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Salata Khadra Mafruma (Basic Minced Green Salad)

Salata Khadra Mafruma (Basic Minced Green Salad)

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This bright and spicy twist on the basic Arabic salad of minced tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions gets its color from red cabbage and orange bell peppers, both of which grow in abundance in Gaza. Middle Eastern cucumbers are sometimes labelled as "Persian" or "Japanese," but any burpless variety will do. In Gaza, the dedication of the cook is revealed by how finely she chops her salad.


  • 3 firm tomatoes
  • 4 mini Middle Eastern cucumbers (1/2 peeled hothouse cucumber or other seedless variety may be substituted)
  • 1/2 bunch green onions, rough stems removed
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, seeds and veins removed
  • 1 Cup finely minced red cabbage
  • 5 red radishes, trimmed of roots
  • 1/2 Cup packed fresh mint, stems removed
  • 1/2 Cup packed parsley, thick stems removed
  • 3 green chile peppers, seeds and veins removed
  • Rind of 1 lemon, finely chopped or zested
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed well in a mortar and pestle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons high-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice from 2 lemons

A gorgeous gaza salad

It’s almost time for Eid al-Adha, the Islamic holiday that commemorates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son. It is surreal to think that the first Eid I really truly celebrated was in 2007, because it seems like a lot longer ago than that. Last year I spent the week of Eid in Palestine and filled an entire journal with stories. One of them was about a trip to Yaffa to witness a family reunion between the friend I was staying with and her aunt and uncle, whom she hadn’t seen for a decade while she’d been living in the US and they in Gaza.

For medical reasons the aunt & uncle had long traveled to Cairo for doctors’ appointments from time to time, but around this time last year they were headed to Tel Aviv for an appointment and had just enough of a window to meet us for lunch by the sea (the permit the Israeli government had granted them to leave Gaza required that they return within a matter of hours). Over mezze my friend asked her uncle casually how things were in Gaza. He deferred to his wife: kif ghaza? – how is Gaza, dear? Without missing a beat, she replied in a wry tone: a7san min masr – well, it’s better than Egypt, and we all laughed.

The fish we ate by the sea that day was delicious, but I was told that to get the really good stuff I had to go visit the family in Gaza. You simply won’t believe how good the seafood is there, they assured me.

I haven’t made it to Gaza yet and am still mildly surprised to find myself spending Eid this year in a very uncertain Egypt (not the original plan). But over the summer I did manage to get my hands on a copy of The Gaza Kitchen cookbook by Laila El-Haddad and Maggie Schmitt, and so this post features one of the most simple and beautiful of the book’s many excellent recipes: Salata Khadra Mafruma, or Minced Salad. It’s fresh and gorgeous on account of its ingredients, a perfect side to round out any meal and add a splash of color to the table – whether you’re adding vegetables to a meat-heavy Eid feast or just adding a bit of brightness to your dinner.

Salata Khadra Mafruma (Gazan Minced Salad)
Adapted from The Gaza Kitchen, by Laila El-Haddad and Maggie Schmitt

3 good tomatoes
(if you’re in an American supermarket, my rec is Romas)
4 small or 2 regular cucumbers
1 orange and 1 red bell pepper
3 scallions (if you don’t have any, try half a red onion)
1 cup red cabbage
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup chopped parsley
3 green chili peppers

1 garlic clove
Zest from one lemon

Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of two lemons

From here, it’s fairly straightforward: mince all of your herbs and veggies as finely as you can (probably not following my example, owing to my negligible knife skills and the fact that I was making this & taking photos while way behind schedule, catching up with neighbors, and working on this, this, and this too (was there a theme to this dinner? You decide). Fortunately if your ingredients are fresh it won’t matter too much, but yes, as the cookbook authors put it, “the dedication of the cook is revealed by how finely she chops her salad.”

Next, you’ll mince the garlic and lemon zest together (if you don’t have a mortar & pestle see some ideas for improvising here). Just before serving, dress with the oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper, adjusting to make sure it’s not dripping but well-covered, not too oily and with plenty of lemon for bite.

Recipe Summary

  • 4 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
  • ⅔ cup white sugar
  • 2 ½ tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • ¼ cup grated carrot (Optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pimento peppers (Optional)

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni, and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Rinse under cold water and drain.

In a large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper. Stir in the onion, celery, green pepper, carrot, pimentos and macaroni. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving, but preferably overnight.

