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Uzbek Samsa Recipe: The Perfect Camp Snack

Uzbek Samsa Recipe: The Perfect Camp Snack was originally published in November 2020 

A favorite snack of mine I was introduced to several years back was the Uzbek samsa. My travels over the years have introduced me to all kinds of different cuisines and dishes.  

Samsa aren’t anything too foreign, similar to Indian samosas, and even empanadas that are popular throughout Latin America. Essentially, samsa are baked snacks that can be found at any bazaar in Central Asia. Typically triangular in shape, these delicious little packets are commonly stuffed with minced meat and onions, and sometimes you can find a vegetarian version with potatoes or pumpkin. 

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Why Take Samsa Camping?

Why not? These delectable little baked packets make the perfect quick snack (or meal) whether your camping in a campground or backpacking in the mountains. 

So why are they the perfect camp snack? Simply because you can prep and make them at home before you leave and then heat them up on the go. 

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Uzbek Samsa Recipe

These Uzbek samsa are delicious. I combined a recipe I learned while traveling in Central Asia with the recipe out of Caroline Eden’s new book Red Sands: Reportage & Recipes through Central Asia from Hinterland to Heartlandland that was just released last week, I recommend you pick up a copy. I’m going to include the fillings for the typical beef or lamb samsa, as well as a chicken version, a potato version, and a curried smashed pumpkin version. 

I am also including a recipe to make your own samsa dough, but if you want to expedite the process, you can pick up a package of puff pastry and use that in lieu of handmade samsa dough.

Serving size
4

Prep time
1 hour

Cooking time
30 minutes

Uzbek Samsa Ingredients 

Samsa Dough

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 cup of melted butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Black or regular sesame seeds and/or onion seeds

Cheater Samsa Dough

  • 1 lb packet of puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Black or regular sesame seeds and/or onion seeds
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Samsa Fillings

Traditional Samsa Filling

  • 1 lb of minced beef or lamb
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp of ground black pepper

Chicken Samsa Filling

  • 1 lb of chicken breast
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp of ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Potato Samsa Filling

  • 4 medium-sized potatoes of your choice (I used red potatoes)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp of ground black pepper

Smashed Curried Pumpkin Samsa Filling

  • 1 small pie pumpkin, or 2 cups of canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp of Ras al Hanout or Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp of ground black pepper
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Uzbek Samsa Dough Instructions

1. Add Flour

Sift flour into a mixing bowl.

2. Add Salt To The Water

Add salt into the warm cup of water, stir until salt is dissolved.

3. Add Water To The Flour

Pour your saltwater mixture into the flour. 

4. Knead The Dough

Knead your dough for a few minutes until well mixed. Roll Dough into a ball.

5. Let It Rest

Cover your dough ball inside the mixing bowl with a towel and let it rest for 30 minutes. 

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6. Roll Out Your Samsa Dough

After 30 minutes, sprinkle your working surface with flour and roll out your dough into a rectangle with a rolling pin. You want the dough to be about 1/8 inch thick. 

7. Butter Up Your Samsa Dough

Take your melted butter and cover your rectangular dough sheet with it.

8. Roll It Up

Now, take one edge of the rectangle and begin rolling it up tightly.

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9. Slice The Dough Roll

Slice your samsa dough into 12-16 pieces. If you want larger samsa only cut 12, if you’d like smaller ones, shoot for 16 pieces. 

10. Make Your Samsa Patties

Take each dough slice and place it in your hand (as if it was a tiny cinnamon roll). Now, smash the roll into a flat patty.

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11. Let The Patties Sit For 3 Hours

Take all your smashed patties and stack them between parchment paper in an airtight container. Place the container in the refrigerator and chill for 3 hours or longer. It’s safe to chill overnight and use it for the next day too. 

Uzbek Samsa Cheater Dough Instructions

Don’t have the time or patience to make samsa dough? No problem.

1. Cut Out Your Squares

On a lightly floured surface, cut your laid out puff pastry into a 4×3 or 4×4 grid, leaving you with 12 or 16 squares. 

2. Roll It Out

Roll out each square of puff pastry until it is about 1/8 inch thick.

