Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Yemeni Ramadan, plus Samboosa recipe (Yemeni roll)

The foods that we serve for breaking the fast in Ramadan for our family, and we are Yemenis living in the U.S., may be considered simplistic to a nonMuslim but to other Muslims it may seem too extravagant.

I was watching Yemeni television yesterday, one of the actors played a Pakistani and the other was Yemeni. The Pakistani man visited the Yemeni man to break the fast together. The Yemeni came out with a serving plate loaded with different dishes including rice, chicken and vegetable stew. The Pakistani man was stunned. The Pakistani man explained to him that it is Islamic tradition to break the fast with just dates and then pray. Yemeni accommodated his Pakistani friend, and they went to the masjid with just the dates and prayed. Afterwards when they were back home, the Yemeni man brought out even more food for what is to be their dinner. The Yemeni man chowed down despite his friend's plea. The Pakistan man became exasperated and admonished for him for being so gluttonous. I thought it was hilarious because it hit home.

My family and many others usually serve more than we can eat and don't follow the tradition of praying before eating a meal. In the month we are ordained to abstain from food, but we eat more. The purpose of the fast is that we sense the hunger of those who usually go without food because they cannot afford it. Remember, the purpose of Ramadan is not to enjoy special dishes, it is to focus ondeen. Read the Quran and pray the Taraweeh each day. What I do is I read five pages of the Quran before or after each prayer so that I would have read 25 pages a day. At this rate I will be finished with the Quran in less than 25 days. It is quite easy.

Does this mean we should stop making our special dishes? No, eat from what Allah gave us and be thankful. Make the dishes but don't make to much and force yourself to eat more because your cravings tell you. Especially don't make everything at once!

Now I bring you recipe that we serve with futoor. It is a Yemeni version of an appetizer that is made all over the Middle East and in South Asia.

Samboosa is like an eggroll but it is stuffed with cooked ground beef and vegetables that are spiced with common Middle Eastern spices. Of course, every person has their own variation and then I tend to make the samboosa different each time. It depends on what spices and vegetables I have on hand.

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 lb ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chicken bouillon
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. garam masala
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp red pepper paste
1 cup peeled and diced potato
2 cups cabbage, chopped
1 cup lentils, boiled in water until cooked, drained
1 zucchini, shredded
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
Tortillas or Egg roll wrappers

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan, add the onion and saute until golden brown on medium high. Add the ground beef, then with a wooden spoon break down the ground beef and cook until there is no pink left. Add the minced garlic, all the spices, as well as the tomato paste and red pepper paste. Stir and allow to cook for 1 minute. Then add the potatoes, stir, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the cabbage, stir and cook 2 minutes. Add the lentils cook 2 minutes. Add the zucchini and allow to cook for 5 minutes. Add the parsley, cook for 1 minute and turn off heat. Let themixture cool.

If using tortillas, heat the tortillas in a microwave for 30 seconds or until warm. This will make the tortillas pliable. Cut each tortilla or egg roll wrapper in 2 to 3 long strips (2 inch wide). Place some of the filling on one end. Using a flour-water paste to wet edges, fold diagonally repeatedly until you form a triangular roll.

Pour oil in vegetable pan, 1/2 inch deep. Heat on medium high. Place enough samboosa to fill the pan and fry until brown, flip and fry on other side. Place samboosa on a paper towel to drained Serve hot.

Unfried samboosa can be stored in freezer burn-proof ziplock bags and placed in the freezer. To thaw, let it sit at room temperature for a few hours before frying.


maimoona said...

Ramazan mubarak
Samosas looks yummy!

pickyeater said...

May every Ramadan bring you peace and good health.

Kitchen Flavours said...

Wow something new and looks gr8. Will try this soon.

Noor said...

asalam alaykum and Ramadan Kareem. Ahh, your Yemeni I just love the food mashAllah (as you see from my blog, lol)...

faiza said...

Sambusa is the best appetizer in Ramadan. I make chicken ones meat ones vegetable ones and even pizza ones.

watean said...


i like it

Abraham said...

Dip it in sawak

Cuttysark said...

Great Blog! Thanks for sharing Ramadan Recipe keep it up.

Cheers and hugs,

Desiree Smithson said...

These Ramadan recipes look so delicious! I would be very glad to try them all.. They're perfect for this coming Ramadan 2013. My best Ramadan wishes to all Muslims around the world!