Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook
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Sanbusa, like the heart hidden within the breast.
Another Ramadan dish popular in Syria, Lebanon and Egypt, sanbusa traveled to India and became known as samosa. Sweet sanbusa halvah are special favorites at weddings in the Gulf countries. This is a single recipe for dough, and three different fillings, each yielding enough to fill one batch of dough to make 36-48 pastries.
Total time: 1-½ hours
¾ cup butter
¾ cup oil
5 cups white flour
2 tsp. salt
½-¾ cup cold water

Melt the butter with the oil. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl, make a well in the center, and add the oil and butter. Stir vigorously until combined, then add water until the dough holds together and comes away from the sides of the bowl. Wrap the ball of dough in plastic and let rest in the refrigerator while preparing the stuffing.

Meat filling
1-½ pounds ground meat
¾ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup oil
½ cup pine nuts
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
½ cup, finely chopped parsley
¾ tsp. cinnamon

Work all ingredients with the hands until fully combined.

Cheese filling
1-½ pounds feta cheese, crumbled
¾ cup fresh herbs, finely chopped (dill, mint, chives, parsley, cilantro
3 tbsp. warm water
¾ tsp. pepper

Place ingredients in the work bowl of a food processor; blend well.

Vegetable filling
¼ cup olive oil
¾ cup finely chopped onion
1-½ pounds leafy greens (spinach, chard, dandelion or nettles), coarsely chopped
2 tsp. salt
½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped and lightly toasted
¼ cup currants
¾ tsp. pepper

Heat the olive oil over medium heat, then sauté the onions for 2 minutes. Add the greens and salt and stir well. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and cook until the greens are wilted and give off their juices. Turn off the heat, add the toasted walnuts, currants and pepper, and stir well.

Sweet filling
3 cups finely ground almonds
1-½ cups sugar
2 tsp. cardamom
¼ tsp. saffron, dissolved in 1 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. rosewater

Combine all ingredients and stir well.

To assemble the sanbusa:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. For each pastry, take a walnut-sized piece of dough and roll it out into a 3" circle. Place a teaspoonful of filling in the center of the dough, fold the circle into a half-moon shape and pinch the edges firmly. (Another traditional shape is the triangular pocket, formed by pinching together the edges of the circle in three seams that meet in the center over the filling.) Place the pastries on an ungreased baking sheet and bake in the oven for 45 minutes, until golden yellow, or deep fry in vegetable oil. Serve warm.