When I first heard the word Sambusa, it really brought a big smile on my face.
I almost felt like it has something to do with a villain from one of Bollywood’s blockbusters.
But thankfully, the word has a different meaning to it.
Also, it’s quite related to India’s most favorite snack, Samosa!
So, in this guide, let’s try and understand some of the similarities and differences between these two snacks.
What Is Sambusa?
Sambusa, as the name suggests, is a Somalian and Ethiopian version of Samosa.
It’s a traditional snack in this region and is generally prepared during the holy month of Ramadan.
Like Samosas, they are also served as a snack for parties, weddings, and events.
As for the preparation, Sambusa is pretty much similar to the Indian Samosa.
But its stuffing ingredients are quite different from traditional Samosas.
Also, it is always prepared using readymade Spring Roll sheets instead of homemade dough sheets.
Well, there are quite a few other differences as well, and we’ll look at them in the following comparison section.
For now, let’s learn a little more about the Samosa.
What Is Samosa?
Samosa is one of the hot-selling snacks in India.
It is a traditional snack that gets served during various functions and events.
It is also enjoyed as a tea-time snack in many Indian households.
Regarding its history in India, the Samosa seems to have traveled from Middle Eastern countries.
However, it only became popular in recent centuries.
As far as the preparation goes, the traditional ones are prepared with vegetarian potato-based fillings.
And the outer cover is made using Maida dough.
Similarities Between Sambusa and Samosa
Before we look at the differences, let’s take a quick look at some of the similarities between these two delicious snack items.
|Color||Golden Brown||Golden Brown|
|Potatoes, Green Peas||Required (for vegetarian version)||Required|
|Common Spices||Cumin Seeds, Coriander Seeds||Cumin Seeds, Coriander Seeds|
|Can Be Baked||Yes||Yes|
|Storage||Refrigerate or Freeze||Refrigerate or Freeze|
Now, let’s look at some of these similarities in detail.
Since Sambusa and Samosa are quite related to each other, you will realize their shapes are also similar.
Traditionally, both these snacks are prepared in a triangular shape.
It is pretty much a hallmark sign for any Samosa variety in the world.
And it is the one thing that has remained the same throughout the centuries of food innovations.
You will come across many exotic fillings and stuffings mixture, but the shape will always be triangular.
Hence, it’s a significant factor when we talk about these two snacks from different parts of the world.
2. All-Purpose Flour
The wrapping sheet used for Sambusa contains all-purpose flour.
And for Samosa, we use the same flour to prepare slightly thicker sheets.
The all-purpose flour or maida is an excellent ingredient in binding the dough together.
It offers great texture and elasticity, which are essential in holding the triangular shape in place.
It also secures the filling mixture well.
Another good thing about it is it brings the quintessential crunchy texture to the Samosas.
It’d be difficult to achieve the same texture with other flours.
Potato is not as old as some of the other vegetables in Indian culture.
As we all know, the Portuguese brought them to this part of the world during the colonization era.
But if you look at the snacks made in India today, it has gained humongous popularity among food lovers.
And obviously, it has also resulted in the adoption of potatoes for Samosa filling.
If you go anywhere in the world and ask for a vegetable Samosa, you will find the presence of potatoes in its stuffing mixture.
And that’s quite remarkable in its own way!
Talking about the Samosa and Sambusa similarities, the vegetable variations of these two snacks do contain potatoes along with other veggies and spices in the stuffing.
So, it plays a huge role in uniting these two snacks, especially when we consider the modern history of Samosas.
4. Frying Technique
With the advancement in technology, we have come up with baked Samosas and many such varieties.
However, if you ask a true Samosa lover, you will know the modern sophisticated variation doesn’t taste as good as the traditional one.
So, what’s the missing point here?
Well, it is the preparation technique.
Generally, the Samosas are deep-fried into hot oil or ghee.
And that’s one of the reasons why the deep-fried snacks taste better than the baked ones!
When we look at the Sambusa and Samosa, both these snacks require the deep-frying technique.
It’s the traditional way of making these two snacks.
In case you don’t know, the deep-frying method of cooking also helps in many ways in the kitchen.
Firstly, it kills harmful germs or bacteria that may be present in such snacks.
Apart from that, it also increases the storage life of these snacks.
Note – If you are using a wet stuffing for Samosas, it can only remain fresh for a few hours despite using the deep-frying method.
For dry-stuffing, though, the snacks can be stored in an airtight container for a month or so.
Alright now, let’s have a look at the differences below.