Samsa Filling Instructions 

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Traditional Samsa (Beef Or Lamb) Filling

1. Mix It Up

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mixing well. Let the mixture rest for about 30 minutes.

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Chicken Samsa, Uzbek Samsa, Samsa, Central Asian food, Uzbek Samsa recipe,

Chicken Samsa Filling

1. Prep The Chicken Breasts

Preheat your oven to 375ºF. Take your chicken breasts and rub them with olive oil. Next, place them on a baking sheet and sprinkle both sides of the chicken with cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper.

2. Roast The Chicken

Roast the chicken breasts in the oven for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove them from the oven and allow to cool.

3. Mix The Remaining Ingredients

Chop the cooked chicken into tiny pieces (alternatively, you could opt to shred your chicken). Next mix your chopped chicken, chopped onion, and minced garlic together in a bowl. 

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Potato Samsa, Uzbek Samsa, Samsa, Central Asian food, Uzbek Samsa recipe,

Potato Samsa Filling

1. Prep And Boil The Potatoes 

Bring a medium-sized saucepan of water with a dash of salt to a boil while you cube the potatoes. Once finished, add the potatoes to the boiling water and allow them to boil for about 20 minutes, or until they are soft. Drain the potatoes and allow them to cool.

2. Mash The Potatoes, Onion, And Garlic

Plop your cooked potatoes into a mixing bowl with all the remaining ingredients. Mash them with a potato masher until you reach your desired consistency. 

If you’re feeling lazy, don’t worry. You can always use instant mashed potatoes, I won’t judge you.

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Smashed Curried Pumpkin Samsa Filling

1. Prep Your Pumpkin

Preheat your oven to 375ºF. Take you pumpkin and slice it into wedges about 3 inches wide, removing the slimy guts and the seeds (though set the seeds aside to salt and bake later as a treat). 

2. Get Your Pumpkin Wedges Ready To Roast

Place your pumpkin wedges, skin-side down on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast your pumpkin for about 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, remove your roasted pumpkin from the oven and allow to cool. Once cool, peel the skin off your pumpkin. If you’re using canned pumpkin, you’ll skip these first two steps and go straight to step 3.

3. Mix & Mash Your Pumpkin

Cut your pumpkin wedges into cubes, placing them in a mixing bowl, then add the remaining ingredients. I love pumpkin spiced with Ras al Hanout or Garam Masala spice, however, you can opt for any spice mixture you want if neither of these appeals to you. Using a potato masher, smash your pumpkin concoction together to your desired consistency. 

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Uzbek Samsa, Samsa, Central Asian food, Uzbek Samsa recipe,

Assemble Your Samsa

1. Get Your Dough Ready

Remove your dough patties from the refrigerator and roll each dough patty out into a big circle, trying to make the dough as thin as possible without it tearing. If you used puff pastry, you’ll want to roll out your dough squares until thin. Only roll on one side, do not flip over. 

2. Add Your Filling

Plop your filling in the middle of each samsa, trying to aim for about 2-3 tbsp on each patty. 

3. Samsa-Oragami Time

Preheat your oven to 375º if you haven’t already with the previous steps. 

Personally, I prefer my samsa in a triangular shape, however, you can fold your samsa in any shape you want. I take the opposing sides and fold them into a triangle and pinch the ‘top’ point, then take the bottom and fold it up and pinch the bottom two corners.

You can make a simple turn over with either square or circular pieces of dough, folding in half, and pinch the open side shut. I have also seen samsa made into a round and even hexagonal shapes using a similar technique to the triangle method, just with more side folding. 

When you’ve finished folding each samsa, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, folded-side down. 

4. Egg Wash & Bake

Using a pastry brush, brush each of your samsa with egg wash. Sprinkle your sesame seeds and/or onion seeds on top (spoiler alert, I didn’t have much sesame in my cabinet, so I used chia seeds), this part is entirely optional. 

Now, place your samsa in the oven for about 30 minutes or until golden. I usually pull my samsa out at about 15 minutes and drizzle with a little olive oil to help crisp the tops up a bit. 

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Have Any Questions About This Samsa Recipe?

Ask in the comments section below.

Check out more Vagabond Camp Cooking with Nicole recipes:

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