Fettah Hamra
Prep Time
Cook Time
Prep Time
Cook Time
  • 1lb beef cubes
  • 2loaves pita bread
  • 8cloves garlicminced
  • 1 oniondiced
  • 1 1/2tsp cumin
  • 1tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/4tsp garlic powder
  • 1 mastic crystal
  • 1/3cup vinegar
  • 2cup rice
  • 115 oz can tomato sauce
  • salt
  • water
  • olive oil
  1. In a small bowl, marinate the stew beef with 1/2 diced onion, 1 tsp cumin, cardamom, and garlic powder. Set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. In a 200 degree oven, toast the pita bread for about 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  3. In a small pot, heat 1 tsp of olive oil over high heat. Add 2 cups of rice, 1/2 tsp salt, and 3 cups of water. Once the water comes to a boil, reduce heat to lowest setting, cover and let cook for 20 minutes.
  4. In a pressure cooker, heat 2 tsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add the remainder of the diced onion. Add the mastic crystal to the onions. Cook the onions until they are translucent and soft. You should get a slight aroma from the mastic crystal. Add the beef and lightly brown all sides of the beef.
  5. To the pressure cooker, add 4 cups of water and a dash of salt. Cover, and let cook for at least 30 minutes on medium heat. Release the pressure according to your pressure cooker’s specified instructions. The meat should be very tender. If not, add another cup of water and cook again for another 10 minutes, and repeat with releasing the pressure. (If you do not have a pressure cooker, then boil the meat for at least 2 hours. You will need to periodically remove the foam that floats to the top when the meat boils).
  6. Remove the beef from the broth and set aside. You should have at least 2 cups of broth at this point.
  7. In a small saucepan, heat up 2 tsp of olive oil on medium heat. Add the minced garlic and saute. Add 1/2 tsp of cumin powder to the garlic and quickly stir. Add 1/3 cup of vinegar and let simmer for at least 10 minutes.
  8. Add one can of tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of the reserved beef broth to the vinegar mixture. Let simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
  9. Now you are ready to assemble. Crumble the bread into pieces at the bottom of a large casserole. Take the remaining beef broth and pour over the bread. It should be about 1 1/2 cups – enough to cover and soak the bread. If you have more broth, then save/freeze the rest.
  10. Sprinkle the cubes of beef on top of the soaked bread. (if you really want to be indulgent, you can pan fry the beef cubes in a pat of butter before assembling the dish….makes an awesome dish much more awesome…).
  11. Pour about 1/3 of the red sauce on top of the bread and beef. Add the rice on top and spread across the entire casserole. Pour more red sauce over the top. I usually save some red sauce on the side in case anyone wants extra. Enjoy!