Samboosak ma’ Khudra
Throughout the Arab Gulf countries, Samboosak abound—turnovers filled with meat, chicken or vegetable mixtures. The spices used to flavor the filling recall the inspiration for this turnover—the Indian samosa, which came to the Arab Gulf by way of Arab dhows sailing the seas be- tween India and the Arabian Peninsula. Though the dhows are famous for carrying precious cargoes of porcelain, silks, spices and rare foods and goods, there is no doubt, that they carried, with no intention for trade, but for personal consumption, vegetarian Samboosak, which continues to be a favorite today of the inhabitants of the Arab Gulf. They are especially popular during Ramadan and the Iftar. Samboosak take the place of a lunch sandwich in our house and were and still are a great treat for my busy grandchildren running in and out looking for a quick something to eat. Little did they know that these turnovers were packed with nutritious ingredients. What they did know was that they were powerfully delicious! You can bake Samboosak in the oven, instead of frying them, but they will not be as tasty. This basic dough recipe, originating in the Fertile Crescent area, can be used for all types of Fatayar (savory turnovers hailing from Lebanon, Syria and Palestine) and Samboosak, such as cheese, leek, spinach and meat. This type of dough is today found throughout the Arab Gulf countries. A little flakier than ordinary bread, the pies make for a great tasting baked pocket. They freeze well and taste just as good re-heated.
Prep time: 2 hours
Standing time: 2 hours 40 minutes Cooking time: 1 hour
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You Will Need
To make the Dough: Combine the flour, butter, salt and ginger in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the flour mixture. Add the milk and yeast mixture then knead well, adding more warm milk or flour if necessary. When sufficiently kneaded, the Dough will behave like bread dough—it will be pliable, soft and smooth, and it should no longer stick to your hands.
Shape into a ball and then brush the entire outside of the ball with the olive oil. Place the oiled Dough ball in a medium bowl, cover with a tea towel, and set in a warm spot. Allow to rise until the Dough is double in size, about 2 hours.
Form the Dough into 36 balls and place on a floured tray. Cover with a damp cloth and allow to stand in a warm place for 30 minutes.
To make the Filling: Combine all the ingredi- ents for the Filling in a mixing bowl.
Toformtheturnovers:Rolltheballsinto about 3-inch (7.5-cm) rounds. Thoroughly mix the Filling then place a heaping tablespoon
of the Filling in the middle of each round. Fold the Dough over the Filling to form a half-moon shape. Firmly pinch the edges together to securely close the Samboosak—do this a few times to make sure you have a good seal. Re- peat with the remaining rounds, making sure to mix the Filling before making a new Sam- boosak. If after remixing the Filling it seems too watery, drain off a little of the accumulated juice.
Pourabout2inches(5cm)ofoilintoa medium saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Heat the oil to a minimum temperature of 345°F (175°C) and no higher than 375°F (190°C), checking with a deep-frying or candy thermometer. If you do not have a thermom- eter, drop a small piece of bread in the oil. If the bread browns quickly (1 minute or less), the oil is the right temperature. Alternatively you can throw a drop of water in the oil. If the water sizzles upon contact, the oil is ready.
Deep-fry the Samboosak in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan. While deep-frying, between batches, re-check the temperature to make sure it’s still between 345°F and 375°F (175°C and 190°C). (You may need to let the oil re-heat between batches.) Remove with
a slotted spoon or tongs and drain on paper towels. Serve warm.