The Journey to promote the gastronomic value around the World: Palestine Cuisine


(Worldkings) The Palestinian gastronomy is a rich mixture of fresh ingredients such as olive oil, herbs, spices, vegetables as well as dairy products, cereals, fishes and meats.

1. Mutabbal

Mutabbal (

Mutabbal (or Mtabbal) is not only one of hundreds Levantine appetizers (mazze), it is the most popular one (beside hummus of course). The origin of the word Mutabbal is Arabic tabala, literally meaning ‘to add additional flavors and spices’. It is made of two main basic ingredients, eggplants and tahini. This classic combination always works. But what makes your mutabbal stands out is how you cook the eggplant!

There are few ways to cook eggplant for making mutabbal. Some would deep fry it, while others would bake it in the oven. But nothing could beat the unique taste coming from roasting it. Roasting eggplants on stove-top or barbeque grill brings out richness in eggplant and adds smoky flavor and aroma to the dish.


  • 1 large eggplant (about 850 grams)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoon tahini paste
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • Dried mint or parsley for garnish


Place the eggplant as is (without peeling) directly on the stove-top over a medium heat. Leave it roasting and keep turning from side to side until the skin is blackened and pulp is soft and tender. This process takes about 15 minutes in total.

Peel the eggplant under running cold water in order to remove the skin easily. Trim the stem off from the eggplant and remove the seeds (if any). Put the eggplant in a pot. Mash it with a fork or a hammer. Add garlic, salt, tahini, lemon, and half cup of water. Mix all ingredients together until well combined. Taste to adjust salt and lemon.

Spread the dip in serving plate, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with a pinch of crushed dried mint. Serve warm or cold with pita bread.

2. Hummus Bi Tahini

Hummus Bi Tahini (


  • Chickpeas, cooked and drained -- 2 cups
  • Tahini (sesame paste) -- 1/4 to 1/2 cup
  • Lemon juice -- 1/4 cup
  • Garlic, crushed -- 2-4 cloves
  • Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Water -- as needed
  • Olive oil -- 1/4 cup
  • Parsley minced -- 1-2 tablespoons


  1. Place the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt into a food processor or blender and process until very smooth. Add water as needed to achieve a soft, spreadable consistency. Adjust seasoning with lemon juice and salt to taste.

  1. Mound the hummus in a serving bowl and drizzle the olive oil over the top. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

3. Tabouli

Middle Eastern bulgur and parsley salad

Tabouli (

An easy, refreshing and healthy Middle Eastern salad, tabouli is made of bulgur wheat, finely

chopped parsley and scallions dressed simply with lemon juice and olive oil. The dish goes by

various spellings including tabbouleh, taboule, taboulleh, tabouleh, and tabboulleh.

4 to 6 servings


  • Bulgur -- 3/4 cup
  • Water -- 3 cups
  • Flat-leafed parsley, chopped finely -- 3 bunches
  • Tomatoes, seeded and chopped -- 2
  • Scallions, finely chopped -- 4 to 6
  • Lemon juice -- 1/2 cup
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste
  • Olive oil -- 1/2 cup


  1. Place the bulgur in a large bowl and add the water. Set aside to soak for 20 to 30 minutes, then drain. Place the soaked bulgur in a clean rag and squeeze out any excess moisture. Return the bulgur to the bowl.
  2. Add the parsley, tomatoes, scallions, lemon juice, salt and pepper and stir together. Set aside for 15 to 20 minutes to allow flavors to mingle.

Adjust seasoning and stir in the olive oil. Serve chilled or at room temperature

4. Shawarma

(Middle Eastern spiced meat sandwich)

Shwarma (

Shawarma is popular throughout the eastern Mediterranean and is sometimes called the Middle Eastern taco. It originated in northwestern Turkey as döner kebab, which reached its current form and popularity with the Turkish population in Germany. The shawarma sandwich is now found in a variety of forms around the world.

Shawarma meat is typically shaved off a large rotating cone of layered meat. The meat is roasted with radiant gas or electric heat. Pieces of meat are sliced off and served in a folded pita with garnishes and condiments. This recipe is a simpler homemade version with all of shawarma's signature flavor.

The word shawarma is an approximation of the Turkish word for "turning." Sometimes spelledshwarma, and known as guss in Iraq.

4 servings


  • Lean lamb or beef, or boneless, skinless chicken, sliced very thinly -- 2 pounds
  • Garlic, minced -- 3 or 4 cloves
  • Salt -- 2 teaspoons
  • Pepper -- 1 teaspoon
  • Ground allspice -- 1 teaspoon
  • Ground cardamom -- 1 teaspoon
  • Ground cloves -- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Ground nutmeg -- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Yogurt -- 1 cup
  • Vinegar or lemon juice -- 1/4 cup


  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a non-reactive bowl and set aside to marinate for anywhere from 1 hour to overnight. Drain and discard any excess marinade.
  2. To Broil: Heat an oven broiler to high. Spread the meat evenly in a single layer on an ovenproof pan. Set 4 to 6 inches under the broiler flame and broil until cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir halfway through to cook evenly.
  3. To Grill: Heat coals or set gas to high heat. Spread the meat in a grill basket and grill until cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes, turning occasionally.
  4. Serve the shawarma hot inside folded pita bread with your choice of garnishes.

5. Falafel

(Middle Eastern fried chickpea patties)

Falafel (

Falafel is the original veggie burger and is a common dish throughout the Middle East. It is found in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and is especially popular with Palestinians. In Egypt it is known as tamiyah or taamiyah.

