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Cooking Lessons: Galayat Bandoura Edition
Recently Hope, Elizabeth, (two college students who are in Amman and gifting the shop their presence one day a week) and Katye had the privilege of a private cooking lesson with Oola. It was a grand time with limited verbal communication, much laughter, and many smiles. Hope and Elizabeth brushed up on the Arabic words for onion, garlic, green pepper, and tomato. Oola thought it quite entertaining when it came time to chop onions and Katye had to take a break because there were tears rolling down her face. "Kwaise" and "Shatra," words meaning good and smart, were  repeated many times by the patient instructor. So, for you at home. Here is the recipe for Galayat Bandoura.
Amounts are relative. Basically the tomatoes should be the main ingredient with a good amount of green pepper and onion to compliment it. Oola used a whole head of garlic for this batch serving 14 people. And, in the case of garlic, more is generally better. Seasonings are completely up to your discretion as our expert Oola just poured them in while we stirred. 
1. Peel the tomatoes. 
2. Dice green pepper and tomatoes. Do not combine, yet.
3. Cut onions into long strips. It's okay to cry. Just be sure to picture Oola's sweet smiling face. 
4. Chop or mince garlic. Either way is fine. 
5. In a pot large enough to combine all the ingredients, coat the bottom with sunflower oil or olive oil, add garlic, onion, and green pepper.
6. After these have cooked a little, add tomatoes. 
7. Bring to boil and simmer, stirring often.
8. Add salt and white pepper. 
9.Cover and simmer until the combination is the consistency of salsa. Stirring occasionally. 
10. Serve with pita bread. Preferably with the dish in the middle of the table circled by friends and family. And if you can manage to serve it with a kettle of chai, all the better. Enjoy! 
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Posted by on in Recipes


An eggplant dip eaten with pita bread, often served instead of or in addition to hummus.


The finished product  - not to be confused with Baba Ganouj, which does not have the delicious sesame paste mixed in!  Enjoy!

Ingredients (feeds 12)

  • 6 eggplants
  • A 16 oz container of tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1 lemon, or lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, or garlic salt
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped (optional)
  • Salt
  • Olive Oil


An eggplant that's ready for step 2


  1. Cook eggplant over stove burner, or, wrap in tinfoil and bake in the oven for approximately one hour. When ready, eggplant should be soft and skin should be crispy.  This gives the dish its delicious smoky flavor!
  2. Scrape off eggplant skins and cut off tops. Place the soft, white portion that remains in a large bowl.
  3. Using the bottom of a cup (or weapon of your choice) smash eggplant until a thick paste is created
  4. Add container of tahini and mix thoroughly
  5. Cut lemon in half and squeeze juice into the bowl; be sure to remove any seeds.
  6. To make your own garlic salt, chop a clove and add about a tablespoon of salt. Cover in plastic (a grocery bag will do) and grind with the bottom of a cup or a spoon until it is combined. Mix into bowl. Alternatively, add about a tablespoon of store-bought garlic salt to the mix.
  7. Add cilantro and mix thoroughly.
  8. To serve, spread on rounded plates. Place a pinch of fresh cilantro or parsley at the center of every plate and add a drizzle of olive oil.
  9. Tear off pieces of fresh pita bread and use as a scoop for the warm mutabbel.  For a terrific sandwich, stuff pita bread with the mutabbel.  Mmmm, mmmm good!.  It also makes a fantastic dip for crisp fresh veggies of all kinds! 


One of Holy Land Designs' very talented deaf women demonstrates step 3

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