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Recipe Development: Kubbeh Hamusta with Falafel Mezze
Overview

Tomer takes you through his Jaffa lunch spread of green falafel, Kubbeh soup and jaffa cauliflower. This assortment is perfect for showing off for a dinner party or celebratory lunch, as it mixes different techniques, textures and flavours. The falafel brings herby fried richness, while the Kubbeh in Hamusta soup is flavourful and savoury. Rounding out the spread is one of the most famous street foods of Jaffa - roasted cauliflower on a bed of opened tahini sauce.

Development Stages

Key Components:

Kubbeh - Tomer’s central dish is an Iraqi take on the deep-fried lamb dumplings popular across the middle east. In this version, the dumplings are made with chewy semolina dough, with a pocket of meat inside spiced with onion, garlic, cumin, black pepper and coriander. While the lamb mixture is pre cooked, the Kubbeh dough cooks in the soup broth and absorbs the flavour of the cooking liquor.

Humusta soup - One of the most popular Kubbeh soups that you’ll find in the markets of Tel Aviv, Humusta is vibrant, green and a little sour from the lemon used to season it. The base of the soup comes from the aromatics and green leaves that are roughly chopped and added to the pot. To heighten the flavours, it is traditionally spiced with ground coriander and turmeric, giving the soup an appealing golden hue.

Cauliflower - This dish takes the cruciferous vegetable we all know as bland and boring, but turns it on its head -  bringing out a natural sweet smokiness. In the markets of Jaffa, Cauliflower is either pan or deep fried in big batches, then served alongside the classic Israeli condiment - tahini. Instead, Tomer oven roasts his cauliflower seasoning it with garlic and herbs for a rich satisfying side dish.

Falafel - one of, if not the most famous middle eastern dish around the world, falafel is sold on food carts, market stalls and high end restaurants alike. This classic deep fried snack is made here with a mix of high quality chickpeas, fresh herbs, spices and aromatics. The resulting falafel have a satisfying deep brown crust, and a steaming flavourful interior - and they pair brilliantly with the Humusta soup or the tahini-ladened cauliflower.

Teachings:

  1. Falafel shaping and deep frying - you will learn how to test the texture of your falafels, moulding them into the perfect shape for deep frying.
  2. Oven roasting - you will gain an understanding of the maillard reaction, toasting the natural sugars in the cauliflower at high temperatures.
  3. Kubbeh dough making and shaping - Tomer will show you how to create the perfect Kubbeh, making sure the elasticity of the dough holds the dumpling together during the cooking process

Make It Your Own:

  • Kubbeh filling Kubbeh comes in all shapes and sizes, not to mention a wide variety of fillings - so once you are comfortable with the method, why not try experimenting with different seasonings for your meat. Tomer suggests using ground caraway or turmeric, but you can add any spices to the mix that you think will pair with the meat. You should also consider how any flavours you add in might play against the flavour of the Humusta soup. You can also use a different filling entirely, for example, if you wanted to create a vegetarian Kubbeh then fried mushrooms or firm tofu could work well to replace the protein.
  • Humusta soup -  As you can see in Eyal’s ‘Step Into’ video this week, there are a wide array of different kubbeh soups on offer in the markets of Tel Aviv. One of the most famous is made using a similar recipe of aromatic vegetables and lemon, only this version is sweetened and coloured by beetroot. However, don’t be afraid to get creative with whatever broth you like - if you want to make the soup a little heartier then try adding chicken or beef stock. You can also add different vegetables to the mix depending on what’s in season, just be aware of the cook times for sturdier root vegetables.
  • Falafel - these deep fried beauties are a great vehicle for different flavours so why not try out an alternative selection of fresh and dried herbs. The classic duo of coriander and parsley can be added to, with the likes of mint, dill or even chives adding something different. The same goes for the aromatics used here as well. Onion and garlic are standard Falafel ingredients, but you could also use chopped spring onions, shallots, leek greens or different chillies. Also, you might want to try different ratios of chickpeas to other robust pulses or plant proteins as Tomer mentions in the video. The one thing you need to consider is the water content of any additional proteins added to the mix, as a higher water content will impact the structure of your falafel. Finally, you can also experiment with other spices, with Za’atar, Sumac and Baharat all providing different middle eastern angles to your Falafel.

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Tomer Hauptman
I prefer rustic, hearty, authentic heritage food and have stepped away from the over-plated more towards food with emotion and history.