Pastırma or bastırma is a highly seasoned, air-dried cured beef that is produced and consumed in a wide area of Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Though beef is the most common meat today, various meats are also used, including camel, pork, lamb, goat, and water buffalo, with camel being the most prized. Pastırma is prepared by salting the meat, then washing it with water and letting it dry for 10-15 days. The blood and salt is then squeezed out of the meat which is then covered with a cumin paste prepared with crushed cumin, fenugreek, garlic, and hot paprika, followed by thorough air-drying. Depending on the variety of the paprika, it can be very spicy but not quite as hot as, for example, hot chili.

beef1000 g2.20 lb.
Ingredients per 1000g (1 kg) of meat
salt25 g4 tsp.
Cure #25.0 g1 tsp.
black pepper2.0 g1 tsp.
fenugreek seeds26 g7 tsp.
cumin4.0 g2 tsp.
garlic, powdered6.0 g2 tsp.
red pepper2.0 g1 tsp.
  1. Cut meat into 8 x 3 x 2" slices.
  2. Mix salt with Cure #2 and rub the mixture into the meat.
  3. Sprinkle some salt in a container and place meat slices on top of one another, separating them with salt. Place a wooden board on top of them and put a weight on top. Pastırma is a noun derived from the verb pastırmak (bastırmak in modern Turkish), which means "to press".
  4. Keep for 1 week in refrigerator.
  5. Remove meat from the refrigerator and wash with water. Brush off the surface of any salt. Place again in a container for 1 more day, covering meat with a weighted board. This will drain more liquid away.
  6. Mix all ingredients adding 1 tsp of salt. Add a little water and make the mixture into a paste (known as çemen).
  7. Cover the meat with the paste and hang in a dry, well ventilated area (50-59º F, 10-15º C, 60% humidity). You can use hooks or netting. After about 5 days the paste has dried and Pastirma is ready although it may be further dried.

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