UZBEK SAMSA (Lamb Turnovers)

Recipe taken from The International Table: Recipes from the Seattle Sister Cities

Samsa — known as samosas in some places — are popular in Uzbekistan and Central Asia. They are sold on street corners, in fancy restaurants, and are enjoyed at large family gatherings. The variety of fillings is endless. You may want to double this recipe — they will go quickly.




2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp softened butter or ghee

1/2 cup warm water + more as needed

3 Tbsp melted butter or ghee


½ lb ground lamb with 15–30% fat

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp cumin seeds, lightly crushed

2 Tbsp mint leaves, finely chopped

1 tsp minced garlic


1 egg



Sift the flour and salt together in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the dough hook, knead in the butter or ghee and the warm water. Add more water as necessary to make a soft and very pliable dough.

Form the dough into a ball, cover, and set aside to rest for 20 minutes to 1 hour.

Divide the dough into 3 equal portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one portion of the dough into a thin rectangle, about 1/8" thick. Generously brush some of the melted butter or ghee over the rectangle. Roll out the next portion of dough into a similar rectangle. Place it on top of the first rectangle. Brush liberally with butter or ghee. Repeat the process with the remaining dough. Roll the stacked rectangle starting at the longer edge to form a log. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

To make the filling, combine all ingredients.

Remove dough from the refrigerator. Slice into pieces about ¼" thick. On a floured surface, flatten each piece of the dough into a circle about 4" in diameter. The edges should be thinner than the center. Place a spoonful of the filling in the center of a disc. Imagine a triangle around the filling. Pick up two sides of the imaginary triangle and start pinching them close to the center.

Pick up the third side and close all sides by pinching. All three sides should meet at the center.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper or coat with oil. Place the samsas on the tray with the seam sides facing down. Beat the egg with 1 teaspoon water and brush it over the tops of the samsas. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Serve warm.