The first Monday of the month means  it is time for our secret recipe club reveal. I always look forward to sharing my recipe choice with the group. Keeping a secret for a month, sneaking around your assigned blog, looking for inspiration is fun but sharing your creation with the others and finding out what the person who was assigned to my blog made is the part I love the most.

I love cauliflower.I know many people hear the word cauliflower and turn up their noses but believe me, if you are one of those, you are seriously missing out. Cauliflower on its own can be bland, I agree, but with the right spices and herbs it becomes irresistible! If you don’t believe me, try my cauliflower fritters or makloubeh or cauliflower sushi salad or stop by Sally’s blog and try her amazing cauliflower creation. I can guarantee any  of these recipes will ensure that cauliflower will be at the top of your shopping list in no time.

Maftoul, palestinian couscous recipes

For the month of May, it was my pleasure to host the Daring Cooks challenge

A year ago I hosted my first challenge, at the time, I chose cheese making because it is a wonderful skill to add to your repertoire. This time around I wanted to choose a challenge that represents my own heritage. Something Palestinian, something fun and tasty, something challenging but worth the trouble.

You may have come across the terms couscous, Moghrabiah or Maftoul. They may seem like tongue twisters at first but they are actually three variants of  hand-rolled pasta that are versatile and tasty. What sets maftoul apart from couscous or moghrabieh is the size of the pasta granules. Couscous has the smallest granules (about 1 mm in diameter)  while moghrabiah has the largest (about the size of chickpeas). Maftoul is middle ground between the two. Maftoul’s hand rolled tiny pasta pearls are 2-3 mm in diameter  and they are made out of a mixture of whole wheat and all purpose flour rolled around a center of bulgur which gives it a nutty earthy note that is unique and a slightly deeper color.Couscous on the other hand is made out of pure white flour and it is rolled around a center of semolina giving it a lighter color and a more neutral taste.

For this challenge we will be making maftoul (also known as Palestinian couscous) from scratch.

 Why maftoul?

Well, because eating maftoul with those tiny balls rolling wonderfully on your tongue, really enhances the eating experience, even in a simple salad. It is also so easy and forgiving to cook. Unlike couscous, which can turn mushy if soaked for too long or in too much liquid, maftoul can be boiled in salted water, like other pasta, until tender but still retaining a bite (if you cook it like this, drain and dress it while it’s still warm, so the flavours can sink in and settle). But it can also be cooked using the absorption method (ideally in a good stock) much as you’d cook rice. And, like couscous, it can also be steamed over stock or water, which gives a fluffier, lighter consistency. (This happens to be my favorite mode of cooking and it is also the traditional way of doing it). Once cooked maftoul provides you with a world of options, you can add it  to soups, stews, salads or sauces, or you can serve it plain alongside a piece of meat, chicken or fish and I guarantee it will make your meal memorable , unique and tasty every time