Cured Meat Recipe
This cured meat (basturma) or as we call it in Armenian: Ապուխտ (apukht) may be the most popular and well known Armenian appetizer. We make it on regular basis, but mostly it’s made before the New Year. Cured meat ( basturma) is one of the “must” appetizers for our New Year table.
The entire process of making this kind of cured meat is very simple, and takes from 7-10 days overall. However, I know that many take up to a month to make this delicious appetizer, depending on temperature and methods they’d use to cure it.
The most important thing is to make your cured meat with the fresh , never frozen meat, preferably the fillet steak part, that will guarantee that basturma will turn out tender , tasty and easy to bite on.
I’ll go ahead and share my simple method of making cured meat ( basturma) and hope you will try and enjoy it!
This recipe is for two 3lbs chunks of beef fillet, make sure the meat is fresh, never frozen
A pack of any kind of salt
For chaman ( fenugreek ) paste spread
½ cup ground fenugreek
½ cup paprika
1-2 tbs cayenne ( use only one tbs if you don’t like too spicy)
1 tbs ground black pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
1 ½ tbs salt
1 ¼ cups water
You will also need a deep pan, I use 9”x13” baking pan
To make the Chaman spread
In a food processor combine: garlic, ¼ cup of water and red pepper paste
Pulse until smooth, stop and scrape a few times
In a bowl combine all the other ingredients, quickly mix and add the remaining of water
Add the spice mixture to the processor and mix until a smooth paste is formed
Start prepping the meat: wash, cut and remove all the additional fats and parts you don’t need
Using a pointy skewer or thick pin make a few pokes on the meat
Generously sprinkle the bottom of your pan with salt and place the meats in it
Then again, generously sprinkle the salt all over the meats, making sure to cover them entirely
Cover the pans with lid or plastic wrap and place it somewhere cool for 2 days
Once in awhile check and see if there are parts that absorbed all the salt, add more to cover that part
Wash and pat dry the meats, very well
Wrap with a few layers of paper towel and put under heavy press for 1 day
During that time , check and see if the paper towel is moistened, change and re wrap it again with new dry paper towel
Unwrap and hang the meats to dry for 2-3 days
You can either use metal hooks or simple twine thread for hanging the meats
Cut and remove any overly dried parts from the meat
Generously spread the fenugreek paste all over the meats
Hang to dry for another 2-3 days
Slice thinly and enjoy!
Ready cured meat needs to be stored in the fridge