Homemade Sambusa Recipe - A Delicious Appetizer from Africa and the Middle East

Sambusa, also known as samosa in some regions, is a popular snack in many Arab countries. This triangular-shaped pastry is typically filled with a variety of ingredients, but in this recipe, we'll be using ground beef as our filling. Sambusas are a staple during Ramadan and other festive occasions, often enjoyed with tea or other beverages. Its popularity has spread beyond Arab countries, with similar versions found in Indian, Pakistani, and East African cuisine, among others. The crispy exterior and flavorful filling make sambusas a favorite snack among many.

Sambusas Around the World

Sambusas are a popular snack food in many countries around the world, particularly in the Middle East, East Africa, and South Asia. They are usually triangular or cone-shaped, and are filled with a variety of ingredients, often featuring a combination of spices and meat. While beef and lamb are popular fillings in many countries, vegetarian fillings such as potatoes, peas, and lentils are also commonly used.

In Somalia, sambusas are often filled with ground beef or lamb, onions, and a variety of spices, including cumin, coriander, and cinnamon. In Yemen, sambusas are known as samosas and are typically filled with spiced ground beef or chicken, as well as potatoes and peas. In India, sambusas are called samosas as well, and can be found with a variety of fillings, including potatoes, peas, chicken, and lamb.

Other countries also have their own take on the sambusa. In Ethiopia, they are known as samosas and are often filled with spiced lentils or ground meat. In Tunisia, sambusas are called brik, and are filled with a mixture of tuna, egg, and harissa. 

How to make and where to buy the perfect sambusa dough

To make the sambusa dough, you'll need a combination of all-purpose flour, water, salt, and oil. The dough is relatively simple to make, and many people prefer to make it from scratch to get the best texture and flavor.

To prepare the dough, combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl, then slowly add in the water and oil until a smooth, elastic dough forms. Knead the dough for a few minutes until it becomes soft and pliable. Once the dough is ready, let it rest for at least 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax.

While making your own dough is preferable, it can be time-consuming and some people may not have the necessary equipment or experience. In this case, you can buy pre-made sambusa dough from specialty stores or online. Some common types of pre-made dough used for sambusas include egg roll wrappers, phyllo dough, and pastry dough. 

How to Fry Sambusas Perfectly?

Frying Sambusas can be a bit tricky, as they can easily become overcooked or undercooked. To get that crispy and golden brown exterior, it's important to use the right technique. In Middle Eastern countries, Sambusas are usually deep-fried in hot oil until they are crispy and golden brown. It's important to make sure the oil is hot enough to avoid soggy or greasy Sambusas. You can test the temperature by dropping a small piece of dough into the oil. If it sizzles and rises to the surface quickly, the oil is ready. Once the Sambusas are fried, remove them from the oil and place them on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.

How to fold the sambusas?

To fold the sambusas, take one of the corners and fold it over diagonally to form a triangle. Spoon the filling onto the center of the triangle, then fold the bottom corner up to meet the top corner, forming a smaller triangle. Continue folding the triangle over itself until you reach the end of the pastry strip, then seal the edges with a mixture of flour and water. In the Middle East, sambusas are typically folded into triangles or cones, with the filling placed inside and the edges crimped to seal in the filling before frying.


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