Ahoy dear readers! I hope you’ve all been keeping well and that you will once again forgive my extended hiatus. The truth is, as of late(much like John Cage from Ally McBeal – great show) I find myself troubled. This morning, a dear friend of mine reminded that I may find some comfort and solace in cooking and/or blogging.
So I did just that. I came home and whipped up a delicious raw meal – marinated kale salad with miso sesame dressing accompanied by some zucchini pasta and raw marinara sauce with oodles of avocado and nooch. Something about the simplicity of preparing a raw meal uplifted me – it was almost an analogy for real life – a message telling me to stop overcomplicating things. Or maybe it was just a superior batch of marinara sauce. Either way, it worked.
So now on to part two – I come to you today with a recipe that I actually concocted accidentally one fateful afternoon during Ramadan. I was busy cooking up a storm for an order and put some quinoa on to simmer for my tabbouleh. 10 minutes turned into an hour and I returned to find my pre-soaked and sprouted quinoa horrifically overcooked – I was crushed as I sighed and looked around for a spatula to empty out the pot – when I had an epiphany. The texture of the quinoa was rather gummy and almost paste like – and the little “tails/strands” of the grains looked slightly reminiscent of chicken shreds. Normally, neither of these characteristics would be precursors to inspiring a dish in my books – but with the spirit of Ramadan all around me I had a brainwave and decided to try my hand at a traditional Bahraini/Khaleeji specialty called Mathrooba.
Typically served alongside Harees and other dishes during Ramadan, Mathrooba (or Madrooba) has the consistency of baby food and is mainly comprised of chicken, Jareesh (cracked wheat), onions, tomatoes and a plethora of spices and oil or ghee. That in mind, I set out to create a version that was just as rich in flavour and fragrance as the original, but infinitely more nutritious
- 1 cup of dry quinoa
- 1/2 cup red lentils
- 2.5 cups of organic vegetable stock (I use the Kallo brand – it’s delicious)
- 4 large tomatoes – roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2-3 large onions – roughly chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 a green chili (increase to 1 or 2 if you’re feeling spicier)
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 heaped tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp of organic coconut oil
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
(Since I made this accidentally, what I did was chuck everything in the pan and just let it cook down until I achieved the right consistency. But that hardly a recipe makes – so the next time I made it according to the instructions below. Full disclosure – both tasted the same so feel free to go the easy route.)
- In a pot add the quinoa and 2 cups of vegetable stock – bring to a boil then let simmer on low heat until cooked and fluffy.
- Sautee the onions, garlic, chilli in the coconut oil for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and spices and stir occasionally on medium heat until cooked down. Feel free to add a splash of water or stock if things dry up a little.
- Add the quinoa and lentils along with enough stock or water to roughly cover and let simmer on a low heat for another 15-20 minutes until everything is cooked through and the mixture starts to assume a paste-like texture.
- Adjust seasonings – I added a touch more cinnamon and curry powder along with salt and pepper to taste right at the end.
- Garnish with chopped tomatoes or grilled onions if desired, an a smidgen of olive oil to glisten.
I’ve said this before whenever I tackle traditional Khaleeji dishes – this is hardly an authentic representation since I’ve never made the “real” deal. That said, anyone who tried it gave it their seal of approval – including my skeptical father and some (local) guests we had over for Iftar who confirmed it tasted like a “lentil-y” mathrooba so I’m fairly confident I got the flavours down pat!
Personally – I loved it. I could not stop eating this stuff, seriously.The rich tomato flavours compliment the fragrant spices and the hint of chili is just perfect. The overcooked quinoa pairs well with red lentils that cook down into a a distinctively creamy texture. In short – my most succesful foray into Khaleeji vegan cuisine yet.
If you’re not up to trying the recipe just yet, I hope you’ll be inspired to create something out of a cooking mishap like I did – you may be pleasantly surprised with the results!
Until next time folks.