Syrian crunchy deep-fried small pastries filled with various fillings, usually ground meat or cheese. Depending on the type of dough used, they either have a crescent shape, or a triangular one. Unlike shishbarak whose origins people disagree about, Sambosek originated in Syria and made its way to the rest of the world to be the more popular Indian samosas and Latin American empanadas. Can you believe it? Samosas and empanadas were actually inspired by our humble Sambosek.

Sambosek is one of the most popular and elegant appetizers -especially in Ramadan and it is perfect for the parties or dinner table. These little meat pockets appeal to all ages with their juicy filling and flaky crust. You can also use puff pastry to fill them with chicken, rice and beans for a vegetarian version or cream cheese and green onions.

Whether you call them fatayer, turnovers, empanadas, samosas or sambosek, these are irresistible pastry pockets world wide.



Filling for Sambosek

Ground beef filling: ground beef, onion, parsley and some spices. In a skillet heat oil then sauté onion until fragrant then add ground beef and break to brown well. Add spices and parsley, mixing everything well to combine.

Chicken filling:  chicken breasts cut into cubes, onion, black olives, green pepper and spices. In a skillet add oil then sauté garlic for 30 seconds, add chicken and cook until almost done. Add spices, green bell pepper and cook for a couple of minutes. Turn heat off, mix in the olives.

Cheese mix: haloum (Syrian cheese), mozzarella and parmesan cheese mixed with za’atar or dry mint.


For the dough

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ tbsp powdered milk

½  tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp baking powder

⅓ cup vegetable oil

1 cup water



Roll out the dough and cut out a circle using a 9 cm cookie cutter.

Fill the circle with about 1 tbsp of any mixture. Make sure to leave the edges empty so that you seal them properly. Close to form a crescent shape.

Braid the edges to form the classic Sambosek shape. If you find this technique hard, press the edges of a fork against the dough to make sure it is well sealed.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the Sambosek in batches.

Serve hot as part of a mezze spread or as a snack.

If you do not like fried food you can brush them with oil and stick them in a 350F  preheated oven until they are golden crispy.


Lara Khouli