I love the aromatic, delicious taste of Pastirma, dried cured beef with a coating of spices called cemen, consisting of cumin, fenugreek, garlic and hot chili flakes. This thinly sliced delicacy is very much enjoyed in Turkey as part of a mezze spread, as well as in casseroles with dried beans, Pastirmali Kuru Fasulye and in boreks, pastries. We Turks also very much enjoy pastirma with eggs, as part of a leisurely weekend breakfast, Turkish style.
This wind-dried beef, pastirma has been made in Anatolia for centuries. It’s also been enjoyed throughout Middle Eastern as well as Eastern European countries and has a special part in Lebanese and Armenian cuisine. Some of the finest pastirma is being produced in Kayseri region, in Middle Anatolia, Turkey; it almost has a silky texture and just melts in the mouth, very aromatic with the spicy cemen coating; I hope you can have a chance to enjoy pastirma in Kayseri. Making pastirma is a bit of a labor of love though and requires a lot of patience, as fellow blogger Peter Minaki of Kalofagas explains. Pastirma is prepared by salting the meat, then washing it with water and letting it dry for 15 days. The blood and salt is then squeezed out of the meat and the meat, this time is covered with a special cumin paste called cemen, consisting of crushed cumin, fenugreek, garlic and chili flakes. Afterwards, the meat is air dried up to a month. You can get pastirma in Turkish and Middle Eastern markets, as well as from Turkish online stores such as Marketurk in the UK and Best Turkish Food in the US.
Here is our delicious and easy egg dish with bell peppers and pastirma. I love how the sweetness of peppers complements the aromatic pastirma and their marriage with eggs is divine. This dish is wonderful for a brunch or a light lunch / supper with crusty bread aside. Cacik dip of yoghurt with cucumbers and dried mint goes very well with this delicious egg this too.
- 2 free range eggs
- ½ red bell pepper, deseeded, quartered and cut in thin stripes
- ½ green bell pepper, deseeded, quartered and cut in thin stripes
- 2 free range eggs
- 4 -6 stripes of thinly cut pastirma, roughly cut
- 30 ml/2 tbsp. olive oil
- 5 ml / 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 5 ml / 1 tsp. Turkish red pepper flakes / chili flakes
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a wide, heavy pan and stir in the red and green bell peppers.
- Sauté for 4 - 5 minutes, until the peppers start to soften.
- Create two holes amongst the bell pepper mixture and crack the eggs.
- Place the pieces of pastirma around the eggs and cook for 4 – 5 minutes, depending on your taste.
- Sprinkle ground cumin and the red pepper flakes over the egg, serve hot with crusty bread aside.