Armenian basturma

Basturma Recipe; The Delicious Armenian Cured Beef Dish

Basturma is a traditional Armenian cured meat made of beef or lamb. The heart is first marinated in a mixture of spices; then air-dried for several weeks. Basturma has a very intense flavor and is often used as an ingredient in stews or dishes with rice. This Basturma recipe includes all the traditional spices and step-by-step instructions for curing the meat. Join Cooking County with the recipe of Basturma.

basturma recipe

What do you know about the History of Basturma?

Basturma is a cured, air-dried beef from the Armenian city of Yerevan. The dish is made by marinating beef in a mixture of spices and then drying it for several weeks. 

Basturma’s history dates back to the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, which existed from the 12th to 14th centuries. During this time, the Armenian people developed a method of curing meats similar to the European process. However, the Armenians added their unique spices to the mix, which gave Basturma its distinctive flavor. 

Pastirma recipe

Basturma became popular in Armenia and other parts of the Ottoman Empire during the 16th century. It was often eaten as a snack or appetizer and used as a flavoring for stews and sauces.

How to Make Basturma?


  • 2 kg beef  
  • 1.5-2 boxes salt  
  • 3 tablespoon red pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons (ground) chili pepper
  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds 
  • 3 teaspoons (ground) cumin 
  • 1.5 cups water 


Step One

As we said before, Basturma is meat processed and dried uniquely. So, wash the beef and divide it into 4 equal parts, each 30 cm long, 12 cm wide, and 6 cm thick. 

Step Two

Put the pieces of meat in a bowl, completely covered with salt and a damp cloth, and leave in a cold place for 5 days (it is necessary to turn the pieces of meat every day). 

Step Three

After five days:

  1. Remove the meat pieces from the salt, and wash and dry them.
  2. Wrap the meat tightly in a cotton cloth, put them underweight and leave them for 3-4 days.
  3. Hang the meat in a well-ventilated place for 5 days. 

Step Four

Mix the cumin with lukewarm water, then gradually drain the water and add the chili pepper, ground coriander seed, cumin and red pepper. Put a lid on the finished mixture bowl in the refrigerator. 

Step Five

Leave it overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, we apply the mixture on the pieces of meat, smooth the surface with wet hands and hang the Basturma to dry for 10-12 days in a well-ventilated place. 

Armenian cured meat

Note: Some people marinate the beef in a mixture of garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika for 24 hours. So, marinating the beef depends on you.

How to Serve Basturma?

When Basturma is ready to serve, it is thinly sliced and often served as an appetizer with pita bread or crackers. It is also used as an ingredient in stews or other dishes. If you are cooking with it, add it to the dish in the last few minutes of cooking so that it doesn’t toughen up.

how to make basturma

FAQs about Basturma

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