The global history of stuffed triangular pastry
December 29, 2018 6:53 AM   Subscribe

Long promised, here we will take a walk through the humble samosa's global journey of belonging to everyone, everywhere. FPPs are too brief to list every culture who believes it to be their very own, so I'll simply fill this up with links to stories and recipes for you dive deep into yourself.
posted by infini (28 comments total) 72 users marked this as a favorite
 
Amazing! And appreciated. Thanks, infini!
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:00 AM on December 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


Oh MAN, when I lived in tiny, landlocked Malawi I always looked forward to trips into town specifically for the samosas (which presumably made their way to the country via colonialism, as Indian families had settled there generations ago under British rule, forming most of the merchant class). There were samosa vendors everywhere, in just about every village on market day, but there was one particular vendor in Zomba town that sold samosas filled with diced tomatoes and hot peppers for 10 kwacha apiece (about 7 cents at the time). They were greasy and crispy and amazing.
posted by duffell at 7:17 AM on December 29, 2018 [7 favorites]


Having not read the original post (on Bao-Taco relationships) I clicked on the 'journey' link first and had a galaxy brain realisation that samosas are kin to cornish pasties. Handy sized travel food, available in sweet & savoury, batch made.
posted by AFII at 7:47 AM on December 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


Yum!
posted by Dip Flash at 7:52 AM on December 29, 2018


Yes, depends on how far-ranging you're willing to go, but pasties, dumplings, pierogies, etc. Who doesn't have such a thing?
posted by rikschell at 7:54 AM on December 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


This post is extra yum for South Asians who always wondered why African restaurants had the gall to put sambusas on their menus but never got around to looking it up.

(It's me, I'm talking about me, I'm the South Asian)
posted by a car full of lions at 7:54 AM on December 29, 2018 [8 favorites]


Pasties aren't triangular*.

(*you monster)
posted by biffa at 8:13 AM on December 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


I will claim this for me and others born on this day as a delicious, delicious gift, thank you! :)
posted by filthy light thief at 8:29 AM on December 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


pasties, dumplings, pierogies, etc.

At least we can agree they’re all sandwiches.
posted by Segundus at 8:39 AM on December 29, 2018 [12 favorites]


motion to change the sandwich discourse to the samosa discourse
posted by poffin boffin at 8:40 AM on December 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


I am so pleased to learn which available-in-the-grocery-store wrappers I can use to make these.
posted by crush at 8:50 AM on December 29, 2018


Oh wait, how could I forget A Syrian Treat for Shavuot

/ I just melt with all this crossing cultures goodness
posted by infini at 9:36 AM on December 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


pasties, dumplings, pierogies, etc.

At least we can agree they’re all sandwiches.


Mods, can you temporarily reinstate the img tag so I can post that Cary Grant "get out" gif from His Girl Friday, please and thank you
posted by duffell at 9:57 AM on December 29, 2018


At least we can agree they’re all sandwiches.

True sandwich anarchy!

My partner is Ethiopian and sometimes I think she's hiding in wait for Desi people to claim that Ethiopia got sambusas from South Asia so she can "gotcha" them with the dish's actual origin.
posted by 1adam12 at 10:02 AM on December 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


Am on mobile, which link has the Somalian ones with the chewy but crispy dough and the meat, scallions and peas in which one, which one?! My multicultural students had a pot-luck FOR THEMSELVES IN ANOTHER CLASS and I dropped by and ate all the Sambusas.
posted by Iteki at 11:08 AM on December 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


I 💓 this post. I've noticed the similarities in other cuisines before (and noted the different spellings on American menus), but I hadn't known that Somalis were in on the fight, too.
I love that people the world 'round love deep fried/baked filled pastry things. Why the heck wouldn't they?! I love every version of them, with all my heart. I didn't read every link, but I've heard that back in the day, deep-frying in oil was a delicious way to ensure foood safety (by cooking at high temperatures).
posted by honey badger at 11:21 AM on December 29, 2018


Iteki
posted by infini at 11:25 AM on December 29, 2018


It reminds me of the time in school that we had a potluck, and the Afghani-American student brought in what looked to be Chinese boiled dumplings, but served with mint & yogurt sauce. Of course, they were filled with lamb and very different spices than the ones I was accustomed to. They were fantastic.
posted by honey badger at 11:26 AM on December 29, 2018


honey bager: shish barak?
posted by oflinkey at 12:59 PM on December 29, 2018


> I love that people the world 'round love deep fried/baked filled pastry things. Why the heck wouldn't they?!

A starch wrapped around some sort of filling is the best combination of foods possible.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:46 PM on December 29, 2018


oflinkey - No, that looks like a yogurt stew. What the v student brought was a very recognizable plate of dumplings (with thin skins, like Chinese ones) and drizzled mint & yogurt sauces.
posted by honey badger at 3:11 PM on December 29, 2018


Infini: thank you that looks amazing! I am drooling.
posted by Iteki at 1:05 AM on December 30, 2018


Iteki: Reading it through, I discovered why the skin is crispy and soft, they put it on a warm griddle in between the making and the frying.
posted by infini at 3:45 AM on December 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


the Afghani-American student brought in what looked to be Chinese boiled dumplings, but served with mint & yogurt sauce.

Those sound like manti/mantu and they are delicious.

If the meat sauce was on the outside, could be aushak.

Lamb, yogurt and mint, whatta combo.
posted by Concordia at 6:07 AM on December 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


Those sound like manti/mantu and they are delicious.

Served everywhere the Mongols raided, from Korea to Northern India to Central Asia. Way better than Samosas!
posted by Meatbomb at 7:23 AM on December 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


posted by Meatbomb

Eponysterical!
posted by moonmilk at 9:16 AM on December 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


Wow, that suggestion of a Mongol origin is really interesting! Israelis are very much into burekas, and when I looked their origin up it turns out that they're an Ottoman dish that may have originated with the turkic tribes before their migration west. That is to say, they may have come from the same place as these manti/mantu. It is now entirely possible that, like the alphabet, there is a single point of origin for dumplings and pastries.

Far from the assumption that every culture has their own, we may all be beholden to some unsung genius who invented the ur-pastry. Who knows what it was or how it was cooked (baked in ashes? boiled in water? sauteed in mare's milk?) but it was the first, and from there it conquered the world.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:22 PM on December 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


Dumpling Khan, and his heir, Samsa Khan
posted by infini at 1:57 AM on December 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


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