‘A love letter home’ – recipes and stories of the Palestinian table (2024)

Sami Tamimi was 17 when he moved out of his family home in East Jerusalem’s Old City. He was gay and he knew his Muslim father especially would struggle to accept that. “I was an angry kid,” recalls Tamimi, who is now 52, at one of his restaurants, Rovi in central London. “Because of the whole sexuality thing, I couldn’t talk about it to anybody. But I come from a different place now. I had a lot to prove. And I did it. I’m not angry now. The opposite.”

Tamimi worked in West Jerusalem and Tel Aviv before moving to London in 1997 where he was head chef at the deli Baker & Spice. Here he met Yotam Ottolenghi, an Israeli who also grew up in Jerusalem. Ottolenghi left in 2001 to start his own place, and Tamimi joined not long after; they have been business partners ever since.

It was while they were putting together recipes for their 2012 bestseller Jerusalem that Tamimi began to appreciate how his Palestinian roots influenced his food. But he remained estranged from his family. “I lost contact for almost 17 years,” he says, with a wistful shake of his head.

“Time flies when you’re chopping an onion,” adds Tara Wigley, one of the “Ottolenghi family” for a decade, who shares the writing with Tamimi on a new cookbook, Falastin.

Falastin – there’s no “p” in Arabic – is, Wigley says, “Sami’s love letter home”. Tamimi calls it simply: “The book I always wanted to write.” He goes on, “It’s the food I always go back to; it’s my mother’s kind of cooking. The legacy of Ottolenghi started with these flavours.”

What is Palestinian food? The answer is complicated. In Gaza, it is dominated by fish and spices; in the West Bank, it is meats, flatbread and fermented yogurt. Tahini, za’atar and shatta, a condiment made from red or green chillies, are ubiquitous. “People are ready to zoom in, rather than just call it Middle Eastern food,” says Wigley, who worked alongside Ottolenghi on Plenty More and Simple. “No one needs to know from us how to make tabbouleh traditionally, so we’ve got three new tabboulehs. But we also have chicken musakhan, sumac onions and the “upside down” maqluba dish.”

“Palestinian food is very earthy, it’s not pretty to look at,” Tamimi chips in. “There’s a lot of beige and brown. We had a few arguments before we decided: ‘OK, we’re gonna have to zhuzh it up a bit.’”

Both Wigley and Tamimi spent time with Palestinian chefs and home cooks. For Wigley, it was an opportunity to tell the stories of individuals in Falastin. For Tamimi, it was a chance to reconnect with his huge family. “Every day, they’ll invite you for breakfast and you go home at midnight,” he laughs. “They’re competing to cook the best meal for me. We don’t ever say, ‘I love you,’ but you show it in different ways.”

Hummus two ways – kofta & aubergine

‘A love letter home’ – recipes and stories of the Palestinian table (1)

Hummus should, ideally, be served freshly made and still warm. If you do want to make it in advance, though, that’s fine: just store it in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days. If the hummus develops a bit of a skin then just give it a stir before serving. The most important thing if storing in the fridge, is to bring it back to room temperature before serving, to warm and loosen up.

The meatballs can be made, rolled and kept in the fridge for a day before serving, all ready to fry. If doing this, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, but don’t pack them too tightly: you want them to keep their round shape. They also freeze well, for up to a month. If you fry them from frozen they will need a couple more minutes in the oven to warm through.

Serves 6
For the hummus
dried chickpeas 250g, soaked overnight in double their volume of water
bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp
tahini 270g
lemon juice 60ml
garlic 4 cloves, crushed
ice-cold water 100ml

For kofta hummus
beef or veal mince (or a mixture of both) 500g
onion 1 small, peeled and coarsely grated
tomato 1 large, coarsely grated and skin discarded (65g)
parsley 20g, finely chopped
red chilli 1, deseeded and finely chopped
olive oil about 45ml, to fry
salt and black pepper

For the kofta hummus topping
olive oil 1 tbsp
pine nuts 25g
parsley 5g, roughly chopped
Aleppo chilli flakes ½ tsp (or ¼ tsp regular chilli flakes)
mint leaves a few (optional)

