Saturday, December 5, 2009

Somali Sambusas

I found out about sambusas just a few weeks ago, at Fargo's new International Grocery store. They have home-made sweet breads and other Somali specialties, and were very generous with free samples, so they've earned a fan here :)

Their sambusas - Somalia's samosa, you could say - looked good, but had a beef filling. I was curious to make my own, and found a very nice recipe at My Somali Food. That recipe is also for beef sambusas, but I just substituted cooked lentils and was on my way. Browned onions, garlic, scallions, and green chile, along with generous shots of cardamom, cumin, and coriander, make the lentils something special. Here's my recipe, heavily borrowing from My Somali Food:

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups cooked and drained brown lentils
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1 chopped green chile (I used one serrano pepper)
2 tsp. cumin powder
2 tsp. cardamom powder
2 tsp. coriander powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped

Wrapper dough
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp. olive oil
2/3 cup luke warm water
1/2 tsp. salt

I made the filling and wrapper the night before assembling and frying, just so the filling was cool and the dough had rested. For the filling, saute the onions in oil for about five minutes on medium heat, until they start to soften. Then add the garlic, chopped serrano pepper, and scallions, and saute for a minute or two more. Add all of the spices, and saute another minute, just until they become toasted and fragrant - you'll know :) Add the cooked lentils and fresh cilantro at the end, give it a stir, and remove from heat. Cover and let sit a couple hours or overnight. I lightly processed it all in the food processor at the end, which helps the lentils stick together and makes the filling easier to work with.

Mix the dough ingredients well, and let it rest at least a half hour or overnight as well.

The rest is easy, as long as you're careful while frying. Roll golf ball size pieces of dough out very thin - between 1/4 and 1/8 of an inch, if you can, and cut them in squares. Place a heaping spoonful of lentil filling in the center of each square, like this:

This dough is fairly moist, so you should be able to seal it just by pressing firmly, without fussing with water or a water/dough paste. I pressed the edges together and trimmed them with a scissors, making a neat, sealed triangle.
That's about it! I fried these in a half inch of canola oil in my cast iron pan, about 4 at a time over medium-high heat. A deep fryer is a better option, and they would be nice baked too.

And now for something completely different. From deep-fried and spicy to sweet and mostly raw, this is the cashew-cranberry cheesecake from the Nov/Dec 09 Vegetarian Times. It's straight from the magazine, though I subbed agave nectar for honey...there might be a little maple syrup in there too. I brought these home for Thanksgiving - my mom loved them, which is a good endorsement. The cranberry topping is awesome, and my mom couldn't believe there wasn't cream cheese in the filling.All the cashews make this recipe a little pricey, but it's worth it for company or a holiday.


Sian Lindemann said...

Yum ~ Thanks !!!

Trinity (of haiku tofu) said...

Those sambusas look great. I love how the wrapper dough fries up all bubbly and brown. Also, I pretty much would walk 500 miles for a slice of that cashew cake right about now.

Theresa said...

Yum, we ate sambusas every morning for breakfast while I was in Ethiopia and they were so fantastic. Yours look just like the ones we got from our favourite cafe!

The Voracious Vegan said...

Sambusa has been one of my favorite treats ever since I was a little girl. I prefer them packed with potatoes and green onions...and very, very greasy! These look really fabulous, thanks for the great recipe!

Clotilde M said...

Those sambusas look really yummy!

Anonymous said...

Your recipes look delectable!

Anonymous said...

I WANTS SOME!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Here is another recipe for those interested in making the sambusa in Ramadan season . I hope you enjoy

HM said...

I dont like this sambusa it burned. Check the best Ethiopian sambusa at I'm telling you if you try this you wiill be amazed, it is cranchy, crispy, golden brown check on their website

viagra online pharmacy said...

Thanks for the recipe, I really like baked food filled with something . I will try it out.

Martine said...

This recipe is awesome! I've made these (baked) for many a party with omnis, and they are always a success. Made them again tonight for my colleagues. Hope they'll enjoy them!