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First, make your pastry dough. Combine canola oil, butter, and salt in a mixing bowl. Mix in the hot (not boiling) water. Gradually stir in the flour, a ½-cupful at a time, till a soft and oily dough forms. When the dough becomes too thick to stir, use your hands to work the last bit of flour into the dough. Don’t over-knead — stop when the ball holds together and the dough is smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for a few minutes while you make your filling (don’t let the dough sit for longer than 30 minutes before rolling it out, or it will cool down and become more difficult to work with).
In a food processor, combine feta and kashkaval cheeses, parsley, 2 eggs, and black pepper. Pulse ingredients till a light creamy paste forms. This is your sambusak filling.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While oven is heating, assemble your sambusak.
There are a couple of ways to do this. The half-moon shape is more popular because it’s easiest to do; the triangle shape is good for Purim because it’s reminiscent of Haman’s hat.
For the half-moon shape, flour your rolling surface. Pull a walnut-sized piece of dough from the dough ball; re-cover the dough ball with plastic. Roll the small piece of dough into a ball with your hands.
Lightly flour your rolling pin. Roll the dough out into a rough circle that is between 4 ½-5 inches wide. The dough will be quite thin. Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of the circle. Fold the circle in half over the filling. Seal the edges by pinching gently with your fingers to create a half-moon shape. Use a fork to score the edges of the sambusak — this will help seal them and also make them look pretty. Repeat process until all of the dough has been used. I find it’s easiest to roll out five dough pieces at a time, stuff them and seal them, and then roll out five more. This saves time and is more efficient them rolling, stuffing and sealing each individual piece.
For the triangle shape, flour your rolling surface. Divide your dough into four equal-sized sections.
Choose one section to work with, keep the other sections under plastic wrap till you’re ready to use them. Lightly flour your rolling pin. Roll the dough out till it is very thin. You will want to cut a square with 8-10-inch sides from the dough, so keep this in mind as you roll it out; I sometimes use a ruler to help gauge the size. Once your dough is rolled out, cut a square with equal length sides from the dough. The square should be somewhere between 8-10 inches wide. Use a ruler or straight edge to cut the sides as straight as possible. Push extra dough trimmings into a small ball and store it under the plastic wrap separate from the rest of the dough.
Cut the square into equal-sized quarters. Each of these quarters will be used to form a sambusak.
Take one of the squares and place 1 tablespoon of filling in the center. Fold one corner of the square over to the diagonally opposite corner and pinch to seal the sides. Repeat process for remaining squares. Roll out remaining dough sections in the same way, using the ball of trimmings as a fifth and final section of dough.
Once your sambusak have been assembled, they are ready to be cooked. You can either deep fry them or bake them. I prefer to bake them because of the more consistent results (plus it’s healthier), but frying is more traditional.
To bake the sambusak, place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Beat the remaining egg with 1 teaspoon of cold water. Brush the sambusak with a thin layer of the egg wash.
Sprinkle the sambusak with poppy seeds or sesame seeds, if desired. Bake sambusak for about 40-45 minutes until golden brown.
If you’re frying the sambusak, do not use an egg wash or coat them with seeds. Heat oil over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. Fry the sambusak in batches of four till golden, turning halfway through cooking. Drain on a paper towel before serving.
Serve the sambusak warm or at room temperature. They’re best straight from the oven, but the baked ones also keep quite well, and can be reheated in the microwave if desired. (Photos courtesy of Tori Avey)
Syrian Cheese Sambusak
Anything Syrian reminds me of my Grandma. To this day, I have never met someone who loved food so much (including me!) and every time I have a Syrian delicacy the nostalgia kicks in and I'm reminded of the smells and sounds of her kitchen.
Whenever I cook Syrian food myself, I feel like she'd be proud of me, spending hours and hours at my kitchen table constructing goodness filled pastries.
Sambusak was actually something I figured out on my own most things my Grandma made had some kind of meat in them. The recipe is adapted from one of my favorite books (let alone cookbooks!) of all time, Aromas Of Aleppo by Poopa Dweck. When I discovered this book, I was in heaven. It has the recipe for every Syrian food you can think of and I can imagine my grandmother and the author's grandmother sitting together making sambusak while gossiping about all the handsome men of Aleppo. This probably didn't happen but a girl can dream!
