Berry almond coffee cake

coffee cake  

For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I had Jess’s blog Inquiring chef. I have to admit that when I got the email with this month’s assignment I was thrilled! I love Jess’s blog, her recipes and her photography caught my attention the very first time I visited her blog but what kept me coming back for more was Jess’s kindness that shines through her words and her attitude towards life.

You see Jess was born and raised in Kansas. After finishing the university, she volunteered at a children’s home in Romania where she taught English to 14 amazing kiddos. She went back to work after that in Washington D.C. She got married in 2010 but soon after her husband was offered a position in Thailand so they packed up everything and left on a new adventure together.They were recently blessed with adorable twin girls

Being a new expat myself,going through her archives to look for a recipe to make for this month’s assignment carried the added joy of reading about her experience with being an expat and I think she beautifully summed up the way I feel now as I really begin to settle down here in the UAE:

“This is the part of the expat experience that is most thrilling.  Because when you’ve live in a place that is so very different from “home”, you are both satisfied when you get to know it well and continually amazed by its foreignness.  Most moments are shinier somehow.”

Ras Al Khaimah

Choosing  a recipe from Jess’s archives was not an easy task but I ended up making her raspberry almond coffee cake because Jess dubbed this as her favorite coffee cake, she described it as ” light, sweet base that hints of cinnamon, tart fruit, and crumbly topping piled high”.

Cinnamon, berries, and crumbly topping spell must try in my book! and the cake did not disappoint.

At first I found the idea of pairing berries with cinnamon odd yet quite intriguing. Like most, when I think of a fruit to combine with cinnamon in a cake, apples are the first that come to mind then maybe pears or pumpkin but berries? I had to try.

It turns out that the tart freshness of the berries works beautifully with the earthy tones of cinnamon, they somehow balance and compliment each other. Add a light cake canvas and a crunchy nutty almond crumble and you’ll have a cake that

Berry almond coffee cake

Berry almond coffee cake

 

Ingredients

For the Crumb Topping:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup slivered almonds, toasted, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
For the Cake:
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups mixed berries (fresh or frozen will work, see notes)

Berry coffee cake

 

Instructions

To make the crumb topping:

In a bowl, add the flour, sugar, and salt, whisk to combine

Add the nuts and toss gently.

Add butter; using your fingertips,or a fork, work butter into the dry ingredients until large, moist crumbs begin to form.

Place the topping in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

To make the cake

Preheat oven to 350°.

Coat a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray.

Add the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a bowl, whisk to combine.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat ¾ cup sugar and butter in a medium bowl until light and fluffy,this should take 3–4 minutes.

Add the vanilla and the eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until mixture is pale and fluffy, 3–4 minutes longer.

With mixer on low speed(to avoid spraying flour all over the place) add  the dry ingredients to bowl in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.

Pour half of batter into prepared pan and smooth top.

Prepare the cinnamon sugar: Whisk remaining 3 Tablespoons of sugar with the cinnamon in a small bowl.

Sprinkle  the cinnamon sugar evenly over the batter in the pan.

Spoon remaining batter over; smooth top.

Pour the berries evenly over batter.

Sprinkle crumb topping over the berries.

Bake cake until top is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 55–60 minutes.

Let cool completely in pan.

Store in airtight container at room temperature. 

Note:Adapted from Old-Fashioned Blueberry Coffee Cake by Eric Wolitzky, Bon Appetit September 2012.

 

coffee cake

 

Notes:

The berries and nuts: the original recipe for this cake uses blueberries and pecans, Jess used raspberries and almonds and I used mixed berries with almonds Experiment with your favorite nut berry combo and have fun

Fresh or frozen:I used frozen mixed berries for this cake because they were what I had on hand, I defrosted the berries and then drained them then tossed them with a tablespoon of semolina to absorb any excess liquid

 

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Chimney cake (Kürtőskalács )

chimney cake

 

The August Daring Bakers’ Challenge took us for a spin! Swathi of Zesty South Indian Kitchen taught us to make rolled pastries inspired by Kurtoskalacs, a traditional Hungarian wedding pastry. These tasty yeasted delights gave us lots to celebrate!

