National Cuisines of Kyrgyzstan
Gallery of Recipes


Samsa (samsy in the plural) are common forms of "street food" but are also served in many cafes. Similar to Indian Samosas and small Cornish Pasties, they are a form of "finger food" (i.e. eaten from the hand, not with cutlery). The big difference is that the filling can be quite hot and a bite into the pastry can lead to a squirt of hot, liquid fat – so caution is advised when eating.

In Kyrgyzstan they are usually triangular in shape, but square samsy can be found.

Some useful tips:

* In Central Asia, Samsa without plenty of finely chopped meat is unthinkable. This means knives need to be sharpened often and thoroughly.

* You could try your own version with bacon.

* In Kyrgyzstan, spices are used sparingly – and hence the taste tends to be rather plain. Additional herbs and spices can be added to bring out different tastes – hot and spicy or mild and "natural", according to taste.

* When removing them from the oven, place the samsy on a paper towel and brush once more with oil.

Ingredients: 2 cups flour; red pepper; 1 egg; 3-4 cups minced (ground - or finely chopped) beef or mutton (beef or chicken can be used); 2 onions, chopped fine; 10 cloves of garlic, chopped fine; salt; pepper; melted butter. 

Sometimes other vegetables, such as pumpkin, are added instead of red pepper.


Dissolve 2 tablespoons of salt in warm water. Beat the egg and mix with the flour. Add the salt water to the flour a little at a time until the dough holds together but isn’t sticky. Set aside in a covered bowl.

Mix the ground beef or mutton, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper together.  It is best kneaded together by hand.

Roll out the dough into one big thin circle. Spread a thin layer of butter on it, and then roll up the circle as you would a rug, into a long tube. Cut off a 3 inch section of the tube and roll out again, to create fine layers in the pastry. The "patties" should be about the size of a hand – so that when folded over the sides of the finished samsa are about 8-10cms long. Place 1-2 tablespoons of the filling mixture on the dough and fold opposite ends together to make a little triangular package. Seal the seams of the "packet" well by working them into one another.

Repeat until the dough and filling mix is used up. Bake on a greased baking tray and brush the tops with a little oil. Place the baking tray in the oven at a medium heat (350) for 40 to 50 minutes or until the meat is cooked through and the dough is brown.