1 June 2011

{Tranquility is... a Kibbutz & Palestinian Chicken Wraps}

Bliss is a feeling which can be difficult to genuinly grasp unless you've actually experienced it yourself. Bliss, from my point of view, is a happy, tranquil feeling and nowhere is this as prominant as in a kibbutz. The calm atmosphere we enjoyed, broken only by jackels in the evening, made for a relaxed and friendly community.Surrounded by olive and palm trees and vivedly decorated with flowers of all kinds, the kibbutz resembled a holiday resort, rather than an actual neighbourhood.The kibbutz no longer functions as a 'traditional kibbutz', but it still has its own shop, doctor, dentist, tailor and yes, farm. And although its inhabitates no longer share each meal together in the dining hall, there is still an up and going lunch buffet several times a week.

M. and I had been awake a considerable amount of time, well over 24 hours, but as it was morning when we arrived at the kibbutz in Saar, just north of Nehariya, we happily skipped bedtime and enjoyed a light meal instead.After breakfast, the adventure began; everything was new, the weather was wonderful and walking around the kibbutz was a splended way of introducing us to the country. In the next two weeks, endless discoveries were to be had. Everything was new – the scenery, aromas, unending culinary variety, way of life, Jews customs and the omnipresence of wild rosemary. As much as we loved discovering Akko and Nazareth, returning to the kibbutz in the evening and afternoons was always soothing.

But the kibbutz also offered a solid local cuisine. Parts of the northern Israeli cuisine is very influenced by Palestinian and Arab specialities, spices and dishes. Palestinian food in particular, I found, was extremely delicious. Although I didn't try these chicken wraps in Israel, they did resemble much of the same tastes that the food in northern Israel had. I hope you find they give the Palestinian cuisine justice.

 As much as I love Mexican-styled tortillas, with salsa, jalapeños and cheese, I find these wraps to be even more yummy. If I'm out of sumac spice, I add some za'atar and Arabic chicken spice, which I bought in Akko, which makes the taste different, yet still delicious. The pine nuts are also not a necessity, but it adds that certain something. I've been hooked on these wraps ever since I returned from Israel, a) because of their taste and b) because they're easy and take little time to make. What makes the wraps extra good, is the chicken broth you brush on the tortillas. It also make the tortillas soft.
{Palestinian Chicken Wraps}
 Recipe by Tastes of Beirut

454 g chicken thighs, deboned
680 g red or yellow onions, sliced in rings
Dash of sugar, salt and white pepper, allspice and cinnamon
2 tbsp sumac, plus one more for the onions
250 ml chicken broth
12 small flour tortillas or 6 pita breads, split in half
50 g pine nuts, toasted or fried in a dab of butter
Olive oil, as needed

1.Cut the chicken thighs in small even-sized bits. Sprinkle salt, pepper, cinnamon, allspice and the sumac on the chicken. Slice the onions and fry in some olive oil till caramelized, adding a dash of sugar to help the process. Remove the onions and set aside, add more oil and fry the chicken for 10 minutes, stirring every so often; add some chicken broth and cook for a few more minutes. Place a large piece of foil on a cookie sheet. Pour some melted butter and oil in a small bowl and set a brush on the bowl. (or use only olive oil if you want)

2.Take one wrap and brush it entirely with butter or oil on one side; flip it to the other side and place a couple of tablespoons of chicken bits, plus some sliced onions, a sprinkle of sumac and a few pine nuts on the lower edge of the wrap; fold it and place in on the cookie sheet; continue until all the chicken is used up. Place the cookie sheet in a preheated 177 °C oven for 15 minutes or longer until the wraps are nicely toasted; halfway through, brush them with some chicken broth to keep them moistened; at the end of cooking the wraps are going to be crisp and browned on the edges; remove from the oven and serve right away with some yogurt salad if desired. 

Tortilla means 'little cake' in Spanish, the root of the word being 'torta' or cake. In Spain, a 'tortilla' is a potato-based omelette, whilst the more popular wheat or corn flatbread was originally made by Mesoamerican people. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of making tortillas with corn flour, as I find it hard to work with. However, if you wish to add a certain something, you can substitute up to half of the wheat flour with corn flour.

{Flour Tortilas}
Recipe by Mexican Cooking Made Easy, Weichuan

This recipe makes 18 middle-sized tortillas.

600 g. all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
188 ml olive or soy oil
375 ml warm water

1.Mix the flour, salt and baking powder together, then add the oil and warm water and mix until you're left with a homogenous dough. Place on a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is soft and smooth. