An Egyptian street food, hawawshi (pronounced ha-WOW-shi) is a riff on the hamburger, if you will. It is basically dough (or pita in this case) stuffed with a mixture of ground meat—lamb or beef—that is seasoned with tantalizing warm spices, onions, garlic, hot peppers and fresh herbs.
There are three components to making these hawawshi patty sandwiches: the seasonings, the meat mixture, and pita pockets—we used the multi-grain variety. This satisfying sandwich is typically served hot without much else to accompany it, although we both felt it needed a sauce of some sort, such as tahini or tzatziki, neither of which we had. Instead, we made a quick mixture of mayo and Sriracha and spread it in the pocket. And it’s never a bad idea to add a side salad…
Since the original recipe (shown below) made 12 sandwiches, we cut it in half, which also gave us a few leftover for lunches.
- 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 oz. fresh parsley stems, trimmed
- 2 lbs. lean ground lamb or beef
- 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
- Kosher salt
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 6 pita pockets
For the Hawawshi Seasoning (Spice Mixture)
- 1 tsp. coriander
- 1 tsp. allspice
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- ½ tsp. cumin
- ¾ tsp. cardamom
- ¼ tsp. 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.
Adapted from a recipe by Suzy Karadsheh