Taste the Middle East’s favorite snack and appetizer since ancient Babylonian times: Sambusak.
These savory turnover pastries are traditionally stuffed with a variety of fillings, from ground beef to chickpeas to spinach to cheese.
These cheese-filled sambusak are perfect for a first course or a “dinner’s not ready yet” munch.
Sambusak are such a key part of Middle Eastern cuisine that they feature in a poem recorded by Mas’udi, one of the first Arab historians:
…And when the burning flames have dried it quite,
Then, as thou wilt, in pastry wrap it round,
And fasten well the edges, firm and sound;
Or, if it please thee better, take some dough,
Conveniently soft, and rubbed just so,
Then with a rolling-pin let it be spread
And with the nails its edges docketed.
Pour in the frying-pan the choicest oil
And in that liquor let it finely broil…
(Mas’udi’s Meadows of Gold – 947 C.E. Translated to English by Arthur John Arberry, Aspects of Islamic Civilization – 1939)