Ramadan Stories From The Kitchen: Round-up your Ramadan with this twice-as-nice meat and cheese sambousak
Although indulging in fried food shouldn't be a regular habit, Ramadan is a special time that usually allows for such compromise.
Fasting long hours means that we long for something comforting to break our fast with, gathered around the table with loved ones, excited at the variety of food on the table.
I love this recipe because it's much easier and uses a smart hack: spring roll pastry instead of made-from-scratch pastry. In fact, I think I prefer the spring roll pastry above all else. It's a thin dough that results in maximum crunch after frying – which is the ultimate sign of a great sambousak.
All you have to do is find it in the frozen aisle at your local supermarket. It can be stored in the freezer, but be sure to thaw it in the fridge overnight before making this dish.
The other great thing about sambousak is that its extremely make-ahead and freezer friendly. You can make a big batch and freeze them before cooking. Then, simply fry them right from frozen and enjoy.
Meat and cheese sambousak
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes
Servings: 20 pieces
For the meat filling:
400g ground beef, extra lean
¼ cup parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the cheese filling:
200g of either mozzarella cheese, Akawi cheese, or a mixture of the two
1 tablespoon nigella seeds
For the pastry:
20 sheets square spring roll pastry, ready made and frozen
To make the meat filling:
- Start by dicing the onions finely and cooking in a skillet with the vegetable oil on medium heat until softened. This should take 3-4 minutes
- Add the ground beef and break it up into fine pieces using a wooden spoon. Cook with the onions until all the water that is released from the beef evaporates, which should take about 5-7 minutes
- Add all the spices and cook for a few more minutes. Taste and adjust per preference
- Remove the skillet from the heat and add in the finely chopped parsley. Mix well and allow it to cool
To make the cheese filling:
- Shred the mozzarella and the Akawi cheese and mix well with the nigella seeds
Rolling and frying the sambousak:
- Thaw the spring roll pastry in the fridge overnight. Using the square pastry, remove from packaging and place on a plate covered with a towel to prevent drying
- Mix together the flour and water to create a paste which will act like glue
- Place the pastry square on your surface to make a diamond shape (with the tip in the middle)
- Place a spoonful of meat or cheese filling near the bottom and start rolling the pastry over it, then half way through rolling, fold in both sides and continue to roll. Place a bit of the flour paste on the last edge of pastry then fold it over and secure it place.
- Repeat until all the pastry sheets are used up
- To cook, you can shallow fry in a skillet on medium heat for 20-30 seconds on each side until golden brown, then place on a paper towel lined plate to soak up the excess oil.
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