Jerusalem holds a special place in my heart — childhood holidays were at our ancestral home in Bethlehem, where we ate home-cooked dishes, from hummus to moutabal (smoked aubergine) to fatet djaj chicken and traditional tabun bread, baked in an outdoor oven at my grandfather’s olive farm. That bread left such an impression that I named my first restaurant, Tabun Kitchen, after it.
Spice it up
Za’atar: Aromatic spice mix, made of thyme, sea salt, toasted sesame and sumac. It’s added to olive oil and spread over flatbread to create manaeesh za’atar. Also delicious sprinkled on labneh (strained, salty yoghurt).
Where to eat
Make it at home: Jerusalem falafel
400g chickpeas, 1 chopped onion, a handful of parsley and coriander, 4 cloves of garlic, 50g Abido Falafel Spices, 1tsp plain flour, salt and pepper
Combine chickpeas, onions, parsley, coriander, garlic, spice mix and a teaspoon each of salt, pepper and plain flour. Pop it all in a blender and process till smooth. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes. Using an ice cream scoop or spoon, form balls of dough and deep fry at 180C until golden brown. For more flavour, stuff them with chopped onion sautéed in sumac.
Hanan Kattan is the founder of Tabun Kitchen in Soho, London, which focuses on modern Palestinian home cooking.
Published in the September 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)