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IBCoMagazine Lecturers’ Column: Uzbek Samsa – a perfect winter delight

IBCoMagazine Lecturers’ Column: Uzbek Samsa – a perfect winter delight

In today’s lecturers’ column, we are delighted to have lecturer and PhD candidate Rashid Gabdulhakov to share a lovely dish that is perfect for the chilly days. “As restaurants offer only takeout and travel is restricted, let’s explore some recipes for homemade goodness.”

Samsa (somsa/samosa/sambosa/samboosa/sambusa) is one of the classical Uzbek and Central Asian dishes that has more versions of preparation than there are ways of spelling its name. 

You can have it in all different shapes – triangles, rectangles, squares, or circles. Fillings are also diverse, from the classic lamb or beef to pumpkin and various greens, such as spinach, nettle, dandelion, etc. 

Within Uzbekistan alone, there are tens of variations of samsa and, just like with all other traditional dishes, each province takes pride in its own version, firmly believing that theirs is the most authentic and the most delicious kind. I have tried them all and today, I would like to share a basic recipe with you, so you can make samsa using an electric or gas oven. Fifteen minutes of prep is all you need! Samsa will bake itself, so you can attend another Zoom call, or do whatever else you have to do.

Ingredients for meat samsa

  • Store-bought puff pastry – 10 sheets
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium potato
  • 300 grams of good beef 
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Salt
  • Cumin (optional)
  • Black pepper (optional)
  • 1 Egg for the wash
  • Sesame seed to sprinkle on top

Ingredients for vegetarian samsa

There are endless options. You can use diced potatoes and onions, salt them, add some cumin, black pepper and olive oil. You can use pumpkin, squash, zucchini, spinach… Choose your favourite ingredients and enjoy! 


  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper
  • Brush
  • Spoon


  • Dice your ingredients. For classic samsa: onion, potato, meat (5 minutes)
  • Add salt and olive oil (10 seconds)

There are some ideal taste combinations and cumin + black pepper are one among them. If you have some, and if you like it, add cumin and black pepper. 

But trust me, samsa will be just as fine without them. 

  • Mix everything with a spoon (20 seconds)
  • Lay out the dough. Mine came already cut into these convenient squares (1 minute)
  • Add your filling (1 minute)
  • Fold in any way you prefer. I like making different shapes for fun. (5 minutes)
  • Whisk that egg with a bit of water (1 teaspoon) and brush your samsa (1 minute)
  • Sprinkle with sesame seed (20 seconds)
  • Into the oven for 45 minutes at 180 Celsius (350 F)
  • You are done! 

These are incredible. So easy and now you have the power to check all those other points on your to-do list while having a lovely meal. Enjoy! 

Author: Dr. Rashid Gabdulhakov

Editor: Gwendolyne Cheung

Illustrator: Lisa van der Loos

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