Sfeeha - Step by Step

Rate this recipe 
Average: 3.5 (9 votes)
Makes 14-16 pies

Sfeeha are a kind of middle eastern meat pies. In some parts they are known as lahm bi ajeen (which translates to 'meat with dough').  Their unique shape makes them look like little windows of goodness!

Ingredients for dough
4 cups
all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups
warm milk
1 tbsp
instant yeast
1/4 tsp.
baking powder
1 tsp
1 tsp
(plus one for glazing)
1 tbsp.
melted butter
3 tbsp
2 tbsp.
milk powder
Ingredients for Stuffing
500 gm
lamb or beef mince
2 tbsp
medium tomato, finely chopped
medium onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp
drained thick yoghurt
2 tsp
ginger paste
1 tsp
garlic paste
1 tsp
sumac powder
1/2 tsp
garam masala or all spice powder
1 tsp
black pepper, crushed
1 tsp
paprika powder
2 tsp
pomegranate mollases or juice of one lemon
2 tsp
red chilli flakes
4 tbsp
chopped coriander or parsley
1 tbsp
chopped mint
2 tsp
tahini paste
2 tbsp
roasted pine nuts
salt to taste

First prepare the dough. Sieve the flour, then add milk powder, baking powder, sugar, yeast and salt. Then add the oil, butter and the egg and mix together. Now add the milk gradually whilst kneading. You might not need it all, so add it sparingly until your dough is nice and soft. If more milk is needed to get a soft dough consistency, warm a little more and use. Knead for a good 8-10 minutes. The more you knead the softer the bread results will be.

Touch a bit of oil with your fingertips and apply all over the ball of dough. Cover in a bowl and set aside for 40 minutes to an hour for it to double in size.

While the dough is resting, prepare the filling. In most cases the mince is added into pies uncooked and then baked with the bun, however i prefer to cook the mince first just so that it is faster to bake the buns in the oven.

Heat the butter in a pan, add the chopped onions and saute to soften them. Then add the mince, ginger, garlic, salt and all the powdered spices. Cook on high heat until the mince is almost fully cooked. It will cook a bit more in the oven so do not worry if it is slightly under done, just make sure to dry off any excess moisture. Allow it to cool.

Add the chopped coriander, mint, tahini, mollasses or lemon juice, drained yoghurt, pine nuts and chopped tomatoes. Mix well and give it a taste, adjust if needed (PIC 1)

When the dough has doubled in volume, divide it into 14 or 16 balls, depending on the size you want them to be. (PIC 2)

Working on one ball of dough at at time (make sure to cover the rest in the meantime), roll each one out to form a circle of less than a quarter inch thickness. (PIC 3)

Place a heaping amount of filling in the center (PIC 4)

Then bring the sides up and over the edges of the filling. (PICS 5 & 6)

Pinch the four corners tightly shut. The trick in keeping these pies from opening up during baking is to wet the edges of the dough with a little water before you shape it, that will seal the dough together and prevent it from opening once baked.(PICS 7 & 8)

Once done, flatten each sfeeha down gently with the palm of your hand, then place on greased baking tray. (PIC 9)

Continue until all are done. Then brush them with the beaten egg and you can sprinkle some sesame seeds over them if you like.

Preheat the oven at 200 C (you need this high temperature because the sfeeha should not be baked for long durations). Then place the tray in the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until the bottoms are golden. if the tops are not yet coloured, you can then place them under the broiler for a couple of minutes until the tops are golden brown, but keep an eye on them so they do not burn.

Brush them with a touch of melted butter directly out of the oven and then keep them covered under a kitchen towel to retain softness until time of serving.



can this be made with chicken mince ?

Fauzia's Kitchen Fun's picture

Yes you can.

hi fauzia,
how r u? this recipe pic looks so yummy. and im just thinking to make this recipe... but i don't understand what do u mean by broiler? plz explain... and thnx for such a yummy recipe....<3

Fauzia&#039;s Kitchen Fun's picture

Hi, top grill that is inside the oven, the one for giving colour to the tops of the breads/buns.

Can these b done upto step 9 and kept covered in the fridge until i decide to bake them? If so,then how long in advance. That way they can b served freshly baked and hot from the oven.

Fauzia&#039;s Kitchen Fun's picture

I would not recommend storing uncooked dough, they may end up overproofing even in the fridge and they will taste yeasty. Better to half bake and then store.

Masha Allah yummy will try indha Allah

thnx... I'll try it very soon....

Asalmz..How do i get da prefect shape?

Fauzia&#039;s Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, please make sure the dough is very soft then follow the step by step images to achieve a perfect shape. :)

what is Sumac?

Fauzia&#039;s Kitchen Fun's picture

It is a middle eastern spice that is reddish in colour and has a tangy lemon flavour. :)

salaam sister,u mention 11/2 cups milk yet you mention that the milk might not be needed at all,is that an error.

Fauzia&#039;s Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, sorry there was an error there which I have now rectified. It should say you might not need ALL the milk. Meaning you may use some as needed to bring the dough together but you may not to use up the whole amount. Hope that clarifies it. :)

Slm fauziabai i made this,it was yummy,thnk u soo much,i lv ur all recipes.

Hi fauzia,

Can you tell the width of the ball when it is rolled , just to get the idea of the size. and how to half the recepie?

Fauzia&#039;s Kitchen Fun's picture

About 4 inches or so, have never really measured.

i tried making them but they opened up during baking:(...i wil try again tomorrow..thanks for the lovely recepes

i would like to ask is the milk powder for the dough necessary? is there a substitution i can use or can i omit it completely ?

Fauzia&#039;s Kitchen Fun's picture

Hi, you can leave it out.

I would like to know how many cups is 1 onion or tomato ?

Fauzia&#039;s Kitchen Fun's picture

About a third to a half cup.

Salaams, I would like to know how can I store them in freezer?
You have earlier mentioned to half bake them, so do I complete the whole process and bake half way and freeze? Then when I want to use I take out and complete the baking process and serve?

Fauzia&#039;s Kitchen Fun's picture

W/Salaam, yes exactly. Half bake then freeze, finish them off in a hot oven and serve when ready.

Okay.. but how do I figure out they are half baked?
Sorry Im new at baking..

Fauzia&#039;s Kitchen Fun's picture

You will know when they are just solid and no longer soft and squidgy but before they dry out or get golden. About half the baking time duration given in the recipe.

Hey do I have to use egg is there a substitute as I have an egg allergy .

Fauzia&#039;s Kitchen Fun's picture

Hi, you can use 2 tbsp yoghurt in place of the egg.

Can I use microwave for this recipe?

Fauzia&#039;s Kitchen Fun's picture

I never use a microwave for baking or cooking. You can if you like but I wouldn't know what the temp and time conversions would be.

helo fauzia h r u? i like the way u explain the recipe method in detail :) thanx alot.

can self raising flour be used instead of plain flour?? how would it affect the recipe? many thanks

Fauzia&#039;s Kitchen Fun's picture

I would not recommend it coz SR flour contains a large amount of baking powder which might be too much for a yeast dough recipe like this one.