FOR THE DOUGH:
2 CUPS ALL PURPOSE FLOUR
1 CUP BUTTER
1 CUP SEMOLINA
FOR THE FILLING:
500G GRATED CHEESE
2 EGGS BEATEN
2 TABLESPOONS SESAME SEEDS
How to make cheese Sambousek
1. Roll out the boreka dough on a floured surface, about &frac18 inch thick
2. Using a glass or cookie cutter, cut out 3.5 inch rounds
3. Spoon 1 to 2 teaspoons of filling in the center
4. Fold it to create a half-moon
5. Seal the edges using your fingers or a fork
6. Brush borekas with beaten egg, sprinkle sesame seeds on top and bake at 350F for 15 minutes
Sambusak - Savory Cheese Pastry
Syrian cheese pastry, Sambusak, are the perfect break the fast food or for that matter breakfast.
- 35min Duration
- 15min Cook Time
- 20min Prep Time
- 25-35 pieces Servings
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup white flour
- 1 cup smead (semolina)
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼-½ cup warm water
- 2 ounces sesame seeds
- 2 pounds grated part-skim muenster cheese
- 1 egg beaten
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
1. In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, smead, salt and oil. Add water a little at a time. Mix until well blended. Cover and set aside.
2. Prepare cheese filling: combine cheese, beaten eggs and baking powder and mix lightly.
3. Take out a third of dough. Divide this third into walnut size balls. Dip each ball lightly into sesame seeds.
4. Flatten each ball into 2-inch circles. Place 1 teaspoon of filling in center of circle and fold in half, making a half moon shape, with sesame seeds showing.
5. Close by pinching ends firmly.
6. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet in 350˚ oven for 15 minutes or until bottoms are light brown.
Sembussaks may be frozen before baking. Bake in 400˚ oven for 20 minutes.
**Short on time? Use frozen store-bought Sembussak dough, 24 pack, and add your own filling. If you don’t mind a crunchier, less fluffy texture, use the whole wheat mini pizza dough and add filling for an even healthier version.
Delicate sambusak with zaatar and cheese
This is a different kind of sambusak. One I’d never seen before.
Sambusak is one of those ubiquitous snack foods around here, somewhere next to burekas. While these deep-fried or baked pockets of dough have a strong association here with Iraqi Jews, many of whom consider them an integral part of their culinary heritage, they’re made throughout the Middle East by people from a range of cultures. Not too surprising, no?
Sambusak are sold at every cheap bakery in town, making it easy to forget their rich cultural heritage. Fat and massive, you’ll find them stuffed with watery potato mash mixed with soup powder, watery cheese mash mixed with soup powder … well, you get the picture. Due to the nature of most cheap bakeries, this also makes it easy to forget that sambusak can be, well, good.
But a while ago, I had a sambusak revelation.
We were at my friend’s mother’s house in Nazareth for lunch. Every dish had been painstakingly prepared — stuffed grape leaves, stuffed eggplant, stuffed squash. And every one contained meat.
Eitan was happily eating salads, but my friend’s mother, Teres, is not one to leave any chance that a guest might go hungry. So she pulled some pastries out of the fridge and quickly fried them for Eitan. They were exquisite little croissants stuffed with gooey white cheese, with flakes of zaatar leaves rolled into the dough.
I’ve never seen sambusak like this, I told her. Usually they’re much bigger.
Sambusak, she said, as if to say, there is no sambusak but this.
I can’t tell you how common this style of sambusak is — whether it’s a Nazareth thing, or Teres’ own twist. I certainly haven’t found any record online of similar delights. Teres served them at a family wedding, both to honor the guests and to wow the neighbors. She was generous enough to share her recipe, or should I say, describe her recipe. I tried it at home and came up with some measurements.
The charm of these sambusak is threefold — first, their tiny size and croissant shape makes them into a delicate snack second, their aromatic flavor comes from whole zaatar leaves as opposed to the dry, powdery zaatar spice mix that all too often seasons commercial pastries and third, the filling is from firm chunks of cheese that becomes gooey when the pastries are cooked, not from some mashed paste. As a bonus, you can prepare them in advance and store them unbaked/unfried in the freezer, to serve to guests (or yourself) at a moment’s notice.
In short, it’s another level of sambusak.
A note on the ingredients: Teres used jibneh, a firm sheep cheese common in Arab towns (and whose name happens to mean “cheese” in Arabic). Since it’s harder to find in Tel Aviv, I used something similar from the Carmel Market that my cheese seller called “Iraqi cheese.” If you can’t find a firm, unaged sheep cheese, the closest alternative would be mozzarella.
