People talk about lifelong friends, and I have one that is definitely a lifer. My mom met his mom at an aerobics class when they were pregnant with us. We were born 16 days apart and we have been friends since we were snug in our mother’s wombs. We lived four houses apart for a good portion of my childhood and our families spent a lot of time together. We had sleepovers, we put on shows and sold tickets to the neighbors, played countless games of cops and robbers, played pranks on our sisters, and grew up day by day. We have had years of being close and years of being very distant. We aren’t best friends, we don’t do life together on a regular basis, but we are lifelong friends. Our families have always been intertwined and I’m confident they always will be.  

He’s the kind of friend who is always up for anything. So when he was home from the East coast for a bit this winter I suggested we make some Somalian food together and he was all in.

When we started this food experiment I didn’t really give much thought to how many countries there are in the world. We’ve made food from some strange places. I’ve heard of Somalia, which is more than I could say for Svalbard and Jan Mayen, but I still had no idea what Somalian food was like. We settled on a recipe for Sambusas. 

Sambusas are appetizer-sized and made with little triangular dough pieces stuffed with a meat mixture and fried in a bit of oil. We opted to stuff our sambusas with lamb, onions, and a host of spices. Coriander, cumin, cilantro, cardamom, and garlic are a fabulous combination. We are big fans of lamb. If you aren’t adventurous enough for lamb you could easily make this dish with ground beef. But lamb, oh the lamb. It makes the dish so, so good. 

Sambusa wrapper

We rolled the dough into circles and shaped them into small cones to be stuffed before sealing the open edge. The recipe for this dough was unclear to say the least. We found ourselves laughing and trying to guess at what the recipe meant by each step. I’ve tried to refine and clear things up while adding our own spin on the original recipe. I hope you won’t be as confused as we were, but if you are just laugh and keep trying until it seems to resemble the pictures. 

Sambusas with fresh cilantro and pomegranate seeds

We stood around our kitchen drinking wine and munching on Sambusas as they came out of the pan so that we could eat while they were hot.  They were a hit. It wasn’t a fancy sit-down dinner but it was a great way to get to eat and commune with friends we don’t see frequently. Gather your friends old or new. Gather together and share time with people you love.

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