Shatta Sauce

Can you have fish without chips? or mash without gravy? or anything without Shatta Sauce? NO. I make a fresh batch of this every 2-3 days because its so delicious and goes on everything. It lives on a low shelf in my fridge so that mama can get to it before we wake to douse her breakfast in and its served either on all of our food- rice, salads, meats, hummus, labaneh- or in a small bowl for us to dip everything and anything in. I strongly recommend that you make it and make it again.

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Shatta Starter

Shatta is so simple and so essential to the Palestinian eating experience, I feel a bit silly calling this a recipe. Its essentially preserved chillies that you can use to dress dips, salads and meats. You can make red or green I personally hardly ever use it neat, but instead use it as a sort of shatta starter in the fridge that I add to kofta mix, to make sauces, marinades and dips.

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Palestinian Chips

People mock me when I call these Palestinian chips.  As if putting the word Palestinian in front of them make them somehow different, or gives even the humble chip a Palestinian origin like we seem to be able to do with almost everything else!  But honestly, they are different.  Not just the shape, which is actually absolutely essential to their identity- just ask Mama!-  but also the amount of salt and PEPPER you put on them.  you must actually be able to taste strong pepper and it makes them delicious.  You will find these in every Falafel place in Palestine and of course in my house. 

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Falafel

I know that we are all supposed to love and admire vegetarians and vegans for their sacrifices for the planet and all but honestly, I still haven’t fully forgiven them for ruining the falafel.  In the 1990s and 2000s, all these trendy vegetarian restaurants popped up serving dry and crusty BAKED falafel.  I mean, honestly.  Whenever someone tells me that they don’t like falafel, I simply assume they have only tried this type and so don’t take them too seriously. 

Let me tell you about a small standing only restaurant in Bethlehem called Afteem, just down a small alley from the hot and busy Manger Square where a giant gas fired wok of oil is perched on the pavement frying thousands of falafel a day which are then-still warm-pressed into fluffy pitta breads, nestled amongst fresh and crunchy chopped vegetables and pickles, and drenched in Badounsia (a punchy tahini and parsley sauce). 

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Bamia wa Bandour

In this country, veganism and vegetarianism is often linked to views around animal cruelty,health or climate change. In Palestine, its simply an old way of eating from when people lived off the land and eating meat was only for special occasions. So much of our food is utterly delicious and naturally vegetarian without even trying and as long as you don’t reach for the yogurt, its also completely vegan. We often don’t eat meat in the week without even noticing as we are our regular comfort foods and this is a perfect one for the rain and cols we are currently having. Bang full of flavour and texture, if you havent tried okra before this is the perfect introduction to it!

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Pink Pickled Turnips

If I’m honest, I probably wouldn’t make these myself at home if I lived somewhere I could easily get them.  However, in the English home counties if you want to eat pink pickled turnips, then you have to make them yourself.  I love mine in falafel sandwiches or next to my foul and fried halloumi over brunch or even chopped into fattoush salad.  However, my mother eats them every day with most meals and throughout the day as snack.  So eat and enjoy.

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Palestinian Courgette Fritters

This is one of those recipes that have many uses; as part of a buffet, a light lunch, canapés before a nice lunch, and the reason we keep making them at the moment… for preschool lunch boxes.  My son Otis goes to preschool three days a week and he isn’t a sandwich boy.   These are a perfect lunch for little hands and big appetites; Otis loves them.   you can freeze these in batches and get them out as needed to pack into lunch boxes (they will defrost in the lunchbox overnight in the fridge).

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Rainbow Stuffed Peppers

My mother swears by these for parties.  And she is right. They are delicious and no matter how many you make, they all get eaten.  They also look fabulous and can be prepped well ahead of time and put in the oven as your guests arrive.  We also have them for weeknight suppers served with rice or some grilled chicken.  This is also a colourful and fun way to get veggies into your little ones.

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