It's Sooo Good! | Sambusac (Iraqi samosas or empanadas) Recipe

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Sambusac (or samboosa: Iraqi empanadas/samosas)

You can learn all about sambusac's orgins, and all the other samosa-like dishes around the world at

I'll tell you what you can put there :
  • 1/2 pound of cooked garbanzo beans (or 1 can)
  • large bunch of chopped parsley or cilantro
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of diced fresh garlic
  • 1 pound of flour
  • 1/2 pack of active yeast
  • Spices: cumin, corriander, curry powder, salt, hot sauce, etc. to taste
Watch Moti make this recipe!
Watch Episode 2: Simbusak

The sambusac is very similar to an Indian samosa, and is a 'grandfather' to Latin American empanadas or Portuguese empadas. They are enjoyed as an appetizer or a full meal, and yes, you can eat them with your hands! This recipe makes approximately 12.

I'll tell you what you can do :

Bread dough:

You can use any bread dough recipe, or even buy it prepared in the supermarket. However, I simply mix a little salt, the flour with yeast and warm water. Add enough lukewarm water (about 1.5 cups) to the flour until you can work with it as a pliable dough. Allow it to rest in a warm covered area for 30-60 minutes.


Sauté onions and garlic in a frying pan on medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the cooked garbanzo and spices and mash the ingredients unti you make a paste. Remove from heat and mix in the chopped parsley and salt to taste.


Now, divide the risen dough into about 15 balls. Flatten out each ball into a circle of about 3 inches in diameter. Place large spoonful of the garbanzo mixture in the center of the dough and fold over the sides to form a closed pocket. Fry your simbusak in a generous portion of oil, flipping once to brown each side.

Serve as a side dish or main course. It's sooo good!


Although chickpeas are the traditional simbusak filling, you can make it tasy with ground meat, or even cheese.

Your favorite filling = sooo good!

Best of luck,


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New! Write a comment about this recipe:

Hulda writes: (05 Feb 2015, 12:33)
Dear Moti,
I was born in Iraq to a Jewish family from Diwaniyi. My mother used to make the sambusac exactly like yours and I would not change a thing about it. I would just add another onion and fry it to golden brown; it add some sweetness to the stuffing.
Adam writes: (20 May 2014, 10:05)
Dear Moti,
We use the premade goya empanada wraps, which work perfectly when you bake them. Also, we put onions in the mix with the chickpeas.

Cari, I know the recipe you're talking about. We just roast and then smash almonds covered in sugar or mix with some silan or some other syrup so the almonds don't dry out too much when you bake the sambusac.
Roy writes: (10 Aug 2013, 04:44)
Dear Moti, thanks so much for the recipe! My grandmother used to make Sambusac when I was young, and I didn't get to learn from her before she passed away. I tried your recipe and it's a great start! Now I can fine-tune the filling and the dough. Thanks again!
Roy writes: (10 Aug 2013, 04:42)
Dear Moti,
Thanks so much for the recipe! My grandmother used to make Sambusac when I was young, and I didn't get to learn from her before she passed away. I tried your recipe and it's a great start! Now I can fine-tune the filling and the dough. Thanks again!
Roy writes: (10 Aug 2013, 04:40)
Dear Moti,
תודה רבה על המתכון. סבתי היתה מכינה סמבוסק בילדותי, והיא נפטרה לפני שהספקתי ללמוד ממנה איך להכין. ניסיתי את המתכון שלך והוא בסיס מעולה וקרוב למה שסבתי היתה מכינה. הרבה תודה!
mitchell 917 561 6499 writes: (25 Jun 2012, 21:16)
Dear Moti, please let me know where can i buy ready made sambusak fresh daily,(deep fried). in or around brooklyn or queens. thanks
Leslie writes: (11 Sep 2010, 08:21)
Dear Moti,

My grandmother was iraqi and she passed away in 1994. She made sambusac but it was only cheeses inside... is there a recipie for this??
delilah writes: (04 May 2010, 16:10)
Dear Moti,
My mom, of iraqi jewish heritage used to make the best sambusak. I do not have her recipe, and am trying, thanks to you, to make sambusak. I remember her telling me that she used the water from the garbonzo beans. Thoughts? Now I am having trouble with the dough. Not sure she added yeast. Thoughts? Also, what about Kahi? All my best, Delilah
cari writes: (22 Dec 2009, 15:43)
Dear Moti,

I am looking for a dessert recipe that is like Sambusac but it is filled with nuts and sugar...etc. can you help??
my mother in-law used to make for my husband but she has since passed away and the recipe went with her! please help if you can!
Fatima writes: (09 Sep 2008, 11:29)
Dear Moti,

I tried your recipe and it was delicious. Even my little son loved it.

thank you.

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