I am so excited to share this delicious and simple Middle Eastern recipe with you known as arayes. It’s one of those 30 min meals that will satisfy the whole household! It is so delicious and easy. Pop them in the oven or grill them; either way, these arayes will be mouth-watering. My mom would make this traditional arayes recipe growing up when we had leftover ground beef from another dish like kofta! And I would secretly look forward to these as they are so good! Crunchy pita on the outside and a perfectly seasoned layer of meat inside!
Traditionally, beef or lamb is used as the meat in the stuffing. You can even mix both if you would like. You can use fresh or leftover pita for this too. I love to stuff my arayes to medium thickness, but you can also over or under stuff. It is a preference!
These are so simple to make and a staple in most Middle Eastern homes. Different regions have various preparations and names for this beloved meat-stuffed pita. In the Levantine, it is known as arayes, but in Egypt, it is hawawshi and is seasoned with spices not as traditional to our variation. This dish is fantastic to serve for both children and adults; its always a win at the dinner table. It is also a fabulous way to use leftover pita or be creative with ground beef.
Simple steps on how to make Arayes:
- Season the meat generously.
- Stuff the pitas.
- Brush oil on both sides of the pita.
- Bake until crisp and cooked through.
- Enjoy warm or with some plain yogurt to dip or my toum!
How to avoid soggy arayes and achieve a crispy result?
- Use a leaner ratio of meat. I typically use 90/10 ground beef for my filling. If the meat is too fatty, it will likely sog the bread since it will release its fat while it bakes into the bread.
- Grilling them may achieve a better result if that is an option, but I often bake them and am happy with the result.
- If you are baking, which is the most common way to make these, then make sure not to use parchment paper. If you have a baking rack, that is best, as it will allow the heat to circulate from all angles to achieve a crispy exterior to the pita. If not, use the broil method for a minute or two on each side of the pita to get that crispiness.
What to serve with Arayes:
This is a stand-alone handheld dish, but to make it more so a meal, check out these side dishes. I personally love pairing it with a refreshing salad like Arabic salad and/or cucumber yogurt salad to dip. It is great with a side of fries and ketchup for the kids too! The perfect finger food, you can say.
Here are a few other simple Middle Eastern recipes that you will enjoy:
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This is a recipe that I commonly make and teach to others who want to be introduced to Arab cuisine without feeling intimidated. I urge you to give it a try and enjoy the flavors of my region in your home. I promise you will enjoy it! I am here for any questions you may have, feel free to leave a comment/question below, and I will get back to you! Tag me in your remakes on my instagram! Let me know your thoughts when you give this a try by leaving a rating and review! Thanks!
- 1 lb Ground Lamb or Ground Beef, lean or 1/2 a pound of each combined
- 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
- 1 tbsp All spice, ground or 7 spice
- 1 tbsp Paprika preferabbly smoked
- Salt & pepper to taste at least 1 tsp salt.
- 1/2 Onion
- 3 Garlic cloves
- 1 cup Parsley
- 2 tsp Red chili paste
- 5 Pita Bread cut in half and opened
- 2 tbsp Olive oil for brushing the pita
- In a food processor or blender, pulse together the onion, garlic, and parsley. Drain from excess liquid.
- Add that mixture to the ground meat and mix.
- Season the ground meat with the above seasonings, tomato paste, and chili paste. Make sure it is well seasoned.
- Mix everything together very well.
- Place about 1/3 cup of filling into each pita; about medium thickness. Spread it out. The meat layer should be visible when looking at the opened side of the pita.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Brush olive oil on each side of the pita then sprinkle with a little salt. You can also use non stick oil spary and spray each side of the pita.
- Add the pita's to a baking pan preferably with a rack. Bake for about 8-10 minutes on each side until crisp. You can broil each side for a minute as well for extra crispiness if you do not have a rack. Enjoy warm. You can use plain yogurt to dip with this or toum (garlic sauce).