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How to Make Sambusa

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Sambusas are a special food served all over the Arab World. They go by different names and have different ingredients.

Sambusa is a triangular-shaped savory pastry fried in oil, containing ground beef, ground chicken, or fish. It may also have eggs or potatoes, or even cheese.

In Yemen, they are a special Ramadan treat and are eaten during the breaking of fasts at sunset. Prepared with its own special ingredients, my sambusa, made using chicken, will make your guests eyes and mouth water and leave them with a satisfied appetite.

First, you will need to get the ingredients to make the sambusa. A lengthy, but appetizing, set of ingredients are very vital to this healthy dish: one pound of ground chicken, one large onion finely chopped, two tomatoes also finely chopped, two cloves of garlic diced, corn oil, water, a teaspoon of turmeric, a teaspoon of grounded cumin seeds, salt, ground black pepper, hot pepper powder, and finally potatoes cut into small cubes.  

Once all of these ingredients are present, on medium heat, pour three teaspoons of oil into a frying pan with a lid, then put the chopped onions in to cook. After they appear to be slightly red, pour in the diced garlic and tomatoes. Once they have cooked and slightly melted add in the grounded chicken.

After putting in the poultry, add the salt, black pepper, ground cumin, the turmeric, and the hot pepper powder. After adding the spices, stir the ingredients, add a cup of water, and let the poultry cook for about thirty-five minutes. Keep an eye on the chicken periodically so that it will not run out of water and burn; if needed add water.

Once the chicken is ready, add the cubed potatoes and more water so that the potatoes will cook. When the potatoes are soft, wait until the water evaporates and turn off the oven. Pour the poultry and potatoes into a large bowl to completely cool down.

Unlike tradition, I use flour tortillas to wrap the meat in. I usually get the small circular tortillas and then cut them in half. Before we start wrapping them, in a small mixing bowl, mix four teaspoons of all purpose flour with a little bit of water and make a thick flour paste to serve as “glue” for sealing the sambusa.

When folding the sambusa, fold them into a cone shape, but with a little flap on the top. After folding them, fill fill them in with the cooled poultry. Use a spoon to fill the sambusa tortillas but do not overfill them because when cooking they may explode into the hot oil.

Seal  by folding the flap and using the “glue” you prepared to seal them and be careful and seal them very well otherwise they will open up when frying.

Filled and sealed sambusas can be stored in the refrigerator and deep fried the next day or one can also deep freeze them for a couple of days if they want to.

If you choose to store your sambusa in the freezer, when cooking them the next day or later on, take them out of the freezer and let them sit on your kitchen counter for at least an hour. If you choose to refrigerate them you can cook them right away after taking them out.

After finishing the process of folding them, heat up about 24 fluid ounces of oil in a deep frying pan and then test your oil by gently dropping a small piece of dough into the oil.

If the dough stays at the bottom for a couple of seconds then rises to the surface then your oil is ready for frying, but if it rises up immediately after dropping it into the oil, then your oil is too hot and you need to reduce the heat. Too hot oil will only cook the outside and the inside will be uncooked, especially if the sambusas were frozen.

Deep fry the sambusas until they are golden brown on both sides and crispy, use clean paper towel to drain off any excess oil.

They sambusas are now ready to eat. Sambusa is usually served as an appetizer before any other dish. Using a large glass plate, place the sambusa on the plate neatly and serve them to your guests for them to enjoy.

They can be served either hot or cold accompanied by a glass of juice or whatever your guests desire to drink. I personally prefer to drink the homemade Vimto, which is a popular drink or beverage in the Arab world especially in the month of Ramadan.

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The School Newspaper of Coldwater High School.
How to Make Sambusa