Tag Archive | potatoes

Shakshooka: A Simple Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner

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.

Ingredients

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

4 eggs

Method

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.

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Salvers: Meat and Potato Roast

I always like to read menus at restaurants here in Amman and look out for the English typos. It’s funny when you see items like “pananas and milk”, “eggplane”, and my most recent favorite, “salvers”. My lit.- major friend thankfully pointed out that salver is an actual English word, albeit a bit archaic. The item itself, however, is a popular favorite among the people of Amman. The basic idea is to roast any combination of meat and vegetables in the oven to then be eaten with fresh bread. These roasts (or “salvers”! – called sawani in Arabic) are considered lighter to eat and easier to make compared to tabeekh – literally, “cooking.” My aunt Hala always reminds me that she and her husband much prefer these sawani, and as such she is a pro at making them. I’d like to post a recipe for one of her most simple roasts: meat and potatoes.

Ingredients

approx. 500 grams of cubed lamb or beef – you can also use your favorite cuts of chicken instead of red meat

approx. 500 grams of cubed, peeled potatoes

approx. 500 grams of cubed tomatoes

2 red onions, halved and finely sliced

1 green chili pepper, chopped (optional)

1-2 bell peppers (optional)

salt&pepper to taste

1-2  tablespoons of allspice

1-2 teaspoons of yellow curry powder

a pinch of cardamom and cinnamon

approx. 2/3 cups of hot water

approx. 1/4 cup of vegetable or olive oil

Method

Preparing the vegetables outside in Aunt Hala’s garden!


In a large roasting pan, combine the meat and all the vegetables. Add the spices, a drizzle of oil, and salt&pepper to taste.

Toss with your hands so that the spices combine with all the other ingredients thoroughly.

Arrange the ingredients in the roasting pan such that the meat is on the bottom, and the vegetables are on top.

Pour the hot water and then the oil all over the ingredients in the pan, and then cover the pan with aluminum foil. Roast in a medium oven for approximately half an hour or until the meat is cooked thoroughly. If you want, you can uncover the pan at the end and turn on the broiler for a few minutes, so the vegetables blacken a bit on top.

 

Serve with fresh bread and a salad.

Easy Potato Stew: Yekhen Batata

I had mentioned the various yakhani, or stews, that Palestinians like to make. One easy yekhen is made using potatoes and parsley. It’s very simple and tastes delicious. My aunts usually don’t make it as a meal alone; they like to serve it next to something like stuffed chicken, but I think it’s perfectly fine served as a main course. I think it does the potatoes justice, since there are no heavy spices to cover up the light flavor of the potato. This is my aunt Hanan’s recipe for yekhen batata.

Ingredients

Potatoes, peeled and cubed

Vegetable oil for frying

Good quality chicken stock

Chicken bouillon cube, for extra flavor

salt&pepper to taste

Parsley, washed and chopped

Garlic, mashed

Vegetable oil for ‘ad7ah


Method

Heat oil for frying in a pot. When hot, put in the cubed potatoes and let them get golden brown.

Once fried, add them to a pot of hot chicken stock. Let the potatoes cook thoroughly in the stock until desired tenderness. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add a bouillon cube if you want to add extra flavor. Then, add the chopped parsley.

Stir the parsley in. In a separate frying pan, heat some vegetable oil for the ‘ad7ah (explained in the post titled Bamyeh: Palestinian Okra). Once very hot, add several cloves of mashed garlic to the oil and let it get golden brown. Then, pour all the oil+garlic into the pot of potatoes and chicken stock. Watch out! It will hiss and sizzle very loudly! Stir it in, then add salt&pepper to taste.

You’re done! Serve with fresh bread or rice (preferably Egyptian or American short grain), and a salad.

Egyptian Stuffed Potatoes

I apologize for taking so long to update this! I got a couple of unexpected (but very welcome and dear) guests, and was quite busy having a great time with them :) Sam7ooni!

My Taita loves this dish. She tells me she used to make it a lot when she lived in Egypt. I also remember watching her make it back when she and Seedo lived with us in the UAE. She would let me help her wash the little potatoes and peel them, while she cooked the stuffing. I finally got her recipe with photos too, so I decided that it would be a good addition to the blog.

The dish is a bit heavy, being just meat and potatoes, but it’s nice and filling. Also, if you don’t make it with care, it could turn out tasting disastrous, but this recipe is perfect, so I do encourage you to try it!

Ingredients

1 kilo of small to medium sized potatoes; any kind, washed and peeled

500 grams of ground meat

1 large onion, finely chopped

aprox 1 tablespoon each of cinnamon and allspice

aprox 1/2 tablespoon each of ground ginger, ground cardamom

salt and pepper to taste

3 tablespoons of vegetable oil

3 or 4 large tomatoes, washed and roughly chopped

3 tablespoons of tomato paste

oil for frying


Method

Begin by coring the washed, peeled potatoes. We use a tool called a “ma’warah” or “7affarah,” that is basically a long corer with a handle. Stick the tip of the corer into the top of the potato, twist in gently, and slowly push the corer in further as you continue to twist. Every once in a while, pull the corer out and tap off the “insides” (“libb”) that get attached to it into a separate bowl. You want the potato to be cored so that it’s like a container for the stuffing; not too thick and not too thin. (I wish I had step by step photos for this process; insha’Allah if we make another dish of stuffed vegetables, I will take some good pictures!) When finished coring the potatoes, dunk them in salted water and pull them out to drain off.

Cored potatoes, rinsed off and draining...

Keep the insides of the potatoes in a separate bowl for later use! This is what they should look like:

"Insides" of the potatoes, set aside...

In a pan, add your oil. When it gets hot, sautee the chopped onions until they get soft and begin to turn golden. Add the ground meat, and sautee until just cooked. Break up any large chunks of meat in the pan. Add the cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cardamom, and salt&pepper to taste. This is the stuffing.

Take each potato and fill it completely with the stuffing. Close the hole by inserting some of the “insides” you had set aside into it and pressing down. When the potatoes are all stuffed, fry them in hot oil on both sides until golden brown. The stuffing shouldn’t fall out because you closed the holes with the “libb”! Also, fry some of the libb in the oil then layer it in a baking dish. Place the potatoes on top of the fried libb in your baking dish. Unfortunately I was a bad granddaughter and missed this step, so that’s why it’s missing in my photos, but Taita says you definitely need to do that.

Fried and placed in the baking dish...(missing libb :( )

Blend your chopped tomatoes till very smooth. If you want, you can pour the tomato juice through a strainer into a bowl to make sure to remove any bits of tough tomato skin (I usually don’t bother with this step, but Taita will tisk at you disapprovingly if she sees you not doing it).

Blending...

Mix the tomato paste into the (strained) tomato juice, and add salt&pepper to taste. Pour this over the stuffed potatoes in the baking dish:

Potatoes with tomato juice poured over...

Put the baking dish in a preheated oven (about 400 degrees F) until the potatoes bake through completely. Test them with a fork; if they are tender, they should be ready! Plate them with some of the sauce and some of the libb from the bottom of the pan (not in the picture :( ).

Plated! (minus the libb)

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