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Whether you're looking for the perfect gift for your dad, grandfather, or a father figure in your life, we have something special just for you. Save 15% off selected items until 6/16/24. Use code DAD. ⮞

Simple Sides – Samosa Snack

By Dennis Linden
Image of Lentil Sambusa
Children in this country consume an estimated 12 percent of their calories from fast food, and 20 percent of all American meals are eaten in the car! The consequences are predictably unhealthy. Competing schedules in the day-to-day lives of a busy modern family make it difficult to share a home-cooked meal, but not impossible. In fact, with a bit of planning, cooking together can become a fun family event and learning opportunity. This blog post will focus on providing a child or a group of children, working together under the supervision of an adult, with one uncomplicated, healthy and delicious side dish recipe. The dishes will be centered on seasonal fresh produce items; the recipes will always contain tasks that will allow even the youngest kitchen helper to contribute to the family meal. Parents should always read through each recipe carefully to judge the division of labor based on age and ability and identify where adult attention might be especially needed.
Image of Cooking with Kids
Many of the recipes presented here will seem very basic; this is by design. It is hoped that these simple preparations will provide the culinary foundation and confidence to inspire kids to try more challenging recipes as their experience and confidence in the kitchen develops. Melissa’s encourages parents to find the time to gather as a family unit at least once a week for a dinner that everyone pitches in to prepare. It’s a wonderful way to teach a child basic culinary skills, and, more importantly, cooking with your children will build memories in all of your hearts forever. “No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing” – Julia Child.

Sambusa is a Somalian and Ethiopian version of Samosa. Your kitchen crew will have some culinary arts and crafts fun replicating these tasty and versatile packets for the family using Melissa’s ready-to-eat Steamed Lentils for the filler and Melissa’s Egg Roll Wraps for the dough. In this healthier recipe, the traditional deep-fry cooking technique is replaced with an oven bake and the easy to make dipping sauce will demonstrate that sometimes simplicity is best.

The recipe does involve some stovetop cooking of the filler to combine the lentils with the support ingredients; this may require a stool and close supervision for a young helper, but it’s an exciting passage for the novice cook that should not be avoided. Like riding a bike for the first time, it requires the supervising adult to be close behind, mindful of every action, so it’s a good experience for all. Building your child’s confidence in the kitchen requires one part trust, two parts patience, and three parts emphasis on safety. Take it slow, maybe even turn down the flame to low so your child is not rushed and always feels in control. The art of the quick sauté will come with practice, so for now, a slow cook is best. Above all, make it fun by not being overly protective.

Of course, if your helper is just too young for the stove work, there are plenty of other safer tasks he or she can do to participate in the preparation. Just measuring the dipping sauce ingredients can provide enough inclusion to be rewarding and promote interest in doing more next time. If you have a child old enough to do rudimentary chopping, create a team so that younger helpers measure out the results of that basic knife work.

Have enough wrappers on hand to allow for a learning curve in the construction of the Sambrusa triangles. I ruined a few myself in figuring out how much lentil mixture works best in each; less is better than too much for each packet to be well sealed, clean and tight. It’s probably a good idea to demonstrate the folding and sealing with a wet fingertip before letting your young sous chefs try.

These ancient Hot Pockets are not only healthy but also versatile! Enjoy fresh out of the oven as a satisfying and filling lunch; store them in the fridge or freezer for a quick reheat in the microwave for a grab n’ go healthy snack. I found them pretty tasty, even when eaten cold with or without the dipping sauce – perfect on a hot June day when anyone in the family is looking for a bite just to get through the afternoon until dinnertime. Enjoy!

Lentil Sambusa
Yield 12
Image of Lentil Sambusa
Ingredients

Dipping Sauce:

2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Filling:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons Pasilla Pepper, chopped
2 packages Melissa’s Steamed Lentils
1 teaspoon coriander
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 package Melissa’s Egg Roll Wraps

What the supervising adult should do:

Oversee the stovetop cooking of the filling. Demonstrate the construction of the square egg roll wrap into a tight triangle-shaped packet.

What the kids can do:
Image of Dipping Sauce
Dipping Sauce: In a mixing bowl, combine the ginger, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. Refrigerate until use.
Image of sautéed ingredients
Sauté garlic and onion in a large pan until the onion turns translucent. Add the pepper, steamed lentils right out of the package, coriander, cinnamon and salt. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat and set aside.
Image of egg roll wrapping
Place each wrap on a cutting board. Have a small bowl of water handy. Place about 2 tablespoons of the lentil mixture in the center of the top half of a wrapper. Wet the top edge of the wrapper with fingertips and then fold the two top corners over the mixture to the middle of the wrap, forming a triangle; overlap the wrap a little and seal with wet fingers. Next, fold this triangle over and down, so the tip is at the bottom edge of the wrap. Wet the bottom edge with fingers and fold both bottom corners over the inverted triangle to form a tight packet, seal with a wet finger. Repeat until the desired number of Sambrusa has been made.
Image of wrapped Lentil Sambusa
Place each packet on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake at 400°F for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with dipping sauce or freeze for reheating later.
Image of  Lentil Sambusa
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