Sunday, 20 November 2016


Duckers, I have something for you that you will not regret or forget. Sambousek. These little pockets of lamb (or your preferred filling) will leave even the fussiest of eaters smiling. It's no wonder that they're made all over the Middle East. The version that I bring to you today is Lebanese. My tayta, aunties and my mamma have been rolling them out just like this for decades. When you first start, you won't be quite as quick as my aunties, aka the sambousek ninja warriors. Don't be put off. Once you get the hang of it, it will be worth it.

Sambousek with my (in)famous houmous- recipe to come. 

NOTE: When you make sambousek in Lebanese proportions, it's best to have a production line (made up of 20 of your closest cousins of course!) In case cousins aren't available, I have provided measurements for about one tenth of what my family would make in a sitting. 

These do freeze beautifully. If you have the time and freezer space,  I recommend that you stock up.

4 cups plain flour
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 tablespoon salt
Water as required
Extra flour for dusting

1/2 kg coarsely minced lamb 
1/2 onion chopped
1 tsp baharat (Lebanese spice mix found in any good continental grocery store)
1/2 tsp salt
Black pepper (to taste)
Handful pinenuts
Handful roughly chopped almonds (optional non-traditional delicious addition)
1 tsp ghee


1) Combine all of the dough ingredients and knead by hand. When the dough binds, separate it into 2 or 3 balls of dough, dust with flour, and place under a damp tea towel. Allow to rest, however this step isn't entirely necessary, considering that this recipe contains no yeast. It will make the dough easier to roll out.

2) While the dough rests, prepare your filling. I ask my butcher to cut up a few lamb chops by hand, or I do it myself. I find that it adds a bit of extra texture. Other people (including my mamma) prefer mince. Either way, cook off the lamb slowly until most of the juices are absorbed back into the lamb. Add the onion, baharat, salt and black pepper. Cook for a few more minutes then turn off the heat.

3) Toast the nuts in ghee and add them to the mix. If you don't wish to use ghee, butter or oil will do. I figure that if I'm going to deep fry these pretty parcels, I'd better make the artery clogging process count. Ghee for the win!

4) Dust a rolling pin with flour, and roll out one of the balls of dough. I like about 2mm of thickness. Use a mug or a cup to cut out circles of your desired size.

 5) Start shaping! I like to be generous with filling, however there can be some explosions if you get a bit carried away.

Check out the video below for a bit of help with shaping.

If you really don't like the process, just fork it.

Keep on going.

Aaaand going...

6) Fry on medium heat until the sambousek is golden. Turn once.

 7) Drain on paper towel.

8) Serve alone or with your favourite mezza. Houmous recipe coming soon :)

And what about that left over dough you ask? Get creative.

Here are some cheesy pizza bites. I just used some pepperoni, pizza blend cheese and oregano.

And here is a giant Nutella triangle.

 Dust with icing sugar, and serve hot.

Let me know if you come up with any other delicious fillings. Enjoy!