Qidra spices (Ibharat qidar)

From The Gaza Kitchen: A Palestinian Culinary Journey The Gaza Kitchen by Laila El-Haddad and Maggie Schmitt

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  • Categories: Spice / herb blends & rubs Middle Eastern
  • Ingredients: nutmeg ground cayenne pepper ground cinnamon ground cardamom ground cloves dried lemon peel ground allspice garlic powder turmeric black peppercorns

The Best Green Salad in the World

For the last three years, I’ve been obsessed with a green salad.

Allow me to explain exactly how out of character this is: very! I love pasta, buttery garlic bread and deeply caramelized roasted vegetables. I love roast chicken, juicy summer tomatoes and carrot cake slathered with tangy cream-cheese frosting. I love bitter broccoli rabe tossed with Calabrian chiles and hidden under a mountain of snowy shaved Parmesan. I do not, however, typically feel deeply passionate about green salad. Sure, I eat it dutifully when it’s on the table — mostly so I can enjoy a brief sense of smug appreciation of my own virtue — but obsession is not my natural response to roughage.

Yet every time I’m in New York, I visit Via Carota, the charming West Village restaurant run by the partners Jody Williams and Rita Sodi — sometimes twice in a single day — just to order the insalata verde. For three years I’ve been eating this salad, and bite by bite, trying to decipher what makes it so unbelievably, mouth-smackingly perfect. The menu description gives little away: “leafy greens in sherry vinaigrette.” A visual inspection of the dish reveals only leaves of endive, butter lettuce, frisée and watercress all piled as high as gravity will allow, topped by a drizzle of dressing studded generously with shallots and mustard seeds. About a year into my obsession, an equally bedeviled friend suggested that there might be sugar in the vinaigrette. Thinking of the Mexican cook I’d met who sneaks a little Knorr seasoning into every salsa and salad dressing, I wondered: Maybe there was a tiny, secret pinch of MSG too? What else, besides such concessions to the dark arts, could make a green salad so appealing?

And then it occurred to me that I could just ask. I wrote to Williams, prepared to beg for the recipe, but she replied swiftly with a tidy typed copy of it. Quickly scanning the ingredient list, I was surprised: No sugar or MSG was included, but curiously, a tablespoon of warm water was, along with the option to add a little bit of honey. I briefly wondered if Williams had sent me a grandma-style recipe, with the real secret ingredient sneakily omitted.

It wasn’t until I stepped into the kitchen to test the recipe that I realized that all the secrets of this otherworldly salad lay in the graceful, unlikely application of a flavorless one: water — and not just that tablespoon.

First, washing the lettuces. As a student of Alice Waters, the patron saint of salad, I’m no stranger to the art of lettuce washing. Yet even I found the details in Williams’s instructions somewhat neurotic. In a recipe with just four steps, the longest and most precise one carefully details how to wash each of the five varieties of lettuce in three different temperatures of water. When, somewhat suspiciously, I asked Williams about her method, she responded: “We want a super happy salad. That’s why we’re so particular about cleaning each leaf of lettuce. Every piece has to be perfect — there can’t be any brown ends.”

With blue eyes glinting through her aviator eyeglasses, she explained that all the different varieties of greens are necessary for color, flavor and texture. “It goes from pale endive to watercress, which is important because it’s peppery,” she said. She loves the butter lettuce and heart of romaine for leafiness and crunch, but carefully limits the amount of frisée she uses. “I don’t want the mix to have too much frisée — eating it is like mowing my lawn! It doesn’t feel good — it gets caught in the throat!”

Water reappears in the next step, when Williams quickly rinses her minced shallots before assembling the vinaigrette. For the past 19 years, I’ve started nearly every salad dressing by dicing or mincing shallots and then bathing them in citrus juice or vinegar for 15 minutes or more. This steeping, or maceration, tames the shallot’s raw allium fire and turns each bit into a little, savory acid bomb that punctuates each bite of salad. Williams forgoes a long maceration in favor of a shock in cold water, which keeps the shallots shalloty and savory and prevents them from becoming too acidic, which could overwhelm the delicate lettuces.


Finally, and perhaps most surprising, Williams adds a spoonful of warm water to the vinaigrette. “We add warm water to make it more palatable,” she explained. “Pure vinegar is just too strong — it assaults the taste buds. We want a salad dressing so savory and delicious that you can eat spoonfuls of it. We want you to be able to drink it!” As a cook, I always push for the most intense flavors, so I’ve always thought of water as the enemy of vinaigrette — why would I want to dilute flavor? And yet, Williams is right I do want to drink this dressing! It’s the only vinaigrette I make anymore, and I pour it liberally over everything from boiled asparagus to farro salad to steak and fish and roast chicken. I’m this close to pouring it into a glass and topping it off with sparkling water.

