Bifanas – Portuguese Pork Sandwiches

Four garlic cloves smashed and about two tablespoons salt, a mound of paprika in the palm of your hand, and 3 tablespoons of chili paste mixed together into a paste and rubbed all over all the meat makes this taste delish.
By Rochelle Ramos

Bifanas - Portuguese Pork Sandwiches

Bifanas are one thing I can make that is Portuguese and it’s apparently very close to being authentic. These would be marinaded sliced pork sandwiches. I even make homemade sandwich rolls to go with them!

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Bifanas - Portuguese Pork Sandwiches
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Four garlic cloves smashed and about two tablespoons salt, a mound of paprika in the palm of your hand, and 3 tablespoons of chili paste mixed together into a paste and rubbed all over all the meat makes this taste delish.
Recipe Type: Side
Serves: 4
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Chili paste
  • Beef
  • Red onion
  • 2 tbsp paprika mix
  • Olive oil
  • 0.25 oz. Active Dry Yeast
  • 5 cups Warm Water, divided (110-115 degrees)
  • 2 tbsp. White Sugar, divided
  • ¼ cup Vegetable Oil (plus extra for bowl)
  • 1 tbsp. Table Salt
  • 8-9 cups All-Purpose Flour (half white and half wheat)
  1. In a mixing bowl, bloom yeast in ½ cup warm water and 1 tbsp. sugar. Let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Add 3 cup of water and the sugar; as well as oil, salt, and 4 cups of flour. With a spoon stir the mixture together till it's all incorporated into the very wet dough. Add one cup of flour at a time, for about 4 – 4½ cups, until dough pulls away from side ( I wound up using a lot more water as I kneaded the bread and added the flour because it was too dry, hence the change from the original recipe from 3 cups of water to 5). Once the dough has pulled away from the bowl pour it onto a floured surface and start kneading, approx 8-12 minutes, or till it's pliable but clean on the surface and smooth. Put back into an oiled bowl (I used olive oil because I had used the rest of the vegetable oil in the dough itself) and flip it till all the dough is covered. Put plastic wrap over the bowl and let raise for about 45minutes -1 hour.
  3. Turn the dough back out onto a floured surface and punch down. Shape the dough into a rectangle then cut it into 4ths. Do the same thing with each quarter, cutting them into 4ths (or halves if you want them bigger) till you have 16 pieces (or 8 depending on how big you want them).
  4. Take a piece of dough and start to tightly tuck the sides under till it makes a nice tight ball, set to the side on a lightly oiled cookie sheet, making sure there is about 2 inches between each ball. Take a pair of scissors and make a ¼ inch deep cut in the top and then cover with a clean damp towel and let rise again for about 20 minutes, meanwhile pre-heating the oven to 400F.
  5. Let them bake for about 14-16 minutes or till the top make a hollow sound when tapped. Let stand at least 5 minutes before eating.
  6. Now back to the meat and onions that go on those wonderful rolls! Take the meat out of the refrigerator and set to the side. Slice a large onion (I used red onions) in half moons and add them to a pan with olive oil in it at about medium heat. Add in about 2 tablespoons of paprika and mix it with the onions and oil, cooking till the onions have softened and put in a separate bowl. More olive oil to the pan and turn up the heat to med-hi and add the meat and liquid to it. Cook this for just a few minutes, as it won't take long because it's sliced.
  7. Slice the rolls in half (like a hamburger bun) and put the meat in it, adding the onions on top. No need to add mayo or any other condiments, because the juices from the meat and marinade do just fine with out it!

Rochelle Ramos

Rochelle is an Americana cooking, eating, photographing and writing in Portugal. She has a love for real food and learning to make it from scratch. As a new expat, she is slowly learning to speak the language and will soon be able to order more than just a café and pastel de nata from the local pastelaria.

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  1. So to be clear, i cut the meat in slices, put it in a freezer bag with the paste, let it sit, then dump it all in the pan?

    And the paprika mix goes both in the onions and in the marinade?

  2. I also suggest you separate the steps for the bread and the filling, i already have my own bread so i’ll just use that. ;)

  3. sorry, but these are not bifanas. certainly not the Lisboa style. suggest you speak to people who know the cuisine and go to a real bifana place.

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