• Charcoal-infused flatbread (hawawshi) (Nihal Abed)Source: Nihal Abed

Channel the streets of Egypt with this spiced mince flatbread. The smoky effect is easy to achieve – and doesn't require a coal-filled barbecue.






Skill level

Average: 5 (2 votes)

Busy Cairo locals line up for this flatbread. The aroma of spicy meat and charcoal-kissed dough lures everyone to the street cart. It’s traditionally made with beef mince, but this lamb variation guarantees a juicy filling every time. You can recreate this laneway snack at home without a barbecue.


  • 250 g lamb mince
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tomato, finely diced
  • 1 small red capsicum, finely diced
  • ½ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp chilli powder (optional)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 5 mini wholemeal flatbreads (about 16 cm diameter)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 nub charcoal
  • Tahini sauce, to serve
  • Pickles, to serve
  • Fresh salad, to serve

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Preheat oven to 180˚C.
  2. Combine all the minced meat, vegetables and spices in a large bowl. Mix well by hand until everything is incorporated. Set aside.
  3. Carefully cut along the seam of each flatbread, keeping a portion intact so it can be closed back up. Fill with an even layer of the meat mixture. Close the bread and apply gentle pressure with your hand to ensure the meat is well distributed. Repeat until all the flatbreads are filled.
  4. Lay the hawawshi on an oiled baking tray and brush the tops with oil.
  5. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes then carefully turn over and bake for a further 5 minutes or until golden. Arrange on a platter.
  6. For the charcoal flavour, use tongs to hold a nub of charcoal over an open flame for about 5 seconds. Sit the hot charcoal on a strip of foil in the middle of the platter. Add a drop of oil on the lit charcoal to get it smoking. Cover the platter with foil and allow the charcoal flavour to infuse the hawawshi for 2 minutes.
  7. Cut into halves or quarters and serve with tahini sauce, pickles and fresh salad.



• You can find the flatbread at any supermarket. Choosing fresh bread makes it easier to open without tearing.

• You can use beef instead of lamb, but ensure it contains a high-fat quantity of about 20 per cent.