Sujuk, Damascene take on an Armenian sausage

Sujuk is another type of sausage introduced to the Syrian cuisine through the Armenian community. It is a strong tasting spicy sausage made usually from fatty beef mince or mixed beef and lamb. Similar versions with similar names are common in Turkey, Greece, Balkans, Bulgaria, Romania and all the way to Russia.

Sujuk is usually a cooking sausage used in different types of stews and dishes. One of the most classic ways to eat it is fried with eggs for a hearty breakfast. I personally like to use it in a similar manner to Chorizo to make pasta or even paella. I find it works very well with sea food and white fish especially monkfish.

In the Levant this Armenian version of Sujuk is widely available in Lebanon and in Aleppo in northern Syria where a large Armenian community lives.


In Damascus we use the word Sujuk to refer to a completely different type of spicy semi-cured meat. The spices used are similar to the ones used in the original Armenian sujuk but instead of making the meat into a sausage, "Damascene sujuk" is mince fried in its own fat till all the water evaporate and the meat starts to crisp. This process will allow the meat to last much longer. In fact, the flavours will develop nicely and the sujuk will taste much better after a couple of days in the fridge.

This Sujuk meat is used in a variety of ways. The most common of these is sujuk fatayer, the most flavoursome and one of the most popular fatayer (Fatayer is an oven baked pastries with different stuffing sold in communal ovens all around Damascus, check my post to know more).

The other very popular use is a sandwich filling with few slices of cucumber pickle. Although it is one of the most delicious yet it is one of the cheapest sandwiches you can eat, hence it sells around university, student halls of residents and in bus depot.

Finally before the recipe, in Narenj restaurant they serve sujuk as a hummus topping as in my photo above.

Here is my "Damascene Sujuk" recipe:

Mince lamb 500g (or half beef, half lamb)
Ghee clarified butter 1tbsp
Paprika 2tsp
Dry chilli flakes 2tsp
Allspice 1tsp
Garlic powder 1tsp
Fenugreek 1tsp
Salt 1tsp

Start by frying the mince in the ghee in a heavy bottom pan till it start to brown. Add the salt and all the spices and keep cooking till all the water evaporates. Turn the heat down and cook for about 30 minutes. Stir the meat every few minutes so it doesn't catch. The sujuk is ready when all the fat has melted and the meat is starting to crisp.

Transfer to a bowl and let cool down. Cover in cling film tightly and leave in the fridge for a day or two for the flavours to develop.

You have a very versatile "sausage". Use in sandwiches, pastries, pasta sauce, pizza or as a hummus topping. You can keep the sujuk in the fridge for over a week as it is almost cured with the salt and spices or you can even freeze it for a couple of months.

38 comments:

JapanEats said...

Sounds fantastic! Can't wait to try out your recipe (that's assuming I can find all the ingredients here in Tokyo).

Shadi said...

Yum!
A deep and delicious dig in the memory lane!
THANK YOU!

Kano said...

@JapanEats
Welcome to my blog. Please do try this recipe and let me know how it goes.
I am sure you will find the spices in Tokyo. If not replace allspice with black pepper. For the fenugreek you can use a small amount of some fragrant spice like nutmeg.

Kano said...

@shadi

it is a taste from the past, isn't it? It is almost I can still taste even after all these years.

Foodycat said...

It worked! Thanks for fixing the comments. Would you ever stuff the raw mixture into sausage skins?

Kano said...

@foodycat

I never tried it myself but of course you can. I think you possibly need to add a slice of white bread soaked in milk to make the sausage less dense then stuff it in sausage skin and use it in a similar manner to cooking Chorizo.

Alternatively you need to hang it for a couple of week in a cool dry place (May be London isn't the best place for this) to make a cured dry variety. I found somebody on the internet who uses women stockings instead of sausage skin for this purpose. I need to find that blog again!

Yazan said...

@Kano,
Ahhh, I miss sujuk. In Latakia we have a spicy sausage version, and it's mouth watering I swear. I'll be trying this recipe... thanks!

@JapanEats,
You can find most of the ingredients in Halal shops, I know I used to buy some stuff on the internet there, but can't remember the name of the shop for the life of me.

Kano said...

@yazan
welcome to my blog.
what is the spice sausage in Latakia called? is it an actual sausage or sausage meat like the one in my recipe.

