You say Samosa I say Samboosek

There are a few recipes that are a must on the Ramadan iftar table. Atayef, amar deen , lentil soup and samboosek. When I was a kid, I loved helping mum make samboosek. Trying to get that perfect scalloped edge or that perfect little triangle. Now my kids are my sous chefs when we make samosas at home. Sure we get some “interesting” samboosek that hardly resembles a half moon or a triangle and somehow they manage to coat themselves with flour every single time. Still, the  laughs and giggles out number the messes and disasters and that makes it worth it every time.
Samosas @ chef in disguise
Samboosek or samosas are Southeast Asian snacks  with a savory and often times spicy filling in a pastry shell. The filling can be strictly vegetarian, a mixture of vegetables and meat or an all meat filling.  I love the contrast between the crispy buttery pastry that crackles as you bite into it and the blast of flavor from the filling. They are easy to make, great for entertaining , they make for a wonderful portable meal and there is a world of choices for the filling which makes it easy to please everyone.
Samosas made from scratch
If it was up to me, my iftar would be a couple of samosas, a bowl of salad, preferably fattoush and some watermelon pomegranate dream. No cooking required 🙂
Today I am sharing two ways to making samosas. Samboosek (samosas) made with store bought dough that is very similar to phyllo dough (you can totally use phyllo to replace this special dough). The second recipe is for samosas made from scratch. Granted it takes a little more time to make but it is totally worth it. This dough results in samboosek  crust that is buttery and crisp. If you plan ahead, you can make a big batch and freeze them and then all you have to do is take them out and bake or fry them and your snack is ready to serve.
Samboosek

Samboosek (samosas)

Dough recipe
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 100 grams butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup cold milk
  • 1 egg
  •  1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder

Filling:

Meat filling

  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 250 g ground beef
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom (optional)
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying

Cheese filling

  • 2 cups of nabulsi cheese soaked the night before to reduce the salt and then drained for at least 1 hour(see notes for other cheese options)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or mint
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds (optional)

Instructions

  • To prepare the pastry:

Place all ingredients except milk into a food processor and whizz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add the milk slowly, while the processor is running until the dough comes together and forms a ball.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, until it’s quite smooth

Wrap in cling film and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (you can do this the night before and leave the dough to rest over night in the fridge).

  • To make the filling:

For the meat filling

Heat the oil
Saute the onions until translucent.
Add the ground meat, spices and salt.
Cook on medium heat breaking up the meat and stirring until the meat is browned
For the cheese filling
 Grate or crumble the cheese
mix it with the rest of the ingredients
cheese filling
  • To assemble the samboosek (samosas):

Roll dough out on a lightly-floured surface to 3mm- 5 mm thickness.

Using a cookie cutter, or any round cutter you have, cut out circles of about 8-10cm diameter.
Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each circle and fold the circle in half.
Seal by pressing the edges together.
samboosek forming dough
Pinch the edges to form a scalloped pattern. You do that by folding the edge, pinching with your finger tip and then folding again.
step 2
step 3
  • Bake or fry
I personally bake my samboosek in a 220 C oven until the bottoms are golden and then place them under the broiler to brown the tops.
You can also fry the samosas, to do so.Heat the oil and deep fry the sambousek until golden.
Serve warm.

To make samosas using store bought dough.

Samosas @ chef in disguise

Store bought samosas dough comes in thin sheets stacked on top of each other and tightly packaged.

samboosek dough

You can also use phyllo dough but since phyllo is thinner you will need to use 2-3 layers instead of one

One thing you must remember when working with phyllo or samoboosek store bought dough. They dry out really quickly so only work with a few sheets at a time and keep the others wrapped with a clean towel

samboosek dough wrapped

How to fold samosas into triangles:

Place about 1 tablespoon of the filling at the end of each strip.

Follow the picture instructions on how to fold  into triangles.

samboosek steps

To seal the samosas mix 1 tablespoon flour with 2 tablespoons water and brush on the edge of the samosas in step 6 and then make the final fold

finished samosas

What I have found easier is to do steps 1 through 4 in the pictures above without the filling.

samboosek filling technique

The result would be a little pocket that is easier to fill and less messy to handle than folding with the filling from step one

You can deep or shallow fry the samboosek until golden or you can brush them with some oil and bake them in the oven

To freeze samboosek: Arrange your filled samboosek on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months

To use phyllo: 

Prepare the phyllo dough by laying out a layer, brushing it with melted butter and then topping it with another layer.

Repeat that until you get 3 layers of phyllo stacked on top of each other.

Cut the layered phyllo into 3 inch strips

Continue with the steps in the same way as explained above for the store bought samosas dough.

Samosas @ chef in disguise

Notes:

Nabulsi cheese is a firm brined cheese popular in Palestine and Jordan. To replace it you can use any firm salty cheese. Feta, or paneer both work well.

You need to soak the nabulsi cheese because it is very salty but once you reduce its salt content you need to drain it really well because any water that remains in it will cause the pastry to become soggy

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