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Lamb Sambousek with Filo Pastry

5 sambousek on a black slate, one of which is cut in half. A dipping sauce in a blue bowl next to the sambousek.
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Filling enough for lunch or dinner, these filo pastry-wrapped Lamb Sambousek Rolls make a delicious meal when served with a dip and a salad! A gently spicy, but extremely aromatic spice mix adds an abundance of flavour to the lovely minced lamb and red pepper filling! You then wrap the filling in shop-bought filo pastry and fry sambousek in a pan for an ultimately crispy treat!

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What is Sambousek?

Sambousek are small savoury pastries, typically filled with either meat or vegetables and widely popular across Middle Eastern countries. The pastries can be either fried or baked. There are thousands of different recipes for Sambousek varying in fillings, pastry and the shape they’re formed in. More often than not, and depending on the region they’re made in, Sambousek are either triangular, tubular or crescent shape. Sambousek is one of the most popular snacks or starters during the Ramadan period and various festivities.

Tips & Tricks for Making the Filling:

Whilst sambousek can be made with a variety of fillings, most commonly with either beef or lamb and a range of vegetables, or potato, spinach and cheese, we opted for a very flavoursome spiced lamb filling, that is both delicious and filling. Some tips we would note for making a great lamb filling are:

  • Use lean lamb mince. Lamb is very filling and even using very lean mince won’t make the filling dry.
  • Don’t add much oil to the pan. Only add a tbsp to sautee the vegetables. After adding all the spices, your frying pan will look dry, but don’t be tempted to add another splash of oil. As soon as you add the lamb mince, it will start releasing all the fat.
  • Drain the filling of any excess fat, it will make it less messy to roll and the filling will compress better.
  • Add a variety of vegetables to your filling. We added onion and red pepper, but grated carrots, garden peas and even finely shredded kale works perfectly well. The filling is really rather rich, so adding some veggies will lighten it up.
  • Make sure to cook the lamb for a while. Not only do you want it browned and tender, but you also want the lamb mince to infuse with the flavours of all the spices.
Sambousek with coriander mayo dip dripping off it back into a samll blue bowl with more mayo in it.

Advice on Working with Filo (Phyllo) Pastry:

We buy ready-made filo sheets. In the UK, they can typically be found in the fridge isles, where you’d normally look for a puff or shortcrust pastry. They usually come in 200g packets and are cut into 12-16 sheets.

We normally take the filo pastry out of the fridge as soon as we start making the filling. However, we don’t take the filo out of the plastic wrapper. The reason for this is that we want it at room temperature (ish) to make it warm enough to handle without it being too cold and brittle, but we also don’t want it to dry out, which will again make it tear very easily.

Since filo pastry is extremely thin, we use two sheets on top of each other to roll our filling in. This reduces the chances of the filo breaking whilst you roll and bursting whilst frying.

Best Ways To Cook These Lamb Rolls:

It may not be the healthiest way to cook sambousek, but we much prefer fried rolls to baked ones. For frying, you want to fill the frying pan with enough oil to cover the rolls halfway up. Of course, if you want to deep-fry, that’s perfectly fine too.

  • Make sure the oil is hot before you start cooking sambousek. We recommend 170-180°C. If your oil is not hot enough, the pastry will absorb a lot of oil and the rolls will taste greasy. If the oil is too hot, the outer layer of the pastry will brown too quickly, and you may have an undercooked layer underneath.
  • Make sure you place your sambousek on a paper towel immediately after frying to absorb any excess oil and avoid greasy rolls.
  • If you choose to bake your sambousek, brush the tops generously with oil or melted butter. Arrange the sambousek on a parchment-lined tray and bake for 25 minutes at 180°C Fan.

What to Serve Sambousek Rolls With?

Sambousek can be eaten on their own as a snack, a starter or as finger food at parties (you may want to make them smaller though). Our recipe makes 6 larger rolls that we tend to have for lunch or dinner. I personally find lamb sambousek very filling, and have one roll with a dip and a generous side of salad. However, two rolls may be needed for the very hungry ones.

We love to serve sambousek with:

six sambousek, one of which is cut in half, all have scattered spring onion slices on top.

Step-by-Step Lamb Sambousek Recipe

Step 1: Make the Lamb Filling

Heat a tbsp of odourless oil (such as vegetable or sunflower) in a large frying pan on low-medium heat. Add the finely chopped onions and pepper, and sautee for 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and spring onion, alongside the spices: turmeric, ground coriander, cumin, dried herbs, allspice and ground ginger. Stir for a minute. The pan will look quite dry but don’t add more oil, as the mince will release enough moisture later.

Add the lamb mince and stir to break it up. Increase the heat and cook the lamb, stirring, for 5 minutes, until browned. Then reduce the heat to a minimum and carry on cooking for another 10-15 minutes, until the lamb is nice and tender.

Once cooked, drain any excess fat and leave the filling to cool down slightly.

Step 2: Roll The Filling Into Filo Pastry Sheets

Lightly beat an egg yolk in a small bowl.

Unroll your filo pastry. Take two sheets of pastry laid on top of each other and brush the edge with some egg yolk.

