Category Archives: Palestinian Food History

Iranian Lamb and Herb Stew – Ghormeh-e Sabzi

One of the most popular dishes for Iranians is the Iranian Lamb and Herb Stew, which they call Ghormeh-e Sabzi. This dish is a splendid testimony to the Persian love of herbs and fragrance, and is a harmonious melange of texture and flavor. For an equally fulfilling vegetarian option, double the kidney bean portion to make up for the absent lamb. When the Persians were invading the lands of Israel, they brought also this dish to the people. When they finally left, they left behind the recipe. Today you can eat this in Iranian restaurants.

Ghormeh-e Sabzi
Ghormeh-e Sabzi

It takes about 3 hours to make this dish and of course, it has its many customizations, as you can see on the images and all of them taste wonderful thanks to the herbs and fragrance of this dish.


  • 115g/4oz/heaped ½ cup dried red kidney beans, soaked overnight
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 1 handful of chives, finely chopped
  • 1 handful of fenugreek leaves or 1 tbsp dried fenugreek
  • 1 handful finely chopped dill leaves, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 2 handfuls of parsley leaves
  • 2 handfuls of coriander/cilantro leaves
  • 400g/14oz boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2cm/¾in cubes
  • 4 whole dried black limes (limu amani), pierced with the tip of a knife (optional)
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Chelow Rice, to serve
  • Greek yogurt, to serve

    Ghormeh-e Sabzi
    Ghormeh-e Sabzi

  1. Put the red kidney beans in a deep, heavy-based saucepan and cover with water.
  2. Bring to a rolling boil over a medium heat and continue to boil for 10–15 minutes, until the beans are tender but with a slight bite to them. Drain and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan or casserole dish over a medium heat.
  4. Add the onion and leek and fry for 5 minutes until soft and golden.
  5. Add all the herbs and stir well, then cook for 10 minutes until fragrant, stirring often.
  6. Increase the heat to high, add the lamb and stir well to coat with the onion and leeks, then cook for about 2 minutes until the meat is browned on all sides.
  7. Add the drained kidney beans to the pan, cover with water and bring to the boil.
  8. Reduce the heat to low, then cover with a lid and simmer for 1½–2 hours, or until the beans are soft, the meat is tender and the sauce reduced and well blended.
  9. When the stew has been simmering for about an hour, add the dried limes, if using (any sooner and they will turn the stew bitter), pushing them down into the liquid.
  10. They will tend to pop back up, so try to cover them with a few pieces of meat to keep them submerged.
  11. Just before serving, season the dish with lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
  12. Serve with the Chelow Rice and yogurt.
Ghormeh-e Sabzi
Ghormeh-e Sabzi
Ghormeh-e Sabzi
Ghormeh-e Sabzi
Ghormeh-e Sabzi
Ghormeh-e Sabzi
Ghormeh-e Sabzi
Ghormeh-e Sabzi
Ghormeh-e Sabzi
Ghormeh-e Sabzi
Ghormeh-e Sabzi - Vegetarian
Ghormeh-e Sabzi – Vegetarian

Bedouin Mansaf Risotto

Normally, this Bedouin dish is prepared with dried yogurt or buttermilk (jmeed). In Jordan this is almost a national dish, because this is a communal dish (everyone comes to eat when you make it, family, neighbors and friends) and a great symbol of generosity that is often served on special occasions. The way how you eat it is with your right hand, the meat is torn apart and rolled into a ball, which you dip into the yogurt. Instead of Jmeed, you can use Greek yogurt instead.

Some call this dish also the so called Bedouin Pizza.

Mansaf Risotto
Mansaf Risotto

To make this recipe, it will take you almost two hours, but it’s a great dish. It’s better even when you share it with family, friend and neighbors.


