Fried Vegetable Fritters in Pita

Deep Fry or 450°F Oven
Serves 6

Falafel is a delicious meatless sandwich which is very popular in Jewish neighborhoods in many cities. I was introduced to falafel in college at an event sponsored by the Hillel Foundation. You may bake the falafel to reduce the fat. They aren’t quite as good, but they are healthier.

2 (15-ounce) cans chick-peas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1/2 cup grated onions
1/2 cup snipped fresh parsley
1 egg
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Kamoon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Dash ground red pepper
6 pita breads, warmed and opened
2 cups shredded leaf lettuce
3/4 cup Tahini Sauce (below)
Oil for deep frying

Tahini Sauce
1/4 cup Tahini
1/2 cup Water, or more
1 Garlic Clove, crushed
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed


  1. In a blender or food processor, combine the chick-peas, onions, parsley, egg, garlic, cumin, salt, black pepper and red pepper.
  2. Pulse blend or process until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Shape the mixture into 1 inch balls. Set aside.
  5. Mix tahini sauce ingredients. The mixture should be the consistency of a creamy salad dressing. Add more water, if necessary.
  6. Heat 2 inches of oil in a large skillet. Add the falafel a few at a time and cook about 5 – 6 minutes or until crispy and golden. Alternately, place on a greased baking sheet and bake in a 450°F oven for 10 minutes.
  7. To serve, open the pocket of each pita. Line each pocket with some of the lettuce, then place two or three patties in each. Top each with 2 Tablespoons of tahini sauce.



Chilled yoghurt beverage

Tahn is a popular beverage, refreshing in hot weather. Often served with meals.

1 cup plain yoghurt, drained 3 hours
1/2 to 1 1/2 cups ice-cold water
salt to taste
Ice cubes


  1. Place yoghurt in a deep bowl and stir until smooth
  2. Gradually whisk in water until well blended
  3. Add salt and mix well
  4. Sever well chilled over ice




Directions for making fresh yoghurt

Makes 1 quart

Madzoon is a staple in the Armenian house which is used as a soup, drink, dip, topping or simply eaten out of a bowl. It is surprisingly simple to make using this classic recipe.

1 quart whole or skim milk
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk (optional to add body)
1/2 cup starter madzoon (see below)


  1. Combine dry milk with fresh milk
  2. Heat mixture until very hot – do not boil
  3. Allow mixture to cool to lukewarm (125°F)
  4. Stir in starter madzoon
  5. Pour into a heavy bowl and cover with a plate.
  6. Wrap bowl in a heavy towel and set in a warm place for 6 to 8 hours.
  7. Chill several hours before serving.


Starter madzoon may be from a previous batch or any commercial yoghurt with active cultures. Dannon plain yoghurt works well.


Kamvadz Madzoon
Drained Yoghurt

For recipes requiring thickened yoghurt, place madzoon in a fine strainer over a deep bowl for 2-4 hours to drain excess whey. Use as directed.


Drain overnight for the consistancy of cream cheese – a low fat alternative on bread or bagels.
Nylon plastic yoghurt strainers are availabe in gourmet stores.



Spiced Lamb in Pita

(adapted for home preparation)

Grill or Broiler
Serves 8

Pronounced “year-o”, these sandwiches are sold in Greek restaurants, from food counters in shopping malls and on the streets of Manhattan. Hot meat is traditionally sliced to order from a large piece cooking on a vertical rotisserie. Pita is often oiled and warmed on a grill.

8 Greek pita loaves, warmed
8 Spiced lamb patties (below)
1 cup Tsazeki sauce (below)
2 cups shredded lettuce
1 thinly sliced tomato
1 thinly sliced onion
Spiced Lamb Patties
1 pound ground lamb
2 teaspoons oregano
11/2 teaspoons kamoon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
1/4 teaspoon pepper.
1 cup madzoon or sour cream
1/4 cup chopped cucumber
1 clove garlic, minced


  1. Mix Tsazeki and chill
  2. Mix lamb pattie ingredients well, divide into 8 parts and shape into oblong patties.
  3. Grill approximately 4 minutes on each side.
  4. Place a lamb patty in the center of each pita.
  5. Top with lettuce, tomato, onion and 2 Tablespoons tsazeki.
  6. Roll bread around filling in cone shape and wrap waxed paper around the bottom half, twisting to seal

Armenian-Style Hamburgers (Dabgvadz Kufta )

Armenian hamburgers

Dabgvadz Kufta

Armenian-Style Hamburgers

Grill or Broiler
Serves 4

Try these for a change of pace from ordinary hamburgers

3/4 pound ground lamb, not too lean
1/4 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
2 Tablespoons green pepper, chopped fine
3/4 cup tomato juice
  salt and pepper to taste.