For aubergine hummus
aubergines 2 large, cut into roughly 2cm cubes (500g)
sunflower oil about 300ml, to fry
walnut halves 160g, roughly chopped
parsley leaves 10g, roughly chopped
mint leaves 10g, roughly chopped
lemon juice 2 tbsp
olive oil 2 tbsp
Aleppo chilli flakes ½ tsp

To make the hummus, drain the chickpeas and place them in a medium saucepan on a high heat. Add the bicarbonate of soda and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 1½ litres of water and bring to the boil. Cook for about 30 minutes – timing can vary from 20 to 40 minutes depending on the freshness of the chickpeas – skimming off any foam that appears. The chickpeas are ready when they collapse easily when pressed between thumb and finger: almost but not quite mushy.

Drain the chickpeas and transfer them to a food processor. Process to form a stiff paste and then, with the machine still running, add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and 1½ teaspoons of salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the iced water and continue to process for another 5 minutes: this will feel like a long time but it is what is needed to get a very smooth and creamy paste. Transfer to a bowl and set aside at room temperature, until needed. If you are making it in advance then transfer to a sealed container and keep in the fridge. Remove it half an hour before serving, to bring it back to room temperature, and give it a good stir if a “skin” has formed.

To make the kofta hummus: Place all the ingredients for the meatballs, apart from the olive oil, in a medium bowl with 1 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Using your hands, mix well to combine. With wet hands, roll the mixture into roughly 3cm balls (weighing about 15g each): you should make about 45 balls.

To make the topping, put the tablespoon of oil into a large frying pan and place on a medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook for a minute, stirring constantly, until they are golden brown. Spoon the nuts, along with the oil from the pan, into a little bowl and set aside.

Add a tablespoon of the oil for frying the kofta to the same pan and place on a medium heat. Add a third of the meatballs – or as many as you can fit into the pan without overcrowding – and cook for about 3 minutes, turning throughout so that all sides take on colour and the balls are just cooked through. Keep them somewhere warm while you continue with the remaining balls, adding another tablespoon of oil with each batch.

When ready to serve, spoon the hummus into individual shallow bowls, creating a slight hollow in the centre of each. Divide the meatballs between the bowls, placing them in the middle of the hummus, and spoon over the pine nuts and their cooking oil. Sprinkle over the parsley, chilli and mint, if using, and serve with a final drizzle of olive oil.

To make the aubergine hummus: Place the aubergines in a colander placed over a bowl or in the sink and sprinkle over 1 teaspoon of salt. Use your hands to mix well, then set aside for about 45 minutes: this is so that the bitter juices can be released. Transfer the aubergines to a tray lined with kitchen paper and pat dry as best you can.

Put the sunflower oil into a medium frying pan and place on a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the aubergines – in two or three batches so as to not overcrowd the pan – and fry for about 8 minutes, until completely softened and golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the aubergines to another tray lined with kitchen paper (or the same tray lined with fresh kitchen paper) and set aside, for the excess oil to be absorbed, while you continue with the remaining batches. Transfer the aubergines to a bowl, add the walnuts, parsley, mint, lemon, olive oil and Aleppo chilli and mix well to combine.

When ready to serve, spoon the hummus into individual serving bowls, creating a small well in the middle of each portion. Spoon in the aubergine and serve at once.

Serve the hummus with warm pita for scooping, along with a chopped salad to lighten things up.

Shatta (red or green)

‘A love letter home’ – recipes and stories of the Palestinian table (2)

This fiery condiment is as easy to make as it is to become addicted to. Shatta is there on every Palestinian table, cutting through rich foods or pepping up others. Eggs, fish, meat, vegetables: they all love it. Our recommendation is to keep a jar in your fridge or cupboard at all times.

Once made, shatta will keep in the fridge for up to 6 months. The oil will firm up and separate from the chillies once it’s in the fridge, so just give it a good stir, for everything to combine, before using.

