Esfirra, Non-Keto (Paternal Grandmother’s Recipe)

Welcome back to the blog, Ketonians and Non-Ketonians alike! We don’t discriminate here. lol

Since I announced last post that I would be starting the feat of turning my grandmothers’ recipes Keto, I figured I “better get a move on it.” Plus, it is my brother’s bachelor party this weekend. Perfect party food yumminess! With me being the best man, I gotta cater to the groom. Grandma is no longer with us, so I had some big shoes to fill for his surprise. This will be a non-keto recipe that after much experimentation…. I will turn keto. The texture has to be right, otherwise I can’t call it keto esfirras. Hahahah! Stay tuned, more on that later!

The Esfirra (also written as Esfiha– both are pronounced ess-Fee-ha) is a Brazilian savory pie/dumpling. It is a common snack and fast food that evolved from the Middle Eastern Sfihah, brought to Brazil by Syrian and Lebanese immigrants. Grandma’s recipe is da bomb, or was… when I was not Keto. Here’s how we make it:

Ingredients for Filling:

~2 lbs of ground beef, (we used grassfed wagyu beef)

~1 yellow onion

~2 tomatoes

~Seasoned with Adobo, Salt, scallions, olive oil, and a smidge of oregano


~Get out a sauce pan and pour like a 1/4 cup of olive oil into it. Saute the onions and tomatoes until they get mushy, seasoning them with some salt. Remove from pan and set aside in a bowl for later.

~In the same sauce pan, brown the ground beef with the rest of the seasoning. Make sure all the blood comes out of the meat during the cooking process and that you break up the beef as finely as possible for the filling to be easily compacted or stuffed.

~At this point, turn off the heat but leave the pan on the burner. Add in the bowl of sauteed onion and tomatoes to the meat. Mix well.

Set the filling aside until later. It needs to be cooled down to room temperature. Meanwhile, turn the oven on to 350F and let’s move onto the dough:

Ingredients for the Dough:

~2 packets of Fleischmann’s dry yeast

~1 cup of whole milk

~2 tablespoons of granulated sugar

~6 tablespoons of melted butter

~(Roughly) 6 cups of white flour (Pillsbury Self Rising Flour)

Directions for the Dough:

~Make sure the oven is on to 350 Degrees F. We like to proof the dough on top of the stove with the heated oven for 45min-1hour

~Open (2 packets of dry yeast packets) and put in a large mixing bowl

~Microwave 1 cup of whole milk for about 30 seconds if cold, 15 seconds if room temperature. While it’s cooking, put 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar on top of the dry yeast. When the microwave yells at you, pour warmed milk over yeast and sugar. This activates and feeds the yeast. Allow to sit a few minutes and when you smell bread or see tiny bubbles in the mix, add 6 tablespoons of melted butter.

~Now it’s time for us to start gradually adding 6 cups of white flour. My cousin and I counted this amount of flour one day, but grandma’s recipe says add until the dough is homogenized, soft but not sticky. This is why I wrote roughly 6 cups of flour. You might need more, or less. Here is a picture of what it should look like when all ingredients create a lovely dough, ready to proof.

The warmth of the oven and a plastic bag/saran wrap on top of the dough will aid in its proofing. The dough should double in size.

After about an hour’s time, all elements of this dish are prepped and ready to be assembled to bake. This is my favorite part!! Making this recipe, I was flooded with memories from when grandma and I would bake together. I miss her dearly!! And when my family ate these meaty triangles of yumminess, I could tell they remembered her too. (I ate the filling only because staying Keto is very important to my health and weight loss journey!)

Ok, so now pinch off handfuls of dough to roll out into a flattened circle. Depending on how big or small you want them, this will take a good while. What helps is having the music blasting very loud and dancing!! The Esfirras can feel the love you put into them – hahah – I am convinced of this.

Ok, ok, I admit that my circles are not perfect!! Just keep in mind, these will be triangular in shape when we are done. I like to do this in groups of 5 or 6 circles because rolling them out takes a bit of finesse. Hahah, and figuring out how to space them apart as to not squish the flattened ones even more by rolling the next dough ball in line. I believe in you!

Next, when the group of dough balls have all been flattened, add the meat mixture to the center. Take advice from Goldy Locks, not too much, not too little… just right! Because then you will take the corners to form our triangular shaped meat pies. Oh and if you touch the meat/oil from the filling, make sure you wash/dry your hands before forming the triangles. We want the dough to stick together so the Esfirras don’t bust open in the baking process. Those are considered rejects in our house – hahahah – and have to be consumed right out of the oven as to not make it to the display tray. 😁 Hubby took care of that this time of me making this recipe.

Now you are ready to put them on the non-stick baking sheet. Grandma egg-washed all of them, and unfortunately I forgot to do that with this batch. Bake them until golden/lightly browned on the creases. If egg-washed, when they are bright/shiny/golden brown.

A little tip to consider, if there are a lot of people coming over to eat these, make the entire dough as esfirras. If not, this is the perfect dough for bread. You can make these into dinner rolls, or bread for dip, or brunch.

Anyway, I chose to make all esfirras. Another day, I’ll make a post on just the bread dough. Here’s my finished product:

My brother’s bachelor party was a success and I felt like a million bucks for three reasons:

1~ Feeding people is how grandma showed love and I honored her in a big way.

2~ Seeing their faces while they ate them made my heart so full!

3~ I did not have a single one, staying Keto! What a victory, because if you knew me before Keto, me and bread were like Romeo and Juliet. And I was headed toward the suicide ending too, just poisoning myself with bread that turned into sugar during digestion.

For all of you that can eat carbs without worries, I surely hope you enjoy this recipe!!!

Thank you for joining me here today. If you have any questions about this recipe or eating Keto, fill out our Contact Us page. Have a nice day from your Ketonian Nerd!


Ro πŸ’‹

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