Sambousek Recipe – The Arabic Samosa

There are many ways of spelling this recipe, some call it Sambousek or Sambousak or even Sambosa. The recipe is similar to the Indian Samosa which I was surprised to find out through Wikipedia originated in the Middle East.

Sambousek is a hot Mezze dish that is made of fried stuffed dough, similar to the Indian samosa and the Spanish empanada. It is usually stuffed with either minced lamb or white cheese and the two variations are delicious. But you can try using any filling you like. Once you stuff the dough, you can freeze the Sambousek until you need to use them. This makes them perfect for entertainment.

The dough recipe is simple to make and doesn’t have any yeast, but yet needs a resting time. While forming the Sambousek I used a Chinese dumpling maker which makes the process much easier, but if you don’t have it then simply seal it with a fork.

Before I begin with the recipe, I would like to thank everyone for their comments and emails during my absence. I really appreciate your concern and am thankful for having you all as my followers.

You will need:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 500 grams minced lamb meat, about 1 lb *
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon samneh or ghee or butter**
  • salt and pepper, to taste

* Usually I use lamb and sometimes I use half minced lamb and half beef. If you don’t have it available you can use beef only. Don’t worry it will taste just as good.

** In the Middle East we usually use ghee or samneh. Its basically clarified butter, so it has higher burning point. In case you don’t have it available then replace it with a butter and oil mix (equal parts of both)


Sambousek Recipe - making the dough

In a bowl, mix the flour and salt. Then add the oil to it.

Sambousek Recipe - making the dough

Mix everything well until the mixture resembles corn meal.

Sambousek Recipe - making the dough

Now in a stand up mixer (or just by hand if you want), add enough water to form a dough. I think around 1 cup should be enough. Just add little at a time. What you are looking for is a dough that doesn’t stick to the sides of the mixer bowl and that is easy to handle.

Sambousek Recipe - making the sambousek dough

Shape the dough into 1.5 to 2 inch balls. Then place it on a lightly floured tray.

Let the dough rest for one hour. I know this dough doesn’t have any yeast, so don’t expect it to rise. The resting part is to make it easier to roll out later.

Sambousek Recipe - preparing the filling

While waiting for the dough to rest, prepare the filling.

Start by melting the samneh or butter in a pot. Then add the chopped onion and cook until translucent.

Sambousek Recipe - preparing the filling

Add the minced lamb meat and cook until nicely browned.

Sambousek Recipe - preparing the filling

Once the meat is browned, add the cumin, salt and pepper.

Sambousek Recipe - preparing the sambousek filling

Mix everything well then set it aside to cool down before using.

Sambousek Recipe - making the sambousek

After one hour of resting, take one ball of dough and roll it out into a circle.

Here I’m using a Chinese dumpling maker. It makes life a lot easier with filling stuff.

Sambousek Recipe - making the sambousek

Fill the dough with the cooked meat.

Sambousek Recipe - making the sambousek

Then if using this equipment then simply press to seal. If you don’t have it, then simply seal it with a fork.

Sambousek Recipe - making the sambousek

Place all the stuffed sambousek on a lightly floured tray.

At this stage you can freeze the sambousek, and once you need to use it, simply take it out of the freezer straight into the deep fryer.

Sambousek Recipe - frying the sambousek

In a deep fryer, fry it until golden.

Meat Sambousek Recipe

Serve the Sambousek hot as a side on a Mezze Platter

Happy cooking, and as we say in Arabic “Sahha Wi Afia”

42 thoughts on “Sambousek Recipe – The Arabic Samosa

  1. I LOVE samosas… and that little contraption you have makes the whole process so much easier!
    I’ve added mint to samosas before, and the result was AWESOME!

    1. You are right Big Spoon Bakery … it does make the process much easier … im gonna try adding mint next time i make it … 😉

    1. Thanx Meeso … its different than the traditional Indian way … but its really tasty .. let me know if u get to try it 🙂

    1. You are right Gina … its similar to empanada … and you can use whatever filling you like … its great for entertaining as you can prepare it much ahead of time .. and fry it when you need it … let me know if u get to try it .. and stay in touch 🙂

  2. Hi Laila,

    Glad to see you back! These look delicious…. Giving me all kinds of ideas.