As with anything being left to ferment, the jar you put your chillies into needs to be properly sterilised. There are various ways to do this. A water bath (where the jars go into the water, with their lids added separately, the water is brought to the boil and then the jars are “cooked” for 10 minutes), or filing them with just-boiled water and then rinsing and drying them with a clean tea-towel. We tend to just put them into the dishwasher and run it as a normal wash: it works very well.

Makes 1 medium jar
red or green chillies 250g, stems trimmed and then very thinly sliced (with seeds)
salt 1 tbsp
cider vinegar 3 tbsp
lemon juice 1 tbsp
olive oil to cover and seal

Place the chillies and salt in a medium sterilised jar and mix well. Seal the jar and store in the fridge for 3 days. On the third day, drain the chillies, transfer them to a food processor and blitz: you can either blitz well to form a fine paste or roughly blitz so that some texture remains. Add the vinegar and lemon juice, mix to combine, then return the mixture to the same jar. Pour enough olive oil on top to seal, and keep in the fridge.

Baby gem lettuce with burnt aubergine yogurt, smacked cucumber & shatta

‘A love letter home’ – recipes and stories of the Palestinian table (3)

This works well either as a stand-alone starter or as part of a spread or side. It’s lovely with some hot smoked salmon or trout. Thanks to Ottolenghi chef Calvin Von Niebel for this salad. The shatta needs to be made in advance.

Some crumbled feta on top works very well, and if you don’t have the urfa chilli flakes, just use a pinch of black nigella seeds or some black sesame seeds.

Serves 4 generously
baby gem lettuces 5-6 (500g), bases trimmed
salt and black pepper
red or green shatta 1½ tbsp (see recipe above), or rose harissa, as an alternative
urfa chilli flakes ½ tsp (or a small pinch of nigella seeds or black sesame seeds)

For the aubergine yogurt
aubergines 2 large (500g)
Greek-style yogurt 35g
garlic ½ clove, roughly chopped
lemon juice 1½ tbsp
tahini 1½ tbsp (25g)

For the smacked cucumber
cucumber 1 regular English (ie not a small Lebanese), peeled, sliced in half lengthways and watery seeds removed (180g)
parsley 25g, roughly chopped
mint leaves 25g, roughly chopped
garlic ½ clove, roughly chopped
olive oil 50ml

The more you char your aubergines, the smokier the flesh. Unless you don’t mind your whole house smelling of aubergines, ventilation is key. We char our aubergines in one of two ways. The first, if you have a gas cooker, is to put one aubergine over each gas ring, switch the flame on high and leave it there for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway with long tongs so that all sides get charred. Any mess can be minimised if in the first place if you cover your stove top with tin foil. Make holes in the foil for the gas rings to pop through, then proceed.

If you have an induction hob, heat up a chargrill pan until very hot – sit it on a high heat for at least 5 minutes, until it is smoking. Pierce the aubergines a few times with a sharp knife then add them to the pan. This method takes longer than the open flame – around 35-40 minutes, again turning throughout with tongs so that all sides get charred – but will get the same result. At the end of the 40 minutes, transfer the aubergine to a foil-lined tray and place under a hot grill for 10 minutes.

Once charred, place the aubergines in a colander. When cool enough to handle, slit them open to scoop out the flesh and place in a clean colander. Set aside for an hour or so (or overnight) over a bowl to drain.

The scooped-out flesh should weigh about 160g. Place this in the bowl of a food processor along with the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, tahini and ½ a teaspoon of salt. Blitz for about a minute, until completely smooth, then set aside until needed.

Prepare the cucumber by placing each half on a chopping board, cut side facing down. Using the flat side of a large knife, lightly smack them until bruised but still holding their shape. Cut the cucumber into roughly 1cm dice and set aside in a dish.

Clean the food processor, then add the parsley, mint, garlic, olive oil and ¼ a teaspoon of salt. Blitz for about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides a couple of times if you need to, to form a smooth paste, then add to the cucumber. Set aside for at least 20 minutes (and up to a day in advance if kept in the fridge) for the flavours to infuse.

Slice each head of baby gem lengthways to make 8 long thin wedges (per lettuce). When ready to assemble, arrange the lettuce on a round platter, overlapping the outer and inner circle to look like the petals of a flower. Lightly sprinkle the wedges with salt and a grind of black pepper, then splatter over the aubergine yogurt. Spoon over the cucumber, drizzle with the shatta, sprinkle over the chilli flakes and serve.

