Fig and Feta Sambousek with Homemade Harissa Sauce

6 Aug

The second wave of figs (higos) are just starting to ripen here now. This means that we have lots of figs.

We actually have a huge carrier bag full of them in the freezer that was given to us by our friend Leigh, thanks Leigh! Fig chutney was one of the first (in fact the second) recipe that I posted when I first started this blog last September. I’ve just made some more, it tastes great, really aromatic and spicy and it is amazing on a cheese sandwich.

We have just found a Lebanese restaurant in Alhaurin de la Torre called Beirut. It’s been there for ages and I don’t know why we haven’t been before because it has a huge amount of vegetarian dishes to choose from. We popped in for lunch on the way to the Viveros Guzman (an amazing garden centre) and ordered a vegetarian mezze called Katastroph to share.

Each little dish that they brought out was delicious. The hummus was the creamiest and the baba ghanoush was the smokiest that I have ever had, and I’ve had a lot. This was followed by a tabouleh, which was really fresh and was mainly fresh parsley (not a lot of bulgur) which is a good thing. The falafel were light and flavourful. All too often falafel can be heavy, dense and bland. Not these, there was an ingredient in there that I couldn’t recognise but was really familiar, something like fennel seeds, but not. All this was served with a really soft, light arab bread.

Then they brought out the thing that was, for me, the highlight. Sambusik (or sambousek) are little mini pasties, like samosas, but smaller. They seemed to be made out of the same dough as the bread and were stuffed with feta and onion or spinach and lemon. TO. DIE. FOR. Especially the feta and onion, like a mini cheese and onion pasty but softer. By the way I am not getting paid for this review, nor do they know that I am writing it. It is just something I had to share.

I researched it and found this recipe for the dough. It is not as soft and bread-like as theirs but it is really easy to work with, I added some fennel seeds to the dough for extra flavour too.

The fig chutney and feta combination was just born out of the fact that I have so much fig chutney and wanted to use it. It’s spicy sweetness contrasts really well with the salty, creamy feta. It would make a fabulous tart filling too. Just spread some on a puff pastry circle and crumble over the feta, cook at 220 C for about 15-20 minutes until puffed and golden and sprinkle over some fresh parsley to serve.

You could also use fresh figs as the base if you don’t want to bother making the chutney.

Those were the step by step pictures, in case you were wondering. This is the finished product.

I decided to make my own harissa sauce to go with this because, as you know, I have a mountain of chillis and it may be the only chilli sauce I haven’t made yet!

This sauce is hot so I mixed it with some greek yoghurt to serve with the sambousek.

Fig & Feta Sambousek with Homemade Harissa Sauce

For the harissa sauce:

Makes about 250 ml, vegan, gluten-free. Adapted from Taste Food

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tin/jar (200 gr) roasted red peppers, and any juice (I used piquillo peppers), roughly chopped
  • 3 red chillies, stemmed and finely chopped with seeds
  • 3 large cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or more)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree (tomate frito)
  • 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • a handful of fresh parsley, chopped

Toast the seeds in a dry pan until fragrant, but do not burn. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and grid to a fine powder.

Put the peppers, chillis, garlic, ground seeds, tomato puree, olive oil and parsley in a food processor and blend until smooth, adding more oil or tomato puree, if necessary, to get the desired consistency. Season with the salt & black pepper and taste (a tiny amount). You may want to add more salt or a pinch of sugar. Pour into a sterilised bottle/jar, seal and keep in the fridge until needed.

For the Fig & Feta Sambousek:

Makes about 16 small pastries, vegetarian

  • 225 gr (1 1/2 cups) flour (I use Atta wholemeal), plus extra for dusting
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fennel or cumin seeds
  • 110 ml (1/2 cup) warm, not hot water
  • fig chutney, see my recipe here
  • 100-150 gr greek feta, cut into small cubes
  • fresh parsley leaves
  • sumac (optional)
  • olive oil for brushing
  • harissa sauce (see above)
  • greek yoghurt

Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl, then stir in the seeds. Add the olive oil, stir it around then make a well in the middle and pour in the tepid water. Fold the flour into the water, turning the bowl as you go until it forms a sticky dough.

