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This recipe has been tested by staff at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in an American kitchen. The cooks who participated in the Kenya program of the Festival, who can be heard on the accompanying podcast were cooking in the outdoor kitchen at the event, and their recipes are designed for Kenyan climates and kitchens. Thus, cook with discretion. Good luck!

“It is the belly which daily gives thanks.” —Maasai proverb

Kenyan cuisine has a strong Indian influence due to the arrival of Indian merchants and immigrants in the late nineteenth century. There are several different types of samosas one can make: fish, chicken, beef, or vegetarian. This snack can be eaten as a light meal, an appetizer, or served as a treat when company visits.



  • 1 pound ground beef (other options could be chicken, fish, or vegetables)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 serrano pepper, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger root, minced
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • One package store-bought spring roll skins

Paste for “gluing together” edges of the dough

  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • Vegetable oil for frying


  • Cook meat until browned in a pan on the stove.
  • Add the rest of the filling ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  • Make paste by mixing flour and water together into a thick mixture.
  • Follow folding instructions below to create pocket with the spring roll skins.
  • Spoon meat mixture into the pocket’s opening.
  • Heat oil in wok until hot.
  • Place a few samosas at a time into the oil and deep fry until all sides are golden brown. The dough browns quickly, so keep a close eye on them to prevent burning.

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