One if the (many) nice touches that went into this month’s cookbook is an indication of what nations a recipe can be attributed to. Given her existing body of work, and not to mention her own roots, it is not surprising to see that Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian has a lot of recipes originating from India. That said, it’s also got a reasonable assortment of recipes from other areas, including a set of very compatible recipes of Palestinian origin.
Inspired by this collection, I set my culinary ducks in a row, invited some friends, and got set for some fun at the stove. Then we all got sick (proposed guests included), so my epic venture into the cuisine of Palestine was downgraded to a very well-stocked family meal.
The star of the table that night was definitely the Sliced Tomatoes in a Tomato Sauce (Bandora M’li). For something so simple, we were all (yes, even the infant) impressed by just how flavourful the dish was. I don’t think anyone would expect an tag team tomato and tomato dish could possibly be so… exotic.
The real shiner for me, though, was the rice and lentil dish (M’Jaddara). Like many white-washed North Americans such as my younger self, where culinary heritage is generally lost to the sands of time and plain old parboiled rice is considered a foreign treat, the concept of combining protein with starch in this manner never occurred to me. To be truthful, lentils as a food thing at all had only in the last few years been introduced into my pantry. The lentils were nutty, the rice sweet. Topped with oily crispy onion shards, the dish was (to my mind) revolutionary.
Sided with a simple salad of tomato, cucumber and parsley, the meal was both tasty and substantial. We actual mixed the lot up in a big container for lunches and it kept us in quick eats for a day or two. That is, until we used it as a stuffing for chickpea flour pancakes (Poora/Pudla, also from the same book). That delicious lunch pretty much spelled the end of what might have been a few days of cubical lunches, not that I’m complaining.
Mealplan fodder (MPF) is essentially a month-long focus on a single cookbook. I
will generally refer to the selected cookbook and only that cookbook as inspiration for the filling in of a month’s worth of meals. I always try to do a plan for at least a week’s worth of meals ahead of time. I find this to be a huge time-saver, and would highly recommend giving it a whirl.