Flour the work surface and knead the dough until it is smooth and no longer sticky about 2 minutes. Wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for at least an hour.

Flour your work surface and rolling-pin and roll out the dough to about 3mm thick. Cut out small circles (I used a water-glass) about 3 inches diameter. Lift the excess pastry away from the circles, re-roll it and cut out more circles, you should get about 16 in total.

Spread the circles on your work surface and put a teaspoon of fig chutney in the centre of each one. Top this with a small cube of feta, a parsley leaf and a small pinch of sumac.

Lift up two opposite edges and seal them around the filling. Seal the two other ends, pinching them together to create a four-cornered sambousek (see pictures above). They can be refrigerated at this point.

Preheat oven to 180 C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Brush the baking paper with olive oil and place the sambousek on the tray, you may need two trays. Brush them with olive oil and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.

Mix some harissa paste and greek yoghurt together, tasting until you get the right balance for you. Top with some fresh parsley leaves.

Serve the hot/warm sambousek with the harissa yoghurt sauce and sprinkle over some more fresh parsley.

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36 Responses to “Fig and Feta Sambousek with Homemade Harissa Sauce”

  1. frugalfeeding August 6, 2011 at 7:50 pm #

    Wow these just look so delicious. I’ve not read your blog in a while I really should remember to do so more often. Looks really good as per!

  2. Clarkie @ Beloved Green August 6, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    Mouthwatering good. You had me sold at “feta”.

  3. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide August 6, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    Isn’t it great when a dish you’ve had a million times is a revelation? Your figs are huge. I love this recipe, the entire post really!

  4. Savorique August 6, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

    I know a few friends who’d love to try this middle eastern snack with the hot sauce. I’ll share the link.
    Do you know why you include tomato sauce in your harissa? Is it for a milder taste? I thought authentic harissa did not contain tomato.

    • foodblogandthedog August 6, 2011 at 10:51 pm #

      Yes that’s my addition, to thin it out, sweeten it and tone it down slightly, it’s hot. Feel free to leave it out to be authentic though.

  5. breadfortheboys August 6, 2011 at 10:58 pm #

    Fig and feta, what’s not to like?!

  6. sprint2thetable August 7, 2011 at 5:05 am #

    Love the harissa with these – spicy and sweet is my favorite combo!

  7. peasepudding August 7, 2011 at 7:44 am #

    All those figs made me jealous, my tree only offered up 6 this year and unfortunately they were unripe too. We are busy with citrus at this time if year, marmalades and curds on the boil this week.

  8. chicaandaluza August 7, 2011 at 11:43 am #

    You are a very talented and creative cook and the photos are always stunning too. Can´t believe there´s a Lebanese restaurant where you are, you are so lucky! Our figs are still about 2 or 3 weeks off being ready, but I´ll be checking out your chutney recipe when they´re ripe.

    • foodblogandthedog August 7, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

      Thanks so much! I love reading your blog too, it’s good to know there’s someone here on the same page, as it were! Come on figs what are you waiting for? :D

  9. tony ward August 7, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

    ooooooooooooo hhhhhhh I’m dribbling all over my laptop princess…STOP !!
    This one is FAB hey, and I look forward to visiting the restaurant on my/our next trip.
    Can’t you have a fancy dress party with all those fig leaves ?? xx

  10. Maris (In Good Taste) August 7, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

    I adore this recipe. These look so good!

  11. Tandy August 7, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    I am going to come back during fig season and try making the chutney :)

  12. Am'broisie August 7, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    These bites look reeeeally nice. I’m jealous of your figs… there’s nothing like a good ripe fig! But then, when you have tons of them… well, still, I’m jealous! Thanks for your comment on my blog, I’m happy to have discovered yours.

  13. tiffany August 7, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

    Wow! These sambousek are gorgeous little pockets of fig and feta goodness :D… and homemade harissa?!?!? How cool!

