Passports and Pickled Veggies
As someone with a personal passion for cooking and a professional background in the food and beverage space, food is always top-of-mind. Whether it’s traveling to an organic Zen Farm in NorCal for a few days of R&R, seeking out the best pho spot in Chicago or eating BBQ during a work trip to Nashville, I find the time to pursue my interest. I love the flavors, the colors, the smells, the process of cooking and the memories that great food creates. So of course, during my recent trip to Jordan, food was a priority. I love Middle Eastern cuisine! The use of incredible spices like sumac, cumin and cardamom, the colorful vegetables, zaatar and olive oil at breakfast, falafel, tea and coffee throughout the day (and night)… nom!
In Jordan, like many places of the world, mealtime is a time of celebration and togetherness. Everywhere I went, someone would feed me within minutes. I enjoyed Bedouin tea, grape leaves, Foul, Maqluba, Akoob, Freekeh, Fattoush and tons of other delicacies. The best part was that most meals are eaten mezze (small plates with a main larger course) allowing you to sample all of your favorites. Some traditional Jordanian dishes:
Magluba: A casserole made of layers of rice, vegetables and meat. After cooking, the pot is flipped upside-down onto the plate when served, hence the name maqluba which translates literally as "upside-down
Dawali: Grape leaves filled with herbed, minced vegetables, meat and rice cooked with olive oil. Foul maddamis: Crushed fava beans served with a variety of toppings such as olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, chili pepper, sumac and more.
Makdous: Stuffed pickled eggplant, said to increase appetite. Pickled vegetables: Carrots, radishes, cucumbers, cauliflower, and whatever other pickle-worthy vegetables might be around.
Fattoush: Chopped vegetable salad (e.g., tomatoes, cucumbers, radish, etc.) tossed with pieces of dry or fried flatbread and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice and sumac.
I returned to the states with fresh spices, Arabian coffee and new recipes to make in my own kitchen. I have yet to be able to replicate the deliciousness that I experienced in Jordan but I’m definitely still trying!
Nora Sarrawi Vice President