Meat Stuffed Pitas (Palestinian Arayes) is a meat stuffed pita bread, a part of the Palestinian traditional cuisine specifically street food. Indulge in the savory delights of these mouthwatering pockets of flavor combining ground meat, aromatic spices, and fresh herbs, all encased in warm, toasted pita bread.
These delectable pockets are packed with flavors that will satisfy everyone’s hunger. The best part is that they are so easy to prepare in less than 30 minutes from start to finish. Discover culinary delight with every bite
A Close-Up of Golden, Crispy Arayes
What are Arayes?
Beef Arayis is a very popular Palestinian street food. They are traditionally sandwiches of pita bread stuffed with a ground aromatic mixture of either ground beef or lamb. The juices that seep from the meat while cooking marinate the pita with savory flavors and turn its soft exterior into a crunchy one.
These delicious meat pitas are also popular in Egypt. Arayis in Egypt are known as Hawawshi. Both Palestinian Arayis and Hawawshi have the same concept and flavors but the difference lies in the type of bread used.
To cook Egyptian Hawawshi people bake their own bread and stuff the mixture in to cook along with the bread. On the other hand, Palestinians use ready pita bread or any other flatbread.
Where Flavor Meets Tradition
What to Serve With Beef Stuffed Pitas
First of all, this simple grilled beefy sandwich is usually served as a main dish or as a hot appetizer. So, if you’re looking for a delicious and filling meal, this recipe has got your back!
Initially, Arayis are served with yogurt on the side. Yogurt is so refreshing and it balances out the different flavors of the minced meat and the savory seasoning. Here is a trick, instead of having the yogurt with a spoon, you have to try dipping the Arayis in the yogurt. Believe me, this method is definitely a game changer.
Besides, there are people who prefer having their stuffed pitas with a side of green salad, fattoush, Tabbouli Salad Recipe (Tabbouleh), or any other fresh seasonal salad. You can also choose to serve these savory sandwiches with various dips like garlic (Toum), creamy hummus, tangy tahini sauce, or Ketchup.
Dive into a World of Spices and Savories with Arayes
Why You Will Love This Recipe
This recipe takes under 30 minutes to be ready and its ingredients are basic and available in every household. You’ll only need to mix the minced beef with all the spices and vegetables required for the filling. In addition to that, you get to choose the cooking method.
Stuffed Arayes Variations
You can play around with the ingredients when it comes to choosing the meat for the filling. There are plenty of meat options suitable for this particular recipe. You can include lamb, beef, veal, turkey, chicken, or even a combination of different types of meat. Vegans can also fill their pita bread with meat alternatives or vegetables of their choice.
Tips for the Best Result
Don’t skip the part where you drizzle olive oil on the pita pieces before cooking.
You can prepare the filling before if you have the time. The time given can allow the different flavors of the stuffing to meld.
For the most flavorful Arayes, use a combination of ground beef and lamb. The mix of these two meats adds depth and richness to the filling.
Try using extra lean ground beef to avoid soggy greasy Arayis. We love them extra crispy, don’t we?!
When choosing pita bread, try thicker ones, for they can absorb the fat and juices that the filling produces.
Don’t overcook them, wait for them to turn golden brown and crispy on the outside, then immediately take them out of the oven.
Ensure an even distribution of the meat mixture inside the pita bread. This ensures consistent flavor and texture in each bite.
When pan-frying, use medium heat to ensure the Arayes cook through without burning the exterior.
If you are air frying them, it is better to wrap each piece in foil, then after some time uncover and let them brown. This will help you make sure that the meat is cooked evenly.
Try not to thicken the meat filling inside the pitas to ensure the meat is properly cooked.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)
Don’t worry, you can make your own spice blend by mixing equal parts allspice, black pepper, cinnamon, ground cloves, cumin, ground coriander, and lastly white pepper.
This is not like Sfeeha, they don’t require parsley and a load of spices.
Yes, you can prepare it a few days before, but you must store it in the refrigerator. They can also be frozen for longer storage. Just be sure to thaw them before cooking.
Arayes can be served as both a main dish and an appetizer. As a main dish, they are typically accompanied by sides and salads. As an appetizer, they are perfect for sharing.
Ingredients You Will Need
Note: if you are not a fan of spicy food, then don’t add jalapeno to your beef mixture.
How to Make Grilled Beef Pockets
Let’s do this!
First of all, add the vegetables to a food processor and process until chunky. Or you can finely chop the vegetables by hand.
Second, add the mixture to the beef along with the spices and mix.
Then, fill into your pita, to your desired thickness.
Next, brush a small amount of olive oil on each side of the pita.
Finally, you can grill or bake at 425 until the beef is all the way cooked through and the bread turns crispy (about 8-10 minutes per side depending on your oven). Or air fry them on 400 for 15 minutes, depending on your air fryer. You can start at 375, and cook it for about 15 minutes, flip it halfway.
Meat Stuffed Pitas (Palestinian Arayes)
- 1 small yellow onion
- 1 pound 80-20 ground beef
- 1 pound 90-10 ground beef
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 large roma tomatoes
- ¾ bell pepper
- ⅓ jalapeno (optional)
- 2 teaspoons aleppo pepper
- 2 teaspoons 7 spice
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing.
- Add the vegetables to a food processor and process until chunky.
- Add to the beef along with the spices and mix well.
- Fill into your pita, to your desired thickness. Do not make them too thick or they won't cook fully and evenly.
- Brush a small amount of olive oil (about 1 teaspoon) on each side of the pita.
- Grill or bake at 425℉ until the beef is all the way cooked through and the bread is crispy (about 8-10 minutes per side depending on your oven). Or you can air fry on 400℉ for 12-16 minutes flipping halfway.
- If you don’t have a food processor, you can finely chop the vegetables by hand.
- For half a pita, make sure to use about 1/4 cup meat so it cooks evenly.
- Don’t skip the olive drizzeling part before cooking your stuffed pitas.
- You can use your leftover pitas.
- You can have them as a main dish or a hot appetizer.