Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mharrat Bandoora wa Koosa

A recipe from a friend in the West Bank. It's been forever since I've made it, but I remember it being relatively simple and very good.

3-4 lbs. fresh tomatoes (peeled*) or equivalent amount in canned, peeled tomatoes
3-4 tsp. Arabic spices
4-5 tsp. salt
2-3 tsp. pepper
2 lbs. green squash (may substitute yellow squash)
2 lbs. potatoes
1-2 large onions
6-8 cups cooked rice** (optional, if using recipe as vegetable side dish)
6-8 chicken pieces, cooked and de-boned (omit, if using recipe as vegetable side dish)

1. Chop the peeled tomatoes and place in a large pot (at least three or four quarts in size).
2. Cover with about one inch of water.
3. Add Arabic spices, salt, and pepper. Stir. Cover.
4. Bring mixture to a boil and continue boiling while preparing remaining vegetables (thirty to forty-five minutes), stirring occasionally.
5. Remove tops and bottoms of squash and discard. Slice squash into 1/4-inch circles, and slice each circle in half.
6. Chop potatoes into 1/2-inch pieces.
7. Chop onions into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces.
8. Add squash, potatoes, and onions to tomato mixture. Stir.
9. Bring back to boil, covered.
10. Continue to boil forty-five minutes to one hour, stirring occasionally.
11. Uncover as needed to allow excess water to boil off, depending on desired consistency.
12. If serving as main dish, add cooked chicken pieces and allow mixture to re-heat.
13. Serve over rice.

* To peel tomatoes most easily: after washing, bring a couple of inches of water to a boil in a pan on the stovetop. Prepare a several inches of water with a tray or two of ice cubes in a separate pan or bowl. Spear each tomato with a fork or hold with tongs and dip it into the boiling water for several seconds and then place it in the ice water. From experience, I have found that leaving the tomatoes in the ice water for a minute or two makes them most easy to peel. Alternately, you can boil the tomato pieces with the skins on and skim as many skins as you can from the top.

** If serving recipe as main dish, cooking the rice in the water in which the chicken was cooked adds to the overall flavor.

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