At Nour we stuff ours with slow-braised camel wrapped with flaky Yemenite pastry. For home cooks, we recommend using good-quality puff pastry and using goat or lamb instead of camel. We serve it with a charred sweet bullhorn pepper salsa and labneh.
Sambusak is a traditional stuffed pie or turnover popular in the Middle East. It can be filled with any kind of meats, vegetables and/or cheese.
- 1.5 kg camel rib or shank, on the bone, sawed into chunks (see Note)
- 75 ml vegetable oil
- ¼ red onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- ½ tsp baharat (Lebanese seven spice) or ras el hanout
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp salt
- 25 g pitted green olives, roughly chopped
- 10 g toasted pine nuts
- 6 sheets good-quality puff pastry
- plain flour, for dusting
- 2 eggs, lightly whisked
- 25 g white sesame seeds
- 25 g black sesame seeds
- 1 kg bullhorn pepper or sweet red peppers
- olive oil, for tossing
- 30 ml lime juice (about 2 limes)
- 30 g native desert limes or baby capers, drained of brine
- 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 g mint leaves, chopped
- 5 g coriander leaves, chopped
- 5 g dill leaves, chopped
- 1 kg yoghurt
- 7 g salt
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cooling time: 30 minutes
Chilling time: 12 hours (for the labneh)
For the labneh, mix the yoghurt and salt together in a bowl. Line a strainer with 3-4 layers of muslin (or a clean Chux). Transfer the yoghurt mixture to the strainer, place over a bowl to catch the whey, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. Use the labneh in the strainer (and discard the whey or use in other recipes).
For the filling, heat 50 ml of the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over high heat. When hot, brown the meat in small batches.
Return all of the meat to the pan, cover with cold water, bring to a simmer over high heat, cover with a lid, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 2.5-3 hours or until the meat is very tender and falls off the bone (cooking time will vary depending on the size of the cuts and the type of meat).
When the meat is ready, drain and, when cool enough to handle, shred the meat from the bone. Set aside.
Wipe out the saucepan and heat up the remaining oil over medium-high heat, add the onion and sauté for a few minutes or until the onion starts to soften. Add the garlic and spices and stir for 30 seconds. Add the meat and salt and cook for 3 minutes to allow the flavors to combine. Remove from the heat, and stir through the olives and pine nuts. Spread over a large tray to cool down completely before you use.
For the bullhorn salsa, preheat the oven to 220ºC and line 2 large oven trays.
Toss the peppers in olive oil and roast for 35 minutes or until softened. Place the peppers in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to steam, which will make peeling them easier. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, carefully peel off the skin and remove the seeds - do not wash the peppers, or you will lose the roasted flavour. Dice the flesh and combine in a bowl with the remaining salsa ingredients. Set aside for 30 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.
Reduce the oven to 185ºC (170ºC fan-forced) and line 2 large oven trays with baking paper.
Roll the pastry out to about 2 mm thick (31 cm square so you will get at least 4 rounds from each sheet) on a lightly dusted workbench. Use a 15 cm diameter cutter to cut our circles from the pastry.
Lightly brush half of each circle with the beaten eggwash (to seal later).
Place 45 g of the filling in the centre of each circle and fold over to make a half-moon shape, pressing down around the filling and along the edges to make its sealed tightly and that there is no air inside. Lightly brush the tops with egg and sprinkle generously with the sesame seeds.
Place on the trays and bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and puffed.
Serve the sambusak hot with the salsa and labneh on the side.
Roy Ner is a the head chef at Nour. This recipe is from The Chefs' Line - a brand new series airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Can the passion of a home cook beat the skills of a professional chef? Missed all the action? Catch-up online and get all the recipes #TheChefsLine.
This recipe has been edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the series.