To serve the salad, Williams breaks yet another rule I was taught: She drizzles rather than dresses it. She piles layers of salad into the serving bowl, then spoons vinaigrette over each one, yielding pockets of drinkable dressing and some completely undressed leaves. “You have to spoon vigorously to get all of the chunky stuff — there are a lot of shallots in there,” she described. “I can be in the kitchen with my back turned, and I’ll know someone’s making that salad, because I can hear it: tak tak tak, tch tch tch,” she said, making a stirring gesture with her hand as she mimicked the sounds of whisking and ladling.

I asked her whether it was my imagination or if the salad has grown in size over the years. “No” she responded with a coy smile, “it just gets bigger and bigger — it’s what we want to eat, too.”

“Famous” Italian Chopped Salad


  • 3 cups romaine lettuce chopped
  • 3 cups iceberg lettuce chopped
  • 1 15 oz can of garbanzo beans drained and rinsed well
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes diced
  • 1/2 cup cucumber diced
  • 1/2 cup low moisture mozzarella cheese diced
  • 1/3 cup salami chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper
  • Lemon juice to serve


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic minced or crushed
  • Pinch of dried oregano salt & pepper


Recipe Notes

Great with grilled chicken on top!


Hi, I'm Carissa Stanton aka @broccyourbody. I run my food blog full time out of Los Angeles, CA.

My goal is to be your one stop shop for all the healthy recipes you’ll need from healthified Taco Bell menu items to brownie batter protein bites. Can't wait for you to explore and find your new favorite recipe!


A combination of vegetables and herbs makes the best Mediterranean style salad:

  • Cucumber: When it comes to making salads, I love using mini or Persian cucumbers because they are crisper and their seeds are smaller therefore there is no need to scoop them out.
  • Tomatoes: Any kind of tomato would work for this easy everyday Mediterranean salad, I usually use roma tomatoes because they are firm and easy to slice.
  • Red onion: I love adding red onion to salads, it adds flavor and a nice kick to the salad.
  • Kalamata olives: Chopped olives are so good in salads. Make sure the olives are pitted. You can slice them or add them whole.
  • Artichokes: To make a salad with artichokes, it's best to use marinated artichokes because they add so much flavor to the salad and you can even add some of the marinade to the dressing for more flavor.
  • Herbs: I love using parsley but you can also use cilantro, mint or green onions.

Always make sure that all your vegetables are fresh and clean. Please wash all the greens and vegetables with water thoroughly and dry them completely before cutting them.

To make the best Mediterranean salad dressing you need the following ingredients:

  • Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil works best for this recipe.
  • Lemon: Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds so much brightness to the dish.
  • Garlic: It's best to mince your own garlic for this recipe and avoid packaged minced garlic.
  • Sumac: If you've never tried sumac, now is the time. It's tangy and so delicious.
  • Salt and pepper

FALASTIN is a love letter to Palestine, the land and its people an evocative collection of over 110 unforgettable recipes and stories from the co-authors of Jerusalem and Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, and Ottolenghi SIMPLE.

Travelling through Bethlehem, East Jerusalem, Nablus, Jenin, Haifa, Akka, Nazareth, Galilee and the West Bank, Sami and Tara invite you to experience and enjoy unparalleled access to Sami's homeland. As each region has its own distinct identity and tale to tell, there are endless new flavour combinations to discover.

The food is the perfect mix of traditional and contemporary, with recipes that have been handed down through the generations and reworked for a modern home kitchen, alongside dishes that have been inspired by Sami and Tara's collaborations with producers and farmers throughout Palestine. With stunning food and travel photography plus stories from unheard Palestinian voices, this innovative cookbook will transport you to this rich and complex land.

So get ready to laden your table with the most delicious of foods – from abundant salads, soups and wholesome grains to fluffy breads, easy one-pot dishes and perfumed sweet treats – here are simple feasts to be shared and everyday meals to be enjoyed. These are stunning Palestinian-inspired dishes that you will want to cook, eat, fall in love with and make your own.

Watch the video: Τελεια σαλατα - Φτιάξε την πιο τέλεια πράσινη σαλάτα (July 2022).


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