Kürtőskalács  or chimney cake is a traditional wedding pastry made in Transylvania (Romania) . The name comes from the shape of the cake, a strip of yeasted dough is wrapped around a spit. It is then rolled in granulated sugar and baked above charcoal cinders.

The end result is a chimney shaped cake with a caramelized, sugary, golden-brown exterior that crackles when you bite into it and a soft and chewy bread like strip interior. The contrast between the soft and crunchy, the fact that you have to unwind the chimney to eat it , all the different toppings you can use (think cinnamon, nuts or chocolate)makes these cakes simply irresistible.

cinnamon 

 Kürtőskalács /Chimney cake


Ingredients

For the dough:

1¾ cups (8½ oz) (240 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour

2¼ teaspoons (1 packet) (7 gm) active dry yeast OR 2 teaspoons instant yeast OR 14 gm (½ oz) fresh yeast

2 tablespoons (1 oz)(30 gm) sugar

1/8 teaspoon (3/4 gm) salt

1 large egg, room temperature

3 tablespoons (1½ oz) (45 gm) melted butter

1/2 cup (120 ml) milk, lukewarm temperature

For baking/grilling:

melted butter

sugar
Cinnamon

 

Directions:

If you are using active dry yeast, add ½ teaspoon sugar to lukewarm milk and set aside for 5-10 minutes until it proofs (becomes foamy).You can use the other yeast types directly along with the flour.
In a large bowl combine, flour, sugar and salt. To this add egg, milk, melted butter, and yeast Stir the mixture until it comes together to form a dough, and then knead for about five minutes.

It will be sticky. Don’t be tempted to add any flour. Grease your hand if needed.

step 1

Transfer to a well greased container

Allow the dough to rise for 60 minutes at room temperature until doubled in volume

step2You need to prepare something to wrap the dough around, this can be a wooden rolling pin or cardboard rolls ( the ones you are left with after tin foil or wrapping paper runs out). Whatever you decide to use, cover it with multiple layers of aluminum foil, do at least two or three layers, to prevent them from burning in the oven.

step3

Brush them with melted butter.

Punch down the dough and divide into 4 equal parts about 4 oz (115 gm) of each.

On a well floured surface spread one portion of the dough and shape into 1/6 inch (4 mm) thick square-shaped sheet.

step4

Using a pizza cutter cut the dough into a long ribbons of about 1/2 inch (13 mm) wide.

step5

Wrap one end of the dough strip around the spit/rolling pin, tucking in the end so the dough doesn’t unwind.

Keep the dough very thin (under ¼ inch (6 mm)) as you stretch and wind it on the rolling pun. Then roll the whole thing slightly on the counter top to flatten it/press it together.

Brush with melted butter

Roll in sugar

step6

Place in roasting pan and bake in a preheated moderately hot oven 375°F/190⁰C/gas mark 5 for 25 minutes.

If using roast function (375⁰F/190⁰C) in the oven it will take about 20 minutes.

If you are grilling (broiling) over the fire cooking time is about six minutes, until it starts to take on a dark golden color. Turn the rolling pin at once least once (or more) throughout baking time to ensure uniform cooking.

When cake is done you can roll it in sugar again or you can brush more butter, then roll the finished cake in the toppings of your choice.
Tap the mold on a table top to release the cake and set it up right to cool.

chimney cake by chef in disguise

Kürtőskalács /Chimney cake

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: Preparing dough 15 minutes, first rise: about an 1 hour , Cook time: 20 minutes in oven if you using roast function. Baking at 25 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Preparation time:dough 15 minutes, first rise: about an 1 hour

Cook time: 25 minutes

Chimney cake chef in disguise

Ingredients

For the dough:

1¾ cups (8½ oz) (240 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour

2¼ teaspoons (1 packet) (7 gm) active dry yeast OR 2 teaspoons instant yeast OR 14 gm (½ oz) fresh yeast

2 tablespoons (1 oz)(30 gm) sugar

1/8 teaspoon (3/4 gm) salt

1 large egg, room temperature

3 tablespoons (1½ oz) (45 gm) melted butter

1/2 cup (120 ml) milk, lukewarm temperature

For baking/grilling:

melted butter

sugar

 

Directions:

If you are using active dry yeast, add ½ teaspoon sugar to lukewarm milk and set aside for 5-10 minutes until it proofs (becomes foamy).

