Brazilian Flair esfiha is the authentic esfiha recipe that my grandma has been making for so long. It’s a baked snack filled with meat that is served on every corner in Brazil.
“Esfiha” is a very popular dish in Lebanon, and in almost every country in the Middle East. Arab immigrants brought “Esfiha” to Brazil in the late 19th century, and it has become an integral part of Brazilian cuisine. You will find open (like a pizza shape) or closed esfiha with different fillings. The traditional way is always made with dough, baked in the oven with fillings like ground beef, cheese, yogurt, or seasoned vegetables.
I love esfiha!! We always had these in our freezer for those nights that my mom didn’t want or was to busy to cook. You can serve them as a snack or also as main dish along with a salad. It’s so funny to think that until I moved from Brazil to the USA, and lived in Lisbon and Paris, that I realized that esfiha is a Middle Eastern food. Esfiha is so integrated in Brazilian cuisine that I always thought it was Brazilian food.
I read this article on NPR called “WhenWhen Chefs Become Famous Cooking Other Cultures’ Food” and I loved it. I have an example here in my house. Marilyn has been learning and cooking Brazilian food and became better than me. At the end of the day it’s all about passion for food. Don’t you think?!
- For the filling
- 1 lb (500 gr) lean ground meat (not extra-lean)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 large tomatoes, seeded by not peeled, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp finely chopped cilantro
- 1 Tbsp green onion
- 4 minced garlic
- 2 limes fresh juice
- For the dough
- 1 cup oil
- 3 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- ½ l of warm milk
- 60 g of yeast in tablet or 2 teaspoons (tsp ) full
- 8 c. of good quality flour
- 1 egg yolk for glazing
- Prepare the dough
- Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk.
- Combine the liquid in a large mixing bowl with the salt, sugar, beaten egg and oil.
- Mix well.
- Add the flour by handfuls, and keep mixing with your hands.
- You want the dough smooth.
- Generously flour a working surface, then knead the dough for 10 to 12 minutes, adding additional flour in small amounts as needed to not stick on the surface.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled pan and cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for about one hour.
- While the dough is rising make the filling.
- Prepare the filling
- In a saute pan over medium heat saute onions and garlic until soft.
- Add ground beef and sauce until cooked through.
- Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, cilantro, and green onion. Cook for 15 minutes until reduced.
- Take off the heat and add lime juice.
- Set in the refrigerator to cool before filling.
- Make the Esfihas
- Shape the dough into medium sized balls
- Then flatten the ball like a mini-pizza (thick).
- Pour a tablespoon of the filling and then put together the ends of the circle in the center, shaping them like triangles.
- The secret of soft esfiha is not abusing the amount of flour, otherwise it gets dry.
- Put the esfihas on a baking sheet dusted with flour and glaze with egg yolk.
- Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
- You can serve with pieces of lime or hot sauce.
- Also, you can freeze it.
Have a great weekend!!
Beijos and Tchau!