Taste of Beirut said...

Kano
I am so excited to get a recipe for sujuk. Can't wait to try it! First time ever!

Kano said...

@joumana
Please try it and let me know what you think. would you change anything? This is pretty much my own recipe and I would love some feed back.

Foodycat said...

We've done pretty well drying boerwors, so I will try the sujuk.

I pulled sujuk topped hummus and a dish of chakchouka out on Sunday night and I am now the wonder of my friends!

Kano said...

@foodycat

If drying sujuk works out I am expecting to taste some!

How did the Hummus sujuk recipe come out? Did you think the flavours match?

Sarah said...

Interesting, I never heard of sujuk before but it sounds a bit like Khelia, which is more or less the way the Kurds traditionally preserved their meat (and Moroccans as well, according to Paula Wolfert). I think the kurds fry chunks of meat until they are almost dry with lots of oil and some salt. Its very good, with lots of flavor.

Kano said...

@Sarah

Sorry for the late reply, totally missed your comment!

I think "Khelia" as you described it is similar to Qawerma we have in Syria, Lebanon and Turkey. Unfortunately it is almost extinct these days. I heard about it from my grandparents but I never got to taste it in Syria. I tried some commercial Turkish Qawerma but it wasn't so good. I need to look for some properly made Qawerma.

Anonymous said...

Kano, my family is from Halab and my mother makes Qawerma at least twice a month, if you need a recipe please let me know

Kano said...

@anonymous

Yes please. I would really appreciate a recipe. I was looking for a proper one for some time. I want to try it and write a post about it.

Thank you very much

Anonymous said...

Kano, I will tell you off the top of my head

You need a cut of meat, london broil or sirloin will do fine. The meat will be pretty lean so you wont have to trim anything. Cut the meat into pieces, around 1 inch by 1 inch, not necessarily into cubes (it is best to cut with the grain). In a large pot, boil water with a pinch of salt. Put the meat pieces in the pot and boil. After about half an hour there will be foam at the top. At this point dump out this water and refresh the water, boil for another half an hour or so. At this point check the meat to see that it has been cooked very well. The meat should be to the point that it is about to fall apart. If it has not reached this stage yet then boil some more. In another large pot, begin heating some clarified butter (ghee). Place the boiled meat pieces in this pot, season with salt and brown on all sides. Once the meat has been browned on all sides, put into a bowl that will fit all the pieces snuggly and press the meat pieces into that bowl. There will be shredded pieces of meat the have fallen off at the bottom of the pan, scoop those out and put these tiny pieces at the top of the bowl of meat you have pressed. Finally, strain the clarified butter directly on top of the bowl of meat. The meat can be eaten immediately as a warm dish and leftovers can stay in the same bowl and be eaten cold.

P.S. - I am trying to access this site with my AIM account, but it tells me "Your OpenID credentials could not be verified."

Kano said...

@anonymous

Thank you very much for the recipe. really appreciated.

To be honest with you it is quite different from what I had in mind. I didn't know that you use beef not lamb and I didn't expect the meat to be boiled before it is fried.

Never the less, I will give this recipe a go in the near future and see how it goes.

Regarding the IAM account, I realy don't know why this is happening. I don't think it is something I can control. It must be something to do with google who host blogger pages.

SHAKUEY201 said...

Kano, I am not sure if originally lamb was used, this is an old recipe, as are many of the recipes in my family. The dish does come out quite good and helps prepare other dishes when cold (with eggs or bulghur)

Kano said...

@Shakuey201

I will definitely give it a try.

Arlette said...

khano this is almost similar to my sujuk recipe, which I used to prepare back home...
also I used to make Shamaneh for the basterma, I misplaced the recipe ... Do you have the recipe for it.....

Kano said...

@Arlette
Did you use to make into sausages or use it as I do?
Unfortunatly I don't have a recipe for Pasterma. It is not that popular in Damascus (although I love it) so we don't make it ourselves. We buy it from Aleppo usually.
If you found your recipe please pass it on to me. I would love to try to make it.

Anonymous said...

