Whether you call it a sambusak, boureka, empanada, or turnover, stuffed with meat, cheese, or chickpeas, these savory pastries have long enjoyed a place of honor in Jewish culinary tradition. The sambusak (also known as sanbusak, sanbusaq, and sanbusaj, all deriving from the Persian word sanbosag – which means lovely triangles) can trace its roots back to the Middle East and Central Asia with mention in regional cookbooks dating from the 10th century.
Ingredients for Chickpea Sambusak
For the dough:
- 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) flour
- ½ cup (120 ml) canola oil
- 1 teaspoon Salt
For the filling:
- 1.1 pounds (500 grams) chickpeas
- 4 large onion chopped
- 1½ teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon hot paprika
- 1 teaspoon Salt
Prepare the Filling:
1. The filling: soak the chickpeas in water for 24 hours at room temperature. While they soak, we recommend changing the water 3 or 4 times. At the end of the 24 hours, drain and rinse the chickpeas well and transfer them to a large pot. Add water until it is about 2 inches below the rim of the pot and cook for 90 minutes. Skim the scum and foam floating on top. If the water level decreases below ¾ of the height of the pot, add boiling water. After cooking, reserve 2½ cups of the cooking liquid. Drain the chickpeas and cool.
2. Using a food processor, grind the cooled chickpeas into a puree, but not a paste.
3. Heat 6 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan, add the onions and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes over a high flame until translucent. Reduce to a low flame, cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn brown and nearly fall apart.
4. Add the chickpea puree, salt, spicy paprika, cumin and about 5 tablespoons of olive oil to the saucepan, stirring occasionally. Add more olive oil if the mixture is not sufficiently soft and succulent. Set aside to cool.
Prepare the Dough:
5. Place the flour in a large bowl, add a teaspoon of salt, and mix. Add the canola oil and the 2½ cups of reserved cooking liquid from the chickpeas. Knead the dough until it is smooth and pleasant to the touch. If the dough is too sticky, transfer it to a floured work surface and knead for a few more minutes. Grease your hands and spread some oil all over the dough. Cover the bowl and set aside for 30 to 60 minutes.
Assemble and Cook:
6. Pour around 1¼ inches (3cm) of oil into a wide-bottomed pan and heat over a high flame. On your work surface (which does not have to be floured), roll out the dough into a rectangle. Cut it into equal quarters and form each quarter into a ball. Place the balls on a work surface and gently flatten them into discs – the more you flatten them, the lighter the sambusak will be. Place about 2 tablespoons of the filling in the middle of each disc and then fold to seal them, creating crescent-shaped turnovers. Fry each sambusak until deep golden brown, roughly 3 minutes on each side. While frying, turn them over using a slotted spoon.
Recipe courtesy of Hashulchan.