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Milk Street Recipe

Pan-Fried Beef-Filled Pita

40 minutes

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Pan-Fried Beef-Filled Pita

Pita bread stuffed with spiced ground beef or lamb and grilled, pan-fried, griddled or baked until the meat is juicy and the bread is toasty-crisp is a Levantine favorite called arayes. For our version, we mash some torn-up pita with juices from the grated onion and tomato; the resulting paste, called panade, is mixed into the meat, as if making meatballs, to ensure the filling cooks up tender. Thick, fluffy pita bread works best to make these sandwiches—they have more structure than thin pita, which quickly turn soggy after cooking. Look for pita rounds that are about ½ inch thick and be sure they’re fresh and supple, not dry and brittle. We like the sandwiches served with a simple yogurt sauce to brighten up the flavors.




Don’t cook the stuffed pita halves over too high a heat or the bread will scorch before the filling is cooked through.

40 minutes


  • 1

    small yellow onion, grated on the large holes of a box grater

  • 1

    ripe but firm medium tomato, halved, pulp grated on the large holes of a box grater, skin discarded


  1. 01
    In a fine mesh strainer set over a medium bowl, stir together the onion, tomato and ¼ teaspoon salt. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, ½ teaspoon of cumin, the lemon juice and ¼ teaspoon salt; set aside.
maureen s.

Can these be grilled?

Lynn C.

Hi Maureen -

Since we want to griddle the whole flat surface of the pita, we recommend using a hot skillet rather than the grill.

The Milk Street Team

Erin M.

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