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Crimea - Tatar's Fried Meat Pies, called "Chebureki" (VIDEO)

I hope you'll make this recipe soon. If you do, please tag me #innichka_chef on Instagram, Facebook, Patreon or Pinterest.

According to Wikipedia "Chebureki" are deep fried meat turnovers. Traditionally these fried meat pies were created and have been well loved in Crimea but for the last century have spread through many parts of the world such as in Caucasus, West Asia, Central Asia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Eastern Europe as well as in Turkey, Greece and Romania.

two hand pies and one is broken in half, pickled tomato and cucumbers

Juicy inside, crispy outside, fragrant and simply delicious. Perfect example of a simple street food that is made with a few ingredients. A blistered and chewy crust is the sign of a really good "cheburek". These meat pies should be eaten within just a few minutes of their emergence from the fryer.

two hand pies on a pan, frying

As a child, every time when I went to the farmer's market with my mom it was a big deal was for me to indulge in the iconic street food called "Cheburek". I didn't mind other street foods either, such as "Pirozhki from Babushka Oka. Vegan"

basket with towel and pirozki
donuts looking pastry

And here some more dishes from my home country.


You probably don't know this, but the lady who is on the other side of the video camera is from Crimea. She shared with me her mother's recipe and I am sharing it with you. This recipe is the best meat pies, called "Chebureki".


What meat has been used for Meat Pies, called "Chebureki"?

The original recipe dates back one or two hundred years ago and was made strictly with fresh meat (beef or lamb) since the Tatar people were not allowed to eat pork based on their religion. Today this dish can be made with any kind of meat or even poultry.


How is the meat processed for Meat Pies, called "Chebureki"?

I must mention, in the old days besides the meat being fresh, it had to also be minced with two sharp knives on a surface making sure not to bruise the meat and you needed to preserve all the fat.


What else plays a big factor in the flavor for Meat Pies, called "Chebureki"?

Onions play a big factor in the flavor, even the Tatarian people jokingly say, "there is no such a thing as too many onions for "cheburek filling".

I agree, the flavor and juiciness will depend on the amount of onions.


What Tatar people used for frying their Meat Pies, called "Chebureki"?

Seed oils are a new thing to our civilization, and original recipes called for lamb fat called "kurdyuk" or really any animal fat could and actually still can be used.


How to choose meat for meat pies, called "Chebureki"?

Hard to believe that today people work hard to make this delicacy. It's a simple food, its a street food and in Crimea just about on every corner you can find a "cheburechnuyu", and it is popular just as much as pizza in the US.

Just about any meat will do, don't be stressed about what to use. In the video, I ground my own meat (sirloin steak with the addition of a little bit of lamb fat), but you don't have too.


What do I need to make meat pies, called "Chebureki"?

Very few ingredients, and the quality of each ingredient does matter.

Meat - any kind. I used freshly ground beef, my kitchen aid mixer has an attachment for grinding meat and it works great, but store bought meat will do as well. Just make sure it's not very lean; 85% meat and 15% of fat is what I recommend.

Onion - regular big juicy onion and a lot of it. The amount should be almost as much as the meat.

Flour - all-purpose and as always I recommend using flour without any additives and unbleached. Organic if possible.

Oil - Just a small amount is needed for the dough to make it very soft. Also, use oil with a high smoke point for frying the chebureki.

My mom, just like everyone else in Ukraine, uses sunflower oil. No surprise here, right? Ukraine takes 1st place in the world as a sunflower oil supplier.

Spices - salt, black pepper, freshly ground is a must I have to say. Since this recipe is so basic on spices, then perfectly seasoning the meat is the key to success. Cumin is optional, and in the area where I'm from no one uses it, but in Crimea people do use it.


What Do I like about meat pies, called "Chebureki"?

  • Easy to make. Everyone can make it. Dough is very easy to work with.

  • No special equipment needed.

  • Everyone loves chebureki. Perfect for a crowd, or dinner party as a main dish with a salad or can be eaten as a snack. My husband loves to eat them with sour cream.


NOTES ON HOW TO SERVE, STORE & REHEAT THE MEAT PIES , CALLED "CHEBUREKI"?

My camera lady who grew up eating fried meat pies called chebureki at least once a week, says her mom always served them with fermented veggies (cucumbers, tomatoes) and chased them with sweet fruit tea called compote made with fresh seasonal fruit or dried fruit in the winter months.


So let's get started...


Prep time: 5 minutes

Making time: 40 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

Serves: 16 pieces

ingredients for the pies and electric mixer

Ingredients for the dough:

6 cups (750g) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon pink salt

4 tablespoons sunflower oil (or any oil)

270-300 ml hot water (70C or 158F)


Ingredients for the filling:

700g (1½ pounds) ground beef or meat of your choice

100g animal fat, any kind (optional, if your meat has plenty of fat skip it)

1 extra large onion

2 teaspoons pink salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon cumin seeds (optional)

1/4 bunch Parsley (optional, and I didn't use in the video)

1/2 cup (120ml) chicken or beef broth (use water if you have to, I used homemade in the video)


Oil for frying (I used sunflower oil, just like my mom)


Directions for the fried meat pies called "Chebureki"

  • To make the dough, use a bowl and a wooden spoon, to start the mixing process since the water is too hot to handle with bare hands. Add all ingredients and start mixing with a spoon, then place dough onto a flat surface and knead for a minute or so. Wrap with plastic wrap and let it rest for 20-30 minutes.

  • I grinded my own meat with a Kitchen Aid grinding attachment. It's easy. I used sirloin steak and some lamb fat.

  • Grate your onion or grind together with the meat in the grinder.

  • Add spices, broth or water and give a good mix. Use either a handheld or an electric mixer with a paddle attachment and mix well. If you have time, place meat in the fridge for at least half an hour. This isn’t a must, but it is nice to allow all the flavors to marry together.

  • Heat a cast iron pan with oil (high smoke point) over medium heat. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan, about an inch should do it.

  • Take your dough and cut into 16 pieces, roll each into a ball, place them onto a platter or baking sheet, cover (so the dough won't dry out). and start working with one piece at the time.

  • Roll a dough ball into a circle, the thinner the better and place a scoop of meat on one side of the circle. Cover with another and pinch, you can use your finger or a pizza/pastry roller or ravioli roller cutter . The rule of thumb here is that the meat and dough have a 50:50 ratio.

  • Keep your distance as you place the "cheburek" into a preheated skillet and fry for 2-3 minutes per side. Great bubbles and beautiful golden color are indicators of a perfectly fried "cheburek". Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Enjoy right away! Have a lots of napkins nearby because they are very juicy. Make sure you are ready to soak up all the accumulated juices that pour out from the inside when you open the "cheburek". And please, do me a favor and don't use a knife. Eat with your hands. Remember it is an iconic street food!

holding meat pie in two halves in my hand the rest of the pies on a platter

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1 Comment


Dave Lanigan
Dave Lanigan
Apr 02

My oldest son absolutely loves them

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