Semsek Recipe

Oh the LOVE I have for Semsek! This is literally a small side dish that I look forward to for every family gathering. So easy to make, even though there are a lot of steps, but it’s once you pop them into the fryer and start eating, you won’t know when to stop! You’ll thank me later. P.S. my favorite ones are the ones with potatoes! Yes I know carbs on carbs on carbs but it’s sooooo worth it! So let’s start!


For the potato filling you’re basically going to be making Mashed Potatoes but with a Middle Eastern twist on it. Here’s what you’re going to need:


Potato Filling:

  • 8 Russet Potatoes; Peeled cut into 8
  • 1 White Onion; Chopped
  • as needed salt
  • As needed Mild Aleppo Crushed Pepper
    • If not found you can substitute it for chili flakes


  1. Boil salted water in a pot and add in potatoes. Cook for about 15 minutes. You’re going to be looking for a tender yet firm. Drain out the potatoes and smash them until somewhat smooth; leaving a few chunks is good for this specific recipe. Set in bowl and put aside to cool.
  2. In a separate saucepan heat about 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil and then add onions to sauté. Once cooked throughout add in salt and crushed peppers or chili flakes as needed to bring out taste. Add in potatoes and give it a quick stir until all incorporated. Turn off heat and put aside until the time to stuff and sealing of the dough comes.


Now here’s what you’re going to need for the meat filling if you decide that you want to opt out the potatoes for the meat.


Meat Filling:

  • 2lbs 80/20 Ground Beef
  • 2 Cup Cooked Rice
  • 1 Whole White Onion; finely chopped
  • as needed salt
  • as needed pepper
  • as needed Mild Aleppo Crushed Pepper
    • If not found you can substitute it for chili flakes


  1. Heat up a large pan and add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. When you see ridges starting to form within the oil add onions and cook them until they become translucent. Add in salt, pepper and chili flakes. Once it becomes translucent and spices are added start putting in ground beef chunk by chunk, breaking it down and cooking the meat. You want to make sure that the meat is completely cooked throughout.
  2. Add in cooked rice and mix together until a somewhat mushy consistency is formed. At this point you can go ahead and taste to see if there it any more salt or pepper you’d like to add to bring the flavors all together.
  3. Set aside and cool until stuffing of the dough.



Now for the dough you’re going to be using puff pastry. I buy the ones that are already pre-cut in circles or squares found in the frozen section of your local supermarket…


Hint: head towards the side of the international frozen goods!


  1. The first step you want to do before stuffing is to get a fry pan and fill it up halfway with frying oil. Place it on the stovetop on high heat in order for it to get hot enough in time for you to fry the semsek.


  1. Next step you’re going to want to make sure you have a clean big surface to work with. Now when it comes to filling these cuties up I don’t like using your ordinary culinary terms “tablespoon” Find the biggest spoon you have in your utensil drawer and that’s what you’ll be using to fill up the puff pastry.


So go on…start filling away!


  1. Once filling is placed on one end of the dough, take one beaten egg and brush against the edges of the puff pastry, then fold over the other side and seal tight with a fork pressing to create little lines all the way across. Not only will this completely seal your puff pastry but it will also give it a rustic design once it’s fried and ready to plate for serving.


  1. Gently place one semsek into the fryer and you should be getting bubbles forming all around….if this is not happening when you put in the semsek wait a bit for the oil to heat up more before putting in the next one. You want to place it in there for about 3 minutes or until GBD (Golden, Brown & Delicious) before flipping it over for the other side to cook. Once you see the beautiful golden color place on a paper towel lined pan and wait for cooling before enjoying!


And that all there’s left to this yummy savory filled fried puff pastry goodness! We usually prepare these for special occasions or family gathering but, they’re also the perfect side dish for those summertime BBQ’s cooking up! Whether you make it for a gathering or just for fun to try it out, please let me know! I’d love to hear all about your experience while making these and more importantly what you think of the taste!


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