You can use the other yeast types directly along with the flour.

In a large bowl combine, flour, sugar and salt. To this add egg, milk, melted butter, and yeast Stir the mixture until it comes together to form a dough, and then knead for about five minutes.

It will be sticky. Don’t be tempted to add any flour. Grease your hand if needed.

Transfer to a well greased container

Allow the dough to rise for 60 minutes at room temperature until doubled in volume

Prepare the rolling pins by covering them with aluminum foil, do at least two or three layers, to protect the pins from burning in the oven.

Make sure to cover the rolling pins very well. Brush them with melted butter.

The risen dough after 60 minutes.

Punch down the dough and divide into 4 equal parts about 4 oz (115 gm) of each.

On a well floured surface spread one portion of the dough

Shape into 1/6 inch (4 mm) thick square-shaped sheet.

Using a pizza cutter cut the dough into a long ribbons of about 1/2 inch (13 mm) wide.

Wrap one end of the dough strip around the spit/rolling pin, tucking in the end so the dough doesn’t unwind.

Keep the dough very thin (under ¼ inch (6 mm)) as you stretch and wind it on the rolling pun. Then roll the whole thing slightly on the counter top to flatten it/press it together.

Brush with melted butter

Roll in sugar

Place in roasting pan and bake in a preheated moderately hot oven 375°F/190⁰C/gas mark 5 for 25 minutes.

If using roast function (375⁰F/190⁰C) in the oven it will take about 20 minutes.

If you are grilling (broiling) over the fire cooking time is about six minutes, until it starts to take on a dark golden color. Turn the rolling pin at once least once (or more) throughout baking time to ensure uniform cooking.

When cake is done roll it in sugar again

If you are using other toppings brush more butter, then roll the finished cake in the toppings of your choice.

Tap the mold on a table top to release the cake and set it up right to cool.

Egyptian fava beans and herbs dip (Egyptian Bessara) #Arabic_flavor

Bessara- fava bean dip

It is the 25th of the month which means it is time for our #Arabic_flavor reveal.

For the month of August, our host Rehab Elbarody took us on a trip to Egypt. She chose to share her family’s recipe for Bessara, a fava bean dip rooted in Egyptian history.  According to Rehab, bessara dates back to the pharaonic era! (which makes it a recipe that is thousands of years old !).The word Beesara is derived from Hieroglyphic Bees-oro  (bees- which means cooked) and (oro which means beans).

Bessara  is made with simple, cheap ingredients: fava beans, onions, garlic and lots of fresh herbs which give bessara its unique green color. The fact that these simple ingredients can give you a meal that packs a real nutritional punch made bessara popular.

 

This was actually my first time trying bessara and I have to say that it was a pleasant surprise!  Refreshingly green, creamy, with layers of flavor from the  spices and herbs, beautifully rounded by the caramelized onions. If you love hummus, do give bessara a try, it is plays along the same notes but with a more complex and layered flavor profile.

Fava beans and herbs dip

Egyptian Bessara

500 grams split fava beans (soaked in water overnight)

1 large onion, chopped

5 cloves of garlic

1 bunch fresh parsley chopped (1 cup)

1 bunch fresh cilantro chopped (1 cup)

1 teaspoon black pepper

salt to taste

For the onion topping

1 medium onion cut into strips

2 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon ground caraway

1 teaspoon dried coriander

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons ghee or olive oil

Egyptian bessara

  1. Soak the fava beans in clean water for 8 hours or over night , rinse and discard the water
  2. Place the soaked beans in a large pot and cover with water.
  3. Bring to a simmer, when froth appears on the surface, drain the beans and add new water to cover the beans, bring back to a simmer
  4. After simmering for 25 minutes, add the herbs and onion and garlic and let the beans simmer some more until they are completely soft .
  5.  Drain, reserving some of the water
  6. Transfer the beans to the bowl of a food processor and purée;add a little of the water you reserved if you need it to help the mix puree
  7. Place the puree beans back in the pot and add the salt and pepper and cook on medium low heat until the consistency thickens (it should be thick enough to allow you to scoop it with bread)
  8. Using a piston and mortar, grind the garlic with the caraway, black pepper and coriander
  9. Heat the oil or ghee in a skillet and fry the onion rings until golden (over medium-low heat).
  10. Add the garlic and spices and fry for a couple of minutes
  11. Remove and drain over paper towels, reserve the oil
  12. Add the oil to the thickened beans
  13. Transfer to a serving platter; garnish the surface with the fried onions and serve at room temperature with bread, green onions, pickles or olives

