The Goods

Recipe: Shahir's Maldoum

Shahir was so inspired by his trip to Newcomer Kitchen, that he decided to put a spin on this Syrian dish.

Shahir was so inspired by his trip to Newcomer Kitchen, that he decided to put a spin on this Syrian dish

This recipe was originally published October 16, 2017.

Inspired by his trip to Newcomer Kitchen, Shahir has created his version of a Syrian dish from Aleppo, Maldoum. With deliciously seasoned ground meat, lots of veggies and a homemade yogurt sauce, this dish is the perfect meal to make in your cast iron pan tonight!

Shahir Massoud's Maldoum

Shahir recently visited Newcomer Kitchen, a nonprofit organization that invites Syrian women refugees to cook a weekly meal in the kitchen of Toronto-based restaurant, The Depanneur. This restaurant opened its doors in March 2016 to a small group of to newly-arrived Syrian refugees and gave them a place to cook. This gesture of hospitality has evolved to become a popular takeout option every week. Word spread about their amazing cooking and people in the community wanted to buy the authentic Syrian food for themselves.

As of today, Newcomer Kitchen has sold over 5000 meals. Things are a bit more structured now and once a week a small group of women get together to make fifty meals. These meals are purchased online and delivered or picked up by the public, with all money going back to the cooks to help support their families.

Shahir was welcomed into their kitchen to help out as a guest chef when the women were preparing meals. He learned how this kitchen is bringing these women together and giving them a space to cook and have fun.

He was so inspired by his trip to Newcomer Kitchen, that he decided to put a spin on the Maldoum dish. Here's how to make it at home:

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground paprika
  • 1 tsp ground sumac
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 tsp black pepper, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, grated
  • 1 lb ground beef or lamb
  • 1 cup passata or tomato sauce
  • 2 Japanese eggplants
  • 2 green zucchini
  • 2 yellow zucchini
  • 5 vine tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup olive oil + some for greasing and drizzling
  • Extra salt to season

Lentils and bulgur:

  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 1 cup bulgur
  • ¼ cup onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1 tbsp chopped mint
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Yogurt sauce:

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ English cucumber, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, rasped
  • Handful of mint, chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon

Preparation

For Maldoum:

Mix all spices together, reserving half. Add ground meat to a large bowl along with half of spice mixture, grated onion and minced garlic. Press into the bottom of a greased, well seasoned 10 inch cast iron pan. Pour in tomato sauce and spread to the edges. Set aside and prep your veggies. 

Slice your eggplants, zucchini and tomatoes into 1 inch rounds. Add to a large bowl, toss with the other half of your spice mixture and 1/3 cup olive oil. Starting in the centre of your cast iron pan, press your veggies upright on top of the meat mixture to form concentric circles. Be sure to squish them nice and tightly together to use up all the veggies. Finish with an extra drizzle of olive oil, season with a generous sprinkle of salt and bake at 400F for 1 hour - 1 hour 15 minutes. Veggies should be tender and meat cooked through.

For lentils and bulgur:

Place lentils in a pot with 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Over high heat, bring to a boil, then lower heat and cook until tender. Drain and set aside to cool.

Combine 1 cup of bulgur with 2 cups of water in a medium sauce pan. Bring to boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain if necessary. Set aside to cool.

Mix together bulgur and lentils, add olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, herbs and toss to mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For yogurt sauce:

For the yogurt sauce, grate your cucumber and squeeze out the water, either with cheesecloth or just between your hands. Add to a medium bowl with remaining ingredients, mix. Sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Serve Maldoum sliced or scooped with a side of bulgur and lentils and a dollop of yogurt sauce, enjoy.

Servings: Makes 4 servings

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