Ye Misir Sambusa: Get Luladey Moges' from-scratch recipe for how to make Ethiopian Lentil Samosas

She shared how to make a big batch of the snack from her new cookbook Enebla and freeze it for later.

She shared how to make a big batch of the snack from her new cookbook Enebla and freeze it for later

a wooden bowl of lentil samosas on a grey table. a bowl of sauce is in the top left corner. a plate with a samosa with a bite out of it sits at the bottom of the image.
(Photography by DL Acken)

If the sight of these Ye Misir Sambusas (Ethiopian Lentil Samosas) immediately makes you want to prep a big batch for the freezer so you’ve got them on hand whenever the craving hits, us too. This recipe from Luladey Moges’ new cookbook, Enebla: Recipes From an Ethiopian Kitchen, is easy to scale up and prep in advance, the author confirmed. “The only thing I will note,” she shared via email, “is the amount of sambusas you make should be based on how much you stuff the wrapper, so if you use the recommended two tablespoons from the recipe, you will get double the batch.” 

You can make the filling a day in advance and then fold and fry when you’re ready to eat — just make sure the filling is room temperature or warmer. “I don’t recommend assembling it with cold filling right from the fridge, as you may burn the outside trying to warm up the filling,” Moges cautioned. And if you want to tuck some pre-cooked sambusas into the freezer for another day, simply defrost them first and avoid the microwave for reheating, “as the outside may become soggy,” she explained. Instead, she recommends popping them in the air fryer or oven to crisp them up again. Read on to learn how to make these lentil-packed snacks from scratch — a favourite of Moges’.

Ye Misir Sambusa (Ethiopian Lentil Samosa)

By Luladey Moges

Sambusa is a pastry filled with lentils or beef, similar to the Indian samosa. It was one of my favorite snacks when I was growing up. Actually, it’s still a favorite. It is served as an appetizer or snack.


  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • ⅓ cup oil
  • 2 jalapeños, deseeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ (4.7-oz) package egg roll/spring roll wraps (or 8 sheets of phyllo pastry, halved)
  • Vegetable oil for frying (about 4 cups)


Place the lentils in a pot, add enough water to cover them by 2 inches, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are al dente, about 5 minutes. You don’t want them fully cooked or mushy. Remove from the heat, drain, and set aside.

Place the onions and oil in a skillet. Cook over medium heat until the onions are translucent and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the jalapeños, garlic, and ginger. Cook to soften slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in the lentils and coriander, making sure the coriander does not clump. Turn down the heat to low, add salt and pepper to taste, and stir. Cover the pot and let cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are fully cooked, 8–10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Working with one egg roll wrapper at time, fold each sheet into a cone and add 2 tablespoons of lentils. Fold in the top edges of the wrapper to close it, brush a little water along each edge, and seal. Repeat the process with the remaining wrappers and filling.

Place 4 cups of oil in a deep, heavy-bottomed pot. The oil should be at least 4 inches deep, but it shouldn’t come more than halfway up the sides of the pot, so adjust the amount as required. Place the pot over high heat and bring the oil to boiling point (365°F). Deep-fry a few sambusas at a time, making sure they are submerged in the oil and gently turning them so they cook evenly on each side. Give the oil a few minutes to return to temperature between batches. Once they are golden brown, about 5 minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the pot and place on paper towel or parchment paper to drain the oil.

Serve while warm with a side of sauce—my personal favorites are awaze or kochkocha—or by itself.

Note: For the meat version of this dish, called ye siga sambusa (beef sambusas), substitute the lentils with 1 pound of ground beef. Place the beef in a pot and add enough water to cover it by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until rare/medium-rare but not fully cooked, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain, and follow the method above from paragraph 2 to the end.

Serves 4–6.

Excerpted from Enebla: Recipes From an Ethiopian Kitchen by Luladey Moges. Copyright © 2022 by Luladey Moges. Published by TouchWood Editions. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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