Basturma | Middle Eastern Cured Breakfast Sausage
As the title suggests, Basturma is a popular Middle Eastern breakfast sausage. It is usually served with fried or scrambled eggs. The recipe I’m sharing is a quick method of making this tasty Middle Eastern sausage. The traditional method requires a lot of time and patience. Not sure about you, but I don’t have an abundance of either.
How Traditional Basturma is Prepared
A choice cut beef fillet is covered with a thick layer of salt and cured for a few days. During this time, a heavy object is placed on the meat to aid in pressing the moisture out of the meat. This is done in order to remove as much moisture from the meat as possible. The salt is then rinsed off, and the meat patted dry. A paste is prepared using a mixture of spices. This paste is slathered on the meat, forming a thick crust. Lastly, the meat is pierced with a hook and hung up in a cool location to air dry. The entire process can take anywhere from two weeks to a month to complete. You know what I say? Ain’t nobody got time for that!
I don’t have many memories of my childhood. However, the memories I do have usually revolve around food. Big surprise, right? For example, I have wonderful memories of eating masgouf, and memories of my aunt Alice’s delicious custard. I also have memories of my dad bringing home basturma. This was always exciting because we didn’t always get to have basturma. The fact that mom didn’t make her own basturma made it even more special. These days you can buy it on Amazon, like everything else.
What Does Basturma Taste Like?
The taste of Basturma is a little hard to describe. There’s nothing else quite like it. However, if I had to try to describe the taste, I’d say the flavors resemble that of shawarma. Basturma is highly seasoned with spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. Additionally, it has a strong garlic flavor, and a bit of a spicy kick from the cayenne pepper. It’s important to mention that the Iraqi Basturma I remember from my childhood is different from Armenian Basturma. Armenian Basturma is cured, sliced and enjoyed as a cold cut or appetizer. Moreover, the spices used are not the same as Iraqi basturma.
This homemade recipe is so much simpler than the long process needed to make store-bought basturma. However, the taste is quite similar. There are some tools, however, that you may find helpful in preparing basturma: a meat grinder, (with a sausage making attachment) and sausage casings. However, if you don’t have these items, you can still make home-made basturma. Just follow the directions in the recipe below.
Basturma Ingredients Needed
1-1/2 lbs. ground beef or lamb
4 cloves garlic (crushed)
1/2 tsp. Middle Eastern 7 spice
1/2 tsp. paprika powder
1 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cardamom powder
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Basturma Recipe Instructions
- Place meat in a medium-sized bowl.
- Add garlic and spices to the meat. Use your hands to distribute the spices throughout the meat.
- Fry a small portion of the meat and adjusting the spices if necessary.
- Feed the meat through the casings, if available. If not, wrap the meat in saran wrap, and freeze partially to make slicing easier.
- Place the slices on a tray and freeze them before storing them in a ziplock bag.
- To cook, simply defrost a few slices, and fry in an oiled pan, along with some eggs.
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Homemade Iraqi Basturma recipe (breakfast sausage)
- 1 1/2 lb. ground lamb or ground beef
- 4 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 1/2 tsp. Middle Eastern 7 Spice
- 1/2 tsp. paprika powder
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. cardamom powder
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne
Place meat in a medium-sized bowl.
Add garlic and spices to the meat. Use your hands to distribute the spices throughout the meat.
Fry a small portion of the meat and adjusting the spices if necessary.
Feed the meat through the casings, if available. If not, wrap the meat in saran wrap, and freeze partially to make slicing easier.
Place the slices on a tray and freeze them before storing them in a ziplock bag.
To cook, simply defrost a few slices, and fry in an oiled pan, along with some eggs.