The Pedigree of Samosa

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September 13, 2016

The Pedigree of Samosa


In one of our recent publications at the Uzbekistan Today portal we spoke about Jizzakh samosa. This story has a rather interesting continuation…

We wondered the about the origin of the recipe of the Jizzakh samosa. The search for an answer to this question has not been particularly successful. Masters on cooking this dish were confined themselves to parables and legends.

“There is a legend according to which in the distant past the masters of cooking samosa organized a competition: who will prepare the biggest samosa”. They began to add size to it, which eventually brought it up to a gigantic dimension until it established itself and was generally recognized and accepted. The larger samosa would be difficult to bake in the tandyr: it would not stick to the wall of vertical tandyr for forty minutes and would collapse under its own weight,” says Bakhodir Ibrokhimov, experienced master of the Qipchak café.

The master of no lesser popular café located near the Jizzakh Polytechnic Institute, Mansour Turakulov said that there was another version the legend, which he shared with us, “Jizzakh has always stood on the crossroad connecting the west and south of the country with the north and east, and in the old days here always stopped travelers to have some rest and refreshment. At times there were so many people that local chefs did their best to feed their guests to their fill. And because the process of cooking this generally favorite dish was very laborious and time consuming, they had chosen its enlarged size. You can hardly find a person who would be able to eat two samosas at a time, one is more than enough.”

Following the publication on the site, we placed the article on our page and in the Facebook groups, and then we had a rainfall of responses and comments from our readers.

One of our readers left a memorable comment, “I have never been in Jizzakh, but look at this samosa made in Oltiariq district of Fergana region. Photo is attached.” Had the comment not said that it was an Oltiariq samosa, I would have thought that it was a Jizzakh samosa. The previous article had explored the historical aspect of the recipe when the parties confined themselves to legends and assumptions, while here they shed some light on more specific information. Correspondence ensued…

My interlocutress introduced herself as an employee of one of the travel agencies operating in the Fergana Valley. She had told me that the Oltiariq samosa is included into the menu of the tourist breakfast on the route to ancient Qoqon. And she also explained that this kind of Oltiariq samosa is baked at households, and that there are many hereditary masters here.

Well, maybe then the roots of the currently popular Jizzakh samosa lie in Oltiariq? This is not an unreasonable assumption. The fact is that there are lots of immigrants from different regions of the country who resettled to the Jizzakh region. There must have definitely been residents from the densely populated Oltiariq district among them. And the name “Jizzakh samosa” became popular because unlike Jizzakh, Oltiariq was located away from the routes connecting the capital city with other regions of the country.

These facts undoubtedly deserve greater attention to be paid by tourist operators and that they should start to develop full-fledged gastronomic tours, offering breakfasts, lunches and dinners not only at the restaurants of national cuisine, but full-themed gastronomic tours, the main topic of which would become the study of the Uzbek culinary preferences in different regions of the country. I think that such touristic products will have numerous fans not only among foreign tourists but also among citizens of our own country.

Take samosa, for instance. Tours can be arranged along the places where it is baked according to a single recipe, as is the case in our example. After all, we also have the Alat samosa with vegetables, the Bukhara samosa with broth and their other varieties. Or what about arranging a tour fully devoted to baking samosa in all its diversity with conducting master classes. There are so many options: just switch on your fantasy…

You can arrange a tour of the places wh ere it is prepared for a single recipe, as in our example. After all, we still have a kind of Alat and samosa with vegetables, broth Bukhara and its other varieties. And you can do the whole tour to devote cooking samsa diversity to conduct master classes. There are many solutions, it is necessary to include fantasy.