There are protests going on all over Syria right now. As we all watch and pray for peace, I wanted to share some pictures from our recent trip to show you all how beautiful the country is, and how delicious the food is. Today, a dinner we had at Ameir’s Amto Shukriya’s house.
Amto Shukriya invited us to an incredibly delicious dinner at her home in Damascus. It was almost entirely made of stuffed things – which, as you can imagine, takes hours of skill and patience to do.
Malfouf – cabbage leaves stuffed with rice and ground beef. They’re braised in a broth flavored with lamb or beef bones, garlic, onions, and lemon. The garlic cloves are left whole so they braise with the stuffed cabbage and turn out soft and sweet. The lemon makes the broth slightly tart, but is balanced out by the smoothness of the beef broth. This is actually one of my favorite Arab dishes of all time. Look at the beautiful tomato rose Amto Shukriya made for the middle!
Mah’shi – vegetables stuffed with the same rice and ground beef mixture. In this case, Amto has made a kousa mah’shi (stuffed zucchini) and baitinjaan mah’shi (stuffed eggplant). Mah’shi is braised in a tomato broth.
The cooking broths are served alongside the Makdous and Mah’shi so they can be poured over the rice.
This is called Balti – Amto Shukriya says it comes from the Gulf Arab countries, but I think it has Persian and/or Indian-Pakistani roots. The chicken is roasted in curry-flavored spices. It is served on top of curried pilau flavored with nuts and raisins – a classic Persian technique.
As you can imagine, we overate until we were as stuffed as the kousa.