Updated: Apr 3
Our family has 4 favorite samboosa fillings for Ramadan. Classic ground beef, veggie, cheese, and meat and cheese. This post will walk you through how to make the ground beef and veggie fillings. We spend a whole day as a family preparing the samboosa before Ramadan. We start by prepping all the fillings then sit around a table and wrap a few hundred samboosas which we store is gallon ziplocks and neatly organize in the freezer. Each Ramadan night, we thaw a few dozen and fry and/or bake them depending on the flavors we are craving.
If I had to choose only one filling for Ramadan, I would hands down go with the classic ground beef filling. It tastes incredible in both fried and baked samboosas. We serve it with our favorite Yemeni condiments: zahawig (Yemeni tomato salsa) and haametha (Yemeni Whipped fenugreek). Follow the links for each of my recipes which also include Youtube video demonstrations.
For the cheese filling, we ALWAYS go with the classic Kraft cheddar cheese that comes in a blue can. It is not the fanciest or highest quality cheese you'll ever have but its nostalgic taste and perfect melt-factor makes it the perfect samboosa cheese filling.
We mix our classic ground beef recipe with some of the shredded cheese to make the fourth flavor - a non-traditional "cheeseburger" flavored samboosa.
The veggie filling is a great option for your vegetarian and vegan friends. I'm neither vegetarian nor vegan but absolutely love it, especially with some cucumber yogurt dip - yum!
All of these fillings can be used for both baking and frying but my preference is as follows:
Classic ground beef: fried in traditional thin sheets of sambusa rugaag (pastry sheets similar to egg-rolls)
Cheese: fried in traditional thin sheets of sambusa rugaag (pastry sheets similar to egg-rolls)
Veggie: Baked in puff pastry.
Ground beef & cheese mix: either fried in pastry sheets or baked in puff pastry (both are delicious!)
Pastry Sheets & Puff Pastry:
If you can't find pre-cut puff pastry, you can buy sheets, roll them out slightly, and cut them into long rectangles that can be wrapped into samboosa shaped triangles. My personal favorite is the Pepperidge Farm brand which you can find in the freezer section of most grocery stores.
As for the samboosa rugaag sheets, we typically find them at our local halal store. There are so many imported brands to choose from, so I recommend grabbing one package of each and trying them for yourself. Some are easier to handle than others, so it will also depends on how comfortable you are with wrapping these. If you can't get your hands on these sheets, then just use Turkish pastry dough or egg roll pastry sheets.
Storing & Cooking the Samboosa:
Making samboosa is very time consuming, so we have made it a habit to prepare them ahead of time then freezing them for convenience. You need to make sure you are laying the samboosa flat in the ziplocks and not overlapping them with one another so that they can freeze individually.
When you are ready to cook, remove the samboosa from the freezer about 30 - 35 minutes ahead of time so they can thaw slightly. They don't need to thaw entirely before frying or baking, but should be about 75% thawed. You should however avoid thawing the cheese-filled samboosas entirely because then you rub the risk of the cheese oozing out if you didn't do a great job of sealing every corner of the samboosa.
For frying use vegetable or canola oil and fry until golden brown on both sides. Follow your puff pastry's package instructions before baking. I also recommend brushing the puff pastry filled samboosas with egg-wash for that iconic golden color.
Meat Samboosa Filling Ingredients:
(makes about 75 samboosas)
4 pounds ground beef (85% lean / 15% fat)
6 cups diced yellow onion
6 tablespoons minced garlic
1.5 - 2 tablespoons grated ginger
2 cups chopped green onions
1.5 tablespoons minced spicy green pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoon turmeric
1.5 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon coriander
1.5 teaspoon ground black pepper
1.5 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup minced fresh mint
1.5 cups minced fresh cilantro
1 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4- ½ cup fresh dill
Meat Samboosa Filling Instructions:
In a large pot, start browning the meat over high heat while breaking it apart. Continue cooking until liquid releases then starts evaporating.
Add chopped onions and continue to cook until onions begin wilting.
Add garlic, ginger, green onions and spicy green peppers and cook until garlic is fragrant.
As the meat’s liquid starts cooking off and the meat starts browning, add all the dry spices and mix in thoroughly while continuously mixing.
Once the onions are completely caramelized, your meat should be ready.
Take the pot off the heat then add all the greens (parsley, cilantro, mint, and dill) and mix thoroughly.
Set aside to cool completely before filling samboosa. You can also refrigerate and use the filling within the next few days.
Veggie Samboosa Filling Ingredients:
(makes about 100 samboosas)
¾ cup olive oil
4 cups diced yellow onion
3 heaping tablespoons minced garlic
4 cups peeled and diced yellow potato
2 cups chopped green onion
4 cups shredded or grated cabbage
2 cups shredded or grated carrots
2 tablespoons minced spicy green pepper
1 cup pureed tomatoes
2 cans drained sweet peas
2 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 tablespoon coriander
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika (optional)
1.5 tablespoons salt
1 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 cups minced fresh parsley
½ cup minced fresh dill
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
Veggie Samboosa Filling Instructions:
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat and brown the chopped yellow onions until translucent and the edges are browned.
Add the chopped potatoes and mix thoroughly.
Once the potatoes are halfway cooked, add the minced garlic and spicy green peppers, then cook until the garlic is fragrant.
Add the cabbage, carrots and green onions. Mix thoroughly and cook until they are wilted in.