Too cheesy? Fine. But really, this recipe is delicious. So far, everyone who is open-minded about offal and has tried it ends up liking it. I’m quite sensitive to meats that have a strong taste or smell, so the fact that I like this also says a lot. I’m excited about posting this recipe because I consider it a pretty big accomplishment to be able to make innards that actually taste good. I don’t know how to cook things like lungs or tripe, but for livers, hearts, and gizzards, this is definitely my go-to method.*
A note on how I clean these things: in most countries, when you buy gizzards they come with a little piece of weird-looking yellowish brown skin on them. I don’t have a picture of it, but you’ll spot it instantly. To clean the gizzards, just peel this bit off. Then wash the cleaned gizzards in cold water, pour the juice of a lemon on them, and let them soak in the lemon juice for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse with cold water again, and they’re ready to use. Here’s what they should look like after the cleaning process:
For hearts, I make little slits in them and remove any congealed blood that’s inside. An easier way to do this is to just cut each one in half, but if I have the time, I like to try and maintain their shape by keeping them whole. Just like with the gizzards, I rinse them in cold water, soak them in lemon juice, and re-rinse.
For livers, you don’t need to do any kind of special cleaning. Just do the rinse, soak in lemon, re-rinse thing, and handle them carefully because they’re delicate.
Also, I usually cook gizzards separately, and hearts and livers together. The gizzards take longer to soften, so the cooking technique is slightly different. You can also cook each item separately if you want. And as usual, all the ingredients listed here are adjustable to taste; these are just approximations of how I tend to prefer them. Add or decrease any spices or herbs as you wish :)
And did I mention this recipe is literally done in 20 minutes? Major plus.
1 pound of gizzards, cleaned and cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon each of chopped garlic and chopped fresh ginger (you can use garlic ginger paste if you have it)
3 teaspoons each of black pepper, ground red chili pepper, and mixed baharat (can substitute Seven Spice mix or allspice)
pinch of yellow curry powder (optional)
3 tablespoons of fresh rosemary, chopped (can substitute dry rosemary if you don’t have fresh, but using fresh is best!)
2-3 mild green chili peppers, chopped (increase if you like it hotter)
salt to taste
oil for cooking
chopped cilantro for garnishing (optional)
1. Heat a skillet or frying pan, preferably nonstick. Put in your gizzards and let them cook on medium heat until all the liquid they release dries up.
2. Then, add about half a cup of warm water, cover, and let cook on medium heat until tender. Check on them frequently, adding more water if they get too dry before cooking fully. Once they are cooked to desired tenderness, either add or cook off the liquid in the pot depending on how much sauce you want. I prefer the dish a little drier, but it’s your call.
3. Turn up the heat under your pan, add a couple spoonfuls of oil, and get them sizzling. Add the garlic and ginger, your spices, the chopped chilies, and the rosemary. Keep frying them until they get nice and crispy, and the liquid in the pan thickens up a bit. Add salt to taste, then garnish with more chopped green chilies or chopped cilantro. Serve hot with bread and french fries or steak fries.
Hearts and Livers:
1 pound combined of hearts and livers (livers should be cut into bite sized pieces)
The rest of the ingredients are exactly the same as above. To cook, follow the same steps for gizzards but skip step 2.
Try it. You might just change your mind about innards.
* In Palestinian Arabic, gizzards are called awaniss, livers are kibdat, and hearts are qlub.
Couscous is one of those foods that is automatically associated with Morocco in most people’s minds. It is, in fact, consumed widely all across North Africa. Most interestingly, Egyptians eat couscous as a sweet item: for breakfast, a light supper, or dessert!
This recipe uses couscous, sugar, cinnamon, coconut, raisins, and nuts, to make an incredibly simple, yet very surprising dish.
A little info on couscous, for those of you who have never had it or don’t know much about it: Couscous is simply a pasta that is shaped into tiny little balls, but is much more versatile than the kind of pasta most Americans usually think of.
