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Sambousek Lahme (Lebanese Meat Pies)

Lebanese closed meat pies with filling of meat, onions, tomatoes and spices.

Course Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Lebanese
Keyword Baking, Meat, Pies
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 30 pies
Author Zaatar and Zaytoun


For the dough

  • 3 1/4 cups of plain or bread flour
  • 1/2 cup of lukewarm water
  • 1/2 cup of lukewarm milk
  • 2 tsp of dried active yeast
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of sugar
  • 3 tbsp regular olive oil /vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup of milk for brushing

For the meat filling

  • 500 g of lamb/beef mince (or both)
  • 4 medium tomatoes chopped finely
  • 4 medium onions chopped
  • 2 tsp 7 spice
  • 1/2 tsp of black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of turmeric
  • 1/2 tbsp of sumac
  • 1 tsp of salt approx


To make the dough

  1. In a bowl, combine the milk and water together and test the temperature with your finger, it should be only slightly warm (if it is too hot it will kill the yeast)

  2. Add the sugar and yeast to the liquid and stir well until it dissolves. Leave for 15 minutes allowing the yeast to ferment and bubble

  3. In a large bowl, add the salt and flour, oil and yeast liquid and bring together until you have a smooth ball. Add a tablespoon of water at a time if dry until it comes together
  4. Then turn out into a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes so the dough springs back a little when you poke it. If you are using a stand mixer knead for around 7 minutes

  5. Place the kneaded dough ball into a large mixing bowl and cover with cling film or damp cloth, leave to rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours or until doubled in size
  6. With floured hands knock back the dough and shape into a ball. Divide into small golf sized balls. Cover with muslin cloth and leave to rise for another hour

To make the meat filling

  1. Once you chop the tomatoes finely, transfer them to a fine sieve to drain out the liquid
  2. Sauté the onions in approximately 3-4 tablespoons of regular olive oil until golden.
  3. Add the mince meat and fry off on high heat pressing down with the back of your wooden spoon for around 10-15 minutes, draining any excess liquid that may arise.

  4. Add the spices, salt and sumac along with the tomatoes and cook for another five minutes
  5. Taste the filling and adjust the salt or seasoning if necessary.

To make the sambousek

  1. Turn on the oven on the highest setting (usually 230°C/450F)
  2. Roll the small dough balls into very thin rounds (approx 3 mm) adding a little flour to avoid sticking
  3. Spoon on some meat filling one one side leaving a small margin, and fold over. Press down the edges with your fingers and either use a fork or your finger to crimp (see video)

  4. Brush on a little milk to get a nice golden colour
  5. Bake for around 10 minutes until golden, turning half way if necessary to get an even bake

Recipe Video