Ethiopian Sambussa -- Healthy Baked Cousins Of Samosas With Phyllo Dough!
Category: Cocktails & Appetizers | Blog URL: http://ginger-and-garlic.blogspot.com/2010/02/ethiopian-sambussa-healthy-baked.html
This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.
Don't you find it very interesting how two objects in two vastly different cultures still have such similar names! Origin of the words or its etymology as its called has always fascinated me. Particularly for words that were derived centuries ago when the means of sharing/communication about cuisines, spices and techniques was so limited (not like today where one can post a new ingredient and the rest of the world gets to know about it right then and there, thanks to the ever-spreading world-wide web!)
So when I visited a local Ethiopian restaurant a year or so ago and saw an appetizer named 'Sambussa' with the description of 'thin dough shell stuffed with lentils and spices" I was pretty sure that this was a variation of Indian samosas. A quick peek at wiki told me that the name samosa derives from the Persian name 'sanbosag' (having to do something with the crescent shape apparently) and from their many cultures have their own variation of a stuffed fried dough filled with spicy vegetables/meats with similar names such as sanbusak in Arab, samsa in Turkic nations, samosas in south-east asia and sambussa in Ethiopian/Somali regions.
Sambussa is an Ethiopian/Somali appetizer cousin of our samosas. Thin flaky dough crust is stuffed with lentils, onions, ginger and Ethiopian spices and then fried till golden brown. What I have here is a healthy take on it where I have used phyllo dough as the wrapper and baked it instead of frying it. You know I am liking phyllo dough (that of baklava, spanakopita fame!) more and more as I cook with it!
The filling was cooked lentils with the berbere spice mix that I had prepared earlier here. The sambussas were then baked till golden brown instead of deep fried. The results: absolutely did not miss the fried part! I'll surely be making more samosas (and sambussa) with baked phylo dough from now on!
You can tune the spices and the filling to your liking.. make it like regular samosas with potatoes, peas, cumin, coriander, chili powder or use the traditional lentil filling but instead of berbere use a mixture of garam masala, cumin, coriander, chili, paprika powder.. in essence go wild with whatever suits your fancy for the day!