You know it is a tradition!
Since I started a blog – as long as I can remember – I have always had a Ramadan Special tradition. Where every Ramadan I choose a theme, a focus point to share with you. Where usually I would post 30 posts, one each day and share with you 30 recipes, and each Ramadan revolving around a theme. Mostly cultural, and Ramadan related, with special focus on Middle Eastern cuisine. I had in previous Ramadans shared with you Ramadan traditions, and cultural practices, where they come from and how the different countries celebrate Ramadan and which foods they serve and foods from home as well as foods of our childhood memories….etc. do check them out, there is a lot of interesting posts and recipes on this website.
Well this Ramadan is not different, I do still want to share with you a Ramadan Special on this blog and have been working on the Ramadan Special 2019 for sometime now and so I am very excited to share it with you finally.
This year, and due to my very hectic work schedule, I am not able to fulfill the 30 posts and 30 recipes, and so I decided to create a Ramadan Special that also involves you guys. I will post a total of 5 posts and 5 recipes, each week on Monday starting a conversation that hopefully will interest you enough for you guys to carry out on your blogs and social media channels. A conversation that to me is very interesting and always a topic of research. One that hopefully you too will find interesting enough to share your experiences, eventually allowing all of us to raise awareness about Levantine cuisine. So watch the video above and check out the summery below to know what this is all about:
In Levantine cuisine,
the different countries in the Levant cook almost identical food. While each country does have its unique foods and dishes that are known for it, we do share the vast majority of the food. Through the research I have done so far and through the years I have come to learn that sometimes each country will have a different name for the dish, yet the method is absolutely identical, and at times we may have the same exact names yet the application could not be more different. Then we have dishes that are named the same and cooked the same.. This can actually be very confusing to those who are foreign to Levantine cuisine and also it so happens to be confusing to people very familiar with their local cuisines, yet unfamiliar with the cuisines of their neighboring Levantine countries… On the other hand, so often I read on blogs and social media comments that dismiss a post or recipe as “this is not how it is done” or “this is not this food” where the comment is simply because there is lack of awareness about this. Therefore, I thought that this is actually a very interesting conversation to have and a chance to spread awareness about this area’s beautiful cuisine and it’s local variations. So for Ramadan this year I am inviting all of you to take part in this on your blogs, and social media and share with us your experiences and knowledge … so …
Let’s Talk Levantine Food…
#LevantineFood #Ramadan Special2019
From my side, I have come together with a friend and food photographer Omaya Hatassi who also blogs at this link. Omaya is Syrian, and myself being a Palestinian Jordanian I felt that we can start shedding light on this topic and encouraging you guys to join us. She will be sharing, on her blog, the Syrian version and I will be sharing the Palestinian and Jordanian versions of 5 of the most popular and loved Levantine dishes. We will be sharing a post on social media channels on Sunday to preview the blog posts that will be shared on Mondays. We are hoping that you would comment and share and use the hashtags #LevantineFood #RamadanSpecial2019 in your posts so we can re-share them too and so others can find them and know more about Levantine food.
As you can see in the video, Omaya and I have cooked the food together in my MOONEH kitchen and each time we have discussed the differences/similarities and variations. She took the beautiful pictures we will be sharing with you.
For the first post we have decided to go for the dish “Mloukhieh”, which is a stew of jute leaves. This dish is very popular in the Levant and Egypt as well. I have learnt from Omaya that in Syria it is always cooked whole: “leafy” and never finely chopped: “soupy”. She knew that Palestinian cuisines cooks “Mloukhieh” too, however she thought we only cooked the soupy version. I explained to her that we cook both versions and Palestinian cuisine includes both versions, however the soupy version is the most popular and widely preferred version. Some areas in Palestine cook only the soupy version, mostly in the villages, however in the cities the leafy version is the preferred one. Also in villages and in the city Nablus, a stir fry of garlic and chopped coriander in olive oil is also usually added to the dish right before serving. I do explore this fully in my book “Plated Heirlooms”. So do read about it if you have a copy, if not and you wish to do so then the book is available in my online store.
That said, I know that Jordanian cuisine also cooks both versions, exactly the same as we do in Palestinian cuisine, however I have never heard or seen a Jordanian home do the final garlic and coriander stir fry. For all of you Jordanian foodies, do shed light on this. I do know that Lebanon too cooks the leafy version, not sure if Lebanese cuisine cooks the soupy one at all, so if you are Lebanese or know Lebanese cuisine closely, do share with me what you know. Is the soupy version of Mloukhieh part of Lebanese cuisine? I also know that Egypt too cooks “Mloukhieh” and according to what I know in Egypt only the soupy version is cooked. Not sure how true or false this is, so Egyptian friends, do please share with me in comments if you know more.
I will leave you with that for now, I do look forward to reading your comments, do share with me anything you post about any of this or any #LevantineFood posts, I always love to learn more. And if you are wondering how to cook Mloukhieh then find my recipe on this link. Also don’t forget to check out Omaya’s Syrian recipe on her blog.
Ramadan Mubarak to all of you x
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