Hawawshi is a hearty Egyptian dish consisting of ground meat flavored with herbs and spices, served between two layers of golden, crispy pita bread. Traditionally made using a combination of ground beef, onions, peppers, and fresh herbs, Hawawshi is Egypt’s answer to a hamburger.
Traditionally found in houses across the country, Hawawshi is also a popular takeaway item in restaurants and food stands everywhere.
Origin & Cultural Significance
Invented in 1971, Hawawshi was created by local butcher Ahmed al-Hawawsh at his stall in Souk Al-Tawfik, a small neighbourhood in Cairo, before quickly spreading around the country. The word ‘hawash’ also means to stuff in Arabic.
Traditionally, the stuffed pita bread was cooked in a clay oven, utilizing local but basic ingredients to create a meal that is bursting with local flavors. As well as being a popular street food, Hawawshi is also served at family gatherings and celebrations – a true testament to the versatility of the dish.
- Ground beef or lamb - 500g
- Onion (finely chopped) - 1
- Cloves garlic (minced) - 2
- Tomatoes (finely chopped) - 2
- Green bell pepper (finely chopped) - 1
- Red chili pepper (finely chopped) - 1 (adjust to taste)
- Ground cumin - 1 tsp
- Ground coriander - 1 tsp
- Paprika - 1/2 tsp
- Salt and black pepper - to taste
- Fresh parsley (chopped) - for garnish
- Pita bread or Egyptian baladi bread - 4 rounds
- In a skillet over medium heat, sauté the finely chopped onion and minced garlic until they become translucent.
- Add the ground meat and cook, breaking it apart with a spoon, until it browns and any excess moisture evaporates.
- Stir in the chopped tomatoes, green bell pepper, and red chili pepper. Cook for a few minutes until the vegetables soften.
- Season the mixture with ground cumin, ground coriander, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5-7 minutes, or until the meat is fully cooked and the flavors meld together.
- Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Take each round of pita bread and cut it in half to create two thin rounds.
- Place one of the thin rounds on a baking sheet. Spoon a generous amount of the meat filling onto the bread, spreading it evenly.
- Top with the remaining thin round of bread, creating a
sandwich. Repeat the process for the remaining bread and filling.
- Place the Hawawshi sandwiches in the preheated oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until the bread is crispy and golden.
- Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
- Serve your homemade Hawawshi hot.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 242Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 310mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 17g
Nutrition is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. It is for general information purposes and is only a rough estimation.