Sambosas are stuffed, deep-fried pastries, popular in Afghanistan and across the subcontinent. When Farida Ayubi’s parents lived in Kabul, Indian street-food vendors (who had been in Afghanistan for many generations since Mughal rule) were renowned for making the best sambosas. They are usually served with chutney sabz, chutney morcheh sorkh, or jaan-e-ama yoghurt dip.

Serves 18


2 small boiling potatoes, such as spunta, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 brown onion, very finely diced
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground ginger

For the dough

300g plain (all-purpose) flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra for deep-frying
125ml warm water


Bring the potato, carrot, and 125ml water to the boil in a small saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed and the vegetables are soft and cooked through. Transfer the vegetables to a large mixing bowl, add the onion and mix to combine well. Add the spices, 2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, and mix gently to combine. Set the filling aside while you make the dough.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and 1 tsp salt in a bowl to combine. Add the oil and mix to combine with your hands. Make a well in the centre, add the water to the well and combine with your hands to form a dough. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and firm; if it’s a little sticky, add a spoonful of flour and knead a little more to ensure the dough is firm. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and set aside at room temperature for 20 minutes to rest.

Once rested, divide the dough in half. Lightly dust a work surface with flour, then evenly roll out one half to make a circle 30cm across. Use a 10cm cookie cutter to cut out as many rounds as you can; you should get about nine. Place 1 tbsp of cooled filling into the centre of each circle and lightly moisten around the edge with water. Fold over one side of the circle to meet the other and press to seal the edges together to make semi-circles. Gently imprint decorative lines into the sealed edges of some of the sambosas with a fork. For a decorative rope-patterned edge, pinch, twist and press to seal the dough all the way along edge. Roll out the remaining dough to make a 30cm square, then cut into nine 10cm squares. Place 1 tablespoon of the filling in the middle of each square, bring the opposite corners together and press the edges to seal and form a triangle.

When you have about 18 sambosas ready to fry, fill a heavy-based saucepan a third full with oil and heat to 180°C on an oil thermometer. Fry the sambosas in small batches, turning once, for 2–3 minutes each side, or until they are golden brown and little bubbles appear on the surface of the pastries. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel to absorb excess oil. Serve the sambosas hot.

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