I talked about this during my NYCWFF demo, but in brief: this is the most requested, most beloved food item in my family. We usually make it for Thanksgiving and Christmas, or a special occasion like a baby’s birth or my book launch.
It’s a family affair, with my brother peeling the spring roll skins, my mom and I folding and stuffing them, and my dad deep-frying them.
Sambos are a street food from Madagascar (where my mom is from) and are influenced by the country’s Chinese and Indian influences. Because they’re so tasty, people assume they must be hard to make. They’re actually quite simple.
WARNING: These are meant to be apps, but people will still eat too many and spoil their appetites for the rest of the meal. It happens all the time — to sambos newbies and veterans alike.
Curried Beef Sambos (pronounced “shambosh”)
Makes 13-15 sambos
1 package 8”x8” spring roll wrappers (I prefer Spring Home brand)
1 lb ground beef, 85% lean
1 tsp + 6 cups vegetable oil for frying
2 tsps kosher salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
3 tbsps Madras curry
10 scallions, diced
2 tbsps flour
2 ½ tbsps warm water
2 lemons, cut into wedges
Heat 1 tsp canola oil in large frying pan. Add beef and sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Cook on medium-high until almost all browned, 5-8 minutes. Break up any large pieces. The beef should be broken up as much as possible so it can be easily spooned inside the sambos.
Drain any excess water/fat and return to heat. Add curry and continue to cook, allowing curry to warm and bloom, 1-2 minutes. Turn off heat and add diced scallions. Allow to cool and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes. The mixture will be very heavily spiced and seasoned -- this is what you want because the deep-frying will temper the flavors.
When ready to assemble and deep-fry, cut spring roll wrappers in half, so the sheets are long rectangles (not squares). Separate 20 or so sheets and lay them under a damp paper towel. (You will make 13-15 sambos, but you may need extra in case you mess up).
Make the flour paste by mixing the flour and water. If the paste stiffens, just add more water. It should be the thickness of craft glue.
Remove the beef from the refrigerator and start assembling the sambos.
Here’s how you fold them:
Bring remaining vegetable oil to 375°F. Deep fry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Place on paper towels with the pointed end (ie: the tip of the arrowhead) pointed downwards to help drain excess oil.
Serve hot with lemon wedges.
Feel free to swap out the meat and seasoning. I once even made a raspberry-Nutella sambos, though I encourage you to start with the original.