Meat-Filled Pies (Arayes)

These meat-filled pies, or arayes, are a popular Middle Eastern dish and a great addition to a meal or to be eaten as a snack. Most families have their own twist on this recipe that gets passed down from generation to generation. We look at a basic recipe here that you can try at home.


  • 680g ground beef/mince
  • 2 onions
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 can tomato sauce (chopped tomato)
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 15 Anat pita breads
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Preparing your filling

  1. Chop your onion into small pieces, cut your tomatoes in half and mince your garlic. Chop as much of the jalapeno as you would like (if any).
  2. Add your onion and garlic to a food processor and pulse until they are finely minced, but not watery. Add you tomatoes and pepper and pulse again.
  3. Then, add your meat and pulse a few more times. Add your tomato sauce, half of your molasses and a ¼ cup of olive oil and pulse again.
  4. You can now remove your mixture from your food processor, and place into a colander over a bowl so that any excess liquid can drain out. Leave it for around 10 minutes, or until barely any liquid is dripping.
  5. Now add the rest of your molasses, another 2 tbsp. of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Filling your pita

  1. Prepare your pita breads by slicing it in half across and spread ½ tbsp of olive oil on the inside.
  2. Take ¼ cup of your meat mixture and flatten it into the middle of your pita bread. Coat it with more olive oil and set aside. Repeat until all your pitas are filled.
  3. Bake your pitas for 12-18 minutes at 230 °C, flipping halfway through so that they are crisp on both sides.
  4. Serve with yoghurt or tzatziki. Enjoy!