  • 30g/1oz/2 tbsp salted butter
  • 850g/1lb 14oz lamb shank(s)
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 10 garlic cloves, 5 left whole and 5 pounded using a pestle and mortar or crushed
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 200g/7oz/1 cup short-grain or risotto rice
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 750ml/26fl oz/3¼ cups Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch, if needed
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 3 tbsp blanched almonds
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 loaves of warm Arabic Bread
  • mint leaves, finely chopped, to sprinkle
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Mansaf Risotto
    Mansaf Risotto

  1. Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat, add the lamb shank(s), carrots, onion, whole garlic cloves, cardamom pods, bay leaf and cinnamon stick and cook for 4–5 minutes, turning frequently, until the meat has browned.
  2. Season with salt to taste, then cover with 1.25l/44fl oz/5¼ cups water and bring to the boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to low, then cover and simmer for 1 hour or until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.
  4. Strain well, reserving the stock and the meat, but discarding the vegetables and spices.
  5. Put the rice, 750ml/26fl oz/3¼ cups of the reserved stock and the turmeric in a separate heavy-based pan over a medium heat.
  6. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes or until the rice is cooked through and all the stock has been absorbed, adding a little more stock as needed and stirring every so often to achieve a creamy texture.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Meanwhile, separate the meat from the bone, cut into smaller pieces and set aside.
  9. Put the yogurt in the pan the meat was cooked in and place over a medium heat, then add the egg and whisk well.
  10. Return the meat to the pan and bring the mixture to a gentle boil.
  11. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring often so that the yogurt doesn’t catch, for 15–20 minutes until the yogurt is thick and creamy.
  12. If the mixture is too runny, add the cornflour/cornstarch and mix until thickened.
  13. Toast the pine nuts and almonds in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat for 1–2 minutes until golden, shaking the pan often.
  14. Put the crushed garlic in a small bowl, add the lemon juice and mix.
  15. To serve, lay out the Arabic Bread on a large serving platter and pour the garlic mixture over it.
  16. Spoon over the rice, then spoon over a couple of tablespoons of the lamb and yogurt mixture.
  17. Scatter with the meat pieces and then sprinkle over the toasted nuts and mint.
  18. Serve the remaining cooked yogurt on the side.
Mansaf Risotto
Mansaf Risotto
Mansaf Risotto
Mansaf Risotto

Freekeh with Lamb and Rhubarb

A succulent dish of slow-cooked lamb with freekeh, a grain made from young wheat, and rhubarb, which is eaten as a vegetable in savory dishes in the Lebanon, Israel, West Bank, Gaza, Jordan and Egypt. An d the beauty of this dish is its versatility; you can switch to chicken or vegetables if you please.

Freekeh with Lamb and Rhubarb
Freekeh with Lamb and Rhubarb

This dish was prepared already during the Ottoman period in the Middle East.

But making it takes you two and half hours and 15 steps. And if you start to experiment, then it might be longer! But it’s a beautiful recipe and everyone’s eyes will popup when you serve it on the table. Not to forget the wonderful smell when you cook it. Keep all males out of the kitchen when you want to surprise them.


  • 30g/1oz/2 tbsp salted butter
  • 240g/8½oz pearl onions or small shallots, peeled
  • 900g/2lb lamb shank(s)
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp Aleppo pepper flakes or crushed chilli flakes
  • 5cm/2in piece of root ginger, peeled and chopped very finely
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed with the blade of a knife
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp coriander seeds
  • 2.5l/88fl oz/10½ cups vegetable stock
  • 400g/14oz/2½ cups wholegrain freekeh or wholegrain farro, rinsed well
  • 250g/9oz rhubarb, cut into 2.5cm/1in lengths
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 30g/1oz/scant ¼ cup blanched almonds
  • 2 tbsp roughly chopped coriander/cilantro leaves, to sprinkle
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Greek yogurt, to serve

