Romanieh (lentils and eggplants cooked in pomegranate sauce)
In January, I went back home to Jenin for a visit and the trip was bitter sweet. Just crossing the border makes my soul sing. I know this may sound crazy to some but to me, the earth there is different, the sky is different, the very air you breath is different.Simply put, I feel at home!
No matter where I am, my heart is always there..My grandmother used to say that we are just like the olive trees..our roots dig deep into this land..this is where we belong
Yet, it is never easy to see your land, crippled by an occupation, to see cities look old and tired,as if forgotten by time, to see people suffer with beat up economy, to wish you could pray in Jerusalem but never be granted the permission to do so.To face an ugly horrible wall that makes you feel you are walking in one big giant prison
To take pictures of your grand parents’ home through a hole in the wall. The house is sad and empty. The trees carry fruits that no one can pick. The kids who once grew here are now old men and women scattered in a dozen countries, they don’t have the permission to live in their own home!
One of the reasons why I started and then maintained this blog was to help spread easy and authentic Middle Eastern and particularly Palestinian recipes. At a time when everything Palestinian seems to be under attack. Our land, our food, our traditional cloths were stolen and now they are being marketed as Israeli. It makes my blood boil and I feel like the least I can do is document our food identity,one post at a time, one recipe at a time.
I am here to tell as many people as I can that it is called Palestinian Maftoul not Israeli couscous, it is an Arabic salad not an Israeli salad, and the gazan dagga is a celebration of the amazing gazan people who can take the heat and rise from the ashes time after time.
Today,since I am sharing another traditional Palestinian recipe, I thought I would give you a glimpse of my trip back home. I’ll start with my visit to Nablus.
Nablus was founded by the Roman Emperor Vespasian in 72 CE as Flavia Neapolis. The city takes pride in its almost 2,000-year-long history and there is no better way to enjoy it than to take a walk down the old market.
Whether you are shopping for souvenirs
Or looking to enjoy some of the local food the market has to offer :pickled olives, Nabulsi cheese , dried fruits or Nabulsi soap (sabon nabulsi) which is a type of castile soap produced only in Nablus out of virgin olive oil
Araies (Pita bread stuffed with minced meat, herbs and spices then grilled to perfection)
Korshaleh (Tea time crackers, usually dunked in tea)
If you are shopping for traditional sweets, Nablus is the place to go to!
I loved watching this guy make koolaj, which are paper thin sheets of dough, something very similar to phylo. Koolaj is usually stuffed with nuts or cheese, it is then baked, then drizzled with a rosewater scented syrup. The outer layers of dough become crisp and crunchy while the inner layers absorb the syrup and take on the spices usually mixed with the filling. The result is simply irresistible!
Atayef cart! I have never seen atayef being sold on a cart!I usually I buy it from a bakery or make it home
We ended the trip with praying in Al hanbali mosque, this mosque has been in the old city since the 16th century, it is famous for the beautiful wood work and marble columns
Now back to the recipe 🙂
Romanya is recipe mostly associated with the city of Jaffa.The recipe and the ingredients are pretty simple but the result is far from it. When you try this for the first time, you’ll get complex layers of flavor and texture that will have you reaching for spoonful after spoonful trying to decide what it is that you like so much about romanieh. Is it the creamy eggplant? the sweet and sour notes of the pomegranate molasses? the earthy nuttiness of the lentils?or is it simply the irresistable combination?
Recipe source: My friend Nisreen Rahhal
1 cup green lentils
7-9 cups of water
2 medium eggplants (peeled and cut into cubes ‘see notes’)
1 cup sour pomegranate juice (or 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses+ juice of 2 lemons)
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt to taste
6 cloves of garlic minced
1 teaspoon sumac
1 and 1/2 tablespoons flour
4-6 tablespoons olive oil
Add 7 cups of water, cumin and and the lentils to a pot
Bring the water to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer.
Cook until the lentils are almost done (the time will vary depending on the type of lentils you use)
If the lentils absorb most of the water add 1-2 cups of warm water
Add the eggplant and half of the minced garlic and cook until the cubes are soft and cooked through
Add the salt and sumac
In a small bowl, mix the flour, pomegranate molasses and lemon juice until homogenous
Add the lemon flour pomegranate mix to the eggplants and lentils and stir until the mix thickens
In a pan, saute the remaining minced garlic in the olive oil until the garlic turns golden
Pour the olive oil and garlic into the lentil and eggplant pot and stir
Take the pot off the heat and ladle into the serving plate while hot
Decorate with parsley and pomegranate seeds, you can eat romania with pita bread or using a spoon
You can keep the eggplant peel if you like, it will give a more intense eggplant taste and a deeper color to the end result. I usually peel one egg plant and leave the skin on the other
(وصفه الرمانيه (حبة رمان
كوب عدس بني،
حبتين باذنجان متوسطه الحجم مقشره و مقطعه مكعبات متوسطه الحجم،
عصير رمانه حامضه و في حال عدم توفر الرمان الحامض نستبدلها بملعقتين طعام من دبس الرمان مضاف لهم عصير ليمونتين،
ملعقه صغيره كمون،
ملح حسب الرغبه،
سته اسنان توم مدقوق،
ملعقه كبيره سماق ،
شطه او فلفل حار حسب الرغبه و حسب الذوق ممكن الاستغناء عنها،
ملعقه كبيره و نصف طحين.
يغسل العدس و يسلق بكميه مناسبه من الماء،مع اضافه الكمون ،
عند اقتراب نضوجه يضاف مكعبات الباذنجان و نصف كميه الثوم المدقوق و يترك ليغلي قليلا حتى استواء الباذنجان،
نضيف الملح و الشطه و السماق يحرك المزيج
يذاب الطحين جيدا في دبس الرمان المخلوط مع عصير الليمون، ثم يضاف الى العدس مع التحريك حتى يسمك القوام
في مقلاه مع قليل من زيت الزيتون نقلي كميه التوم المتبقية حتى يحمر و نضيفه فوق خليط العدس و نحرك قليلا ثم نطفي النار .
و يسكب في صحون وتؤكل الرمانية بارده مع الخبز او بالملعقه:)