Emirati Spicy Minced Meat Sandwich - Arayes
What's The Big Idea?
Arayes (I must be honest, I don't know whether that is the singular or the plural - if you only have one, is it Aray, Araye or Arayes?) is a great snack or breakfast
dish from the United Arab Emirates and the surrounding region. Describing it as a sandwich isn't exactly right either - it's kind of more like a Mexican Quesadilla, but with a spicy meat filling
instead of cheese. So, I'm not sure about the Arabic name, and even less sure what to call them in English, but give them a go - they're really tasty!
I'm sure you can vary the filling to your own taste, and try all sorts of different fillings - feel free to experiment. Just don't try a filling with too much moisture in it, or the Arayes
end up a bit soggy.
Serve with a green salad and chutneys and relishes of your choice.
Here's the list of what you need:
- 12 fresh pita bread ***
- 500g minced (ground) lamb
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley *
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- ½ tablespoon ground cinnamon **
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3-4 tablespoons corn oil
* I personally prefer to use a mix of parsley, coriander (cilantro) and fresh mint
** Personally, I prefer to reduce the amount of cinnamon and increase the cumin, but that's just my preference
*** Other flat breads will do - ideally you want something that is about 6 inches (15cm) in diameter, and can be sliced through the middle to create two thin slices
What To Do
- Slice the pita breads in half to form thin slices - this will be easier with really fresh breads
- Place all of the remaining ingredients except for the oil in a food processor and mix until smooth
- Take a tablespoon of this mixture mixture and spread it thinly on one side of a pita half. You may need more than a tablespoon depending on the size of the breads,
but it is important to spread it thinly - if it's too thick you will either end up with raw filling or burnt bread!
- Place the other half of the pita on top and press it down firmly so that it sticks together. Set aside
- Repeat with the remaining mixture and pita breads
- The arayes can be fried, grilled or barbecued. Whichever option you choose, it is important to cook them on a low heat, otherwise the bread will burn before the filling is cooked
- Brush the arayes with the oil and cook using your chosen method. Once one side is golden brown, flip it over and cook the other side
- Keep warm until all the arayes are cooked. Serve warm