Palestinian cookbooks help preserve a culture’s identity

The deep red of ground sumac brings to mind the ripest strawberry, though the spice’s flavor veers lemony and tart — like a floral vinegar distilled into powder.Its brightness defines sumaqqiyeh, a Palestinian stew with origins in Gaza City, where it’s often served at Eid al-Fitr celebrations. Beef or lamb simmers with chickpeas and chard. In addition to sumac, a core Gazan trinity of garlic, green chile and dill blazes through the pot; they’re added near the end of cooking so their flavors jump. Red tahini, a local specialty that gains its color by roasting the sesame seeds before grinding them, traditionally enriches the dish.Palestinian chef Sami Tamimi uses oxtails for the lush version of sumaqqiyeh in his new cookbook “Falastin.” The oxtails cook for four hours, until their meat all but flops off the bones. Cumin, cinnamon and baharat (a spice blend warmed by peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, allspice and nutmeg) infuse the tomato-laced broth. His recipe advises adding the greens at the finish line, heating them only until wilted, and suggests generous garnishes of sumac, chopped dill and sliced chiles. Sumaqqiyeh (oxtail stew with chard, sumac and tahini) Time 5 hours Yields Serves 4 generously Advertisement “I had in… Read full this story

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