Whether you are a fan of falafel, a lover of lahembajin or a connoisseur of kebbeh, no Lebanese food experience is truly complete without a sambousek or two. Here we will take a closer look at one of the Middle East’s most beloved snacks – prepare to meet your new favourite food.
Also known as sambousik, sambousak or samboosak, sambousek is essentially a small pastry filled with either meat or cheese. In Lebanon, lamb is the meat of choice and cheeses can range from haloumi to nabulsi right through to feta. Onions, herbs and spices provide the flavour while pine nuts add a deliciously nutty texture and taste. These popular pastries can be either baked or fried and are often served as part of a classic Lebanese mezze spread.
As with many of the Middle East’s most popular foods, there is much contention surrounding who created the sambousek; however, it seems almost certain that it was first eaten around the 10th Century in Persia. Early records refer to a poem recited in honour of sambousek at a 10th Century banquet in Baghdad, while Persian historian Abu’l -Fazl Bayhaqi makes mention of sambousek around the 11th Century in Tarikh-e Beyhaghi, his written history of the Persian Empire.
Ancient scholars believe that traders from Central Asia introduced sambousek to India sometime around the 13th or 14th century and not only did this tasty pastry quickly become popular, but after incorporating the local flavour and culture it would evolve into the much loved Indian samosa. Another version of sambousek created by Sephardi Jews spread throughout North Africa, Portugal and Spain, providing the inspiration for what would become one of Spain’s most popular foods, the mouth-watering empanada. Today you can find versions of the sambousek right across Central Asia, the Middle East and beyond.
This beloved pastry holds a special place in the hearts of Islamic people everywhere as it has long been considered an essential element of our iftar meal – this is the meal eaten to break the fast at the end of each day during Ramadan. Sambousek provides the ideal way to get the energy and nutrients your body needs without overburdening an empty stomach and you won’t find many foods that can compare with the sambousek for taste.
Every country, culture and family has their own secret recipe and special technique for making sambousik; however, the basics are as follows.
Whether you have been enjoying sambousek for years or are looking to try one for the very first time, nobody makes them quite like we do. Drop by Manoosh or order online, we are proud to have the best sambousek in Sydney and would be honoured to prepare a fresh batch for you.