Prawn & tomato stew with coriander pesto

Serve this as it is, with some crusty white bread to mop up the juices, or dot some cubes of white feta or black olives (or both) on top. A crisp green salad with a lemony dressing on the side and you’re all set.

Batch-make the base for the stew here, if you like: this freezes well and keeps in the fridge for a good few days. That way you can just char your cherry tomatoes and pan-fry the prawns in minutes. The coriander pesto can also be made up to 3 days in advance and kept in the fridge.

Serves 4
cherry tomatoes 250g
olive oil 60ml
onion 1 large, finely chopped (180g)
garlic 4 cloves, crushed
ginger 2cm piece, peeled and finely grated (15g)
green chilli 1, finely chopped
coriander seeds 2 tsp, lightly crushed in a pestle and mortar
cumin seeds 1½ tsp, lightly crushed in a pestle and mortar
cardamom pods 8, lightly bashed in a pestle and mortar
dill 20g, finely chopped
tomato puree 2 tsp
plum tomatoes 6, roughly chopped (500g)
salt and black pepper
raw king prawns 600g, peeled

For the coriander pesto
coriander 30g, roughly chopped
green chilli 1, finely chopped
pine nuts 50g, lightly toasted
lemon 1, finely grate the zest to get 1½ tsp, then cut into wedges, to serve
olive oil 80ml

Place a large sauté pan on a high heat. Toss the cherry tomatoes with 1 teaspoon of oil and, once the pan is very hot, add the tomatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice, until blistered and heavily charred on all sides. Remove the tomatoes from the pan and set them aside.

Wipe the pan clean, add 2 tablespoons of oil and replace it on the stove on a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli, spices, dill and tomato puree and cook for another 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the plum tomatoes, 300ml of water, 1½ teaspoons of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to medium and cook for about 25 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and the tomatoes have completely broken down.

While the sauce is cooking, make the coriander pesto. Put the coriander, chilli and pine nuts into a food processor and pulse a few times until the pine nuts are roughly crumbled. Transfer to a bowl and add the lemon zest, oil, ¼ teaspoon of salt and a grind of black pepper. Mix to combine, then set aside.

Pat the prawns dry and mix them in a bowl with ¼ teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of oil and a good grind of black pepper.

Put 2 teaspoons of oil into a large frying pan and place on a high heat. Once hot, add the prawns in batches and fry for a minute on each side, until cooked through and nicely browned. Set each batch aside while you continue with the remaining prawns. When the sauce is ready, stir in the prawns and charred tomatoes and cook on a medium heat for about another 3 minutes, to heat through. Serve either straight from the pan or spoon into wide shallow bowls. Scoop out the cardamom pods before serving, if you like: they are there to flavour the dish rather than to be eaten. Dot with about half of the pesto and serve at once, with the lemon and remaining pesto in a bowl alongside.

Fish kofta with yogurt, sumac & chilli

‘A love letter home’ – recipes and stories of the Palestinian table (5)

These herb- and spice-packed kofta make a lovely starter, or a light meal in themselves, packed into a pita and served with a chopped salad. These can be made in advance – up to a day, if you like – up to the point where they are about to go into the oven. Once cooked they can be eaten the next day – the flavours actually improve – either at room temperature or warmed through.

Serves 4
olive oil 90ml
onions 2 large, finely chopped
garlic 6 cloves, crushed
cod fillet or loin 700g, skinless and boneless, chopped into 3cm chunks
red chillies 2, one finely chopped and one finely sliced, to serve
parsley leaves 15g, roughly chopped
dill 15g, roughly chopped, plus a few extra picked leaves to serve
lemon 1, finely grate the zest to get 2 tsp, then cut into 4 wedges
egg 1
fish spice mix 2 tsp (see below)
sumac 1 tbsp
Greek-style yogurt 200g
salt and black pepper

For the fish spice mix
ground cardamom 2 tsp
ground cumin 2 tsp
paprika 1 tsp
ground turmeric 2 tsp

Preheat the oven to 220C fan/gas mark 9.

