Beef Mince “Sfiha”

Beef Mince “Sfiha”

As a resut of the Lebanese immigration that started in Brazil in the end of the 19th century, Middle-Eastern foods like sfiha and the beef mince fritter kibbeh, tabbouleh salad and eggplant and hummus dips are common foods eaten in various parts of the country. Similar to the Turkish pide, sfiha is an open Middle-Eastern baked pie that looks like a mini pizza and is topped with spiced beef or lamb mince. I adapted this recipe from a dear relative of mine, my “Auntie” Sonia, who is married with one of my uncles. She is second generation Lebanese descendant who cherishes her family recipes as being very precious part of her heritage. Over the years we exchanged many recipes and we both have passion for cooking.

Some of the fresh ingredients of “sfiha”, tomatoes and onions keep the mince moist, lime and mint give the mince lots of zing and complement the flavour of the spices

Sfiha Vegetables CM L 2 (1 of 1)
The Brazilian version of sfiha is slightly different from the original one, for example the Brazilian dough has more sugar in it and apart from beef mince there are many other toppings like chicken and catupiry (Brazilian soft cheese), cheese and herbs or pepperoni. The secrets to a perfect beef mince sfiha are the high temperature oven, the right quantity of spices and to use of full fat beef mince, and I don’t recommend the use of lean meat. The result is quite disappointing as the spices completely take over the flavour of the meat instead of enhancing it.

Beef Mince Sfiha

In Brazil sfiha is also big business and is the top seller of one of the country’s largest fast food chains. Brazilians have sfihas any time of the day and even leftovers may be eaten for breakfast. The snack is typically served with lemon wedges and/or mayonnaise, mustard and tomato sauce with a chilled Coca-Cola being the most adored drink to accompany the meal.

Her is how you assemble your sfiha. Make a ball of the size of a lime, using your fingers push in the middle of the ball and open the sfiha to a circle of about 8cm diameter. The thinner you can get the dough, the better.

Sfiha Instruction 2 CM L (1 of 1)

Put 2 tbs of the spicy mince (see detailed steps in the instructions) and push it inside the dough, drizzle with olive oil and it’s ready to be baked.

Sfiha Instruction 3 CM L (1 of 1) Sfiha Instruction 4 CM L (1 of 1)

Enjoy my sfiha recipe with another Brazilian song by the “Novos Baianos” a super cool band from the North-eastern state of Bahia, and their vocalist Baby Consuelo showing off her wonderful voice. The song is called “A Menina Dança” or The Girl Dances.

A Menina Dança – Novos Baianos

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520g plain flour, sifted

2 tbs caster sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tsp instant dried yeast

250ml luke-warm milk

40ml extra-virgin olive oil


700g full fat beef mince

3 tomatoes (about 400g), deseeded, roughly chopped

3 onions (about 450g), finely chopped

Juice of 2 limes

1 bunch mint, finely chopped

1 tsp ground coriander

¼ tsp of nutmeg

¼ tsp ground cloves

1 tsp chilli flakes

½ tsp ground white pepper

½ tsp cinnamon

3 tsp sumac*

1 tbs freshly ground sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Extra-virgin olive oil, to drizzle

Lime wedges, to serve

American mustard, to serve

Vegetable oil spray to grease

*Available from Middle-Eastern grocers or large supermarkets


1. For the dough, in a large bowl combine flour, sugar and salt. Make a well in the centre and add milk, yeast and oil. Using your hands combine all the ingredients until the mixture comes to a ball. Knead the dough for 10 minutes, make a ball and cover lightly with olive oil. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and set aside to prove in a warm draught-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

2. Pre-heat the oven 200°C, grill fan-forced. Line two large trays with baking paper. In a large bowl mix all ingredients of the topping and set aside for 15 minutes.

3. When the dough is ready make 20 balls of the size of a lime and place them on a clean bench dusted with  flour. Flatten a ball in the middle and push down sideways keeping the round shape. Spoon about 2 tbs of mince, squeeze tightly in one of your hands over a bowl (to remove excess juices) and spread the mince on top of the dough at the same time you flatten the dough to make a thin round mini-pizza shape of about 8cm diameter, leaving a little bit of crust on the edges then place it on a tray. The thinner the dough, the better the end results will be. Repeat with remaining balls.

