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Fogaiyya (Stew from Gaza City)

Serves: 6


450 g lean stewing beef (1lb) or 450 g lamb, trimmed of fat cut into small chunks (1lb)
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
5 allspice berries
4 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
1 bay leaf
2 pebbles mastic
1 small piece of cracked whole nutmeg (or to taste, it has intoxicant properties so it is not halal)
8 cups cold water
1/2 cup medium grain rice, rinsed
2 teaspoons salt, divided
1 (14 ounce) can chickpeas (or 1/2 cup dried chickpeas, soaked 8-12 hours or overnight)
1 bunch chard leaves, thick stems removed (approx. 8-1/2 c.)
5 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed


1. Wash chard well, chop finely and set aside.

2. Place meat and water in a stockpot and bring to a boil, skimming any froth.

3. Lower heat to medium.

4. Tie spices in a piece of gauze or disposable tea filter and add with onions. Cover and let simmer on medium-low heat for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until meat is tender.

5. Stir in rice, 1-1/2 teaspoons of the salt and canned chickpeas. (If using dried chickpeas, add them to the meat halfway through cooking.) Cook until rice is soft, approximately 10 minutes.

6. Add chard by handfuls, stirring after each addition. Decrease heat to low.

7. Meanwhile, in a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic and remaining 1/2 teaspoons salt.

8. Fry the garlic in olive oil until lightly browned.

9. Add to stew and mix well.

10. Just before serving, stir in lemon juice.

11. Pour into bowls, garnish with thinly sliced lemon wedges, and serve with flatbread.

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