I don’t know what keeps me going back to Jerusalem. Everyone was right to give it as much acclaim as it got back in the eight years ago. I can’t put it down. I’ve been reading like a maniac. I think as much as I used to back when I was 14 and that was almost a borderline coping mechanism on dealing with change and just Delhi. After reading all sorts of cookbooks from, Molly Yeh, Tieghan Gerard, Allison Roman, Nigel Slater, David Chang, Ivan Ramen, Madhur Jaffery, I keep opening this copy over and over again.
At first I thought it was because of similar the Indian pantry is, we have the same spices, fats, nuts- almost everything that makes it so easy for me to cook at home. That might be the case, but I also have a pantry filled with baking equipment you don’t see me making all sorts of goodies from Tartine (not that I can ever master a single recipe from that book- it is honestly the greatest). It has pretty picture, yes I am all about pretty pictures. But so does every other book. I’m cooking from a foreign culture- but I’ve been doing that since I was a child. I like to think what makes this cookbook work is that its simple. It comes with a lot of historical, personal baggage of identity yet it gives you a sense of simple cooking and feeding a community. (Something I am trying to develop in my head- cooking is not just about me!) Tabouleh, pita, baba ganoush, kibbeh- all of these simple dishes when combined make enough to feed a table of eight.
I made a variation of this Open kibbeh. I cannot seem to stick straight to all of the recipes I’ve been trying to in all the cookbooks I’ve read. My mom was saying it was a form of biryani made of daliya- because I had marinated and cooked the chicken in your typical Mughalai Style. The authors mention that this is a non-traditional kibbeh, to be served with Tabbouleh or Fattoush but I also made a tahini dipping sauce and tzatziki.
Ingredients For the Crust:
400 grams fine Bulgur wheat (dailya)
500ml boiling hot water
1 teaspoon salt
80 grams all-purpose flour
¼ cup olive oil for brushing on top
Put bulgur in a bowl with salt.
Add in the boiling water
Cover the bowl. And let it sit for 30-40 minutes.
Once done, adjust the salt level and add all purpose flour. Mix well.
Ingredients For the Filling:
Marinate 250 grams Chicken:
250 grams chicken
3 tbsp yogurt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp salt
lemon juice of one lemon
Mix all of these things together and let it sit for 30 minutes to one hour. Overnight is actually the best but I have 0 patience.
For the chicken Filling:
4 tbsp refined oil
1 onion sliced
3-4 garlic cloves sliced
1/2 cup of fresh coriander
¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
2-3 tablespoons pine nuts or sliced almonds
Take a medium sized pan, pour in the oil and the sliced onions and garlic. In medium heat, stir it for 5 minutes till golden-ish. Add in the chicken. Put your flame to low and cover it. Let it cook for a good 10 minutes.
Check, and take another 5-10 minutes and check if it is ready. Add in the nuts
Once it is done, take it out and start shredding the chicken. Keep the bones if you like it, I think it ads more fun texture.
Preheat your oven at 180 degree Celsius.
Take half of the bulgur mixture and press it in a round cake tin around 3 inches deep
Spread the meat mixture on top of the bulgur. Add in the fresh coriander, parsley, mint. Lightly press it down.
Now take the remaining half of the bulgur mixture and put it on top. Lightly press it.
Brush the top with olive oil and season with some salt.
Scour the top in the shape of a diamond. Like in the photo.
Bake it in the centre rack of your oven for 30-40 minutes. You’ll know is done with the bulgur is a little hard and golden.
Serve with lemons, tahini dipping sauce and tzatziki.