Ara’yes or Arayes are grilled pita bread sandwiches stuffed with minced meat. Arayes are very popular in the Levant region. These crispy meat sandwiches are very easy to prepare and are a great crowd pleaser. I frequently prepare Arayes when I have guests coming over as they are the perfect finger food that everybody loves.
The word Ara’yes in Arabic is the plural word for Arous, meaning bride. I always wondered about the name and thought it a funny name for a food. while I was preparing to write this recipe I did some research to try to find out where it got its name … but couldn’t find anything! If you have any of the history surrounding the name “Arayes” I hope you will share it with us in the comment section I am really curious!
The traditional Arayes recipe calls for minced lamb meat, but you can use beef or a mixture of beef and lamb. Personally I prefer the mixture.
Ara’yes can be baked in the oven, grilled on the barbeque, or toasted in a sandwich toaster. I have heard that some people fry it in a pan with oil, I haven’t tried that and think it will be way too greasy and unnecessary.
Ara’yes are delicious eaten with hummus or with Aryan… a match made in heaven. I hope you enjoy eating them … just beware not to devour them while still very hot or you will end up with a burnt tongue! I am not joking! As the Ara’yes are baking in the oven you will be taken by the lovely aroma that will fill your house and play with your senses. It will make you feel very hungry and keen on eating them as soon as they are out of the oven. I warned you, the rest is up to you!
Preparation time: 20 min Cook time: 30 min
500 grams minced meat (lamb, or beef or mixed lamb and beef)
1 medium onion, finely chopped or grated
3 medium sized tomatoes (450-500 grams)
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon mixed spices
1 teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon Tahini (sesame sauce)
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
1 chili pepper, chopped (optional, add if you like chili food)
8-9 pita breads
¼ cup olive oil
How to make Arayes:
- Chop the onions and the garlic. Grate the tomatoes. Depending on the thickness of the pita bread you may have to discard some of the tomato water. If using thick pita bread (like the one I am using in the picture below) then leave the tomato juice as is, but if you are using the thinner pita bread then discard a little of the water so you don’t have soggy bread.
- Combine the minced meat, onions, garlic, grated tomatoes, salt, black pepper, mixed spices, allspice, cinnamon, chopped parsley, tahini, pomegranate molasses. Mix well with your hands. If you are using the chopped chili pepper, add it to the mixture as well.
- Cut the pita bread into quarters. If you are living in the Middle East, you can use the mini pita bread available in many stores, you don’t need to cut the mini bread, use it whole.
- Spread evenly about 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture into the pita bread. You cannot do this step ahead of time, you have to spread the meat just before you plan to bake/grill your Ara’yes, otherwise you will have soggy Ara’yes instead of the delicious crispy ones!
- Using a brush, brush the bread with a little olive oil on both sides.
- Arrange in a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 300° for 20-30 minutes. Flip them over midway so as to have the Ara’yes browned and crispy on both sides. You can also grill them on the barbeque or in a sandwich toaster.
- Arrange in a large serving platter.
Hope you enjoyed today’s easy recipe: Arayes; a traditional Middle Eastern Appetizer. Bon appetite.
Do you like Ara’yes? Do you prepare Ara’yes at home or just settle for having them at the restaurant?
اضغط الرابط لقراءة وصفة العرايس باللحمة باللغة العربية