  14. Ruby August 8, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    I love your spin on sambousek! Congrats on the fb Top 9 – so glad it helped me discover your blog. :-)

  15. Ramona August 8, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    Wow! This is fantastic. What a combination of flavors. Congrats on making Foodbuzz Top 9! I’m so happy for you! : )

  16. Aimee@clevermuffin August 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    Wow. These are amazing. An absolute flavour full. I wish I would try them! I was literally leaning closer to the computer screen as I was looking at all the photos I think in some attempt to try and smell them or something!

  17. alyce August 8, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

    Great combination of hot and sweet.

  18. Juanita August 8, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

    Gorgeous post! Those look just perfect. Your harissa recipe is amazing.

  19. Divya August 8, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

    So glad to discover your blog!

    I’m a big fan of Middle Eastern food since I was brought up there and this recipe brings back memories. I usually buy harissa sauce, but nothing beats homemade. I want to try the harissa recipe out soon!

  20. Megan Hile (@foodalution) August 8, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

    Beautiful post! And… glad to find your blog. Congrats on top 9! I love caraway…. – I just want to sink into the sauce and eat my way out!

  21. sarah August 9, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    Fig and feta sound like such an awesome combination! Especially wrapped in those incredible pastries- Gorgeous!

  22. Celia August 9, 2011 at 10:17 pm #

    This looks so, so delicious. I’m also just dying of jealousy of your super-productive fig trees; figs are far and away my favorite fruit, ever. Especially with goat or blue cheese. Was the cumin-studded dough your idea? Cuz that’s total genius…

  23. Tes August 10, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    Wow what a lovely fig recipe :) I will definitely make this when the fig season arrive :)

  24. Caroline August 10, 2011 at 8:42 pm #

    OMG I’m drooling. These look spectacular, Natalie!! Fig and feta…really, how could you go wrong?

  25. Dani August 13, 2011 at 7:11 pm #

    These look amazing, Natalie. Of course, it’s never fig season where I live, but I could probably figure out a stone fruit substitution. Do you think these could be frozen before baking? I’ve done that with samosas before and these seem similar.

    • foodblogandthedog August 13, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

      Yes, peach or plum would be lovely. I’m sure they would freeze well too, I didn’t get the chance we ate them all!!

  26. canalcook August 16, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

    These look absolutely beautiful. I am addicted to all things feta or fig based (since fresh figs only came into my life in my early 20s) so I will definitely have to try these.

  27. Lindsay August 16, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

    Definitely on the “To Eat” list :) Mmmmmmmmmmm…

    • Chef Scar August 18, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

      These look absolutely delicious, now if I can only find fresh figs.

  28. Mandy Vellacott August 23, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    Loved these recipes. After living for nearly 14 years in the middle east I miss good Lebanese food and its great to hear about the restaurant in de la Torre!! I also make these little pastries and have a recipe for the bread dough if you want it!
    Thanks for your inspiration (Aubergine and tomato curry for dinner tonight – your recipe).

    • foodblogandthedog August 23, 2011 at 8:11 pm #

      Definitely want that dough recipe, it was so good! Hope you enjoy the curry!!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Unbelieveably Easy Fresh Fig and Almond Ice Cream « Cook Eat Live Vegetarian - August 16, 2011

    [...] As you probably know I have a huge bag of fresh figs in my freezer (thanks Leigh) and am desperately trying to use them up. The thing is they don’t seem to be going down.  I’ve made Fig Chutney, Fig Jam, Fig Muffins, Fig Granola Crumble, and just recently Fig & Feta Sambouseks. [...]

  2. Andalucian Stuffed Vine Leaves with Spinach, Raisins and Almonds « Cook Eat Live Vegetarian - September 4, 2011

    [...] This makes quite a lot of filling and I didn’t have that many vine leaves (as I had picked them off somebody elses vine) so I used the rest of the filling to make some empanadas which were lovely too. You can buy ready to use round empanada sheets or make you own pastry from my recipe here. [...]

  3. Sweet Quince, Fennel Seed and Pistachio Sambousek Pastries « Cook Eat Live Vegetarian - October 29, 2012

    [...] samosa-like pastries that are normally savoury and filled with meat or cheese. I made these savoury Fig & Feta Sambouseks before, so this is just a little step in a sweeter direction. The picture below is of the savoury [...]

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