Broad bean dip

 

 

المقادير :
1/2 كيلو فول مدشوش
بصلة كبيرة
5 فصوص ثوم
باقة كبيرة بقدونس
باقة كبيرة كزبرة
ملح وفلفل وشطة
للتقلية
بصلة صغيرة مفرومة ناعم
2 فص ثوم
ملعقة صغيرة كراوية (سر الطبخة من عائلة البارودى )
نصف ملعقة فلفل اسود
ملعقة صغيرة كسبرة جافة
3 ملعقة كبيرة سمن بلدى
الطريقة :
ننقع الفول المدشوش 8 ساعات فى ماء نظيف ثم نشطفه جيدا .
نغطى الفول بماء نظيف ثم نرفعه على النار حتى يغلى وتظهر الرغوة على السطح فنصفى الماء ونعيد الفول مرة اخرى على النار بعد تغطيته بماء نظيف مرة اخرى .
نلقى فى ماء السلق مع الفول,البصلة والبقدونس والكزبرة المقطع ونتركهم حتى تمام النضج .
يصفى الخليط مع مراعاه ترك كمية بسيطة من الماء به .
يهرس فى الفود بروسيسور ثم يعاد مرة اخرى للنار مع تتبيله بالملح والفلفل والشطة ومع مراعاة تهدئة النار حتى تتكاثف الطبخة .
للتقلية :

ندق الثوم مع توابل التقلية جيدا حتى تتصاعد الرائحة العطرية للتوابل

نسيح السمن ونضيف له البصلة حتى يصفر لونها ويشف .
نضيف الثوم والتوابل للبصلة حتى تتحمر .
نصفى السمن ونضيفه للبصارة ونحتفظ بالتقلية لتجميل الوجه
#البصارة_المصرية
#نكهة_عربية
#Egyptian_Bessara
#arabic_flavor

 

Chocolate pancakes with blueberry sauce and ranch flavored coleslaw

ranch flavored Coleslaw

Today is the reveal of our Secret recipe club assignment.This month was extra special because I was assigned the heritage cook.

Jane, the wonderfully talented and passionate lady behind this blog was our secret recipe group hostess. She has always been extra kind and supportive of the whole group. Her passion and excitement for each challenge was contagious. Sadly, Jane decided to step down  from leading “group A”   and I was lucky enough to be assigned her blog.

Jane, in addition to being our group hostess is  a food and travel writer, recipe developer, editor and tester, event manager, passionate baker and cook.

I love how she sums up the motivation behind her blog :”At The Heritage Cook I share my passions, memories, and years of experience in the kitchen enticing people to get back in the kitchen and helping them become as ardent about cooking and baking as I am. Recent generations are no longer being taught how to cook and have become dependent on fast food restaurants and frozen prepared foods. This is not only unhealthy, but we are losing touch with the pleasures of freshly prepared foods and home-cooked family meals. With luck, our culinary traditions will continue to be passed from one generation to the next.”

It was not easy to choose a recipe from Jane’s archives, so many choices! So little time! I ended up making two recipes. Her chocolate pancakes and her ranch flavored coleslaw.

Chocolate pancakes with blueberry sauce

My plan was to make Jane’s ranch flavored coleslaw ,the ranch dressing was calling to me and I loved all the colors, it was a refreshing change from the usual two toned slaw. Then my son walks in the morning while I was going through Jane’s breakfast recipe and demands chocolate pancakes, there was no negotiation! He decided that this was the one and only breakfast he will have (note to self: do not go through your SRC assignments when the kids are around! )

I stuck to Jane’s recipe with the exception of adding some cinnamon, cardamom and instant coffee. I love the spice-chocolate combo and use it in most of my chocolate recipes. You don’t really taste the cinnamon or the cardamom but they add a beautiful depth to the chocolate flavor. The instant coffee is there to intensify the chocolate flavor. My other alteration was the topping: I did not have any raspberries, so I used frozen blueberries to make a blueberry sauce instead and then added some fresh mango cubes for a splash of color and added freshness.

