Previous | Contents | Next
Basturma, Pasturma

Dried, Spiced Beef 

This is the most popular Armenian deli meat, available in Middle Eastern specialty shops. Serve Basterma thinly sliced on a meza platter or cook with eggs. Wrap leftover Basterma well, as the wonderful aroma of chaimen will quickly permeate your refrigerator.
If you are a bit adventurous, you can make Basterma at home. The best time to make Basterma using this traditional method is in the fall when the weather is cool and windy. Total preparation time the old fashioned way is about 5 weeks. Basterma is a good candidate for preparation in a food dehydrator, which would cut the drying time by three weeks!
Slices of beef rib meat 11/2" thick and 3-4" wide of any length desired
coarse salt

  1. Put a heavy string through one end of meat and tie into a loop
  2. Cover meat with coarse salt and let stand in a pan for 3 days
  3. Wash off salt and soak meat in water for 1 hour.
  4. Hang and dry for 1 hour.
  5. Wrap meat in a cloth, place on a flat surface and cover with a board and heavy weight to drain the juices. Continue for 2 days, changing cloth twice a day.
  6. Hang in a cool windy place for 2 weeks until meat is quite dry.
  7. Make chaimen and soak meat in it for 2 weeks
  8. Hang meat again for another week. It is now ready to eat.
  9. Store in pickling jars, slice very thin for serving.

If Basterma becomes too dry in storage, soak again in chaimen until it becomes soft enough to slice.