How to make Vegetable Samosas
Food is a source of cultural identity. Other than providing nutritional support, food is associated with various attachments used to identify cultures and traditions. As such, different regions across the globe have specific foods associated with that area. This essay will explain how samosa, a pastry snack common in Central Asia, is made. As the world slowly turns into a global village, people can use food to taste the different cultures around the world. Foods worldwide taste differently due to different cultures; hence food represents different traditions and cultures.
Culture significantly influences food-related beliefs, tastes, and preferences. Samosas are spice-filled pastries used as snacks and appetizers in Central Asia. Depending on religious beliefs in a region, the filling used in this pastry can either be vegetarian or non-vegetarian. Vegetarian samosas are common in regions such as India. This is because the Hindu belief opposes the use of meat sourced from cows (Harris et al. 51-66). Hindus believe that cows are sacred animals that should be treated like family.
The first step of making a vegetarian samosa is making the pastry dough. The dough is made by sieving two cups of all-purpose flour, one teaspoon of salt, and one teaspoon of sugar. Once these ingredients are well mixed, one cup of water and three tablespoons of vegetable oil are added to the mixture. The dry and wet ingredients are mixed by hand until they are well combined. Next, the dough is kneaded for five minutes until it is shiny and smooth, then it is enclosed in a plastic wrap and left to rest for thirty minutes. One should be extremely cautious of the amount of ingredients used as it can result in an undesirable dough mixture that is either soggy or extremely hard.
The second step involves making the vegetable filling used in the samosa. First, cumin seeds are toasted in a hot pan with one tablespoon of vegetable oil. The cumin seeds are toasted until they release their aroma and start to crack. Once the cumin seeds crackle, a ginger garlic paste is added to the pan. The mixture is sautéed until it turns golden brown. Lastly, cooked vegetables such as mashed potatoes and peas are added to the mixture. To enhance the flavor of the filling, additional spices such as turmeric, chili peppers, garam masala, and salt are added. When adding these spices, one should carefully measure and use half a teaspoon of each spice. It will ensure that the taste of the filling does not overpower the entire dish. Once this mixture is well cooked, the filling is removed from heat and set aside to cool.
The last step of making samosas involves assembling all ingredients. First, the rested dough is cut into small pieces. With the amount of ingredients used, one should easily end up with eight equal dough pieces. Using a rolling pin, each small dough piece is then pressed into flat circular pieces. The flat pieces are then cut into halves and individually folded by overlapping the edges together. The folded pieces take up a hollow triangular shape. 2 tablespoons of the now cooled vegetable filling are added to the hollow part of each piece, and the edge is sealed by pressing one’s fingers to the edges of the samosa. One should air fry the samosa for a healthier alternative instead of deep-frying the pastries. The samosas are air-fried for four minutes at three hundred- and fifty degrees Fahrenheit. Once cooked, these crispy, savory treats can be served with a cup of tea. I frequently make samosas due to their great taste and the sense of travel they provide. By making samosas, I get a sense of traveling to India, thus I get a taste of the region without leaving the comfort of my home.
The taste of food is dependent on people’s culture. As such, food can represent the traditions and cultures of different places. The ingredients used in the vegetarian samosa highlighted above indicate the food elements that are commonly used in Hindu culture. Based on this savory snack, one can tell that the people of this culture are mainly vegetarians. Also, the people of this culture heavily rely on different spices to enhance the flavor of their foods. Truly, food is an indicator of people’s culture.
Harris, Marvin, et al. “The cultural ecology of India’s sacred cattle [and comments and replies].” Current Anthropology 7.1, 1966, pp. 51-66.