Beef Hawawshi sandwiches from the Eat, Habibi, Eat! cookbook

A Cairo street food staple from chef Shahir Massoud

Image for Beef Hawawshi sandwiches from the Eat, Habibi, Eat! cookbook

If you’ve been lucky enough to explore the vibrant culinary scene in the Middle East, it will come as no surprise when we tell you that the excellent array of street food fare you can find is among the best in the world. 

In the Eat, Habibi, Eat! cookbook, chef Shahir Massoud shares more than 100 recipes from throughout the Middle East that are bursting at the seams with bright, bold, and balanced flavour profiles.

In terms of comfort food, few street food snacks hit the spot like a savoury sandwich with a slight kick of heat, and this beef Hawawshi rendition from chef Massoud is the perfect example.

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“This Cairo street food staple is simple and versatile—a must-have for your sandwich repertoire. Baking the beef mixture and sandwich together marries the flavors and allows the rendered fat to crisp up the pita,” chef Massoud explains. “If you don’t want to bake your own Egyptian Whole Wheat Baladi Bread, or can’t find the true Egyptian pita (check your local Middle Eastern grocer and ask for baladi bread), just substitute whole wheat pitas instead.”

Beef Hawawshi sandwiches

½ green pepper
½ white onion
2 cloves garlic
¼ bunch cilantro
¼ bunch mint leaves
1 lb ground beef
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup Harissa
3 loaves Egyptian whole wheat Baladi Bread
1 cup tahini sauce
hot sauce, for seasoning

Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Finely dice the green pepper, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, and mint. Place in a large mixing bowl along with the beef, paprika, coriander, salt, cinnamon, and harissa. Mix well.

Cut the baladi bread in quarters, then fill with the meat mixture. Place on the baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes, until the meat is cooked through and the bread is crispy.

Serve with a side of tahini and a dash of hot sauce.

Serves 4-6
Prep Time:
15 minutes
Cook Time:
15 minutes