Mufarakat Ful, A Quick Mid-week Supper

When I posted a recipe of my take on the Syrian classic Mufaraket Batata, my friends Rania and Tammam ended up "hotly debating" what makes dish Mufarakeh. Rania objected to me using the name for my version. At the time I thought the dishes with the generic name "Mufarakeh" have very little in common.

This discussion remained in my mind ever since. After some soul searching and some extensive research (I gave my mum a call), I came to the conclusion that all these dishes are essentially the same thing. The only difference is the main ingredient. The other differences are simply variations of the recipe.

Rania, you were right!

Mufarakeh is a dish made with chopped onion, minced meat and the chopped main ingredient. Cooked in that order. The main variation is the addition of eggs towards the end. The only vegetarian version I know is Mufaraket Kousa (Courgettes Mufarakeh) although many people cook it with meat.

Mufaraket Ful (Broad Bean Mufarakeh) is a perfect quick dish for a late dinner after a long day at work. Hearty, healthy and quick to make.

Here is my Broad Bean Mufarakeh recipe:

Broad Beans 500g frozen or fresh
Minced lamb 200g
One large onion
Two eggs (optional)
Ghee clarified butter 1tbs

Broad beans could have tough skin that some people find off-putting. Feel free to peel them before using them. I usually buy frozen baby broad beans with lovely soft skin so I don't.These are available from Tesco's own brand.

Finely chop the onions and fry on a medium heat in the ghee butter. Once soft add the minced meat and cook. fully. Season with a generous amount of salt and pepper Add the frozen beans and very little water to help the cooking. Cover and cook from 10 to 15 minutes until the beans cooked the way you like them.

Uncover the pot and let most of the water evaporate on high heat. Break the two eggs and stir quickly to cook in a scrambled egg fashion.

Serve with Arabic flat bread and a nice salad or Greek style yoghurt on the side.

One Hundred and One Mezze: 26. Meat Borak

Borak, or as commonly known by the Turkish variation of the name Borek, is an umbrella term describing a huge variety of filled pastries eaten in all ex-Ottoman Empire countries. Serbia, Greece, Armenia, Turkey and The Levant have some version or another of the dish. The common feature of these pastries is a crispy flaky crust and a generous filling. Meat or cheese are by far the most common but potato, sausage, spinach or leeks can be used. Borak can be deep fried or oven baked after being brushed with oil or butter to give it some extra crispness.

In Syria the two main varieties, cheese and meat, are an integral part of the mezze spread. The taste, type of pastry and filling extras varies a lot from restaurant to restaurant.

Today's version is a combination of my mother's pastry recipe and my version of the meat filling. The pastry recipe is very simple and easy to work with. It is good for deep frying as it comes out nice and crispy. I haven't tried to bake it in the oven but feel free to do and let me knows how it goes.

For the filling I used traditional flavouring I really enjoy but again feel free to make changes as you fancy. Like most mezze dishes there is no right or wrong, just the way you like it!

Here is my Meat Borak recipe:
Flour 2 cups
Boiling water 3/4 cup
Vegetable oil 1/4 cup
Salt 1 tsp

For the filling:
Mince lamb 250g
Pomegranate molasses 1 tbsp
Pine nuts

Start by frying the meat in vegetable oil or Ghee butter. Season with salt, pepper and allspice. Once all the water evaporated, add the chopped nuts and the pomegranate molasses. Let the stuffing cool down while making the dough.

In a mixing bowl add all the dough ingredients and start mixing with a spoon. Be careful not to burn your fingers with the boiling water. Using hot water allows all the ingredients to come together surprisingly easy. Once mixed into a dough start working it with your hands. The dough is ready to work with almost immediately.

Roll the dough into a thin layer with a rolling pin. Fold and roll again. Repeat a couple of times to give the dough extra flakiness. The dough is quite oily and it doesn't usually need any extra sprinkling of flour or oil.

Once the dough is ready cut into circles. Spoon some of the meat mixture. Fold and seal the edge by making small firm folds.

Deep fry in hot vegetable oil and dry on kitchen towel.

Serve warm.

Best Egg Sandwich

I love egg sandwiches in every way shape or form. Mayo, cress, boiled, fried, red sauce, brown sauce... anything with eggs really. The one I love the most is a Syrian one I make. I borrowed a classic Syrian salad usually accompanies Kebab and I tweaked it a little. Add that to some soft boiled eggs and you have a great fresh tasting sandwich.

The word Kebab in Syria refer to the ground meat variety of kebab mixed with onions and parsley. Outside Syria this is more widely known with the Lebanese name "Kofta" or as the Lebanese pronounce it "Kafta". Back to Syria, this kebab is always served with an onion and parsley salad.

In my recipe I used tortilla wraps but it works equally well with other types of bread especially Arabic flat bread or the very thin Saj bread.

Here is my egg sandwich recipe:

Three eggs
Two tortilla wraps
One red onion
Olive oil

Thinly slice the red onion and chop the parsley. Add a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil. Your salad is ready.

Soft boil the eggs for 3 to 4 minutes. Cut into quarters and split between the tortilla wraps. season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the salad and wrap your sandwiches.