Monday, May 17, 2010

From the Kitchen: Samsa

By R.B. Moreno

One friend describes the pastry pictured below, which enjoys popular support among host families and Peace Corps volunteers alike, as Kyrgystan's Hot Pocket.

Eating Well in Kyrgyzstan -- a pink cookbook distributed to volunteers that includes everything from "How to Read a Recipe" to "Issyk-Kul Thanksgiving Stuffing" -- offers the following:

2 cups flour
1 egg
Melted butter
2 onions, finely chopped
Crushed red pepper (kalimpir)
3-4 cubs ground beef or mutton
10 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Black pepper

Dissolve 2 tablespoons salt in warm water. Beat egg and mix with flour. Gradually add the salt water to the flour until the dough holds together and doesn't stick. Set aside in a covered bowl for 20 minutes. Mix meat, onions, garlic, salt, black pepper, and kalimpir together. Roll the dough out into a large disk about 1/4-inch thick. Spread a thin layer of butter onto disk, and then roll up into a long tube (as if you were making cinammon rolls). Cut tube into 3 inch sections, and roll each out with a rolling pin. Each section should be about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick. This will create fine layers in the pastry. Put 1-2 tablespoons of the meat mixture onto the dough and fold opposite ends together to make a little triangle package. Repeat with remaining sections of dough. Bake on a greased cookie dough sheet at medium heat for 40-50 minutes, or until meat is cooked through and the dough is brown.


  1. THANKYOU for posting the samsa recipe! We were in Kyrgyzstan last summer to visit our daughter and has pumpkin samsa...delicious..our favorite food of the entire trip.Now I can try at home.Thanks!!!

  2. Enjoy! Thanks for reading the blog.

  3. Sounds like something I'll have to try! The pictures look great. Glad the food is better than predicted :-)

  4. Thanks, sister! Let's hope it stays that way. I'm curious about what samsas look like when prepared without a neighbor girl at my elbow.