Golden sambusas on a baking sheet

Chickpea sambusa with spinach and mint

  • makes 15
  • Easy

Flaky and buttery samsa, Central Asia’s beloved turnovers are known in Tajikistan as sambusa. Try this version from Dushanbe with with chickpea, spinach and mint, best enjoyed with a cup of green tea


Try these sambusa pastries, then check out more savoury puff pastry recipes including our lamb kofta puffs, spinach and feta pastry and vegan sausage rolls.

Elsewhere in the region, fillings are typically beef, lamb, pumpkin, spinach or potatoes but in Dushanbe there are chickpea ones and, in the springtime, herb-filled variations. This recipe combines the two. Samsa or sambusa are always eaten with green tea – this is especially the case if they’re lamb as the tea cuts through the fat.



  • onion 1 small, roughly chopped
  • chickpeas 400g tin, drained and rinsed
  • mint leaves roughly chopped to make 3 tbsp
  • spinach a handful
  • fine sea salt 1 tsp
  • black peppercorns ground to make 1 tsp
  • ground cumin 1 tsp
  • dill seeds 1 tsp (optional)
  • puff pastry 320g pack
  • egg 1 small, beaten
  • black sesame seeds 1 tsp, to garnish (optional)


  • Step 1

    Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 and line a large baking tray (or two smaller trays) with baking paper.

  • Step 2

    Put the onion in a food processor and pulse a few times, then add 100g of the chickpeas, the mint and spinach, and pulse so it comes together. Put the mixture into a large bowl and stir in 1 tsp of salt, the pepper, cumin, dill seeds, if using, and the remaining chickpeas.

  • Step 3

    Lightly flour a worksurface and the pastry, and roll it out to 37cm x 28cm. Using an 8cm cutter, stamp out 15 rounds, then put 1 tsp of the filling in the middle of each one and bring up the edges to create a triangle shape. Press to seal, creating a samosa-style triangle. Repeat with the remaining pastry.

  • Step 4

    Put on the baking tray, seam-side down. Brush each one with the egg wash and scatter over the black sesame seeds or a sprinkle of sea salt flakes and a few grindings of black pepper, if you like. Bake for 15 minutes then, when the pastry has fully risen, lower the oven temperature to its lowest setting and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the layers are dry and crispy.

Recipes adapted from Red Sands by Caroline Eden (£26, Quadrille). Photographs: © Ola O Smit and Theodore Kaye.

Discover more chickpea recipes

Chickpea and Squash Vegetarian Curry Recipe

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 111
  • Fat 6.4g
  • Saturates 2.8g
  • Carbs 9.7g
  • Sugars 0.6g
  • Fibre 1.6g
  • Protein 2.9g
  • Salt 0.5g