Also, I used fresh zaatar (hyssop) leaves in the dough. An alternative would be fresh oregano. Dried whole zaatar leaves would be fine, but powdered zaatar spice mix would not.
For 36 small sambusak (3 cm long):
- 2 cups flour
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons fresh zaatar (hyssop) leaves (not packed tightly alternative: fresh oregano, or 1 tablespoon dry oregano or zaatar. Note: This is not the powdered zaatar spice mix.)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon yeast
Mix together all the ingredients for the dough. It will be shaggy and crumbly. Kneading, add enough water so that it comes together as a dough — about 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons. Form into a ball, cover and place in a warm place to rise until it doubles in size — about 1 1/2 hours.
Once dough has risen, knead two or three times to remove the air. Divide into three balls. On a floured surface, roll out one of the balls into a circle no more than 2 millimeters thick and ideally 1 millimeter thick. (It doesn’t need to be perfectly shaped.)
Cut the circle like a pizza into 12 wedges. Place a small block of cheese — about 1 inch by 1 centimeter by 1 centimeter — at the fat end of each wedge. Fold a bit of dough over the cheese, tuck in the sides and pinch if necessary so that the cheese is fully concealed, and roll up the dough toward the thin end, as if making a croissant.
Repeat for the rest of the slices and the rest of the dough.
At this point, you can fry the sambusak to eat immediately, or freeze them to eat later.
Heat oil to deep-fry the sambusak. (I do this in an iron wok, where the oil residue adds to the wok’s seasoning instead of making a gummy mess that later needs to be cleaned off.) The oil should be hot enough that bubbles immediately start coming off the sambusak when they’re dropped into it, but not so hot that they immediately turn a dark brown. Fry for 2-3 minutes until they are a light golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel to absorb excess oil, and serve.
Alternately, you could bake them. I tried this only with the frozen sambusak: I stuck them in my toaster for about 12 minutes, until they browned lightly and the cheese was melted (my toaster does not actually have temperature settings). If you bake them fresh, they probably will be done much quicker.
Cheese Lovers Samosas (Samboosak)
A stringy, ooey, gooey mixture of mozzarella, feta and cream cheese wrapped in a crunchy samosa dough pocket. These fun-filled triangles are the perfect appetizer for cheese lovers. Could be made with phyllo. Freezes impressively well!
It’s savory recipe time y’aaaaaaall! Finally!
Which meeeeeans…cheese has got to be involved!
If you’ve been following along through my baby 8 months of blogging, you’ve probably noticed a pattern here. Out of the 4 lonely savory recipes I’ve shared, 100% of them include cheese.
Can you blame me? Gooey, molteny, cheesy mess is just too hard to resist. Evidence here, here, here and here.
CHEESE LOVERS SAMOSAS…because one type of cheese, just won’t do. We’re going with THREE!
Mozzarella. Cream cheese. Feta.
Cradled in the crunchiest, pastry pocket.
Can we just cut to the chase and deem this the real “Love Triangle” already?
Samosas, or as we call them in Egypt, Samboosak, are these thin pastry triangles filled with yummy stuff, then fried (or baked, if you wanna go the innocent route) until golden and crunchy. The filling is usually savory, like minced meat or vegetables, but I’ve tried sweet fillings and OMG yum! How are sweet samosas not a thing?! Let’s make it a thing!
Samosas are believed to have originated in Central Asia, but they’re also super popular in South Asia, the Arabian peninsula, the Mediterranean and some parts of Africa.
They are the nicest appetizer year round, but for some reason, they’re mostly associated with the fasting month of Ramadan. Most often than not, you’ll find a platter of some type of samosa highlighting an Iftar (meal of breaking fast) spread. At least around these parts.
My mom has made a habit of making these incredibly delicious cheese samosas, whenever we’d go over for dinner. Ramadan or not. She knows we love them so much, because they’re always the first thing to disappear. Plus…they’re always a hit with the kiddos!
Ofcourse I had to ask her for the recipe to give it to you, because we’re friends by now. Right? Bless her heart, she was more than happy to share.
The inside of the samosa will remind you of slightly saltier cheese fries. Oh yeah…we’re not kidding around here. But you know how cheese fries become so rubbery after they cool down to the extent of being inedible? Yeaaaaah…well these don’t do that! How awesome is that?! Cream cheese is the key here.
