Science of Samosa

The Indian samosa is one among the family of stuffed pastries or dumplings popular from Egypt and Zanzibar to Central Asia and West China. Arab cookery books of the 10th and 13th Centuries refer to the pastries as sanbusakc , sanbusaq or sanbusaj. From Egypt to Libya and from Central Asia to India, the stuffed triangle with different names has garnered immense popularity. Originally named samsa, after the pyramids in Central Asia.

Biggest secret to popularity and survival over the centuries is its different varieties of fillings catering to carious tastes across the globe. In Kazakhstan, for example, a somsa is typically baked and has a thicker, crumblier crust. Fillings generally range from minced lamb and onions, meat, and even pumpkin. The Hyderabadi luqmi, on the other hand, is strictly meat-filled and far crustier than the regular samosa consumed elsewhere in India and Pakistan. In our globalized world, the growing popularity of fusion food has witnessed the advent of the pizza samosa, chowmien samosa and the macaroni samosa. Dessert varieties inspired by western cuisine include the apple pie samosa, and the chocolate samosa.

Pizza samosa

“Samosa” is from the Sanskrit word meaning “the solution (to your hunger) is contained within”, so named because all the needed vegetables and spices are contained inside the samosa. 

Samosa stays as peoples favorite, but tops the chart when you list the junk foods. What happens exactly when boiled potatoes, green peas, chick peas, spices (all known for good health cause) stays together in neat conically shaped pastry sheet. Let’s have a close look at the chemical process of making samosa.

Many chemical changes occur while making samosa.

Many chemical changes occur while making samosa. To identify a chemical change we have to note down color change and bubbling.  Also, the change should be such a way that it cannot be reversed. In the process of making a samosa, the frying creates chemical changes. Frying refers to cooking of food in plenty of hot oil so that the item is largely immersed in the oil or floats over it. Since fats reach much higher temperatures than water at normal atmospheric pressure, frying can sear or even carbonise the surface of foods while caramelising sugars.

While deep frying the samosa, heat is transferred from oil to the product, water evaporates and oil is absorbed. Crust formation and browning also take place giving the product an attractive golden appearance and crispy taste. The amount of oil uptake is directly proportional to the amount of moisture lost. The oil uptake and its distribution in the fried product is mainly near the surface i.e. crust. Fried potatoes absorb 15% oil during frying.

To make samosa more acceptable to the health cautious consumers, the oil uptake should be reduced either by use of fat replacers such as fat mimetics, low calorie fats and fat substitutes.

Another approach is to use edible ingredients in the batter to improve coating performance and blending of cereals and legumes.

3 Responses

  1. Anagha Yatin says:

    Never knew the ubiquitous nature of Samosa across the length and breadth of Earth! The meaning of word Samosa was also a a great discovery for me.
    Thanks for enlightening Hena!

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