Leontine’s Famous Sambusas

Leontine, member of Ingoma Nshya and Inzozi Nziza employee, often brought sambusas to drum practice or BPeace training workshops. She loves to cook and everyone loved her sambusas. And now, what began as a kind gesture for colleagues and guests has become an ever-expanding micro-enterprise.
With the help of her children and a housekeeper, Leontine makes around 160 sambusas everyday, using nearly 40 pounds of potatoes! She wakes up at 4:30 each morning to chop, sauté, fry and fold, before coming to work at Inzozi Nziza. These sambusas are sold to shops and restaurants around Butare and Ngoma, her umudugudu (the smallest administrative division in Rwanda, followed by cell, sector and district). Inzozi Nziza is her most loyal customer. We are currently selling twenty-five of Leontine’s sambusas everyday – and the orders keep coming in.

Leontine and her irresistible treats.

Sambusas are fried dough pockets filled with spiced potato and onion (very similar to samosas). Although the ingredients are simple, these savory treats are irresistible. Here is Leontine’s recipe (reduced to make just 20 sambusas):

Boil about 5 pounds of potatoes with peels (depending on size, about 15 medium sized potatoes).
Skin and chop the cooked potatoes into small pieces.
Slice onions (however many you like) and sauté.
Add potatoes to tender onions and continue to sauté.
Add whatever spices you wish – Leontine just uses salt and pepper and it is delicious.
Mash together, but keep in mind that chunks can actually be a good thing.

Pastry Covering
Mix together about 1 cup flour, half a cup water and slightly less than half a cup vegetable (or olive) oil.
Flatten the dough and cut into twenty triangles (Leontine divides them into squares first and then quarters each square).
Place a dollop of potato filling in the middle of the triangle and fold.
Fry until outside is lightly crispy and let sit.


One thought on “Leontine’s Famous Sambusas

  1. Yeah Leontine! Thanks for the recipe…a little taste of Rwanda for us.

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