When I eat this salad I am transported back to the Jordan Valley, where I spend a lot of time with farmers who are being supported by the livelihoods programme I run. As I get out of the car at 8am into the perfectly dry heat, I am ushered over to an upturned pallet that has a bowl of this salad on it with a plate of Labneh, fresh and warm bread and sweet sweet tea. They grow all the ingredients for this salad right here; fresh and proud. I sigh with relief as I have missed breakfast to get here so early, I have been in the car for hours. I tuck in, while hearing about how things have been since my last visit. The good, the bad and the ugly.
The bad is the occupation and the illegal agricultural settlements next door to this farm that absorb all the local resources form water and land to labour. The ugly is the demolition order on their house and agricultural infrastructure- the 4th demolition and risk of homelessness and loss of livelihood this family has faced in as many years. The good is the increased support they have from us to farm their land and the advocacy we have done to expose the injustice or maybe its just that we are back to hear what they have to say. I mean, what good can we actually do here while the occupation and its unaccountable impunity rumbles on? Either way, I always think of this community and their lovely vegetables on those early mornings I spent eating this salty and smooth salad whenever I make it at home.
This salad is rather covertly called Salata Arabia (which means ‘Arabic Salad’ in Arabic). It is wonderfully simple and versatile salad which is delicious at any time of day. I love it at breakfast with foul or at dinner with rice dishes. We ate it almost every day growing up, and it always reminds me of my family, especially my mother who likes extra onions in hers.
I like my Salata Arabia to be zingy and smooth with a generous amount of olive oil and lemon juice with lots of fresh mint.
I use organic fair trade extra virgin olive oil from Palestine- it really is the best. see my Shop Palestine page to find out where to get some.
6 plump on-the-vine tomatoes, finely chopped
2.5 inches of cucumber, finely chopped
¼ white onion, finely chopped
1 handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1 pinch of salt
juice from ½ a lemon
3-4 glugs of extra virgin olive oil
1. Mix all the ingredients into a bowl and serve while fresh