This is the last of my Armenian themed posts.
Pastirma is a spicy air-dried beef eaten in Syria mainly as part of a mezze spread. I am not sure if it is originally Turkish or Armenian as both nations lay claim to it, but it was brought to Syria and Lebanon through the Armenian community.
I am not going to give you a recipe as I don't make my own and no body else does. It is made by salting and hanging the meat for few days. The meat then get washed and dried. The next step will be covering the meat in a layer of spice paste made from paprika, cumin, fenugreek and chilli then hung again to dry.
In Syria we mainly eat pastirma as a mezze dish. We slice it very thinly and eat it uncooked although some people would grill it lightly. Alternatively we use it in sandwiches or fried with eggs as a supper dish. In Turkey they use pastirma in some types of bean stews.
Allegedly the best pastirma is made from camel meat. Years ago, I tasted what was sold to me as camel pastirma but it didn't taste any different. I genuinely belief he was laying and I just tasted an over-priced piece of beef.
In London, Maroush Deli on Edgware Road used to make their own pastirma and it was quite good. Unfortunately the deli has now closed and the shop turned into another Maroush fast food outlet. Since then, I buy packed sliced pastirma from a Middle Eastern supermarket in West Ealing. Not as good but it does the trick!