In Palestine, we have a variation of couscous that is called maftool. Maftool is also shaped into small balls, but they are slightly larger than those of North African couscous; they resemble little pearls. Ever heard of “Israeli Couscous?” Yeah. Maftool is about as Israeli as falafel or hummus, i.e it’s not.
For maftool, we make a tomato sauce with chickpeas and onions to serve with the pasta; it is one of my favorite traditional Palestinian dishes, and I will post a recipe for it sometime soon, inshallah!
But for now, it’s sugar time:
2 cups of couscous (usually comes in a box in the Middle Eastern section of your grocery store)
1/4 cup of melted butter
Toppings: whatever you like! Mix it up:
White sugar/brown sugar/powdered sugar/honey
Raisins (any kind you like)
Sweetened condensed milk
Put the dry couscous in a bowl.
Pour the melted butter over it, and mix in so that the butter coats all the couscous. Then, pour enough boiling water over the couscous to cover it by about half an inch.
Cover the bowl of buttery couscous and hot water and let it sit for about ten minutes. (I like to let it sit in the microwave because it’s insulated.) The couscous will absorb all the hot water and cook.
Fluff the couscous with a fork, then top with any combination of toppings you like!
Here is a picture of the bowl I made for myself this morning. My favorite toppings for Sweet Couscous are brown sugar, powdered sugar, almonds, coconut, and cinnamon.
It’s kind of like oatmeal, but definitely a lot more interesting. Try it!
A new post is long overdue. After the very labor-intensive stuffing recipes, I think it would be appropriate to add some quick and easy recipes that you can make any time of the day, in less than half an hour.
Shakshooka is a very simple and hearty egg dish that is made in different variations all over the Middle East. It is usually eaten as a breakfast food, but people make it for lunch and dinner too! The following recipe is the way my Taita makes Shakshooka. You should definitely try it out for a super quick and very satisfying meal.
3 tablespoons of olive oil or butter
1/2 a large onion, finely chopped
1/2 a chili pepper, chopped
1 large green pepper, diced
3-4 large tomatoes, diced
Heat the oil or butter in a frying pan. Add the onions and chopped chili peppers, and sautee until soft.
Add the tomatoes and green peppers, and sautee for a couple of minutes.
Cover and let cook on medium heat until the vegetables soften to desired texture.
When softened, dig out little holes in the vegetables with your spatula, then crack each egg into a hole. Add salt&pepper to taste, then cover again until the eggs cook.
When the eggs are cooked how you like them, you’re done!
Serve hot with fresh pita bread or toast, or fried potatoes. Perfect for a late lunch on a cold winter evening.
In Jordan, [X] and milk is a popular refreshment that most Americans would call milkshakes, but is made without ice cream. Some of the common ones are bananas and milk, strawberries and milk, and one of my favorites: guavas and milk. I never thought that guava and dairy could go together since I always thought of guava as a fruit with some sourness to it. But then my Aunt Hanan made us “guavas&milk” one day and it was amazing! It’s super simple, as you probably can guess, but tastes really good :)
Ingredients (no quantities here!)
Soft, sweet guavas
Whole fresh milk
Tiny bit of vanilla
Sugar to taste
(Honey to decorate your glasses with, if you want)
Wash and halve the guavas.
Scoop out the seeds, because they aren’t fun to have in your drink, and because they aren’t good for your blender blades. Quarter and put in the blender.
Add milk, vanilla, and sugar. Blend till smooth. Add water if too thick.
Add some honey if you want – for extra flavor. (If I had the financial ability to sweeten this with a whole jar of honey instead of sugar each time I made it, I definitely would. Bass 7asab it-tasaheel ya3ni :P)
Serve! I apologize for the lack of a nice picture of the final product; I didn’t have time to spend carefully taking a good photo because everyone was waiting for their guavas&milk.