I just by luck got to your sujuk recepy, while looking for basturma coating chaman resepy.
what you deskribe is not soujuk but it must be very thasty dish it is coaled ghavourma some thing like that. you can top boulger pilave with the shreded meete & you are in haven.
I am looking forthe ingrident of chaman only every body that post the ingridians they omith the ingridient that holdes the chaman on the dryed meeth & dose not crumble while slising.if any one cane figure howe to keepe togather .my thankes in advance

Kano said...

@anonymous

I know this is not the traditional well known sujuk (that is the point of my post). This is what we in Damascus call sujuk.

In Aleppo and in next door Lebanon, they used the name sujuk for the spicy sausages you know.

Tony said...

Hi Kano! I've never made sujuk at home, but I'll be traveling to Halab in a couple of months inshallah. I can't wait to eat some while I'm there :D
I was reading the qawerma comments and it reminded me of a Lebanese man I met at London Heathrow airport. I asked him to tell me about one of his favorite dishes, and he chose qawerma. Here's a video of the interview, if you're interested. He was such a nice guy!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3WoiYIWdno

Kano said...

@Tony

Thank you very much for sharing this video. I really like the guy.

I really wanted to try to make my own qawerma but the problem is finding "layeh" the sheep tail fat which is only available in our countries. It comes from our local sheep breed "Awas".

I thought of using duck fat or even samneh as an alternative.

I should get on with it and try to see how it comes out.

Anonymous said...

I wud like to say that this reciepe is the best and i discovered it by myself through the flavours of Sujok,it is very tasty i advice anyone try it and then you will not forget it for ever.

Kano said...

@anonymous

Thank you very much for the nice words. I am so glad you liked the sujuk.

kestypes said...

Hi Kano,


I am cooking the sujuk as i write. It smells delicious, and is looking good. I want to work my way through all your recipes so I'm really familiar with Syrian food when I get to Damascus and Aleppo.

Kano said...

@kestype

The sujuk must be ready by now. I hope you liked it.You must try it as ahummus topping.

When are going to Syria?

kestypes said...

Hi Kano,
It was delicious. I loved it and will be making it regularly. And I did have it on hummus with some flat bread and pickled chillies. I have been sitting looking at books and hotels and trying even to find cooking lessons in syria. Do you know this book? "Recipes-Remembrances-Eastern-Mediterranean-Kitchen" I have a book by the same author about yoghurt and it's very good, so I'm thinking this one might be helpful too. We're hoping to go to Syria mid-November for about 3 weeks. (From Australia) Just waiting to confirm a couple of work commitments then we're OFF. Yippee. A place both my partner and I have always wanted to go. And am i right in saying November is the time for pomegranate? Do you have any must visits for a couple of people who love eating, discovering food, buying food? I cannot wait to visit the spice markets. Of course, we are interested in the rest of what Syria will show us too, but the best travel comes from sharing food with people i beleive. I would really appreciate suggestions. Thanks again for your blog. I'm hoping to cook my way through your 101 Mezze before we go :)

Kano said...

@kestypes

One place is an absolute must, Midan Jazmatiyeh. Not on the tourist trail but it is without doubt foodies heaven in Syria. I love that street.

girlichef said...

This sounds so delicious and I've marked it to try soon...lovely :D

Kano said...

@girliechef

Welcome to my blog. So sorry for the late reply, I have been occupied with what is happening in Syria.

I hope you had a chance to try the recipe. If you did please give me some feedback.

You have some delicious looking food on your blog!

Anonymous said...

hmm.. again, it's another difference from the Sujuk in Aleppo, where they add garlic to it.. I prepare it the same way my mom does and mix the meat with all the spices and a little bit of the very halabi chili paste (debs fleifleh) and add some mashed garlic.. have you ever tried Sujuk Rolls when you visited Aleppo? they look like this http://www.flickr.com/photos/facemark/5457755727/

Kano said...

@Anonymous
You love your garlic, don't you :)
As I said this is the Damascene take on Sujuk and it is my own recipe so variation is expected.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting! Being Armenian, I'm used to the Armenian sujuk, but this sounds so fantastic and easy to work with I can't wait to try it! One question about the fenugreek in the recipe: is that for freshly-ground fenugreek seeds or dried fenugreek leaves? I have both on hand and can't decide which. Thanks so much!

Kano said...

@anonymous

Welcome to my blog. I use ground fenugreek seeds.

Please let me know how it goes. It will be great to hear how it compares to the Armenian original.

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