After World War II many people of Greek Cypriot origin settled here in Australia due to political instability in their own country. Australia’s Greek Cypriot population increased dramatically in the Forties and Fifties and there was another sharp increase in the Seventies after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Many of these Greek Cypriot migrants settled in Victoria and more specifically Melbourne and of course they brought their food with them.
Here’s a Greek Cypriot recipe that I found in George Calombaris’ Greek Cookery from the Hellenic Heart cookbook. In it he uses his mother’s recipe for koupes or Cypriot pies – a tasty burghul and lamb parcel a bit like the Lebanese or Turkish kibbeh.
Koupes or Cypriot Pies
For the dough:
2 cups fine burghul (cracked wheat)
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup plain flour
For the filling:
50 ml olive oil
25o g lamb or beef mince
1 large onion (finely diced)
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 cup almonds (toasted and coarsely chopped)
1/2 cup parsley ( finely chopped)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Put burghul in a bowl, add boiling water and salt. Stir well, cover and leave for 2 hours. In a hot pan, add olive oil and mince meat. Brown meat until all liquid has evaporated, then add onion and continue to sweat. Add cinnamon powder, toasted almonds, parsley, salt and pepper to taste. Cool mix down and reserve.
Add flour to burghul, knead well to form a coarse textured dough, rest for 2 hours. Take a 50g piece of burghul dough, moisten your hands with olive oil or water. Place dough in hands and flatten to make an oval shape. Place 1 tbs of meat mixture on dough and fold sides together to form a small oval shaped ball. Fry in vegetable oil at 180C until golden brown. Serve hot with lemon and salt.
Koupes are good served with skordalia or tzatziki to dip.