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Hawawshi with pepper, tomato & parsley salad
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By Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich
Egyptians take their street food seriously and this is one of the country’s most-loved snacks. It’s essentially meat, bread and melted cheese, so could be considered the cheeseburger of the Middle East – except it is so much more than that.
6 pitta breads
240g hard cheese (such as Gouda or Cheddar), thinly sliced
1-2 tbsp olive oil
400g beef mince
1 small red onion, finely chopped
½ red pepper, finely chopped
½ x 25g pack flat leaf parsley, leaves chopped
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground allspice
1 tsp salt
½ red pepper, sliced into long strips
½ x 25g pack flat leaf parsley, leaves only
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
3-4 sticks celery with leaves on, finely sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp caster sugar
½ tsp salt
1. Mix all the filling ingredients together and split into 6 mounds of about 100g each. Lay the pitta breads flat and use a sharp knife to slit open until you can lay them out flat. Choose the thicker side and put one mound of meat mixture on it, then press down to spread across the whole pitta. Repeat with the remaining pittas and filling. Top with thin slices of cheese to cover most of the meat (about 40g per pitta). Close the pittas, then brush the outsides with the oil. Tear a square sheet of foil and place each pitta, meat-side down, in the centre, folding the sides over like an envelope to seal. You can make them in advance up to this stage and either chill for a few hours or freeze for up to 1 month before cooking.
2. Preheat the oven to 220ºC, gas mark 7. Put as many of the foil packs as you intend to eat (defrosted in the fridge first, if previously frozen) on a baking tray. Bake for 7 minutes, then remove the tray from the oven, carefully open the foil (don’t remove the pitta or flip it) and return to the oven. Bake for a final 7 minutes, until the mince is cooked through and no pink meat remains.
3. Meanwhile, mix the pepper, parsley, tomatoes and celery in a bowl. In a small jar, mix together the garlic, vinegar, oil, sugar and salt. Pour over the salad and mix well, then serve with the hawawshi.
Typical values per serving:
This recipe was first published in May 2021.