The chocolate pancakes were a hit, they are soft, fluffy and intensely chocolaty. They got two thumbs up from the kids

Chocolate Pancakes with Raspberry Syrup

The Family Kitchen at blogs.babble.com

Yield: 4 servings

 

INGREDIENTS

Blueberry Sauce

1 cup  frozen blueberries

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

Pancakes

1 cup self rising flour (or use all-purpose flour and add 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt)

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

1/4 teaspoon cardamom (optional)

1/2 teaspoon instant coffee (option)

 

Directions

 

Make the blueberry sauce:

In a small saucepan, add the blueberries, sugar and water

Bring them to a boil

lower the heat and cook , stirring occasionally until the sauce reduces in half and thickens in consistency

Set aside

 

Make the Pancakes:

In a large mixing bowl, combined the self-rising flour, sugar and cocoa. Whisk to blend.

Add the egg and milk and whisk just until combined. (You don’t want the mix to be super smooth, lumps are actually ok because a lumpy batter will give you fluffier pancakes)

Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.

Add 1 to 2 tsp oil

Pour in batter, reduce heat to medium and cook until bubbles appear over the  top of the pancake before flipping. Cook until second side is nicely browned.

Serve warm topped with the Blueberry sauce.

Topping options: whipped cream, chocolate chips, fresh fruit (I used mango), you can also try my homemade strawberry syrup

 

Coleslaw with ranch dressing

 

When someone says coleslaw, the first image that pops in my head is the soggy, tasteless, mayonnaise laden mess you get at fast food restaurants. As I was going through Jane’s blog, her coleslaw caught my attention because it was completely different from the image I had in my head. It was refreshingly colorful, the vegetables looked crisp and inviting and instead of good old mayonnaise there was a homemade ranch dressing.

I knew immediately that I had to try it and now I am glad I did

When I started the salad dressing series, I got quite a few requests for a homemade ranch dressing. I have tried a number of recipes and though some were really good, I was never perfectly happy with any of them. After trying Jane’s recipe, I can tell you that the search is over, this is the best homemade ranch dressing I have ever tried. It was the perfect way to dress the coleslaw but it would also make a great dip served with some sliced vegetables.

 

Ranch flavored coleslaw

INGREDIENTS

Dressing

1 cup low-fat buttermilk (I used yogurt)

1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon sugar, optional

1/4 teaspoon very finely minced fresh garlic

2 teaspoon minced green onions (or chives)

1/2 teaspoon mustard

1-1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed

Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Slaw

1 small head green cabbage, cored, quartered and each piece very thinly sliced (see notes)

Kosher salt

1 red bell pepper, cored and finely chopped

1/2 yellow bell pepper, cored and finely chopped

3 carrots, peeled and shredded

1/2 small red onion, peeled and very finely chopped (see notes)

 

METHOD

 

Make the Dressing:

In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk (or yogurt), mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Whisk until smooth.

Add sugar, garlic, chives, mustard, thyme and dill.

Whisk again until everything is evenly distributed.

This dressing tastes better the longer you leave it, you can use it right away but if you have time, store it in the fridge for 2 hours (up to 2 days) to allow  for the flavors to blend.

 

Assemble the Cole Slaw:

In a very large mixing bowl, combine the cabbage and prepared vegetables.

Toss to evenly mix everything together.

Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the dressing and toss to coat all the vegetables evenly.

Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more dressing if desired.

Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

If any extra liquid accumulates while it is resting, drain before serving.

 

 Notes:

Jane’s recipe uses green cabbage only, I used a combination of green and purple

To take the edge off the raw onions I toss them with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar and set them aside for 10 minutes. Then I drain the lemon juice and use the onions, they will be much milder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gazan dagga “hot tomato dill salsa” #Arabicflavor

Gazan dakka (dill and pepper tomato salsa)

I have been trying to write a post for 2 weeks with no luck. What is happening in Gaza makes it very hard to write about food or anything else for that matter.

