Library of Congress


The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Presentations and Activities > Immigration


Africa, East: Uganda

This recipe is one thing both the family from my mother's and father's sides eat. This is served when we have family visiting us, on holidays, birthdays, and weddings too. The history of the recipe originated in India and was brought to East Africa by the Indian traders and merchants. What I remember about this dish is that eating Sumbusa during special occasions always felt like family reunions or Christmas.


1.5 lbs. Ground beef
Oil- enough to fry with
Vegetables- 1 red pepper, 1-2 onions
Spices- curry power, salt, crushed red peppers
Tortillas- enough for your guests
Flour- 3 tbls.
You will also need a pan and wooden spoon


Put the ground beef in the pan and stir it so it doesn't get stuck together or stuck to the pan, and so that it all browns .
Chop your vegetables and put them in the beef. Add reasonable amounts of spices.
Get a stack of about 10 tortillas and cut them into fourths
Traditionally, we don't use tortillas to make Sumbusa, we use the African version of a tortilla. Our version is called chapati. Chapati is very similar to a tortilla, except that it's thicker, its less salty, and more oily.
Using a tea-spoon, scoop the meat into the pockets
Make sure there are no openings for oil to enter the pocket
Put oil into a pan and put it on medium heat
You can only place a few Sumbusas in the oil at a time because they need space to move around and be flipped. Flip the Sumbusas over when they have turned golden-brown on one side. When done, the Sumbusas will float.
Place Sumbusas on a surface that will absorb the oil. Like newspaper or paper towel.
Serve warm as side dish or snack.

dotted line