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Middle Eastern

Turkey Ara’yes With Yogurt Dipping Sauce

March 14, 2024
2 Ratings
Photo by Nicole Davis
  • Prep time 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

Ara’yes are meat-stuffed pitas originating from Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. They’re traditionally prepared with lamb, beef, or a combination of the two, and seasoned heavily with warm spices. After a quick marinade in the fridge, you fill the pita with the mixture, smash it, then grill the bread on both sides to create a crispy exterior and a savory, juicy filling. This turkey variation is a lighter but equally satisfying version of the classic, with a well-spiced mix that stays true to the dish’s roots. A bright, fresh, and slightly smoky yogurt dipping sauce rounds it all out. —César Pérez

What You'll Need
  • For the ara’yes:
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 medium yellow onion, grated
  • 5 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baharat
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 6 pita breads, halved and split to form pockets
  • For the yogurt dipping sauce:
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • Juice and zest of half a lemon
  1. In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, tomato paste, parsley, baharat, and one tablespoon of olive oil. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to overnight.
  2. Fill the pita pockets with 2 tablespoons of turkey mixture, pressing down ensuring that the meat is evenly distributed. Lightly brush with olive oil.
  3. Heat a grill pan over medium heat and brush with olive oil. Once hot, cook the ara’yes 5 to 7 minutes per side, until crispy and golden brown. Use a digital thermometer to check the temperature—it should be 165°F.
  4. For the yogurt dipping sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and serve cold alongside your hot or room temperature ara’yes (you can serve them either way).

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