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Arayes

When I think barbeques, I always think arayes.

This is a popular side dish typically made with barbequed meat. However, I don’t always want to wait for a barbeque to eat arayes, so here’s how to make them in the oven.

It is a very simple dish consisting of spiced minced meat spread thinly on pita bread. However, I’ve beefed it up a bit and added another one of my favourite side dishes, batata harra (spicy potatoes), along with some cheese, making it the Middle Eastern equivalent of a cheeseburger and fries!

The key to arayes is to use pita bread that is neither too thick nor too thin and to make sure you spread the meat in a thin even layer. Also, try using minced meat that doesn’t have too much fat so the bread doesn’t get too soggy.

The best part of the dish is that it comes together really quickly and the ingredients are things you generally have on hand. You can whip this up at any time and you can enjoy the feel of a barbeque in the comfort of your own home.

Ingredients

Batata harra

  • Olive oil
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • 4 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. coriander
  • Salt
  • 2 tbsp. fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 lemon

Arayes

  • 500g minced meat
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 2 tomatoes, finely diced
  • 3 tbsp. parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp. pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tsp. chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. coriander
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Pita bread
  • Mozzarella cheese

Instructions

1. To make the batata harra, heat some olive oil, about 2 tablespoons, in a frying pan. Add the cubed potatoes and stir from time to time.
2. While the potatoes cook, make the meat mixture for the arayes. In a bowl mix together the meat, onions, tomatoes, parsley, garlic, pomegranate molasses, chilli flakes, cinnamon, coriander and salt. Make sure everything is evenly distributed.
3. By the time you’ve made the meat mixture, the potatoes should be soft and cooked through. Add in the rest of the ingredients, reserving the fresh coriander until the very end, after turning off the heat, so it doesn’t wilt. If you feel as if the potatoes have dried out, add a little more olive oil. Once all the ingredients are combined, take off the heat and set aside.

4. To make the arayes, cut a large pita bread into quarters, or a medium sized one into halves. Brush the inside of the bread with some olive oil and then spread a thin layer of meat. Close the bread and brush both sides with olive oil and place on a baking sheet brushed with olive oil.

5. Bake in the oven at 180C for 15 minutes or until the meat is cooked through. Spoon in some batata harra in each pita and sprinkle with some mozzarella cheese and pop it back into the oven for 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the bread is brown and a bit crispy.

6. Serve with a side of hummus and enjoy!

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