This past summer my older kids who live in Israel introduced me to amazing street food that has become super popular in Israel as of late. In fact, one of my sons spent a couple of weeks this past summer preparing hundreds of Arayes for the Jerusalem artist festival, where crowds descend on brichat ha sultan area of Jerusalem, for two weeks each summer. As much for the arts and culture as for the amazing street food.

Arayes, meaning bride in Arabic is the perfect name to describe this food, as the combination of the well-seasoned meat and the oil-infused and grilled pita is a marriage made in Israeli heaven.

  • 800g ground beef (not lean)
  • 2 small red onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch (30g) parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon baharat
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 8 pita bread, cut in halt
  • Olive oil for brushing and frying

In a large bowl combine the ground beef with the chopped onions and parsley, add the salt, pepper, baharat, cumin, and smoked paprika, using your hands, mix well, until all the vegetables and spices are evenly distributed within the beef.

Fill each half of the pita with a handful of the mixture, once all the pitas are filled, brush the outside of each with olive oil.

In a ridged griddle pan or in a large saute pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil, once hot place the arayes open side down on the pan, and cook until the beef is well browned, turn the arayes onto its side, using a heavy plate or frying pan, weigh down the arayes that is laying on its side, to ensure even cooking, after about 4 minutes turn onto the second side, and once more, weigh the arayes down. Cook for a further 4 minutes.

To make sure that the beef is cooked through sacrifice one arayes by cutting it in half and checking it to ensure that the meat is cooked through.

Best served immediately or within a few hours of being made. Serve with tahini and a fresh tomato salad