This sharp and tangy stew is one of the signature dishes of Gaza City and is another recipe adapted from Laila El-Haddad and Maggie Schmitt’s excellent book The Gaza Kitchen. Traditionally made with dill seeds and the roasted red tahini of the city, my version uses caraway seeds and toasted sesame oil, both more readily available in Western supermarkets. Of course, if you happen to come across the former ingredients, don’t hesitate to use them for a more authentic version. In Gaza this is often served at room temperature with warm bread. The accompaniments are up to you; I like it with steamed rice or—if I need something a little more comforting—a generous portion of creamy mashed potato. This tastes even better the next day, so is a great make-ahead dish.
- Heat the cooking oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and fry over a medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Dust the beef with the cornstarch and then add it to the pot, searing well on all sides. Add the coriander, allspice and caraway seeds and fry for 1 minute before adding the chickpeas, tomato purée and chicken stock. Stir well. If the meat isn’t covered, pour in just-boiled water until it is. Season with a generous grind of pepper, then cover with the lid and simmer over a medium-low heat for around 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is completely tender.
- When the meat is ready, add the sumac, tahini, toasted sesame oil, chilli flakes, pomegranate molasses and 1 teaspoon salt.
- Stir well until you have a creamy sauce. Then add the chard or spinach and green chilli and cook for a final 5 minutes.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning, then leave to rest and let the flavors come together for 5–10 minutes, before serving with warm bread, steamed rice or creamy mashed potatoes.
Yasmin Khan is a food and travel writer, broadcaster and author of the best-selling and critically acclaimed travel cookbooks The Saffron Tales (Bloomsbury 2016), Zaitoun (Norton 2019), and Ripe Figs (2021).