The addition of cream cheese to the mozzarella, keeps the filling nice and soft and creamy, even upon cooling. Just a tiny bit of feta adds saltiness and depth of flavor so it’s not mild and blah. You could use any salty, creamy white cheese of your choice instead or omit it all together. Alternatively, you could swap the mozzarella with any similar melty cheese combo you prefer, like Tex Mex! Feel free to spice the mixture up if you’re in the mood. Italian seasoning, mint, or some heat would be perfect here.
But for your base, here’s what you’ll need:
Samosa sheets (or phyllo. Or spring roll wrappers!), mozzarella, cream cheese, feta, and an edible glue made by combining flour with a little water.
You’ll start by combining the 3 cheeses together.
And now you’re all set to fold!
Now it might seem a little tricky at first to get that perfectly shaped triangle, but I promise you’ll get the hang of it after ruining trying a couple. Here’s a great tutorial that really helped me out I highly recommend you check it out.
But I’m still bombarding you with step-by-step pictures, nevertheless.
Laying the samosa sheet flat, you’ll grab the top right corner of the sheet, and fold it halfway down to the left side.
Add some of the flour paste to adhere the fold that has formed to the long sheet. Add a little more paste to the right hand side of the sheet. Why so much glue you ask? It traps your cheese filling inside so it doesn’t go anywhere as you fry.
Now bring the triangle that has formed on the left side, down to the right side, landing on the paste you just added. A cone shape should now be formed. You’ll wanna make sure that the corner of the cone is nice and tight and doesn’t have a big hole, so the filling doesn’t escape during frying.
Now cup that cone in your hand and start filling with the cheese mixture using your other hand. A tablespoon and half is a good amount. You don’t want to skimp on the filling, but you don’t want to overfill it either or it could ooze out during frying. Tip: Use a small ice cream scoop to fill makes releasing the cheese mixture a breeze.
Now lay the filled cone/sheet back onto the working surface, and lightly flatten the filling with your hand. Dab some more of the flour paste on all the remaining sides.
Now all there’s left to do is fold down the filled cone to the left side, then fold down once again to the right side. See that little tail sticking out? Just stick it to the triangle. Perfect! No? Didn’t quite get it? Then keep scrolling for a little GIF…
Flip, stick, flop, fill, stick, flip, flop, flip…Done!
Now keep them nice and cold in the freezer until you’re ready to fry, or save them in there for a rainy day! Freezing is a little extra insurance that the cheese will not seep out while frying, but you could still fry right away if you want:)
Here’s the thing we’re not deep frying here…we’re only using juuuuust enough oil to cover less than half way up the samosas. This will prevent the cheese filling from getting all rebellious and wanting to escape. Also…makes it diet food…teeehhheeee:)))
A few minutes on each side and VOILA!
All ready to grace the iftar table. Now bring on the dates and karkadeh (a traditional Ramadani hibiscus drink).
Remember when I said it will remind you of the inside of cheese fries?
Which brings me…Ummm…WHERE’S THAT MARINARA DIP.
Recipe: Fried dishes for Hanukkah, including Cheese Sambusak
Note: To add extra seasoning to your schnitzel, add 1/4 cup dukkah (see recipe) to the breadcrumb mixture. From: “Sababa,” by Adeena Sussman.
• 1 c. dried regular breadcrumbs
• 1 tsp. fine sea salt, divided, plus more for seasoning
• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided, plus more for seasoning
• 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, or more if you like it hot
• 4 (6-oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
• 1/2 c. vegetable oil, for frying, plus more as needed
In a shallow dish, combine the dried breadcrumbs, panko, sesame seeds, ½ teaspoon of the salt, garlic powder, paprika, ¼ teaspoon of the black pepper, and the cayenne. Place the beaten eggs in another shallow dish.
In a third shallow dish, combine the flour with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
Season the chicken generously with salt and black pepper. Place each piece between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound lightly with a mallet to achieve a thickness anywhere between 1/8 and 1/4 inch. If you prefer your schnitzels to be smaller, this is the time to halve them.
Line a sheet tray with parchment. Dredge the cutlets in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumb mixture, shaking off the excess after each step and pressing the crumbs in firmly on both sides. Arrange them on the sheet tray as you finish the breading process. If desired, wait 30 minutes before frying (this helps the crumbs adhere better).
