Cyprus Cooking by Liz
Updated: Oct 11, 2020
This blog post is especially written for a family member from my side, who tasted the "Sheftalia" from Mrs Amalia and still remembers them as it were yesterday. They were the absolute best "Sheftalia" tasted!! According to Wikipedia quote -"The name comes from the Turkish word şeftali, which means "peach", and presumably refers to the texture and consistency of the prepared food. Another explanation for the name is that it was first devised by a Turkish Cypriot street food vendor called "Şef Ali" (Chef Ali), who called it "Şef Ali kebabı", which in time became to be called "Şeftali kebabı" among consumers"- unquote. I cannot think of any word in English to translate "Sheftalia", they can be seen as meatballs for the barbecue or for on the fireplace in wintertime or maybe they are better described as sausages as they are rolled in lamb's suet. Serve them in "pita" envelop bread with or without "souvlakia" - pork kebab, salad (tomatoes cucumbers in cubes, shredded white cabbage, chopped onion and parsley) and a large serving of "tsantsiki" (see recipe on blog post 'keftedes" dated 8/8/2018). Another one of Mrs. Amalia's simple recipes for a traditional Cypriot dish!
1 kg minced pork
2 big onions finely chopped
25 gr bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
cinnamon to taste
1 teaspoon dry mint
75 gr parsley finely chopped
Suet can be bought frozen at the butchers. Defrost the suet in cold water till soft. Drain in a colander and set aside until needed.
Fry the chopped onion in some olive oil until soft and glaze. Set aside to cool.
The Sheftalia bought ready for grilling contain a lot of fat and onions, fat in the meat and raw onions make the Sheftalia difficult to digest. Buy the minced pork whilst being cut fresh by a reliable butcher and fry the onion before it is added to the mixture.
Mix all ingredients well together. Preferably store this mixture in the fridge for about an hour or until the suet is defrosted. (Cover with clingfilm and place in fridge).
Spread one side of the defrosted suet on a chopping board.
Cut the suet lengthwise for about 10 cm and add on top a handful of the mixture.
Roll the Sheftali to be covered by the suet and at the same time fold the sides towards the middle in order to close the Sheftali on all sides. Cut the suet and the Sheftali is ready. In this way use all the mixture to make about 25 Sheftalia.
At this point the Sheftalia can be frozen. Place them on a piece of baking paper on a serving tray or clean chopping board side by side, but not to touch each other, in this way they will not freeze together, once frozen store them in a freezer bag or plastic container.
Sheftalia can only be grilled on charcoal and very nice to be accompanied with souvlaki. (Pork kebab on stainless steal skewers for the barbecue).
Sheftalia, bacon and souvlakia grilled on charcoal.
Turn the Sheftalia round every now and then. The suet burns quite easy, it is important to be grilled slowly as they should be grilled well on the inside as well.
When the Sheftalia are almost ready they can be turned on their side, but this is optional, of course in this way they will be grilled all over and taste irresistible.
Ready Sheftalia. Serve with hot pita bread, onion, fresh lemon and parsley.
Enjoy! - Καλή όρεξη!!
With special thanks to the chefs!!
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