4 to 6 servings


  • Chickpeas, dried -- 1 cup
  • Breadcrumbs -- 1/2 cup
  • Garlic, crushed -- 2 to 3 cloves
  • Parsley, minced -- 1/4 cup
  • Flour -- 2 tablespoons
  • Salt -- 1 to 2 teaspoons
  • Baking powder -- 1 teaspoon
  • Ground coriander -- 1 teaspoon
  • Ground cumin -- 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric (optional) -- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cayenne pepper -- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Oil for deep frying


  1. Place the chickpeas in a large saucepan and add water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat and then cover tightly and remove from heat. Let set for 1 to 2 hours to soak.
  2. Drain the chickpeas and rinse them with fresh water. Place the chickpeas, breadcrumbs and garlic in a food processor and pulse until the chickpeas break down into small pieces the size of breadcrumbs. Do not over process to a puree.
  3. Remove the chickpea mixture to a large bowl, add the rest of the ingredients except for the oil and mix together well. The mixture should have a fairly dry, crumbly texture. Add a little water if it is too dry to form balls with your hand. Adjust seasoning to taste. Form the mixture into 1-inch balls or ovals and then flatten slightly.
  4. Heat oil in a deep fryer to 375°F, or heat 1/2 inch of oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Drop patties a few at a time into the hot oil and brown well on both sides, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the browned from the oil and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with the remaining patties.
  5. Falafel can be served on its own with taratour sauce. Or stuff it in pita bread halves with tomatoes, cucumbers and onions and eat it like a sandwich.

6. Maqluba With Eggplant and Lamb

Maqluba (

When I come to think of the national dish of Palestine, I think of musakhan (layered dish of bread, onion and sumac topped with chicken and pine nut). But many others would think of maqluba.

Maqluba (means upside down in Arabic) is a very popular dish among Palestinians and Jordanians alike, they get really excited when it’s served on the table. It’s basically a layered pot of meat, vegetables and rice. Cooked all together and then flipped over a serving big flat platter, making this beautiful cake-like form.

Maqluba has a couple of variations in ingredients ; some make it with chicken and cauliflower, some prefer it with lamb and eggplant, while some others make it with cauliflower and eggplant, and add other vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, and green peppers. Vegetables can be deep fried or just slightly sautéed. It can be with or without meat.


  • half cup vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • half kilo lamb, cut in medium-size chops
  • salt to taste
  • 1.5 teaspoon allspice
  • half teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 3 cardamom, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 kilo eggplant, peeled and sliced
  • 3 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1.5 cup rice, thoroughly washed


Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a saucepan, add onions and lamb chops and stir over a medium heat for couple of minutes. Season with salt, black pepper, allspices, cardamom, cinnamon, and bay leaf. Add 4 cups of water, cover the pot and let simmer until cooked (cooking time varies from an hour to two and half, depending on meat type).

Meanwhile, heat the rest of vegetable oil in large frying pan. Add eggplant slices and sauté both sides until golden brown. Place them on paper towel to absorb oil and set side.

In a big pot, add a small pinch of rice (to avoid burning of the meat). Arrange lamb chops, tomato slices, eggplant slices in layers. Pour lamb stock, and then add rice. Add a small pinch of salt (optional). Bring the pot to a boil over a medium heat. Then cover it and turn the heat down to low and let simmer until rice is cooked (from 20 to 30 minutes).

Leave the pot to cool for 15 to 20 minutes, and then carefully flip it up-side down over a serving platter. Serve hot with fresh yogurt or Arabic salad.

7. Musakhan

(Palestinian sumac-scented roast chicken)

Musakhan (

Meltingly tender chicken with the lemony flavor of sumac and the sweetness of caramelized onions,musakhan (??????) is a favorite dish of Palestinians everywhere. Sheets of flatbread encase the chicken as it cooks, protecting it from direct heat and soaking up delicious juices. Musakhan is traditionally eaten with the fingers. Sometimes spelled moussakhan or musakhkhan.

4 to 6 servings


  • Chicken, cut into serving pieces -- 1 (3-pound)
  • Dried sumac (see variations) -- 1/4 cup
  • Ground cinnamon -- 1 teaspoon
  • Ground allspice or cloves -- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Ground nutmeg -- 1/4 teaspoon
  • Salt and pepper -- to season
  • Olive oil -- 1/4 cup
  • Onions, thinly sliced -- 3
  • Lavash bread -- 2 large pieces


  1. In a large bowl, mix together the chicken, sumac, spices, salt and pepper. Refrigerate and let marinate for at least 30 minutes, or preferably for several hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high flame. Add the chicken, a few pieces at a time, and brown on both sides. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  3. Add the onions to the skillet and saute, stirring often, until the onions are cooked down and beginning to brown, 15 to 25 minutes.
  4. Line the bottom of a baking dish large enough to hold the chicken and onions with a sheet of lavash bread. Spread half the onions over the bread, then place chicken over the onions. Top the chicken with the remaining onions. Cover the whole dish with the remaining sheet of lavash bread, tucking in the sides to seal the chicken in. Sprinkle the lavash bread with water to lightly moisten it.
  5. Place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the chicken is cooked through (an insta-read thermometer inserted into the dish should register around 180°F). If the bread starts to burn, cover it lightly with aluminum foil.
  6. Remove the dish from the oven and let it rest about 10 minutes. Remove and discard the top bread and serve the chicken in its dish.



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