In a heavy skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes the oil should be hot but not smoking. Working in batches, lay 2 cutlets in the pan and fry until the underside is golden brown and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and fry for 2 to 3 more minutes. Drain on paper towels, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve hot.
Nutrition information per serving:
Sodium 920 mg Carbohydrates 39 g
Saturated fat 8 g Added sugars 2 g
Protein 50 g Cholesterol 200 mg Dietary fiber 3 g
Exchanges per serving: 1 starch, 1 ½ carb, 7 lean protein, 6 fat.
Note: Dukkah is an Egyptian spice blend used as a topping. Hazelnuts can be swapped for almonds, pistachios or peanuts. From: “Sababa,” by Adeena Sussman.
• 1 c. hazelnuts, preferably blanched
• 1/2 c. raw white sesame seeds
• 3 tbsp. whole coriander seeds • 3 tbsp. whole cumin seeds
• 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Place the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until the nuts are lightly browned, 9 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely. If the nuts have skins on them, rub them between two clean kitchen towels to remove and discard as much of the loose, papery skins as possible (if you don’t get them all, it’s OK).
While the hazelnuts are roasting, toast the sesame seeds in a medium, dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until golden and fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
Add the coriander and cumin seeds to the same skillet and toast until fragrant and the seeds begin to pop, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a separate plate to cool.
Grind the cumin and coriander in a spice grinder until powdery and transfer to the bowl of a food processor. Add the hazelnuts, pepper, sugar, and salt and process until the mixture looks like fine sand, being careful not to overprocess the nuts into paste, 15 to 20 seconds.
Transfer to a bowl and add the sesame seeds. Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 1 month.
Cheese Sambusak (Turnovers)
Note: From: “The Jewish Cookbook,” by Leah Koenig.
• 8 oz. crumbled feta cheese
• 4 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated
• 1/2 tsp. onion powder, optional
• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water
• Sesame seeds, for topping, optional
To make the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, 1/2 cup water, egg, and salt until well combined and foamy. Stir in the flour, a little at a time, until a soft dough forms (you might not use the full 2 1/2 cups). Form the dough into a disc, wrap with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature while making the filling.
To make the filling: In a food processor, combine the feta, Parmesan, eggs, onion powder (if using), salt and pepper and pulse until a thick paste forms.
To assemble: Pinch off a walnut-size piece of dough and roll it into a ball. Working on a lightly floured surface, roll it out into a 4-inch round. Place a heaping tablespoon of the filling into the middle of the round. Fold one side of the round over to the other to make a half-moon, pinching it tightly to seal the filling inside. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
Line a large plate with two layers of paper towel. In a large saucepan, heat 2 inches vegetable oil over medium heat. Gently slip the turnovers into the hot oil in batches of 4 or 5 and fry until golden brown, flipping once halfway through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the fried sambusak to the paper towels to drain.
Nutrition information per each of 24:
Sodium 310 mg Carbohydrates 11 g
Saturated fat 4 g Added sugars 0 g
Protein 5 g Cholesterol 40 mg
Exchanges per serving: 1 starch, 1 fat.
Bimuelos (Cardamom-Sugar Fritters)
Note: From “Little Book of Jewish Sweets,” by Leah Koenig.
• 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
• 1/4 c. plus 1 tsp. sugar, divided
Stir together the yeast, 1 tsp. of the sugar, and the warm water in a large bowl, and let sit until bubbling and frothy, 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together 3 cups of the flour, the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, the cardamom, and salt in a separate bowl. Stir the egg yolks, milk and vanilla into the yeast mixture. Add the flour mixture in two additions, stirring until the dough begins to come together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding up to 1 cup of flour, a little at a time, until the dough is smooth and supple, 5 to 10 minutes. (You may not need all of the flour.) The kneading can also be done in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook for 5 to 7 minutes.
Rub about 1 tsp. of vegetable oil around the large bowl place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Line a large plate with paper towels. Add oil to a medium saucepan until it’s about 1 1/2 inches deep and set the pan over the medium heat until the temperature reaches 365 on a candy or deep-frying thermometer. Working in batches of five or six, pinch off walnut-size pieces of dough, roll each into a ball shape, and drop into the hot oil. Fry, flipping once, until puffed, golden and cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes total. Transfer with a slotted spoon to the prepared plate to drain.
