Similar to Indian Samosas, Ethiopian Sambusas are crunchy, spicy, and full of wild spices to get your taste buds hoppin’ and jumpin’!
Ethiopian food is hands down one of my favorite styles of food. Similar to Indian food, this fancy cuisine uses a generous amount of plant-based foods and a wide range of spices! Super hearty, super satisfying, and super crave-worthy.
How to make Ethiopian Lentil Sambusas
These tiny pockets are:
The first step to making these little fried triangle pockets is to saute the filling. The consists of onion, garlic, ginger, jalapeño, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, salt, and cilantro. Start off by heating oil in a pan, and once it’s hot, add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Next, add the garlic, ginger, and jalapenos, give it a good stir and continue cooking for 5 more minutes. After that, add the spices, mix to combine, and cook for two more minutes before adding the cooked lentils. Once the lentils have been mixed in, continue cooking for 3-5 more minutes so the flavors can meld. Remove the pan from the heat, and then sprinkle in the chopped cilantro. Mix everything together once again, cover the pan, and allow it to cool off for a few minutes while the cilantro wilts.
Next is the fun and slightly tedious part! Get out 8 egg roll wrappers (these are not typically made with egg, but that’s just what they’re called!) and cut each sheet into four smaller squares. In total, you should have enough smaller squares to make 32 mini sambusas.
Lay one sheet onto a flat surface and trace the perimeter of the wrapper with a wet finger – this will act as glue to help seal the wrapper together. Dump one tablespoon worth of filling into the center of the square and fold over one corner to meet the corner directly across from it to create a triangle shape. Firmly press the sides together to seal and repeat this process until all the filling and wrappers have been used up.
Next up, get out whatever size saucepan you’d like and fill the bottom with just enough oil to cover the sambusas. For this recipe, we are shallow frying, not deep frying. With a larger pan, you can fry more sambusas at once, although this is not recommended considering they cook very quickly and you might run the risk of overcooking. I prefer to use a smaller pan and cook in small batches to keep a close eye on each sambusa. Using a smaller pan will also require less oil, and you’re like me and you’re frying in expensive avocado oil because of its high smoke point, it might be in your best interest to use a small pan.
Heat the oil over medium heat, or until it reaches about 400 degrees. At this point, drop in however many sambusas will fit, and cook for about 30-60 seconds on each side until golden. Safely transfer the cooked sambusas to a wire cooling rack to help remove any excess oil. Avoid placing them directly on a paper towel or you might end up with soggy sambusas, and nobody wants that!
These sambusas are best served fresh and hot! Serve these alongside your favorite dipping sauce or Ethiopian Salsa!
For visual instruction, check out this video!
Treat-yo-self kinda recipes:
Ethiopian Lentil Sambusa
- 1 cup cooked lentils
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 jalapeño, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 inch ginger, minced
- ½ tsp cardamom
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp black pepper
- salt to taste
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
- ~8 vegan egg roll wrappers (more as needed)
- oil for frying
Sauté the filling
- Heat oil in a large pan.
- Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until soft.
- Add the jalapeño, garlic, ginger and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Add the spices and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Add the lentils and cook for 3-5 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat, mix in the chopped cilantro and set aside to cool.
- Cut an egg roll wrapper into 4 smaller squares.
- Trace the perimeter of the smaller square with a wet finger and then place a tablespoon worth of filling in the center.
- Fold one corner over to create a triangle shape and press the two sides together to seal.
- Repeat until all the filling/wrappers have been used.
- Heat frying oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Once the oil is hot, drop in however many sambusas will fit and fry on each side for 30-60 seconds, or until goildenbrown.
- Remove from the oil and transfer the sambusa to a wire cooling rack.