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This is the way we say it; the name has many forms, and pastrami is one of them. Which, I imagine, tells you that it’s an air-cured beef and it comes in slices.

No-one knows when people started air curing beef, though there are lots of stories. It is clear that it has been made in the eastern Mediterranean at least since Byzantine times, but it is likely that it predates that period, possibly by millennia. “Why” is clearer than “when;” the people of that area at that time were seafarers and traders, they could be at sea for prolonged periods (the weather in the eastern Med during winter can bring a frown to the face of the most experienced sailor), and people who travel far from home need to be fed while they’re abroad. That means finding a way to preserve food – in this case, meat – to prevent it from going bad. The method chosen was to soak the beef in brine for up to two weeks and then let the air dry it.

In any case, the end product was and is delicious. As you can see for yourself by using it in any of the various ways people enjoy it. The New York deli way is in a bagel or some other form of bread with mustard, mayo, pickles (gherkins are the NY choice, but don’t feel limited to that), tomato and lettuce. And those pastrami sandwiches are a great treat – but they’re not the only thing you can do with basturma.

Try it fried, with or without eggs, for breakfast or any other meal. It’s used as a topping for pizza, which gives us an excellent opportunity to give our own pizza recommendation for the home cook – pizza dough and pizza baking are difficult, to put it mildly, unless you have the right kind of wood oven – but pitta breads covered with the topping(s) of your choice and baked in the oven have been enough to persuade many pizza eaters to forget about pizza entirely and switch to pitta-pizzas.

Reading about the sandwiches of New York will have reminded you that this meat can be eaten as it is – no need for cooking – and it makes a great addition to a table covered with mezza, but it can also be used in a salad with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and your choice of mayo or tzatziki. In Egypt, they use it as the filling in little filo pastry parcels.

As with so many foods, the real question is: how creative is your imagination?

Company Info

Contact Person: Nikos Andrea
Mailing Address: Koniele Trading LTD,
Evagorou 6, Dromolaxia, Cyprus 7020
Call/Text: 00 357 97 884776
Company Reg. No: HE343968