Courtesy of Jenna Kashou
I dedicate this to my Teta (Arabic for grandmother). The rattle from her stack of gold bracelets clanking together, the sweet aroma of onions caramelizing in olive oil, a flickering TV screen always on in the background showing a dramatic Arab soap opera—these are the sounds, smells and sights of my childhood. Azizeh Kashou (1929-2014) raised a family of five and cooked every day for nearly 75 years. Born in Ramallah, Palestine, she prepared traditional Arab fare, heavily laden with allspice and, as often as possible, with lamb. The recipe below is a Kashou family favorite. The Spanish have paella and the Arabs have makloubeh. This rice-based dish with vegetables can be also be made without the meat, but that would just be a mistake. The crowning moment in successfully preparing this recipe is the flip at the very end, so be sure you have a set of strong hands and a sturdy platter.
- 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 large tomatoes, sliced thin
- 1 medium sized eggplant (optional), peeled and sliced thin 4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 ½ lbs. lamb, cubed (shanks or stew meat)
- 1 large onion