Sunday, March 3, 2024

Recipe: Sumaqiyya, classical Gazan dish

Sumaqiyya is a classic dish hailing from Gaza City and is a popular single-bowl dish alongside Rumaniyya and Fogaiyya. This dish is traditionally prepared in large batches during the occasion of Eid ul Fitr and is served with Arabic bread and pickles.

Sumaqiyya gets its name from its main ingredient, sumac, which is known for its tart and tangy flavor. This spice is derived from the flowering sumac plant and is commonly used in dishes, dyes, and medicines in subtropical and temperate regions.

One of the oldest Gazan meals, Sumaqiyya was even mentioned in the 1225 cookbook of traveller and compiler Muhammad bin Hasan al Baghdadi. The original manuscript of his book is preserved at the Süleymaniye Library in Istanbul, Türkiye.

Savor the luxury of Sumaqiyya, as it can be a costly affair due to its high-quality ingredients.


1 kg lamb shoulder and/or veal shoulder, cut into 1/2-in / 1-cm cubes 

2 onions, finely chopped

½ cup / 120ml olive oil

1 tablespoon ground coriander seeds

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 cups chickpeas, soaked overnight, cooked until soft, and drained 

3 bundles chard leaves without the stems, thinly sliced

50 grams freshly ground sumac

2 tablespoons Ein Jarada (dill seeds)

1 garlic head, separated into cloves and peeled 

1 hot green chili pepper, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup / 140 grams flour

½ cup raw tahini

To serve:

Chopped parsley

Olive oil


  1. Place a pot over a high heat, add the diced meat, onion, olive oil and ½ cup water and bring to a boil. Skim any froth that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat and cook until all the water evaporates and the meat is lightly browned. Add 1 liter / 1 qt of water, cover and cook until the meat softens, about 1 hour.
  2. Add the coriander seeds, black pepper, allspice, cumin and chickpeas, reduce to a low heat and stir for 1 minute. Set aside 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
  3. Add the chard leaves and stir for 2 minutes, until wilted.
  4. In a separate bowl, pour 3 cups / 720ml boiling water over the sumac and stir for 1 minute. Using a cheesecloth, strain the liquids and add to the stew.
  5. Using a pestle and mortar, mince the dill seeds, peeled garlic cloves, hot chili pepper and 1 teaspoon of salt, to a paste. Add to the stew and mix well.
  6. Beat the flour with the reserved cooking liquid in a bowl to a smooth mixture. Add the mixture into the stew, increase to a medium heat and cook while continuously stirring until the stew thickens. Stir in the raw tahini, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  7. Divide the hot stew into plates, sprinkle the chopped parsley, drizzle a little olive oil and serve.

Recipe prepared by Rawhiyah Eltayeb. Read original here.


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