Though the Middle East has many specific regional and national cuisines, one item ties them all together: aromatic spices. Middle Eastern cooking also features many ingredients in common, like pita, honey, sesame seeds, sumac, chickpeas, mint and parsley.
Triangles with Meat Filling (Samboosak)
From Saudi Arabia and the Gulf across to the Indian subcontinent, these flaky meat pies are eaten to break the Muslim fast every evening during the month of Ramadan. To the traditional meat stuffing of the northern Arab states are added leeks, boiled eggs, and regional spices.
1 package spring roll skins (approximately 8 inches square), defrosted
1 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. water
Oil for frying
1 small onion, minced
1 leek, cleaned and chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 pound ground beef or lamb
1/2 tsp. cumin or kebsa spices
2 egg whites, hard-boiled and chopped
Oil for frying
1. sauté the onions and leek in the oil until transparent. Add the meat, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook until done, breaking up lumps.
2. Add the cumin and the chopped egg whites and mix well.
3. Cut each spring roll skin into 3 strips of equal width (If the dough is not precisely square, use the slightly larger dimension for the length of the strip.) Lay out 3 to 4 strips on your work surface.
4. Place a rounded tsp. Of the meat mixture toward the bottom right hand corner of each strip. Fold that corner diagonally over to the top left-hand corner, forming a triangle. As you fold, be certain that the side of the strip lines up perfectly with the folded portion. Continue as if folding a flag, alternately folding the bottom corners in a diagonal pattern. Seal the final flap with a bit of the flour paste.
5. Deep-fry and drain on absorbent paper.
Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States:
Add toasted pine nuts to the filling.
Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan:
Omit the leeks and eggs; substitute all-spice for the cumin or kebsa spices.
The Arabian Delights
by Anne Marie Weiss-Armush
$15.00 / paperback
Lowell House, 1994
Recipe reprinted by permission.
Middle Eastern Recipes
- Brides Fingers (Asabia el Aroos)
- Festive Spiced Rice (Al Koozy)
- Grilled Kefta Kebab (Kefta)
- Plain White Rice
- Sweet Syrup for Middle Eastern Pastries
- Triangles with Meat Filling (Samboosak)
from Kate's Global Kitchen
Middle Eastern Cookbooks with Recipes
- Arabian Cuisine by Anne Marie Weiss-Armush
- A Biblical Feast, Foods from the Holy Land, by Kitty Morse
- Classic Vegetarian Cooking from the Middle East and North Africa
by Habeeb Salloum
- Mediterranean Street Food by Anissa Helou
- The Spice and Herb Bible by Ian Hemphill
Back to the main Middle East page
The Middle East on Wikipedia
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This page modified January 2007