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Recipe of Esfihas

Brazilian beef dumplings


Esfirras or esfihas is the name of this sort of bread filled with ground beef. You usually eat them during parties or as a street food.

 Although very popular snack, it is known in Brazil to be of Arabian origin. This recipe is for the wrapped esfirras also known as esfiha massakara, the other variation is the open esfirras when you bake without wrapping the dough.



8 cups (2lbs) all-purpose flour

4 envelops FLEISCHMANN'S RapidRise Yeast

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

8 oz margarine

1 tablespoon salt

2 cups milk

1 egg



3 lbs ground beef

2 diced onions

2 diced ripe tomatoes

1 diced red pepper

salt and ground pepper

4 tbs oil



Heat the oil in a saucepan and lightly fry onions, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Then brown the ground beef with this mixture.


In a large bowl, mix one cup of flour with yeast, sugar and salt.

Heat milk with margarine until very warm (130 F) and pour into this dry ingredients and mix well in the bowl. Combine the egg and remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic (at least 20 minutes, or use a heavy-duty mixer).

Roll the dough into a rope and cut into 2 inch long pieces. Cover and let the pieces rest for 2 hours in a warm place or until they double size.


Flat each piece with a pin on a floured surface and place the filling the in the center. Fold the dough over the filling on three sides to wrap it into a triangular shape.

Place esfirras with seam down on a large floured baking sheet (do not grease), leaving room for dough to rise.

Let the rolls rest for half hour while you heat the oven to 400F.

Brush each esfirra over with egg yolk and bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until golden brown.




Place esfihas in a plate to serve..


SERVING SIZE:  About 20 esfirras.


Hints: Make the esfirras smaller if they are snacks for parties. Add juice of two limes to the filling to make it better. Let the filling drain in a strainer before use. In order to esfirras hold their shape during baking, the filling have to be free of liquids. You also can make your own filling. I like filling with chicken and red peppers.  Be generous with the filling, esfirras should be well stuffed when you wrap them.


Note about yeast:

2 envelops of active dry yeast equals 1 cake compressed yeast.

1 cake has 0.6 ounce or 17 grams.

Active dry yeast is a shelf-stable mixture of dehydrated yeast granules and filler. When mixed with warm liquid, the yeast cells once again become active.

Quick-rising is a more active form of active dry yeast. It does not need to be hydrated before mixing; up to 50 percent less rising time is needed with this product than with active dry yeast. It can be used interchangeably with active dry yeast, with adjustments in rising time.


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