Friday, June 24, 2011

Samosa Week: You Say Samosa. I Say Sambusa Because I'm Eating Ethiopian At Soretti's


The last stop on Samosa Week takes us the farthest away -- Burtonsville and Soretti Ethiopian Cuisine.

The Ethiopian samosa is a sambusa.  It's the classic fried savory pastry with dough wrapped around a filling.  Soretti does three versions: beef, chicken and lentil.  They're the ideal fried item, so not-greasy that I thought it might have been pan-fried until I realized it was browned all over.

The sambusas are triangles.  Thinner than the Indian samosa.  The dough is thinner too, but still chewy.  It's somewhere between the thicker Indian and the crisp Afghan version.  The chicken version has minced meat with a little corn and other vegetables.  The lentils are tender and firm.

Like the Indian samosa, Soretti's sambusa itself doesn't have much spice to it.  It's great for the crunch, but the flavor comes from the accompanying sauce.  It's brown and slightly sour.  I was thinking tamarind again, maybe even lemon.  But that couldn't have been more wrong.

The sauce is based on balsamic vinegar with basil, olive oil, honey and black pepper.  Vinegar, oil and basil?  Can anyone say Italy?  Of course, that's the history of Ethiopian, and it just shows that fried pastries can rule the world.

If you give sambusas a try, they're a fine appetizer before Ethiopian stews that soak into the injera.  Consider the vegetarian and meat samplers as I wrote in a prior post.

This is part of Samosa Week -- a celebration of savory pastries from India and beyond.  We're highlighting the best of Howard County's fried appetizers in all kinds of flavors.

1 comment:

Marcia said...

Great week, HowChow!! I have enjoyed this. It's interesting to look at different ethnic variations on a similar food theme.

My ethnic background includes pierogies, boiled then served with onions sauteed in butter. Some cultures deep fry them. Some serve them with sour cream. Then there are the variations - the Chinese dumplings, etc.