Put 3 tablespoons of the oil into a large sauté pan and place on a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onions and cook for 12-14 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until softened and golden. Add the garlic and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside until completely cool.

Put the fish into a food processor and pulse a few times until finely chopped but not a complete paste. Transfer to a large bowl and add the cooled onion mixture, chopped chilli, herbs, lemon zest, egg, fish spice mix, 2 teaspoons of sumac, 1 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Mix well to combine, then, using your hands, shape the mixture into about 15 kofta: they should each be about 5cm wide and weigh about 65g.

Put 2 tablespoons of oil into a large frying pan and place on a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the kofta in batches of 2 or 3 and fry for about 4 minutes, turning halfway through so that both sides are golden brown. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking tray and bake for 4 or 5 minutes, until just cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes or so, to slightly cool.

To serve, spread the yogurt evenly between four serving plates and top each with 3 fish kofta, saving any extra for seconds. Sprinkle the kofta with the remaining teaspoon of sumac, the picked dill and sliced chilli. Drizzle over the last tablespoon of oil and serve, with a lemon wedge alongside.

The Observer aims to publish recipes for fish rated as sustainable by the Marine Conservation Society’s Good Fish Guide

Chicken shawarma pie

‘A love letter home’ – recipes and stories of the Palestinian table (6)

This is a wow of a pie. Serve it with a crisp green salad and some pickles.

The chicken can be made a day or two ahead of assembling the pie. Keep it in the fridge and just bring it back to room temperature before putting the dish together.

You can also just make the chicken part of the dish. It makes a delicious stew, served with steamed rice or piled into a pita or wrap. If you do this, keep the tahini sauce: it’s always a welcome addition.

Serves 6

chicken thighs 750g, boneless and skinless
garlic 4 cloves, crushed
ginger 2cm piece, peeled and finely grated (15g)
ground cumin 2 tsp
ground coriander 2 tsp
smoked paprika ¾ tsp
ground turmeric ½ tsp
ground cinnamon ¾ tsp
ground cloves ⅛ tsp
olive oil 90ml, plus extra for greasing
cider vinegar 3 tbsp
salt and black pepper
baking potatoes
2 (450g), unpeeled and cut into ½cm thick rounds
unsalted butter 45g
onion 1, thinly sliced (150g)
chicken stock 200ml
parsley leaves 5g, roughly chopped
coriander leaves 5g, roughly chopped
filo 8 sheets (30cm x 38cm)
nigella seeds 1 tsp
Aleppo chilli flakes ¾ tsp (or ⅓ tsp regular chilli flakes)

For the tahini sauce
tahini 50g
Greek yogurt 80g
garlic 2 cloves, crushed
lemon juice 1 tbsp
salt and black pepper

Put the chicken into a large bowl with the garlic, ginger, ground spices, 1 tablespoon of oil, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, 1 teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of black pepper. Mix to combine, then leave to marinate for at least half an hour (or overnight in the fridge).

Preheat the oven to 180C fan/gas mark 6.

Mix the potatoes with 1½ tablespoons of oil, ¾ teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking tray and spread out so that they are not overlapping. Bake for 20 minutes, then increase the oven temperature to 220C fan/gas mark 9. Remove the tray from the oven, carefully flip over each potato slice, then return to the oven for another 10 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the oven and set aside until needed.

Reduce the oven temperature to 180C fan/gas mark 6 again (or turn the oven off for now and preheat before baking).

Put 15g of butter and 1½ tablespoons of oil into a large sauté pan and place on a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the chicken and cook for about 10 minutes, until lightly brown, then add the stock, ¼ teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat to medium. Simmer gently for 25 minutes, or until the chicken is just cooked through. Increase the heat to medium-high and continue to cook for about 8 minutes, or until the liquid has thickened and reduced to about 4 tablespoons. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for about 10 minutes, then use two forks to shred the chicken into large chunks. Stir in the herbs and set aside.

To make the tahini sauce, put the tahini, yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, ⅛ teaspoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of water into a bowl. Whisk together until smooth, then set aside.

