Papa’s Pastry Shop regularly features East Indian samosas.  These delicious fried pastries are a treat anytime of the day.  Filled with peas, potatoes in a mild green curry, these delicate creations are popular in local farmers’ markets and our stores.  The samosa has a long rich history and is currently making history by becoming a controversial issue in Somalia today.

Ancient History

The Samosa has been a popular snack centuries.  It is a pastry shell (often triangular or half-moon shaped), usually filled with spiced onions, potatoes, peas, coriander and sometimes meat and fresh paneer.  It is believed that it originated in Central Asia prior to the 10th century.  There are various historical references to the dish,  including descriptions of meals in the courts of royalty.  The samosas were found to be easy to make around campfires or conveniently packed as snacks for the next day’s journey.   People usually bake their samsas, but some fry or steam them.

The Controversial Samosa in Modern Day

Last week, Stewart MacLean of the British Daily Mail reported that Somalia’s al-Shabaab group has banned samosas after ruling the popular snacks are ‘offensive’ and too Christian.  Militant Islamist fighters last week used vehicles mounted with loudspeakers to announce the bizarre ruling across the regions of the war-torn country it controls.  The extremist group has offered no official explanation for the ban on the triangular snacks, which are commonly cooked up and served across the Horn of Africa.  Deemed ‘offensive’, the samosa is said to upset militant Islamists due to a supposed resemblance to the Christian Holy Trinity.   The reported ban on samosas is the latest in a string of bizarre rulings from the organization, which has been linked to the Afghan Taliban.  The unexpected move means Somalis could now expect to be punished if caught cooking, buying or eating samosas, known locally as sambusas.

Living in the USA

Banning food in the face of starvation is certainly irrational.  It certainly “goes against the grain” of our “buy fresh, buy local” concept. Therefore, until we are subjected to such extreme laws, indulge in fine foods and good health. Eat all the samosas you desire from Papa’s Pastry Shop.  They are available at the Kennett Square Farmer’s Market, as well.  We’ll make more.