    I’ve looked everywhere in my area for sumac but can’t find it. I remember you saying it tastes kind of like lemon, can you recommend and ingredient that is similar that can be substituted?

    I still want to make safiha, and know I see a few more things here I’d like to try:-) Thanks

    Take care,

    1. Thanx David … Well about the sumac its hard to substitute … you can try buying it online .. i saw many places that sells it …. let me know if u need to know some … and the best substitute that i can say would be tamarind paste (the sour one)… but to be honest it wont yet give you the same taste … because the sumac although sour it has its own distinct taste to it too … so let me know if u ever try to make it with tamarind …. and let me know if u try any other recipe … stay in touch 🙂

  3. I’m so glad you’re back, Laila! I love samosas, so I can’t wait to try them. Check out my blog- I have a few foodie things on my Top Ten Tuesday posts.

    1. Thanx Becky ..let me know how they turn out … and i will surely check your blog soon… stay in touch 🙂

  4. I absolutely LOVE samosas, and these look great!! I will probably try them sometime but they look a bit difficult haha…so we’ll see!

    By the way, you’ve got so many good recipes here…I’m going to add you to my blogroll if that’s okay 🙂

    1. Thanx myovenhatesme … Well they actually arent that hard to make .. the dough is very simple and the filling is too ..maybe the stuffing part 😛 … well i hope you get the courage to give it a try … they are worth the effort … So let me know if you get to try it ….
      You surely can add me to your blogroll …. Im goin to do that too… stay in touch 🙂

  5. Hey, Laila, just discovered your blog – love it! Particularly like that you give pictures. Now a question – I spent five years in Lebanon, with an Armenian cook, and one thing she made that I can’t find a good recipe for is Sambusiks, not that different from Samosas, but enough. Do you have one?

    1. Thanx Judy …. i know what you mean .. its this recipe … in arabic we call it sambusiks (the arabic version of samosas) … if you think its not the same then describe it a little more to me so i can understand exactly what you mean … stay in touch … 🙂

  6. Mm, they look amazing. I am making some beef samboosas tonight for dinner. But I am using the ready made leaves 🙂 thats what I love about living in the Middle East 🙂

    1. Thanx Noor … well you are right … everythin is very much accessible around here .. so i love it here too :P… but this recipe tastes different than the ready made samosa … and its worth the effort .. let me know if you get to try it .. and let me know how your samosas turn out 🙂 .. stay in touch 🙂

  7. Dear Laila,

    Just a note to let you know that I absolutely love your blog!

    Thank you so much for sharing your recipes with the rest of the world. I look forward to them.
    If you ever want any stroopwafels or drop (liquorice candy) from The Netherlands, just let me know. 🙂

    Take care!

    1. Thanx alot a fan from The Netherlands … Im really glad that you like the blog …. and i hope you stay in touch and always give me your feedback 🙂
      ps. i absolutely love stroopwafels as well as the liquorice candy 😛

    1. Hay Dan North … i was just checking for you about the gadget and all i could find was an as seen on TV ones .. one is called Party Trio and the other is called Pocket
      Snack Maker…. I actually got it here at the 1 to 5 AED shop (Similar to a dollar store) .. it was very cheap .. around 5 AED … you can check online and see for more info … let me know if you found anything about it … 🙂 … stay in touch 🙂

  8. Great site this and I am really pleased to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor 🙂

    1. Thanx slodseffees … im glad you found what you are looking for … let me know how it turns out when u get to try it …. and stay in touch 🙂

  9. this brings me memories of my collage days where we would eat samosas after collage while walking home :).. I love the one with the deep fried onions.. absolute yumm

  10. excellent site this terrific to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor 🙂

    1. Thanx UrbaCe …. im glad you found what you are looking for here … let me know how it turns out when u get to try it … and stay in touch 🙂

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