Photo by Meline Asryan on

This sandwich of Armenian origin is a different and delicious way to eat ground beef. Imagine two layers of toasted flatbread with a filling of ground beef well seasoned with black pepper, cinnamon, tomato, onion and parsley? Crispy on the outside and moist on the inside, it’s practical and can even replace dinner on a lazier day.

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5 medium Syrian breads (15 cm in diameter)

500 g ground beef

1 ripe tomato

½ onion

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon of pepper

¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1 ½ teaspoon of salt

½ cup of chopped parsley

Olive oil for brushing breads


Wash, dry and cut the tomato in half. Discard the seeds and cut each half into 0.5 cm cubes. Peel and cut the onion into 0.5 cm cubes.

In a bowl, place the ground beef, onion, tomato and chopped parsley. Season with salt, Syrian pepper, cinnamon powder and olive oil. Mix well with your hands, kneading for about 3 minutes, this helps to release the collagen from the meat, so it creates alloy and does not get loose inside the sandwich.

To open the Syrian breads: take a grill, iron plate or non-stick frying pan over medium heat to heat. Place a loaf of bread on the hot grill and let it warm for 30 seconds on each side – this way, steam is created in the center of the bread and it is easier to open in half without tearing. With a bread knife, cut each pita bread in half to obtain two halves.

With the tip of a knife (or with your hands) open each half forming a canoe to be filled. Repeat with all the loaves.

Fill the bread halves with about ¼ cup (tea) of the filling. Press lightly with your hands to spread the filling inside the bread, forming an even layer – leave about 0.5 cm from the edge of the bread free, as the sandwich will be pressed on the grill.
Return the grill (or skillet) to medium heat to heat. With a brush, spread a drizzle of olive oil on the surface of the sandwiches.

Arrange as many sandwiches as possible next to each other on the grill and let them brown for 3 minutes on each side – lightly press the sandwiches with a spatula to make them toasted.

With a tongs, flip the sandwiches over to grill the open side with the meat for 1 minute – so you ensure that the meat is completely cooked and still has a toasted flavor.

Transfer the grilled sandwiches to a platter and repeat with the rest. Serve next with tahini sauce.

NOTE: in this version of Arais we use the fatter flatbread. If you prefer to use thin flatbread, make a thinner layer of filling and do not grill the cut portion of the sandwich (with the meat). Serve immediately after grilling as the meat moistens the bread.

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