Differences Between Sambusa and Samosa
|Other Names||Not Available||Punjabi Samosa, Patti Samosa, Keema Samosa (Depends on varieties)|
|Size||Small-Medium; Flat||All sizes; Depends on varieties|
|Texture||Soft and Crunchy||Moderately Hard and Crunchy (Depends on varieties)|
|Popular Variety||Meat-stuffed Sambusas||Potato-stuffed Samosas|
|Cover||Readymade Sheets||Dough Sheets or Readymade Sheets (Pattis)|
|Other Spices||Black Pepper Powder, Cardamom Powder||Fennel Seeds, Amchoor Powder, Garam Masala Powder (optional)|
|Fried In||Oil||Oil or Ghee|
|Storage Life||1 Day||2-3 Days|
|Accompaniments||Ketchup||Mint Chutney, Coriander Chutney, Tamarind Chutney, Ketchup|
|Dry Varieties||Not Available||Available|
Now, let’s discuss some of these differences for better understanding.
1. Stuffing Mixture
The first bite of Samosa or Sambusa gives you an instant idea of the typical variety of snacks.
And it comes from the taste of stuffing mixture.
More importantly, it changes from one street to another.
You won’t notice the same taste despite seeing the same ingredients being used in Samosa’s fillings.
So, when you compare the Samosas with Sambusas, you do come across different tastes.
As for the stuffing mixture, the ingredient choices are also quite different in both these cultures.
In India, you will mostly find vegetarian varieties of Samosas, which have a spicy mixture of Aloo, Green Peas, and spices.
On the contrary, if you look at the Somalian or Ethiopian version of Sambusas, you will notice the use of different types of meats in their stuffings.
They do have the potatoes and dal-based Sambusas, but the meat-based Sambusas get more preference due to the cultural food habits.
Similarly, you will also find meat-based Samosas (Kheema Samosas) in India, but the demand for this variety is far less than the vegetable ones.
Of course, the second most notable difference in this comparison is the spices.
In India, we generally use a combination of powdered and whole spices for the Samosa preparation.
However, the Sambusas do not require a lot of spices for their stuffings.
They only need some Cumin and Coriander seeds or powder.
You can also use some Black Pepper powder and Garam Masala powder for this snack.
In Indian Samosas, Ajwain (Carrom Seeds) is a must-have spice for the preparation.
But the same is not the case with Sambusas.
Another differentiating ingredient is Amchoor Powder or Raw Mango Powder.
We use it as a natural ingredient to bring sourness to the stuffing mixture of Samosas.
On the other hand, the Sambusa often contains fresh lemon juice or vinegar as a souring ingredient.
Having said that, sometimes, we do use lemon juice as an alternative to Amchoor Powder.
And it tastes equally well.
Still, the Halwais and snack sellers prefer raw mango powder to reduce the water content in their masala mixture.
In India, the Samosas are usually served with traditional chutneys like Imli ki Chutney and Coriander Chutney.
And Somalian Sambusas come with various dips and ketchup.
So, that’s a crucial difference between the accompaniments of these two snack varieties.
But there is no obligation to use any specific type of dip or chutney with these snacks.
You can enjoy them however you want.
Now, let’s check out the FAQs below to find answers to some of the frequently asked questions by readers.
It is quite evident that the Samosas originated somewhere in the Middleeast region.
And it came to India in the 16th century when the Turkic invaders landed in this part of the world.
The word Samosa comes from its historical references.
In the past, it used to be called as Sanbusak or Sanbusah.
And that’s how it got its name, which became popular during the Mughal Empire era.
Yes, you can say so!
If you talk about the samosas from the streets of India, the vendors often prepare them in the spoiled and burnt oil.
Also, even if you make them at home, it becomes a tricky job to make them light and not-so-junky food.
You can certainly bake them in the oven, but it doesn’t get the taste of a crispy and deep-fried snack.
Hence, it’d be fair to say that Samosas are junk food.
You can serve no. of accompaniments with this snack.
Traditionally, we serve them with chaat chutneys, i.e., Tamarind Chutney and Coriander Chutney or Mint Chutney.
You can also offer some fried Green Chilies with it.
Apart from that, it also goes well with Ketchup and Schezwan Sauce.
And if you want to transform it into a chaat dish, you can serve it with the Indian chickpea curry (Chana Masala), sweetened Yogurt, and Chaat Chutneys.
You can also put it in the Pav (Bun) with dry Coconut-Garlic Chutney to enjoy it like a traditional Vada Pav.
Unfortunately, there is very little you can do to keep them crisp and fresh for a long time.
The one thing I have learned from the Samosa sellers is they never fry all of their Samosas at once.
They make them in batches, which helps in serving crisp Samosas each time.
So, you may do the same thing if you want to serve them at a house party.
Another thing you can do is to store them in a bowl instead of an airtight container.
This way, the hot Samosas will release the steam in the air instead of the enclosed space.
And that’s the best way to keep your samosa crisp for a long time!
Over To You
Well, it’s so fascinating to see that both Sambusa and Samosa are so closely related to each other.
Even though there is a little bit of difference between their preparation styles, it gives you a sense of the journey of food from one continent to another in the previous era.
Have you come across any such snacks or dishes that have traveled across the continents?
Do let me know about it in the comments section below.
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