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Basturma – Lebanese Armenian Pastrami

BEWARE : beef heavy post ahead


Basturma is one of those things that has a lot of memories for me. Piling up in the car, heading to the Armenian side of town, into the deli. The wafting smell of spices. Hot fresh crunchy French bread, tangy garlic sauce, crisp pickled Persian cucumbers, and lots of thinly sliced spicy salty Basturma.

Ok, so its not technically pastrami, but it is related. It is originally a Turkish dish, and was adapted by many including Albanians, Arabs, Greeks, Armenians and Lebanese.

Bastourma, or Pastirma, is simply a cut of meat that is dried and cured with a mix of spices. The process is not as simple and has many steps. I don’t know the exact recipe, but it starts out with salt curing it for days to pull out all the moisture. Letting it dry, by putting weights on it. Then, cover it in a paste of crushed cumin, fenugreek, garlic, and hot paprika, followed by thorough air-drying. The paprika should be spicy. This whole process does not take less than 3 weeks.

I have never made it myself . It is available at a local meat market, and it’s sold for around $9.00 a pound. I buy 1/2 a lb and ask the butcher to slice it real thin. I don’t dare buy more because it really doesnt last around me, lol. I start munching on the thin translucent buttery slices the minute I’m in my car. The soft beef, with fat ribbons has a salty addicting taste that is just punched up with the spicy thick paste on the outside.

When it does make it home, its great with eggs in the morning, or just simply on a pita with some mayo. Just don’t blame me if you get addicted.

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This article has 14 comments so far!

  1. Ellie (Almost Bourda says —

    Thanks for such informative post!

  2. David says —


  3. ovenhaven says —

    I've always heard of pastrami, but have never really figured out what seemed so enticing about it. Now that you've pictured it clearly (and beautifully, if I may addd), it certainly sounds enticingly delicious!

  4. qin says —

    Check out my giveaway in my blog 😀

  5. Warda says —

    Salut fellow Southeast Michigander!

    That looks delicious and intriguing…Where do you buy it from?

  6. ++Mira++ says —

    The Heights Market on Ford road in Dearborn heights, across from Target. It sells out fast! they have the best shish tawouk in the area too. thx for stopping by 🙂

  7. Matt says —

    very informative post, great pictures 🙂

  8. devilishlypleasurabl says —

    looks absolutely yummy. . i'm a big fan of beef 🙂

  9. stan says —

    i've been making basturma for years i've been eating it since childhood it tastes great but it does not take 3 weeks to make maximum 7 days

  10. mirauncut says —

    I was following a recipe I had found. Please share how u make it

  11. Fashion Manners says —

    oh I love bastirma !

  12. Love it says —

    Is it me or its a fact..following a consumption of the red gatro next am i can smell it in my arm pits for days..

  13. MiraUncut says —

    I\’ve heard of that…but, thankfully never happens to me. Depends how much you eat of it I think.

  14. mike says —

    here is the video how you can make basturma:

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