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Sambusas |

You've had Indian sambosa, but have you ever had Ethiopian sambusa? If not, get making! They are crispy and squishy and very flavourful. This recipe is from Great British Chefs.

Prep time: ...

Cooking time: ...

Makes: 12


Niter kibbeh:

125g unsalted butter

1/2 shallot

1 garlic cloves

1/2 knob of ginger

1 small cinnamon stick

2 black cardamom pods

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds

1/2 tsp coriander seeds

1/2 tsp black peppercorns

1 small bay leaf


75g brown lentils

1 small onion

1/2 tbsp berbere

1/2 tsp ginger paste

1 garlic clove

150ml vegetable stock


125g plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

1. A nifty kibbeh

Start off your sambusa by making some niter kibbeh - no this isn't a Dune torture device, it's a delicious buttery concotion that can make anything flavourful. Dice your ingredients: 1/2 shallot, a garlic clove and a half thumb-sized piece of ginger.

When your veg is looking nice and minced, and them to a saucepan along with 125g butter, 1 small cinnamon stick, 2 black cardamom pods, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds, 1/2 tsp coriander seeds, 1/2 tsp black peppercorns and1 small bay leaf.

Cook the fancy butter for 20 minutes over a very low heat, it will turn a lovely nutty brown (or buerre noisette as the French say). Once this happens take the butter off the heat and strain it through some muslin or a coffee filter to get rid of the aromatics.

2. Filling in the cracks

Once the niter is kibbehed, start on the filling. Dice one small onion and one garlic clove, and heat 1tbsp of niter kibbeh in a large pan. Once hot, add the onion and 1/2tbsp berbere. Next, add the minced garlic clove and 1/2 tsp of ginger paste for one minute.

Meanwhile, rinse 150g of tinned brown lentils until the water is no longer foamy (this will avoid farts later down the line). Add the lentils and 150ml of vegetable stock to the pan. Leave to cook for 50 minutes, check for salt at the end and then set aside to cool.

3. Dough, re, me, sambusa

While the lentils simmer, make the dough. Tip everything: 125g plain flour and 1/2tsp salt and 50ml of water along with 1tbsp of niter kibbeh into a large bowl.

Mix with a fork until a rough dough is formed, then knead for 5 minutes. When nice and smooth like a fresh injera, coat a bowl lightly in vegetable oil and pop the dough in, cover with a damp tea towel and leave for 30 minutes.

When all the timers have stopped ticking, assemble. Weigh the dough balls into 30g segments, cover any that you aren't using with a damp tea towel.

Roll one bowl into a 2mm thick circle and then cut in half. Add 1tsp of filling slap bang in the centre of each semi circle

To create the iconic sambusa triangle: bring the bottom part of pastry up and over the filling and then fold the top corner down to create a triangle that would make any ancient Egyptian quiver with jealousy. Pinch the edges of the dough together, using water to stick the dough down if necessary.

Keep repeating until all of the dough is used.

4. Whale oil make some sambusas

Heat a large pan full enough to deep fry with vegetable oil. Heat to 180c, or until a snippet of dough tossed in bubbles. Add the sambusa in batches, not overcrowding the pan, and cook until golden and cripsy. Leave to cool slightly and then...

Dink and sink!

Food for Thought

Lizzy says: "I tried sambusa at a market recently and was obsessed. I loved the texture and the flavour was so complex even though it was only lentils and dough! This gaspy recreation lived up to the market sambusa exactly, although I never expected them to be this much work. I thought the recipe was very simple, but golly did it take some time! I would maybe make these again, but I would do a big old batch to fridge and freeze for later. 9/10"

Kate says: "I quite often make a daal using tinned lentils from (guess who) Jessica Elliott Dennison,which I serve with naan and for me this tasted exactly like that curry wrapped in a naan. I think that the butter mixture had some great flavour but it was kindof lost once it was in its pastry wrapping - making it not worth the effort. Maybe I would try this again with some different lentils to see if that changed my opinion but probably I will just take myself to an Ethiopian restaurant to try the real thing! 5/10"

7/10 Gasps


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