that's only been celebrated for a few years, yet, the samosa's beginnings take us way back to the Middle East, before the 10th Century. Another 300 years passed before traders introduced the triangular-shaped snack to India with widespread popularity. Today, India is the true home of the samosa to most of us. However, it's actually a long-ingrained dish in the food culture of nations all across Asia and throughout Africa.
The fame of the samosa was not missed in Burma (now known as Myanmar). Sandwiched between India, China, and Thailand, Myanmar is well-known for its ethnic diversity, so it’s no wonder the cuisine there is a culinary melting-pot. And as the news of the dish traveled, its purpose also evolved. Samosas in India are generally enjoyed as an afternoon snack or ‘tiffin’, while Myanmar Samosas, with their tangy tamarind dipping sauce, are ingrained as a breakfast staple in teashops across the country.
From onions, potatoes and peas, to mince, cheese, curry and spice. Samosa fillings vary from one region to another. Samosas in Pakistan are known for their spicy kick. Kenyan samosas are often filled to the brim with fragrant beef mince. While the vegetarian version is preferred in both India and Myanmar.
A roadside breakfast-stop in Myanmar.
Unique to Myanmar is ‘Samusa Thoke’, or Samosa Salad. Served ‘wet’ or ‘dry’ (with or without bean soup), fresh-fried crunchy samosas are chopped into bite-size pieces and mixed with an array of ingredients at hand. Sometimes boiled potato and chickpeas are used, but usually the ingredients are shredded cabbage, tomato and spring onion. What’s for sure is that it’s guaranteed to be topped with mint leaves, a squeeze of lime and chili to taste!
"Making Samosa Thoke" thanks to Myanmar chef, Hnin Yee Thun. See more about
Hnin at Ayathakan.
So, this weekend, let’s celebrate the samosa. The simple triangle shaped snack embraced by the world. Reach for your favorite local take-out menu, or break out the kitchen utensils and try your hand at making your own!
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