Hawawshi is a famous street snack in Egypt, particularly in Cairo and Alexandria (where they call it baladi). It consists of dough (or pita) packed with ground beef seasoned with delicious spicy spices, onions, garlic, hot peppers, and fresh herbs.
According to legend, this sandwich was invented by a butcher named Ahmed Al-Hawash in Cairo’s Tawfeek Souq in the early 1970s and was named after him. The concept has spread throughout Africa and the Middle East (in Lebanon, another version of this sandwich is called Arayes).
- 1 large yellow onion quartered
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 green bell pepper cored and cut into large chunks
- 1 jalapeno halved and seeded leave some of the seed if you like heat
- ½ ounce fresh parsley stems trimmed cut most of the stem but leave some for extra flavor
- 2 lbs lean ground beef
- 3 tablespoon tomato paste
- Kosher salt
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 6 loaves of pita bread you need the kind with pockets
For the Hawawshi Seasoning Spice Mixture
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¾ teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, add the spices and mix to combine.
- Put the onion, garlic, bell pepper, jalapeno, and parsley in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade, pulse a few times until finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a sieve to drain excess liquid (it helps to push with the back of a spoon).
- Transfer the onion mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the ground beef and tomato paste. Mix to combine. Add the spice mixture and a dash of kosher salt. Mix again until the mixture is well combined and the spices are well distributed within the meat mixture.
- Cut the pita loafs in halves to create 12 pita pockets.
- Prepare a large sheet pan brushed with a bit of extra virgin olive oil.
- Stuff each pita pocket with ⅓ cup of the meat mixture. Using the back of a spoon, spread the meat mixture inside the pita pockets.
- Arrange the pitas in the prepared sheet pan. Brush the pita pocket tops with a bit of extra virgin olive oil.
- Bake in the heated oven for 15, then carefully turn the pitas over and cook on the other side another 5 to 10 minutes until the meat is fully cooked and the pita is crispy on both sides.