4. Drizzle the sfihas with extra-virgin olive oil and bake in the middle shelf of the oven for 8-10 minutes or until the crusts are golden and the base is dry and crispy. Serve with lime wedges and mustard.

Makes: 20 sfihas


Receita em Português

Esfiha de Carne



520g de farinha de trigo, peneirada

2 colheres de sopa de açúcar refinado

1 colher de chá de sal

2 colheres de chá de fermento seco instantâneo

250ml leite morno

40ml de azeite de oliva extra-virgem


700g de carne moída

3 tomates (cerca de 400g) , sem sementes, picados

3 cebolas (cerca de 450g), picadinhas

Suco de 2 limões

1 maço de hortelã bem picadinha

1 colher de chá de coentro em pó

¼ colher de chá de noz-moscada

¼ colher de chá de cravo em pó

1 colher de chá de pimenta calabresa

½ colher de chá de pimenta branca

½ colher de chá de canela

3 colheres de chá sumac*

1 colher de sopa de sal grosso moído na hora

Pimenta do reino moída na hora, à gosto

Azeite de oliva para regar

Fatias de limão, para servir

Mostarda americana, para servir

Rende: 20 esfirras

*Disponível em lojas de temperos libaneses ou de temperos

 Modo de Preparo 

1. Para a massa, em uma tigela grande misture a farinha, o açúcar e o sal. Faça um buraco no centro e adicione o leite, fermento e óleo. Misture todos os ingredientes com as mãos até formar uma a bola. Sove a massa por 10 minutos, faça uma bola e cubra com um pouco de azeite de oliva. Cubra a tigela com um pano de prato limpo e deixe crescer em um ambiente morno por 1 hora ou até dobrar de tamanho.

2. Pré-aqueça o forno a 200°C (temperatura bem alta). Forre duas formas grandes com papel manteiga. Em uma tigela grande misture todos os ingredientes da cobertura e reserve por 15 minutos.

3. Quando a massa estiver pronta faça 20 bolas do tamanho de um limão e coloque-os sobre uma bancada limpa polvilhada com farinha. Achate uma bola no meio e com os dedos vá abrindo em forma de pizza, mantendo a forma redonda e as bordas. Pegue 2 colheres de sopa da carne temperada, esprema o líquido dentro de uma bacia e espalhe a carne picada em cima da massa, ao mesmo tempo que você continua a abrir a massa até ficar com aproximadamente 8cm de diâmetro (matenha a crosta). Coloque a esfiha em uma forma. Quanto mais fina a massa, melhor será o resultado final. Repita com o restante da massa.

4. Regue as esfihas com azeite extra-virgem e asse na prateleira do meio do forno por 8-10 minutos ou até que as crostas estejam douradas e a base seca e crocante. Sirva com fatias de limão e mostarda.

Rende: 20 esfihas

  • Carol Ribeiro

    Jesusmariajosé!!! Essa guria só faz coisa gostosa e ainda por cima tem um bom gosto gigante para compor as fotos!!!

    • GeorginaRibas

      Obrigada querida Carol!

  • Bia Ferracini

    Fico passando vontade com essas comidinhas! #maldade kkkk

    • GeorginaRibas

      Obrigada Bia, venha prá cá e eu faço esfiha prá você!

  • Shoshanna Lee

    Eu estou literalmente babando aqui. Eu posso facilmente saboreá-los cinco vezes por dia. Delicioso!

    • GeorginaRibas

      Shoshanna you’re such a nice friend! Glad you gave the Portuguese a go 😉

      • Shoshanna Lee

        Google translate – to the rescue 🙂 I hope, the translation is just about right.

        • GeorginaRibas

          You did really well! Got to love Google translate! 😉

  • Ev

    Yum these look delicious Georgina. I love the history behind each dish, it makes for such interesting reading

    • GeorginaRibas

      Thanks Ev!

  • Ritu ahuja

    Very interesting post Georgina. Love reading it. And this looks super delicious. Very tempting. Love it 🙂

    • GeorginaRibas

      Thanks Ritu, nice to see you back in action!