UK/Palestine: celebrity chefs cook Palestinian dishes to highlight human rights abuses – new video
Palestinian chef Sami Tamimi introduces comedian Esther Manito to ‘mshat’ (cauliflower fritters)
The ‘Palestine at Home’ series is part of Amnesty’s End Israeli Apartheid campaign
‘We’re delighted to be able to serve up another helping of what we’re calling politically-aware cookery’ - Tom Guha
Amnesty International UK has released a new video and recipe for its “politically-aware” Palestinian cookery series, featuring acclaimed Palestinian chef Sami Tamimi and British-Lebanese stand-up comedian Esther Manito.
The recipe for the famous Palestinian dish “mshat” (cauliflower and cumin fritters) is the second in a new series of short cookery videos (“Palestine at Home”) which showcase Palestinian food and cooking as a form of resistance to Israel’s international crime of apartheid against Palestinians.
In the 14-minute video, East Jerusalem-born Tamimi explains to Manito how Israeli military occupation in East Jerusalem has undermined Palestinians’ freedom of movement, with armed Israeli settlers posing an increasing physical threat to Palestinian residents. Palestinians in East Jerusalem, says Tamimi, “are scared to go out” after 6pm because of state-backed settler violence.
Tamimi is known for his culinary creativity and for nurturing young chefs, and drawing on his trademark charm and easy-to-follow style Tamimi talks Manito through the relatively simple process for making the fritters. “The magic of this recipe”, says Tamimi, is that “it feeds a lot of people” from relatively few ingredients. The three-minute video is both a clear explainer for those making the dish and an entertaining watch - with Tamimi jokingly telling Manito not to “double-dip” as she eagerly tastes the food.
Earlier this year, the Palestine at Home series paired Palestine on a Plate chef Joudie Kalla with Guz Khan, star of the TV comedy show Man Like Mobeen, with Kalla introducing the aubergine dish “fattet makdous” to the comic. Other videos in the series are currently in preparation. Each of the featured videos in the Palestine at Home series is accompanied by a downloadable recipe.
Sami Tamimi said:
“Palestinians have to overcome multiple barriers to be able to access and farm their lands, and cook a dish like this. The Israeli authorities control Palestinian access to water making it extremely difficult for people to grow vegetables like cauliflowers, while state-backed Israeli settlers often attack Palestinian farmers as they work and destroy their produce.”
Esther Manito said:
“It was appalling hearing from Sami about how even growing vegetables and cooking traditional food is affected by life under Israeli occupation. Israel’s ever-expanding settlements are a threat to every aspect of Palestinian daily life - it’s time to make people aware.”
Tom Guha, Amnesty International UK's Crisis Campaigner, said:
“We’re delighted to be able to serve up another helping of what we’re calling politically-aware cookery. This series is all about challenging the erasure of Palestinian culture and history by showing how a seemingly everyday activity such as preparing a family meal is for many Palestinians an important form of symbolic resistance to Israeli oppression. As we add to the Palestine at Home series, we’re inviting people to pick up some useful cookery tips while learning how they can support our campaign to bring Israeli apartheid against Palestinians to an end.”
Last year, Amnesty published a major report showing how the Israeli authorities’ treatment of the Palestinians amounts to the international crime of apartheid, with massive seizures of Palestinian land and property, unlawful killings, the forcible transfer of Palestinian people from their land, drastic movement restrictions, and the denial of nationality and citizenship to Palestinians in Israel. Since the formation of a new Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu in December, there has been a sharp deterioration in an already poor human rights situation in Israel and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Amnesty is calling on the UK government to ban imports of all goods produced in Israel’s illegal settlements, while ensuring that UK-based companies are prevented from supplying the Israeli authorities with any equipment which could be used to implement its system of apartheid against Palestinians.
Recipe for ‘mshat’
Cauliflower and cumin fritters with mint yoghurt, serves four to six people (ten-12 fritters).
1 small cauliflower, cut into 4-5 cm-sized florets (300g)
120g plain flour
20g parsley, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped (100g)
1½ tsp ground cumin
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp Aleppo chilli flakes (or ¼ tsp regular chilli flakes)
½ tsp baking powder
250ml sunflower oil, to fry
250g Greek-style yoghurt
½ tsp dried mint
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
What to do:
For the sauce:
-Place all the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl with ½ teaspoon of salt. Mix to combine, and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
For the fitters:
-Bring a medium pan full of salted water to the boil and add the cauliflower. Simmer for four minutes and then drain into a colander, while reserving three or four tablespoons of the cooking water.
-Using a fork or potato masher, slightly crush the cauliflower and then transfer to a large bowl along with all the remaining ingredients for the fritters (apart from the sunflower oil), adding 1¼ teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper.
-Add three tablespoons of the cooking water and mix well, until the mix has the consistency of a slightly runny batter.
-Add the oil to a large sauté pan - about 22 centimetres - and, once very hot (120C if you have a cooking thermometer), carefully spoon 2-3 tablespoons of batter per fritter into the oil. You’ll need to do this in batches - three fritters at a time - so as not to overcrowd the pan and use a fish slice to keep them apart. Fry for about four minutes, flipping them over half-way through, until both sides are golden-brown.
-Transfer to a kitchen paper-lined plate and set aside while you continue with the remaining batches. Serve warm or at room temperature, with the yoghurt sauce on the side.