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Apr 29, 2010 05:20 PM

Iraqi Sambusak Recipe

After a little prodding my husband's grandmother passed on her mother's famous cheese sambusak recipe to me. Unfortunately, there are two ingredients that I cannot decipher. Anyone here ever heard of these two?

2. Masteki

His grandmother said Masteki is something they used to make gum out of ... I'm plan to take this to Flatbush with me and ask around. But if anyone out there can save me the trip I'd appreciate it. Chances are I can find the ingredients here in Great Neck if I can find ot what they are in english?

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  1. if theyre iraqi, you can probaby go to a to z in great neck and someone with know what they are

    1. Could masteki be mastic? I've never used it, but I'm dimly aware of it as something classically used to make gum. It's made from the resin of a mastic tree.
      Fun etymology fact - 'masticate,' the fancy word for 'chew,' derives from mastic.

      1 Reply
      1. re: GilaB

        Also the Hebrew word for chewing gum - mastik. Same etymology.

      2. I'm from iraq, and I haven't heard of them in this specific recipe. I'm trying to do a search for you in arabic. Do you have any other details on those two ingredients?

        Any ideas how filgreen is pronounced so I can spell it in arabic?

        1 Reply
        1. re: BamiaWruz

          Wow ... Thank you! His grandmother really didn't know what filgreen was. Most of the Iraqis I've asked have no idea what I'm talking about either

        2. You are referring to Mistaki or mastic -Typically, mastic granules are sold whole, and you have grind them down if recipe requires mastic powder. Ground mastic is used in a variety of baked goods for its rich, resinous aroma and licorice-like flavor.

          Also some cheeses are made with fenugreek. So you may be thinking of that.

          4 Replies
          1. re: janie50

            That sounds about right for the Mistaki! Is this something that needs a Kashrut? As for the fenugreek ... nope the recipe calls for ground filgreen. Its for the Hawaij that goes in the dough. I specifically asked the grandmother if she meant fenugreek and she said no.

            1. re: qurlym

              How does this filgreen look, any ideas?

              It's not spinach or chard is it? Because Siliq is very common in iraq, it's a type of swiss chard. Sabanikh is spinach but I haven't seen it used because when I lived there I could never find it in the stores and frozen food just wasn't available with the trading sanctions and all.

              Even in Yemen (where the lifestyle is very traditional) I had an easier time finding things from the gulf and saudi arabia like frozen broccoli and spinach..etc. at western supermarkets.

              Fenugreek is Hilba in arabic and I did not see it commonly used in our cuisine as it is in egypt or even yemeni and indian/pakistani cuisine.

              1. re: BamiaWruz

                I finally found out that it is indeed Fenugreek. I'm surprised because it isn't a common ingredient. Lets see how it goes! Thanks for your help.

                1. re: qurlym

                  Ohhh ok, interesting flavour there. Let us know! :)