Make the cardamom sugar: Stir together the sugar, cardamom and cinnamon in a large bowl. Working in batches, add the warm bimuelos to the mixture and toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the dough: In the bowl of a food processor, combine all-purpose flour, semolina, butter, and salt process until mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds. While pulsing, add warm water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube, adding more, if necessary process until dough just comes together. Dough should be soft and moist, not sticky. Cover bowl set aside.
Prepare the Filling: In a large bowl, gently stir to combine cheese, egg, and salt, if using set aside.
On a work surface, divide dough into thirds keep two-thirds dough covered in the bowl. With remaining one-third dough, form walnut-sized balls, 1 to 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Place sesame seeds in a small bowl dip each ball into sesame seeds to cover halfway. Using a tortilla press or the palm of your hand, flatten each ball, sesame-side down, into a 2 1/2-inch circle. Place 1 scant teaspoon of filling into center of circle fold dough over filling to enclose, forming a half-moon shape. Press edges together to seal, and crimp edges decoratively using the back of a fork. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet cover with a damp towel to prevent drying out. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Sambusak can be frozen at this point for up to 3 months.
Bake until edges are lightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes do not allow sambusak to brown as filling will dry out. Serve warm.
Moselle's String Cheese
Makes: 3 cheese twists
Total time: 1 hour
3 lbs mozzarella cheese curd, chopped into ½ inch cubes
¾ teaspoon nigella seeds, divided
3 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1. Set aside a large bowl with an ice bath and one sheet pan.
2. Make the cheese: Place a non-stick pan over medium-low heat. Place 1 pound of cheese curd into the pan and sprinkle ¼ teaspoon nigella seed and 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt into the pan. Using 2 heatproof spatulas, stir and knead the cheese curd in the pan as the cheese melts and separates from the liquid whey. Knead the cheese until all the cubes have melted and formed one smooth piece of cheese.
3. Shape the cheese: Quickly transfer the piece of cheese onto a sheet pan using the spatulas. Wear a pair of kitchen gloves to reduce the heat contact from the cheese on to your hands. Working quickly, create a hole in the center of the cheese with your fingers and start stretching the cheese into a ring-like shape. Twist the curd to make two loops and place the loops on top of each other to make them into one loop again. Stretch the loop with your two hands and when you can stretch no further twist the curd again to make two loops and overlap the loops to make one larger and thicker loop. Continue stretching the cheese and twisting it about 6 to 8 more times. For the final twist, twist the curd in opposite directions (like ringing out a towel) until it is tight and insert one end of the loop into the other end to create one cheese twist. Immediately place the cheese twist into the ice water bowel. Repeat the melting and shaping of the cheese twists with the remaining cheese curds, 1 pound at a time. Chill the cheese twists in the ice bath for at least 45 minutes to 1 hour. Drain the cheese from the water.
4. String the cheese: Untangle a cheese twist into one log of cheese. Starting from one end, pinch about 1 inch from the cheese and pull it away creating a long string of cheese. Continue pinching and pulling the strings of cheese until you have your desired amount of cheese.
5. Serve the cheese cold with ka’ak or vegetables.
Make ahead: Store the cheese twists in an airtight container a refrigerator for up to one week or in a freezer for up to 3 months.
Spinach and Cheese Sambousek, Lebanese Spinach and Cheese Ghughras recipe - How to make Spinach and Cheese Sambousek, Lebanese Spinach and Cheese Ghughras
Preparation Time: 20 mins    Cooking Time: 15 mins    Total Time: 35 mins     15 Makes 15 sambousiks
Show me for sambousiks
- For the dough
- Combine all the ingredients in a deep bowl, mix well and knead into semi-stiff dough using enough water.
- For spinach and cheese mixture
- 1. Heat the oil in a broad non-stick pan, add the onions and garlic and sauté on a medium flame for 2 minutes.
- Add the spinach, baharat powder and salt, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 3 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture in a deep bowl, add the feta cheese and walnuts, mix well. Divide the mixture into 15 equal portions. Keep aside.
- How to proceed
- Divide the dough into 15 equal portions and roll a portion of the dough into a 100 mm. (4") diameter circle using a little plain flour for rolling.
- Place a portion of spinach and cheese mixture in the centre. Fold it over to make a semi-circle. Seal the ends completely using a little water.
- Twist the edges.
- Repeat for the remaining dough circles and stuffing to make 14 more sambousek.
- Heat the oil in a deep non-stick kadhai and deep-fry, a few sambousek at a time on a slow flame till they turn golden brown in colour from all the sides. Drain on an absorbent paper.
- Serve immediately.