Samosas are a lovely treat, there is hardly a time I had visited an Indian restaurant without ordering some. I am so used having them fried, I was pleasantly surprised when I found the baked beetroot and feta samosas on Chilli and mint. And guess what, these tiny treats are very popular in Greece, especially baked but they are known under a different name: tiropitakia, first comes the name of the filling and then –pitakia for tiny pies. They are so commonplace, from bakery to Sunday lunch, I had almost forgotten about them.
But how come India shares such an intricate and yummy little dish with Greece? After all we are miles and miles away. Curiosity prevailed and looking into it a little deeper I realised samosas are one of the successful time travellers. After all they are tiny and anything tiny travels well. Samosas originated in 10th century Persia. Their first mention is by Abolfazl Beyhaqi (995-1077), an Iranian historian mentioned it in his history, Tarikh-e Beyhaghi. Middle-eastern traders took them all over the place, Samosas found their way to Egypt, central Asia and even West China where people took them to a whole different level (that’s dumplings). Unfortunately though, they disappeared from Iran, somewhere in the 16th century as the Oxford food companion informs us.
Still they are found at the heart of middle-eastern cooking and further afield, known as sanbusaj in Arab countries, sambosa in Afghanistan, samosa in India, samboosa in Tajikistan, samsa by Turkic-speaking nations, sambusa in parts of Iran, and chamuça in Goa, Mozambique and Portugal. That’s one well travelled parcel! More than a millennium of deliciousness and a dozen countries can be counted on the tiny parcels with intricate filling. Somehow the portable goodies found their way in the Greek kitchen and stayed. We do love a pie, and here is the proof. O ur variation of fillings varies widely but tiropitakia is a traditional one. Very simple and truly irresistible.
What you will need
- 500 gr fillo pastry
- 300 gr feta cheese
- 100 gr soft white cheese, I used anthotiro
- 150 gruyere, any melting cheese will do
- 1 bunch of parsley finely chopped
- 1 bunch of dill finely chopped
- 2 medium eggs
- Salt and pepper to taste
It makes approx 50 pieces
What to do:
For the filling
Crumble your feta cheese and grate the gruyere. Add them both in a large bowl with your soft cheese. Crack in two eggs and mix well. Stir in the freshly chopped herbs. Add some pepper but go easy on the salt as feta cheese normally has enough, you could even skip salt for this one. You are ready to wrap!
Cut the fillo pastry in lengths of approx 6 cm. Place a spoonful on each stripe of pastry and roll it up until you run out of pastry.
Preheat the oven on 180 oC. Make sure you brush the little parcels with a bit of olive oil. Place your tray in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden.
Tiropitakia are best enjoyed warm and with company. Many thanks to chilli & mint for the inspiration!
Have fun sharing them!