The Samoosa. The staple diet of most South African muslims of subcontinental heritage at iftaar time. Mince, either mutton or chicken, mixed with other ingredients fried in a triangle shaped dough. The concept is simple.
But most don't understand the complexity surrounding the history of this delicacy. Outside of Ramadaan, it is used as "Padkos"(travelling snacks), an ice breaker for potential couples and even a backup meal for when the Master Chef is feeling under the weather. But where did it all start?
Legend has it that a Japanese Ninja prince sought the hand of an Indian princess. When his proposal was rejected, he sought forgiveness from the Indian King in person for his outlandish proposal. When in his Royal Courtyard, the rejected prince threw a ninja star at the king,but instinctively the princess dived in front of her father to block the triangular shaped weapon from taking his life. A little blood seeped out from her wound but Gharara's are made of some strong material and the intricate beadwork save her. She survived but since then triangular delicacies were handed out to guests to remind them of the love of a daughter, the red chutney to dip into, a fine reminder of her courageous act. Green chutney represents the japanase prince's envy.
It must be pointed out that the above is MY version of events, nowhere near the actual truth. Research suggests that it actually started in Persia, was called a sambosak and earliest recorded mention of it was was the 10th Century. Sheikh Abolfazl Bayhaqi, a Persian sunni scholar, has it described in his book Tarikh-e Beyhaghi. Samoosas only came to the subcontinent in the 13th or 14th century via traders from Central Asia. Yeah sorry about that guys and girls, Indians did not invent it. Also the "sambosak" in Syria is Moon shaped. So there goes subcontinental claims to "Moons" too. The ajeebest( strangest) part of it all is the fact that the Samoosa was a treat served by royalty only for important, high profile guests. Nowadays, anyone can have a royal time in their homes.
On Radio Islam, a listener informed me that their family makes, packs and destroys(eats) 100 dozen a day. As the poet once said : YOH! The shape has stood the test of time, but the variations continue to inspire. Some common styles include Potato, fully vegetable, cheese one's are common too. Then there's the "hitech" samoosa which contains 1gb of free wifi. Kidding. If it did, it probably would have been invented in India. Nutella samoosas are a growing favorite, and a new variant which has not yet been fully accepted into the samoosa family known as "air fried" is being swallowed whole by health freaks across the world. I kid again. Whatever the flavour, I'm sure the edible ninja star will be around for some time yet.