[rmp_menu id="3512"]

Tri-tip cheat’s basturma

Recipe | October 19, 2020

Photo by Erik Williamson

Chef notes

Not everyone is a fan of raw beef so this is less daunting because it’s cured, which firms up the texture of the meat. We have the richness of tahini puree folded through, giving it a nice seasoning and a lovely creaminess. 

The chickpea bread I serve it with is like a pancake based on a Yemenite bread I make. The chickpea flour has natural setting properties – it works like pita bread but you can do it in a pan. The pickle is there for balance, bite and zing.

Time: 1 hr 15 minutes, plus overnight beef curing and 2 hours chickpea batter resting.
Makes 25 pieces.


For the cured tri-tip
500g (17.5 oz) Westholme tri-tip, trimmed of sinew and any excess fat *
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp fenugreek powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp Aleppo chilli powder *
1½ tbsp fine salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp Turkish pepper paste *

For the chickpea bread
100g (¾ cup) chickpea (besan) flour *
50g (7 tbsp) plain flour
1 tbsp rice flour
1 tbsp wheat germ
250g (1 cup) water
2 tsp fine salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil or oil spray

For the tahini puree
¼ cup tahini paste
⅓ cup iced water
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lemon, juiced
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cumin powder

For the pickled cucumber
4 baby cucumbers
2 tbsp white sugar
½ cup brown rice vinegar
¾ cup water
3 whole allspice
3 slices red chilli
3 whole cloves
1 tsp salt
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 white peppercorns
4 dill sprigs

To serve
½ bunch chives, finely chopped
cumin powder


Cured tri-tip

1. In a dry frypan on medium heat, toast garlic powder, onion powder, fenugreek powder, paprika and Aleppo chilli powder for 3-5 mins or until the spices have become aromatic. Take care not to burn them. Set aside and cool down.
2. In a bowl, mix salt, sugar, pepper paste and toasted spices to form a paste.
3. Using clean hands, rub the spice mix all over the tri-tip, completely covering it. Place on a plate or tray and place in the fridge, uncovered, overnight. The next day, use a knife to scrape off the spice mix and discard it.

Chickpea bread

4. Sieve the chickpea flour, plain flour and rice flour into a bowl. Whisk together with wheat germ and water. Make sure you don’t have any large lumps in your mix. (If you do, you can use a hand blender to remove lumps.) Add the salt and place in a container with a lid and leave at room temperature for 2 hours.
5. When ready to cook, heat a non-stick shallow frypan or crepe pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp vegetable oil (or oil spray) to coat the bottom of the pan. Use a small ladle to pour about ¼ of the batter in slowly, then move the pan around relatively quickly so the batter covers the entire base of the pan. Turn down the heat and cook for 2 minutes. Use a spatula to flip the bread over and cook for a further 2 minutes. Repeat the process until you end up with 4 breads.
6. Cut the breads using a 5cm (2 in) diameter ring cutter. Alternatively, use a knife to cut into 4cm (1½ in) squares.

Tahini sauce

7. Place all ingredients into a bowl and whisk to form a thick puree.

Pickling cucumbers

8. Place all ingredients except cucumbers in a small pot and bring to a boil.
9. Cut cucumbers into thin rounds and place in a bowl. Pour hot pickling liquid over the cucumbers and let it naturally cool down. Set aside.

To serve

Use a sharp knife to dice the beef into tiny cubes, as fine as you can cut. Mix beef with tahini sauce and chopped chives and place a heaped tablespoon on each portion of chickpea bread. Top with a few slices of pickled cucumber and dust cumin powder on top. Any leftover beef can be stored in the fridge, tightly covered, for up to 2 weeks.


  • Tri-tip is a triangular cut from the bottom of the sirloin. You can use regular sirloin too.
  • Aleppo chilli powder has a gentle heat; you can also use espelette pepper.
  • Turkish pepper paste is available in delis. 
  • Chickpea flour is available in Indian grocers.
  • For ease, you can also use pre-bought pickles.

« | »