    Freekeh with Lamb and Rhubarb
    Freekeh with Lamb and Rhubarb

  1. Melt 20g/¾oz/4 teaspoons of the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium–low heat, and fry the pearl onions for 3–4 minutes until golden.
  2. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside.
  3. Rub the lamb shank(s) all over with the allspice and Aleppo pepper flakes and  season to taste with salt and pepper, then transfer to the saucepan.
  4. Return the onions to the pan, and sear the onions and lamb until browned all over.
  5. Remove the shank and set aside on a plate.
  6. Add half the remaining butter to the pan, along with the ginger, garlic, bay leaf and coriander seeds, and cook for 1 minute or so until aromatic.
  7. Return the lamb shank and pour over 1l/35fl oz/4⅓ cups of the stock, then cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1¾ hours, turning the shank around a couple of times during the cooking time.
  8. Meanwhile, put the freekeh in a saucepan and pour over the remaining stock, then cover the pan and bring to the boil.
  9. Reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer for about 45 minutes or until the stock has been absorbed and the grains are cooked through but still have a slight bite to them.
  10. If the grains have not cooked through in this time, but the stock has been absorbed, add a little water as needed.
  11. Once cooked, set aside, covered, until ready to serve.
  12. Just before the lamb stew finishes cooking, melt the remaining butter in a pan over a medium heat, add the rhubarb and toss to combine, then cook for 4 minutes until just beginning to soften.
  13. Spoon the rhubarb into the lamb stew and toss well, then remove the stew from the heat and leave it to sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
  14. Toast the pine nuts and almonds in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat for 1–2 minutes until golden and fragrant, shaking the pan often.
  15. Transfer the freekeh to a serving plate, top with the lamb and rhubarb, sprinkle with the nuts and coriander/cilantro and serve with yogurt.
Freekeh with Lamb and Rhubarb
Freekeh with Lamb and Rhubarb
Freekeh with Lamb and Rhubarb
Freekeh with Lamb and Rhubarb
Freekeh with Lamb and Rhubarb
Freekeh with Lamb and Rhubarb
Freekeh with Lamb and Rhubarb
Freekeh with Lamb and Rhubarb

Spiced Lamb flatbread Pizzas

Although these are known by Armenians as missahatz, by Turks as lahmacun and by the Lebanese as lahm b’ajeen, the basic idea is the same: spread meat on bread. The best flatbread pizza I’ve ever had, second to this recipe of course, was at an Armenian bakery called Furn Ikhshanian, in Zokak el Blat, a district of Beirut. The reason for this was their paper-thin and crispy dough. Flatbread pizzas belong to the Manaquiche family, and while Manaquiche are considered a breakfast food, they are enjoyed throughout the day, and there is a predominant after-club culture of tucking into these after a heavy night out! They’re best when washed down with some savory yogurt shake. And you know what? They are also available in Israel! At the markets and at certain (Lebanese and Turkey’s) restaurants.

In order to make such pizza, it will take about 40 minutes, and that of course on the size and how much customization you want to apply. As you will see looking at the images, there are many different possibilities you can apply.


  • 2 large onions, very finely chopped
  • 4 large plum tomatoes, very finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 400g/14oz finely minced/ground lamb
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp hot chilli flakes
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 Arabic Bread dough
  • plain/all-purpose flour, for dusting 3 tbsp pine nuts

    TO SERVE

    Spiced Lamb flatbread Pizzas
    Spiced Lamb flatbread Pizzas
  • Undressed Herb Salad
  • Harissa
  • Savoury Yogurt Shake
  • lemon halves

    Spiced Lamb flatbread Pizzas
    Spiced Lamb flatbread Pizzas

  1. Put the onions and tomatoes in a bowl. Note that they must be chopped almost to a paste.
  2. Sprinkle the paste with the salt and set aside for 5 minutes, then squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
  3. Put the well-squeezed tomatoes and onions in a bowl with the lamb, sprinkle with the cinnamon, allspice and chilli flakes and drizzle with the pomegranate molasses, then mix well.
  4. Preheat the oven to 250˚C/500˚F/Gas 9.
  5. Divide the bread dough into 4 balls of equal size (about 125g/4½oz each) and dust the work surface with flour.
  6. Roll out each ball to about 30cm/12in in diameter (the dough should be paper thin).
  7. Using your fingers, gently spread one-quarter of  the meat mixture evenly and thinly across each piece of dough.
  8. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the pizzas.
  9. Transfer the pizzas to perforated round pizza crispers and bake in the oven for 5–7 minutes until the edges of the pizzas are golden and crispy.
  10. Alternatively, use baking sheets to slide the pizzas straight onto the oven shelves.
  11. Serve with Undressed Herb Salad, Harissa and Savoury Yogurt Shake, with lemon halves for squeezing.
Spiced Lamb flatbread Pizzas
Spiced Lamb flatbread Pizzas
Spiced Lamb flatbread Pizzas
Spiced Lamb flatbread Pizzas
Spiced Lamb flatbread Pizzas
Spiced Lamb flatbread Pizzas