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.
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.