These baked triangles stuffed with flavors from Uzbekistan are the Uzbek Samsa, and they are so good, I recommend making a double batch because they will go fast!
If only every weekend could start out with this Uzbek Samsa. I’m sure you guys have noticed, but I have definitely switched into full-on fall mode. Don’t hate me, but I love making some cozy recipes nowadays.
In Uzbekistan and many countries of Central Asia, you’ll find Samsa, also known as samosas in some places, being sold on street corners, roadside shacks, fancy restaurants, or prepared for family gatherings, where they are commonly enjoyed with a nice cup of tea.
These triangular pastries are both crunchy and moist. Traditional buttery flaky pastry dough is wrapped around finely minced lamb meat filling soaked in fragrant spices and baked to golden perfection. The pastry stays crisp on the outside while the inside layers sop up the juices from the meat filling, resulting in a wonderful contrast of crunchy and moist in each bite. It’s a gastronomic experience to sink your teeth into one and hear it crackle back at you.
They’re an irresistible combination of carbs and protein and they’re hand held; what more could you want?
To make this Uzbek Samsa, you basically start off with simple dough that you roll out and spread ghee (clarified butter) all over. Then you roll it tightly, divide into equal portions and chill the dough patties. After that you roll out each dough patty, stuff with minced meat and bake them in the oven.
So, I know it sounds a bit intimidating ,but I promise it is simpler than it sounds! Refer to the the step-by-step picture guide to help you through the process.
The hearty texture of homemade dough surpasses unsatisfying phyllo pastry samosas by a mile. This dough is the one kind that Uzbek mothers make for their families. The one that gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling inside.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup warm water
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup melted ghee
- 1 lb fatty lamb, minced
- 3 medium onions, finely chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp cumin
- Sift the flour through the sieve into a mixing bowl.
- Add salt to a cup of warm water and mix until dissolved.
- Combine the water with flour and kneed the dough to form a dough ball. It took 10 minutes in the stand mixer.
- Cover the dough ball and leave to rest for 30 min.
- Once rested, sprinkle the working surface with a little flour and roll the dough into a thin rectangular sheet approximately 2-3mm or ⅛ inch thick.
- Cover the sheet with melted ghee.
- Starting on one edge, roll the dough tightly like a cigar.
- Cut the roll into 18 equal pieces.
- Press each piece with palm of your hand to make a patty.
- Stack patties with parchment paper between them in an airtight container, and place in the fridge to chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Leave to rest for at least 30 minutes.
- Take the dough patties out of the fridge and roll each patty out into a thin circle sheet using a rolling pin. Roll on one side only and never flip the dough.
- Divide the filling between each circle evenly.
- Bring two opposite sides together making a triangle. Pinch the corners. Then bring the bottom part and pinch together again. (Refer to picture guide for visual help.)
- Put the samsa on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper seem side down.
- Cover with beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using.
- Bake at 385 F for 30 minutes or until golden.