Melt the remaining 30g of butter and combine with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Line the base of a 23cm springform cake tin with baking parchment and lightly grease the sides with the butter mixture. Lay a sheet of filo out on a clean work surface and brush with the butter. Transfer this to the tin so that the base is covered and the filo rises up and over the tin’s sides. Repeat with the next sheet of filo, brushing it first with butter, then arranging it in the tin, rotating it slightly so that the excess hangs at a different angle. Continue in this fashion, brushing each piece generously as you go, until you have used up 6 pieces of filo in total and the base and sides are all covered.

Next, add the potato slices, overlapping slightly, so that the base of the pie is completely covered. Top with the chicken mixture and gently push down to even out. Lastly, spoon over the tahini sauce, spreading it gently to coat the chicken layer. Brush a piece of filo with butter and fold it in half horizontally,like a book. Place this over the tahini layer, tucking in the filo around the filling. Brush the top with the butter mixture, then repeat with the last piece of filo, angling it to cover any exposed areas. Now fold over the overhang, crinkling up the filo to create a nice crumpled effect on the top. Brush the top with the remaining butter, sprinkle with the nigella seeds, place on a tray and bake

Filo triangles with cream cheese, pistachio & rose – warbat

‘A love letter home’ – recipes and stories of the Palestinian table (7)

Warbat is a popular snack during the month of Ramadan. The filling is traditionally made with ishta – a kind of thick, silky cream – which is then drizzled with rose water or rose water syrup. Ishta is not always easy to find, so we’ve created a cream cheese filling instead.

Makes 12 pastries
filo pastry 10 sheets, each sheet 31cm x 38cm
unsalted butter 120g, melted

For the syrup
caster sugar 100g
lemon juice 1½ tsp
rose water ¾ tsp

For the filling
full-fat cream cheese 450g
cornflour 2 tsp
caster sugar 55g
flaked sea salt ½ tsp
powdered Arabic mastic gum ¼ tsp, or ½ tsp vanilla bean paste

To garnish
pistachio kernels 20g, finely crushed in a food processor, or by hand as finely as possible
dried rose petals about 1½ tbsp (optional)

First make the syrup. Put 55ml of water and the sugar into a small saucepan and place on a medium-high heat. Mix well using a wooden spoon, then, once it starts boiling, add the lemon juice. Simmer gently for 2 minutes, then stir in the rose water and remove from the heat straightaway. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180C fan/gas mark 6.

To make the filling, put the cream cheese, cornflour, sugar, salt and mastic (or vanilla bean paste) into a medium bowl and whisk well to combine.

To assemble, spread one filo sheet out on a work surface and brush evenly with some of the melted butter. Top with another sheet and brush with butter again. Repeat the process until you have 5 layers evenly brushed with butter. As is always the case when working with filo, you’ll need to work fast when you start brushing and folding: the pastry will dry out if you don’t. You should have used about a quarter of the melted butter at this stage.

Using sharp scissors, cut the layered sheet of pastry into 6 squares, all 12cm x 12cm – you’ll need to trim the sheets to get even squares. Taking one square at a time, spoon about 35g (or 2 tablespoons) of the thick filling into the centre of each square, leaving a 2-3cm border around the edge. Fold the pastry diagonally in half to form a triangle, press on the edges without reaching the filling (so that it stays well sealed within the pastry), then brush all over with more butter. Once all 6 triangle pastries are on a parchment-lined baking tray, repeat the whole process (brushing one large filo sheet with butter, layering it 5 times, cutting it into 6 squares, filling and folding and sealing each square) with the remaining pastry, butter and filling.

Once all 12 pastries are made up and spread on two parchment-lined baking trays, bake for 22 minutes or until golden and crisp: some of them will pop open, but that’s OK. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Drizzle over the syrup, sprinkle over the crushed pistachios and rose petals, if using, and serve.

Falastin: A Cookbook by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley (Ebury, £28). To order a copy for £24.64 go to guardianbookshop.com or call 020 3176 3837

‘A love letter home’ – recipes and stories of the Palestinian table (2024)
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