Sunday, January 18, 2009

Healthy Beef Wraps - Middle Eastern Style

Do you like 'Donair', a turkish kebab also known in Middle Eastern terms as Shawarma ? Yum...me too! This is my version of the wrap....real simple but very tasty...just as good and, depending on where you get yours ready made, perhaps a bit healthier. When you make your own you can buy organic yogurt, use whole wheat tortilla wraps (rather than the thicker white pita bread used in fast food service) and you can control the amount of fat that remains in the beef mixture. The addition of kidney beans adds fibre and because it adds protein too, you can reduce the amount of actual ground beef in a typical recipe. Don't omit it though if you are not fond of beans....just use less. The mashed beans help to thicken the meat 'sauce' with all the flavour that you want to preserve for the wrap.


Ingredients
  • touch of light oil (if you need it)
  • 1 lb (or about 450 g) lean ground beef (I used extra lean minced steak)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion (yes...keep it fine :P..)
  • 1 garlic clove finely minced (at least one...I use about three to be honest...and my motto of course is fresh is best but you could use 1/4 tsp garlic pwd. to replace the ONE clove.)
  • 1 14 oz can of drained red kidney beans (I think that would be about a 400 ml?)
  • 1/4 cup low sodium prepared beef broth
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (I use organic and 2% but it is only a matter of choice. I do have to say this...when using 2% or less in 'cooking' .....as opposed to baking...you most likely have to increase your seasonings as it doesn't 'take' that much. The complaint I often get from my boys is that although they appreciate the lower calories...the dishes lack more in flavour...so....)
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice (Adding lemon juice will boost flavour always - of course too much will detract)
  • pinch of sea salt (also a flavour booster)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tsp SPIKE (I love SPIKE for these healthy recipes. You could use Mrs. Dash or similar. Some mixed spices have a strong flavour favoring a specific spice in the mix. I prefer SPIKE because it has a good balance. You can omit this if you want and add a bit of cumin instead...cumin is always a good addition for these type of dishes.)
  • 1 cup -more or less - chopped English cucumber
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional but I suggest you try!)
  • Whole wheat flour tortillas (I use the larger size; it fits more 'filling' in it)
  • tin foil and parchment paper (or wax) for wrapping
Put touch of oil in a large frying pan. Add the beef, onions and minced garlic. Fry until no pink remains in the beef. Drain fat if necessary. Mash half of the drained beans with a fork on a small plate. Add it to the beef mixture. And the rest of the beans and broth. Heat through and then remove it from the heat.

Mix the yogurt with the dill, lemon juice and spices and salt. Taste a bit and see, it may need a bit more of this or that. Add cumin or curry pwd. to taste.Rip off one tin foil sheet and one parchment paper sheet and lay on counter, parchment paper on top. Lay one tortilla on the sheets. Spread yogurt mixture on tortilla spreading until about 1 inch from the edges. Spoon beef mixture down the centre. Sprinkle the toppings on the beef. Fold bottom end of tortilla over filling. Fold in the sides leaving the top end open. Wrap up with the foil/paper and voila...you have an easy to hold and healthy snack. I served these last night with a light salad after an evening at the gym and it was perfect for a light meal.

Note: Yikes...in the photo my chicken broth made it in to the shot rather than the beef broth. And my tomatoes, feta and spike plus a few other 'subjects' were camera shy so they did not attend the 'group shot'.....sheesh...the things us photographers have to deal with....eh? Grin!

8 comments:

  1. That looks yummy!

    One change I would make would be to use lavash (a thin, large Armenian flatbread) instead of tortillas to wrap them in. (Lavash comes in whole-grain too. At least around here.) It has a more "authentic" flavor to me; tortillas taste like tortillas no matter what you put in them. ;)

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  2. Great suggestion...because now that makes me go on a hunt for 'lavash'. I love to learn new things and I must admit I am not familiar with this flatbread. Thanks for the tip! I'm off to the bakery :P

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  3. Wow that looks good...I will have to try that one....
    Mo :-)

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  4. Looks good..and I like most everything wrapped in a tortilla!

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  5. In some parts of the country you will find that "lavash" is sold as a cracker. Here that is not what lavash is; here lavash is a soft fresh flatbread and the cracker is "Armenian cracker bread." (That's the English name anyway; I don't read or speak Armenian so I don't know what the name is in Armenian.)

    If you cannot find lavash locally, you can order it online. :)

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  6. oh this looks so good. i love anything in a wrap and the flavours sound wonderful.

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  7. Boy a girl goes away from the computer for a couple days and comes back so many great sounding creations...
    Oh and I love lavash, not hard to find in Southern California because of all the Armenians that settled here...

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