Spoon 3 generous tbsps of the lamb filling onto the lower part of the pastry sheet, then fold the two sides of the pastry on top of the filling. Roll the filling up into a thick cigar (see photos above for clear instructions on how to roll). Brush the edge with more egg yolk if needed to seal the pastry. Repeat with the rest of the filo pastry sheets, working with two sheets at a time.

Step 3: Fry the Rolls:

Heat the oil in a frying pan. You may need more or less oil depending on the diameter of the pan. We use a smaller frying pan and fry the sambousek rolls in batches of three. You should have enough oil in the pan to cover the rolls midway up.

Make sure the oil is hot (180-190°C) before carefully lowering the rolls into the pan. For approx 2 minutes on each side, or until brown and crispy.

Take the rolls out of the pan onto a plate lined with a couple of layers of kitchen paper towel to absorb excess oil.

Serve the lamb rolls with our coriander mayo and a fresh green salad!

Recipe FAQs:

Can I Substitute Filo (Phyllo) Pastry with Something Else?

Yes, you can use spring roll or egg roll wrappers instead. Or if you’ve got time to spare, make the dough yourself.

Can Sambousek Be Made with Other Types of Meat?

Absolutely! Use lean ground beef or turkey instead. Or you can make them vegetarian, with a curried vegetable mixture, similar to samosas.

Lambousek being dipped into coriander mayo.

Other Lamb Recipes

If you’re a fan of lamb dishes, have a look at some of our delicious ideas below:

Recipe Card

5 sambousek on a black slate, one of which is cut in half. A dipping sauce in a blue bowl next to the sambousek.

Lamb Sambousek with Filo Pastry

Filling enough for lunch or dinner, these filo pastry-wrapped Lamb Sambousek Rolls make a delicious meal when served with a dip and a salad! A gently spicy, but extremely aromatic spice mix add an abundance of flavours to the lovely minced lamb and red pepper filling! You then wrap the filling in shop-bought filo pastry and fry in a pan for an ultimately crispy treat!
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Lunch, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Servings 6 rolls
Calories 457 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 
 

For the Sambousek Filling:

  • 1 tbsp odourless oil
  • 1 onion small, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper finely chopped
  • 3 spring onions sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried herbs thyme, oregano or mixed
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 500 g lamb mince we used 20% fat

For Rolling and Frying:

  • 200 g filo pastry sheets 12 sheets in a packet
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 200-300 ml of oil for frying

Serve With:

Instructions
 

  • Heat a tbsp of odourless oil (such as vegetable or sunflower) in a large frying pan on low-medium heat. Add the finely chopped onions and pepper, and sautee for 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and spring onion, alongside the spices: turmeric, ground coriander, cumin, dried herbs, allspice and ground ginger. Stir for a minute. The pan will look quite dry but don't add more oil, as the mince will release enough moisture later.
  • Add the lamb mince and stir to break it up. Increase the heat and cook the lamb, stirring, for 5 minutes, until browned. Then reduce the heat to a minimum and carry on cooking for another 10-15 minutes, until the lamb is nice and tender.
  • Once cooked, drain any excess fat and leave the filling to cool down slightly.
  • Lightly beat an egg yolk in a small bowl.
  • Unroll your filo pastry. Take two sheets of pastry laid on top of each other and brush the edge with some egg yolk.
  • Spoon 3 generous tbsps of the lamb filling onto the lower part of the pastry sheet, then fold the two sides of the pastry on top of the filling. Roll the filling up into a thick cigar (see photos above for clear instructions on how to roll). Brush the edge with more egg yolk if needed to seal the pastry. Repeat with the rest of the filo pastry sheets, working with two sheets at a time.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan. You may need more or less oil depending on the diameter of the pan. We use a smaller frying pan and fry the sambousek rolls in batches of three. You should have enough oil in the pan to cover the rolls midway up.
  • Make sure the oil is hot (180-190°C) before carefully lowering the rolls into the pan for approx 2 minutes on each side, or until brown and crispy.
  • Take the rolls out of the pan onto a plate lined with a couple of layers of kitchen paper towel to absorb excess oil.
  • Serve the lamb rolls with our coriander mayo and a fresh green salad!

Nutrition

Calories: 457kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 17gFat: 33gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 93mgSodium: 215mgPotassium: 304mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 426IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 42mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Lamb Sambousek, Middle Eastern Sambousek, Sambousek Rolls, Sambousek with Lamb, Tubular Sambousek
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6 Replies to “Lamb Sambousek with Filo Pastry”

  1. 5 stars
    What a delicious recipe for a casual family dinner. Kids loved it as they were allowed to eat with their hands lol, thanks!

    1. Ha ha, Natalie, that made me laugh! 😀

  2. 5 stars
    So crispy and crunchy! Perfectly flavored and spiced! This recipe is a winner.

    1. Thanks, Tara! Lovely to hear you enjoyed them 🙂

  3. Jacqueline Meldrum says: Reply

    5 stars
    I think this one might be a good one for the air fryer. I do love my air fryer.

    1. Oh yes, I can see these rolls working extremely well in an air fryer! Must try it! Thanks for the idea!

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