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Thursday, 29 December 2016

Cold Spiced Camel

Spicy beef pie - also called Pie from Kesaria (recipe brought by refugees from this area of Turkey)

The photo above is pastourmadopitta.  Ha, try and say that after a New Years drink....or even before!

Pastourma -  is highly spiced dried and salt cured beef cut into very thin slices.   Some of the spices are cumin, fenugreek, garlic, hot paprika.

 The meat used to be camel but I rather think it is always beef nowadays, at least in Greece.  Is an Anatolian speciality.  Anatolia meaning Turkey, but it is popular all over the middle east.  It has a very strong smell and your sweat will stink of it for days, just like garlic!
The flavour is obviously quite strong and takes a bit of getting used to....like goats feet or garden snails.

Pastourma is very expensive, something bought only for festive days (just about every day in Greece).  A kilo will cost 23 euros and maybe much much more.  We buy 100 grams very thinly sliced.  Usually it will be eaten  as-is with bread and cheese and an ouzo.  One other way of eating it is to make it into a pitta (pie) with filo pastry.

Our traditional cook made one for xmas eve and he'll be making another for New Year's Eve.  It is very hard to find pastourma at other times of the year unless you have a friend who will bring the best from a specialty shop in Athens called Miran.  They sell the best pastourma from the Kirkini area of northern Greece and soujouk from Armenia.

The pitta is made with layers of filo pastry, each one oiled and placed in a baking dish.  Then there are layers of thinly sliced pastourma, slices of a mild cheese and topped with slices of tomato.  More filo pastry and into the oven.

This is one of our family traditions.


  1. I like this post:) it is a joy to read about others food traditions. What kind of cheese do you use on the filo?

    1. Because the meat is so strong the cheese is mild and creamy. We use a Greek cheese called Kaseri but I see on the net someone suggests gouda

  2. That is just up my street. I wonder if it tastes anything like the African Biltong (which I adore)?

    1. I see on the net it has been compared to biltong and pastrami. Have never tasted either. It is highly spiced, almost smelly. A little at a time is the way to eat it

  3. I wonder if you can use any cured meats like Soppressata, pancetta or prosciutto instead
    Might be worth giving it a try.

    1. I thought of prosciutto and pastrami when writing this. Prosciutto is much milder in taste and know nothing about pastrami . If you used something milder then a spicier cheese would be nice. We use Kaseri, someone suggested gouda, both very mild tastes.