  1. Knead ingredients together
  2. Chill several hours for flavors to blend
  3. Fry, broil, or grill as desired.

Shish Kebab


Shampouri Khorovadz, Shashlik

Barbecued Lamb on a SkewerGrill or Broiler
Serves 4-6

Probably the most popular Armenian dish, Real shish kebab is made only with lamb. Tomatoes are placed on separate skewers to prevent overcooking.

2 – 2 1/2 pounds boned leg of lamb or shoulder
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon light soy sauce
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 Tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 large onions
2 green bell peppers
4 small tomatoes
  melted butter


  1. Cut lamb into 1 1/2 inch cubes
  2. Mix oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, tomato paste, oregano, mint and garlic. Pour over lamb.
  3. Marinate 3 hours or overnight in refrigerator.
  4. Peel onions and cut in half across the middle. Cut each half into quarters. Peel the layers to make three pieces from each quarter.
  5. Cut pepper in half and then in thirds lengthwise. Cut each piece across.
  6. Arrange marinated lamb on skewers, alternating with pepper or onion.
  7. Quarter tomatoes, place on separate skewers and brush with butter.
  8. Grill lamb until lightly browned on all sides, about 15 minutes. Put tomatoes on during last half of cooking time.
  9. Keep a covered pot by the grill. Using a fork or a round of pita bread, slide lamb and vegetables off the skewers and into the pot as they are done.
  10. Serve over rice pilaf.

Luleh Kebab


Luleh Kebab (kabob)

Spiced Ground Lamb on Skewers

Grill or Broiler
Serves 5 – 6

When I lived in Tucson, AZ, our Armenian club raised money each year by serving Luleh Kebab in pita bread at the annual fall ethnic festival.

1 pound ground lamb or beef chuck
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1 med onion, chopped fine
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/3 cup tomato sauce
1/3-1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch Kamoon
olive oil


  1. Mix all ingredients together. Shape on skewers like fingers 4″ long by 1 1/4” thick.
  2. Brush with olive oil.
  3. Grill over hot coals or place in shallow pan and broil close to heat. Turn over when brown, about 5 min. per side. Brush occasionally with olive oil.
  4. Serve wrapped in pita bread and top with Madzoon or tahini sauce

Cheese or Spinach Beoreg


Banirov or Sbanakhov Beoreg

Baked Cheese or Spinach Pie with Filo
Contributed by Ronnie George

350°F Oven
Serves 10 – 12

Beoreg is delicious as an appetizer or side dish with layers of spinach or cheese filling baked in flaky filo pastry.

1 recipe cheese or spinach filling (see below)
1 1/2 pound filo dough
1 cup melted clarified butter (ghee)
Cheese Filling
1 pound Muenster cheese, grated
1/2 pound cottage cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
Spinach Filling
2 pounds fresh spinach
4 medium yellow onions, chopped
1/4 pound butter
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup bread crumbs
3 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Make Cheese or Spinach filling.Cheese Filling
    Mix all filling ingredients thoroughly.
    Beat egg with milk for topping and set aside.

    Spinach Filling
    Wash spinach thoroughly and chop coarsely.
    Cook for 5 minutes in boiling water. Drain and squeeze out as much water as possible.
    Saute onion in butter until lightly brown.
    Add spinach, olive oil and salt and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes on low heat.
    Mix in tahini and bread crumbs.

  2. Brush bottom of 18″ x 11″ x 2″ pan with oil.
  3. Place a sheet of filo dough on the bottom and brush with butter.
  4. Repeat until half of dough sheets are used.
  5. Spread cheese or spinach filling evenly on top of filo layers.
  6. Cover with remaining sheets of filo dough, buttering each sheet lightly.
  7. With a sharp knife, cut into individual portions or squares.
  8. Pour topping (cheese beoreg only) over entire beoreg.
  9. Bake in 350°F oven until golden brown.


