It was a great opportunity for me to study at IIUM; I love this place so much. I gained so much of valuable knowledge (both Islamic and conventional) during my study, I have experienced the diversity of culture, and most importantly that is where I met my beloved husband.
IIUM campus has variety of international cuisine; Arabic, Albanian, Sudanese, Central Asian etc. Actually this is how I started to like international cuisine, by being exposed to all these different type of delicious foods.
The first time I tried samsa was from this Albanian seller, it was tasty and delicious, it used to come in two forms; with cheese and beef fillings. I have always wanted to get the recipe but couldn’t get quite right. The difficult part is to prepare the pastry. Locally, there are plenty of samsa recipes; we have the samosa of Indian origin, and karipap of Malay origin. But they are both different in their taste from this Central Asian samsa.
Basically, samsa is a stuffed pastry with a savory filling. It can be spiced lamb or meat, potatoes, onions or even a cheese.
This particular samsa recipe that I am going to prepare is according to original Central Asian recipe. It is basically a mixture of diced lamb, potatoes, onions and seasoning of salt, black pepper and a bit of chilli flakes. The pastry should be soft and flaky, shaped into triangle and baked into perfection. You will experience the juicy cooked lamb and onions combined with soft potatoes wrapped in soft pastry; nyum..nyumm.. You must try this recipe!
I had this samsa at a perfect timing when my mother in-law sent us her freshly made winter salad (similar to Korean cabbage kimchi). It was perfected with hot pot of tea! It was an amazing experience for the family, especially for my husband
Central Asian Samsa Recipe
Serving: 4 persons
300 gm diced meat
2 medium potatoes; diced to small cube
1 large yellow onion; diced
Salt, pepper and chilli flakes for seasoning
2 1/4 cups of plain flour
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 stick (appx. 113.4 gm/ 4 oz) cold butter; cubed into small pieces
1/3 cup (appx. 80 mi) ice cold water
1 egg (yellow only); mix lightly for brushing
1. Combine the diced meat and onion in a medium bowl and season. Keep in refrigerator for about 1 hour or longer as to let the meat absorbs the flavor of other ingredients.
2. After 1 hour add in the diced potatoes and a little bit more seasoning. Combine them well and set a side (can be refrigerated if you prefer).
1. In a small bowl beat the egg lightly. Add lemon juice and ice cold water, mix well.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the cold butter with flour using your fingertips until resembles a breadcrumbs. You can use a food processor to combine the ingredients as well.
3. Add in the egg mixture little bit by bit and mix until just incorporated. It is better if you use fork at this stage as the mixture will be sticky.
4. Flour the working surface, put the dough (you might need to scrap them with spatula as they are sticky) on the surface and knead for a couple of minutes just to bring everything together and form into a perfect dough. Do not over work.
5. Flatten the dough and wrap it with plastic and keep chill for at least about an hour.
1. Preheat oven to 200oC and grease the baking pan.
2.Remove the chilled dough and cut into half. Shape it into ball again and roll the dough on a well floured board and roller; make sure they are well dusted as to avoid sticking.
2. Roll to thin crust; I use a plastic lid to get a round shape crust. Remove and place the crust on the plastic lid. Scoop one half spoon of filling onto the crust and place it in the middle.
3. Now is the time to shape the pastry to triangle. The easiest way is to mark 3 points around the circle to equal length (top and 2 sides at the bottom). Take one point and fold it half to the middle. Bring the second point and place it on top of first point and press lightly. Press the sides too as to avoid any leak. Bring the third point and place it on the existing middle, press lightly as to seal. Do not forget to press all the corners.
4. As you have the great triangle pastry, place them on the baking pan. Simply invert the plastic lid and place your pastry on the pan; I found this method is simple to be transferred as the pastry is very fragile.
5. Continue with the rest of Samsa. Before baking, brush on top of each Samsa with yellow egg. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top turns to golden color. Leave the baked Samsa for 5 minutes on the baking pan before removing as to avoid sticking at the base.
6. Serve them warm with your favorite cup of tea or coffee. You may serve with some salad as accompaniment. Enjoy your meal.
1. Alternatively, if you don’t want to trace the dough with lid, you may shape the pastry to small size of ball and roll it individually. Roll it to circle shape.
2. You can collect the remaining pastry from the step 2 in samsa and roll into small size ball. You will get another 3 extra crust out of it.
3. You can prepare the filling and pastry ahead in advance. The last time I prepared, I kept the marinated filling (lamb+onion+seasoning) overnight in freezer. The next day once everything defrost I added the diced potatoes and additional 1 small onion; diced plus little extra seasoning. The outcome was even amazing. The pastry also has no problem if you keep longer the the refrigerator.