Laham Shuqaf

A lot of Palestinian dishes don’t sound so glamorous when they are translated into English and this one is no different; Pieces of Meat.  Luckily this does not affect the taste.

Growing up can be hard for all children but for a child growing up in a place where they are not ‘culturally at home’ it can be even harder.  I certainly felt a cultural gap between myself and my friends when I moved to the UK, despite them being the most wonderful friends and us still being in each other’s lives now.  Those differences are liberating now, they give us interest, we grow into them and gain confidence from them, but growing up being different was tough.

One thing that always sticks in my mind was a friend of mine once following a sleep-over when my mother had cooked a delicious breakfast, said ‘what?!? You have THAT for breakfast?  That is weird!’.  My mother had gone to so much effort but all I felt was embarrassed, and I feel so ashamed of that now.  I wonder if Otis will be embarrassed when I make a cooked breakfast for his friends in a few years time…

Laham Shuqaf is certainly one of those recipes that she could have been referring to.  It’s a million miles form cereal or toast or a fried egg.  But it’s one of the ways we Palestinians make a cooked breakfast at the weekend and it is delicious and I will forever be proud of it.  My mother makes it better than anyone I have ever known and my husband eats it quicker than anyone I have ever known.

laham shiqaf


500g prime diced beef, but into tiny .5cm cubes (use scissors)

1 white onion, finely chopped

2 ripe plump tomatoes, finely chopped

5 gloves garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1teaspoon mixed spice

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon nutmeg

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper



  1. fry the onions and garlic in olive oil on a medium heat for 5 minutes until soft
  2. add the meat and spices and cook for 10 minutes until browned
  3. add the tomatoes and fry, reducing the heat as the tomatoes reduce down
  4. serve hot with warm pita bread, hummus and cheese


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