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Beef, baharat and pine nut pies (sambousik) recipe

Photo: Beef, baharat and pine nut pies (sambousik) recipe
Photography by Alan Benson

This recipe is for the Lebanese version of a meat pie, but these fragrant pastries don’t require tomato sauce. You can freeze uncooked sambousik wrapped in plastic wrap for up to one month. Stand frozen at room temperature for 10 minutes before frying.

Makes 18–20
Preparation 30min
Cooking 25min
Skill level Mid

From SBS Food
By Norma Dakhoul


60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil, plus extra to deep-fry
½ cup pine nuts
2 brown onions, finely chopped
250 g lamb or beef mince
¾ tsp salt
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses (see Note)
yoghurt, to serve
chopped coriander, to serve (optional)


150 g (1 cup) plain flour
150 g (1 cup) self-raising flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil
125 ml (½ cup) water


½ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground nutmeg

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.

Resting time 1 hour

Cooling time 15 minutes

To make the pastry, combine the flours, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Add the oil and rub into the flour with your fingers until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add the water and mix until a dough starts to form. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 6–7 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and rest at room temperature for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, combine the baharat spices and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook for 2–3 minutes until lightly golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the onion and cook for 4–5 minutes until softened. Add the mince and cook for 4–5 minutes, breaking up the lumps with a wooden spoon, until evenly browned. Sprinkle 2½ tsp of baharat and the salt over the mince and continue to cook for a further 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the pomegranate molasses and pine nuts and mix until combined. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes until cool. 

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until 3 mm thick.  Use a 9 cm pastry cutter to cut out rounds. Take one piece of dough and place in the palm of your hand and brush half of the edge lightly with water. Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the centre and fold in half to form a semicircle. Pinch edges together to seal then pleat by making tight, overlapping folds, or crimp with a fork. Repeat with the remaining pastry and filling. Place filled pies in the fridge while you work.

Heat 10 cm olive oil in a deep saucepan to 170°C. Cook the pies, in batches, for 2–3 minutes until golden. Drain on paper towel.

Serve immediately with yoghurt and coriander, if you like.

• Pomegranate molasses is available from Middle Eastern food stores and some delicatessens and supermarkets.

More from the Lebanese Recipes Kitchen:

Sambousik Lahmeh
Fried Meat Sambousek
Spinach and Feta Cheese Sambousek    
Meat pies, Damascus-style 
Small pies (Manaeish) or Fatayer 

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