If you have not been keeping up with the news, let me fill you in. In the past 21 days, over 1000 Palestinians (mostly civilians) have been killed. Over 200 of the 1000 were children. Almost 6000 Palestinians have been injured. Nearly 166,000 Palestinians have sought shelter at United Nations facilities because their homes were either destroyed or unsafe to live in because of the Israeli attack.

The images, footage and stories coming out of Gaza are enough to give you nightmares for the rest of your life but can  you imagine what it must be like to live through it all? I have dear friends in Gaza,and I have been worried sick about them especially after losing contact with most of them after short messages saying that their houses were bombed, they are still alive but barely.

I can hardly bear to watch the news, yet I can’t stop myself from watching. Every broadcast leaves me with a cascade of emotions. I am Sad, broken, angry, furious but above all, I feel helpless. I want to do something but what?

Nisreen Al shawwa, and Mona Al Saboni, two wonderfully talented Arabic bloggers had the answer. They called upon all the Arabic food bloggers to come together and form a group. The aim of the group is to provide a true image of the Arabic world using food and recipes as a canvas.  With every recipe “Arabic flavor” (the name we chose for the group) will share a recipe from a country and every blogger will tell you a little more about that country.

Our first feature and the reason the group came together is Gaza and Nisreen suggested the Gazan Dagga. But before I get to the recipe..

Let me tell you a little about Gaza

The Gaza strip or simply Gaza is a Palestinian region on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea.Gaza is a small area measuring  41 kilometers long, and from 6 to 12 kilometers wide, with a total area of 365 square kilometers (141 sq mi).  Around 1.82 million Palestinians live in Gaza making it among the most densely populated parts of the world. 1.1 million of the 1.8 million in Gaza are Palestinian refugees. They were kicked out of their homes when Israel occupied Palestine in 1948.

Gaza cuisine

As home to the largest concentration of refugees within historic Palestine,Gaza has a unique cuisine that is the result of the merging of the culinary traditions of the original Gaza residents with those brought by the refugees from hundreds of towns and villages that now exist only in memory—depopulated and destroyed in the year 1948.  Add to the mix the Egyptian influence that resulted from the Egyptian rule between 1959 and 1967 and the result is an extraordinary cuisine that is Mediterranean, Levantine, Egyptian but above all uniquely Gazan

Gazan dakka ingredients

Hot Chili and dill is one of the unique combinations in the Gazan cuisine . It is served along side grilled meat, chicken or fish for a blast of heat and flavor.  Chili and dill are also combined with tomatoes and dressed with lemon juice and olive oil to form the signature Gazan salad (Gazan dagga). Fresh green chili peppers crushed in a mortar with dill seeds or fresh dill along with lemon and salt are also served along side stews and soups for a blast of bright flavor on cold and dark winter days.Ground red chili peppers  with dill seeds are preserved in oil and sold as a condiment and ingredient, resembling North Africa’s popular harissa. In short, Gazans take pride in making you sweat :) then again, if you live in a place that is bombed by Israel every two years, you’d better learn to tolerate the heat.

 

Gazan dakka (dill and pepper tomato salsa)

Gazan dagga

Gazan salad or salata ghazaweh (السلطه الغزاويه او الدقه الغزاويه)

Ingredients

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 small onion chopped

2 hot chili peppers, roughly chopped

1 cup fresh dill, minced or 1 teaspoon of dill seeds

2 very ripe tomatoes, chopped

1-2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

Directions

In a Gazan clay bowl or zibdiya (or a morter or curved bottomed bowl) mash the onion and salt into a paste using a pestle.

Add chilies and continue to crush.

Add half of the dill (if using fresh dill) or all of the dill seeds if using seeds and crush them to release the natural oils

Add tomatoes and mash (you can make the salsa as smooth or as chunky as you like.

If using fresh dill add the other half along with the lemon juice and toss .

Top generously with olive oil.

Serve with flat bread on the side for dipping

Notes and variations:

  • You can substitute minced garlic for the onions.
  • For a tahini salsa variable, dd chopped cucumbers and 1 tablespoon of tahini. (This variation is from the old village of Beit Jirja, north of the Gaza Strip.)
  • A small food processor may be used in place of a mortar and pestle. Make sure to “pulse” the ingredients—don’t purée them But if you want to experience the full flavor of this salsa, do take the time and effort to make it in a mortar and pestle.
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