Filo dough dries quickly in the heat of the kitchen. Work with one sheet at a time, keeping the rest covered with a lightly dampened cloth. Filo may be purchased frozen or bought fresh from a Middle Eastern restaurant or deli.

Dolmades Avgolemono


Greek Stuffed Grape Leaves with Egg-Lemon Sauce

Yield: Approx. 24 dolmades

These stuffed grape leaves with meat can be served as an appetizer or main course. The classic Greek avgolemono sauce is silky smooth and adds just the right flavor to the dolmades

1 pound ground beef or lamb
1 medium yellow onion, minced
dried oregano
fresh Parsley, finely chopped
mint leaves, chopped
2/3 cup rice, uncooked
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 (16 ounce jar) grape leaves
4 small eggs, beaten
3 lemons, juiced
1 cup Water or stock from cooking


Mix ground meat, onion, oregano, parsley, mint, rice, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

Drain grape leaves and soak in warm water for 10 minutes to remove brine. Carefully, separate the grape leaves. Place each leaf on a plate or wooden board shiny side down, stem toward you. Put a teaspoon of the stuffing near the bottom of the leaf, fold the bottom and 2 sides to cover the filling, and roll tightly toward the tip of the leaf.

Line a Dutch oven or deep oven ready pan with a few spare grape leaves to prevent sticking to the bottom. Place rolled dolmades in layers, packing tightly, and cover with several of the remaining grape leaves. Cover completely with stock or water and place in a 350 F oven.  Bake for 1 hour, or until the rice and the leaves are tender and the juice absorbed.

Egg – Lemon Sauce

Once the grape leaves are done, uncover them. Carefully pour any remaining liquid out of the pan into a measuring cup.

In a separate bowl, mix the lemon into the eggs and beat until frothy. Slowly whisk in 1 cup of the remaining broth from the grape leaves into the egg/lemon mixture. If it is done too fast, the eggs will curdle. Pour the entire egg mixture over the grape leaves and let sit to warm. Serve room temperature as an appetizer, or warm as an entree.

Hamim – Red Pepper Paste


Red Pepper Paste
Garmir Bgh-beghi Madzoug

Kessab Armenian Red Pepper Paste

175°F Oven
Makes 2 cups

Hamim is the Kessabtzi Armenian word for this thick, sun-dried red pepper paste, as well as the salad we make from it.

In Syria, red peppers were harvested in the fall, ground and dried in the sun to preserve them. The paste was packed into jars and stored. We do this recipe in a slow oven, but you can use a food dehydrator, or try it the traditional sun-dried way if you have a suitable protected area with good sun exposure.

Red pepper paste can be used like tomato paste to thicken and flavor dips, stews, marinades. It’s also just good on bread.

1/2 pound hot red chilis (Fresno chilis work well)
3 1/2 pounds sweet red bell peppers
coarse salt
2 12″ x17″ sheets parchment paper
11/4 teaspoons sugar
3 Tablespoons olive oil


  1. Wash the peppers; halve lengthwise, seed, and remove the membranes.
  2. Coarsely grind in a food processor, to yield about 10 cups.
  3. Toss with 3 Tablespoons coarse salt and spread out on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets.
  4. Preheat the oven to 175° F.
  5. Place the trays in the oven and allow the peppers to dry, about 6 hours.
  6. You will have about 2 cups.
  7. Place half the peppers in a double thickness of cheesecloth and squeeze hard to emit excess moisture. Repeat with the remaining peppers.
  8. In a food processor, blend the peppers with the sugar and half the oil.
  9. Add coarse salt to taste; the pepper paste should taste slightly salty.
  10. Pack into 2 dry, small glass jars.
  11. Top with the remaining oil, close tightly, and refrigerate.
  12. Let the pepper paste mature for about a week before using.


You can vary the mix of sweet & hot peppers depending on taste and the heat of the peppers.
To avoid mold, always keep the paste covered with oil. If mold develops, simply remove it and discard; the remainder of the paste will still be good. To store in the freezer: Individually wrap one-tablespoon dollops of paste in plastic. Place all in a freezer bag, press out air, and store in the freezer.