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Syrian Roast Chicken and Potatoes

Chicken is roasted with potato slices and lots of garlic.  It is one of the most popular ever chicken dishes in Syria. Serve with Flatbread and lemon garlic dip (IT’S A MUST!). The punchy garlic and hot pepper alongside lemon and olive oil work just as well with potatoes as they do with chicken.

If you’re a vegetarian you can still enjoy this dish and easily replace the chicken with some different veggies such as squash, carrot, aubergine and courgette.

Syrian cuisine is a mixture of the cultures and civilisations that settled in Syria, of which are the Arabs, Persians and Turks. It is very similar to other Levantine cuisines, mainly Lebanese, Palestinian, Jordanian and Iraqi.

Every Friday in Syria you'll find a traditional Syrian feast that includes everything from shakriyeh, a lamb yogurt stew, to this traditional roast chicken, where the crispy meat rests on a bed of potatoes and onions before being brushed with lemon and garlic.

Pistachio Mafroukeh (Syrian dessert)

A traditional Middle Eastern delicacy sweet with a new twist! It is a semolina-based pistachio concoction, with an ashta cream.

Mafroukeh is basically a semolina-pistachio concoction, with a paste like texture, which is both creamy and crunchy, with floral notes from orange blossom and rose water.  Topping (or stuffing) it with a creamy layer of ashta cream, and an optional drizzle of sugar syrup..

Pistachios are part and parcel of the region’s food, and we can’t help but sit back and enjoy its excessive use.

Mafroukeh is known also as Fosdoe’ya (Arabic for Pistachio), it is second choice after Atayef on our Iftar menu treat

 

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE MAFROUKEH DOUGH:

1 cup unsalted pistachios, shelled, lightly toasted & cooled*

3/4 cup  sugar, divided

1/4 cup unsalted butter

Zardeh

Zardeh is a sort of sweet pudding from rice that is characterized by the flavor of saffron. In the past, this sweet was served on special occasions in Aleppo, specifically at wedding. The Aleppo proverb says “No more Zardeh after the wedding” “من بع دالعرس مافي زردة”, because it has good amount of sugar. It is also popular in Iran and Iraq.

 

1. Put 125 g Egyptian short grain rice in a bowl.

2. Wash and rinse rice in three changes of water.

Weekend Breakfast Ful bi Laban (Bean with yoghurt sauce)

Friday is the weekend and the day of rest for Syrians. On Friday morning, breakfast is served late in the morning, more like a brunch, before people head for Friday's prayer around midday. Friday's meal is usually breakfast items: olives, white cheese and labneh. But it would not be a proper weekend breakfast if it didn't include Hummus Fatteh, FulMudamas or Ful bi Laban.

FulMudamas is a vegetarian warm broad bean salad dish eaten as a filling breakfast or a nice supper. Although FulMudamas is the official name of the dish we hardly ever use this name. We simply refer to it as a generic Ful or we call it by the name of its two variations, Ful bi Laban (youghurtFul) made with a youghrt sauce or Ful bi Ziet (oil ful)which looks more like a salad and uses more olive oil.

Khobeizeh (Sautéed Mallows With Onions and garlic)

Sauteed mallow with onions. This Syrian and Middle Eastern dish is easy to make, delicious and healthy, it's simple, light and it's packed with nutrients! Served with Arabic bread and a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice

It’s this time of the year when Syria is filled with mallow leaves.

Khobeizeh means mallow in Arabic. Mallow or malva leaves are herbaceous plants with hairy stems, pink or purple flowers, normally harvested in the early months of January and February or during spring depending on the temperature of the area. They are only available during that short period of the year, and that’s when we collect them to either cook right away or freeze to be enjoyed later in the year.

Many people confuse mallow or malva leaves with jute mallow leaves, and in fact, these 2 plants are completely different! We use Jute leaves to cook Molokhia and that’s also the Arabic name for jute leaves, while mallows are called Khobeizeh. Jute mallow doesn't grow in the wild, it’s normally planted and harvested during the summer. But Mallows grow on their own and are picked during early spring.

Mallow leaves are picked when still young, older leaves become tough and not considered edible so we never pick them. When mallow flowers appear during springtime, they look like pink carpets covering the green fields.