taste from home

Mai’s Mutabal Kousa Dip

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August 5, 2020

Mai Kakish, Food Blogger for almondandfig.com

Taste from Home is a collection of recipes and stories can be used as a way to connect with others and facilitate conversations about race, culture, and identity over a new recipe. Make a cultural dish and sit down with family and friends and have a discussion of the culture it represents.  Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today, if you are able. If you are unable to donate, you can still participate by sharing a recipe by using hashtags #tastefromhome, #tastefromhomerecipe, & #chicagocultural on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.


Mutabal Kousa:

A Summer cooling salad with fire-charred zucchini, mint, and yogurt from my grandmother’s kitchen

A recipe by Mai @almondandfig


Since my trip to go home to Palestine to visit my family was canceled this summer. I found myself cooking dishes that evoke my senses. These summer dishes are an account of memories that dance through my childhood and the summers spent with my family in Palestine. The fresh herbs my mother’s plants, the seasonal vegetables, and the tree-ripened fruit in my grandparent’s garden. The rhythmic beat of teta’s (grandmother) mortar and pestle pounding this mutabal. These are the type of things that evoke more than just memories, they excite my imagination and fill my senses with possibilities. So this summer when Palestine seems in the far distance you will find me cooking from home, the summer dishes that my grandmothers and mother make.

Summer lunch at my grandmother’s house was often filled with dishes like this one. Teta always cooked with whatever is in season.  She would be happy eating a bowl of this mutabal with charred crispy bread (that’s how she likes it), olives and sliced tomatoes.

Mutabal in Arabic means “seasoned.” It often refers to these delicious creamy salads or sides that are often mixed with tahini, yogurt or the combination of both.  My teta’s cooling mutabal with charred kousa, creamy yogurt and mint is perfect in the summer with grilled meats, part of a mezze plate, served with pita bread and other crisp veggies.

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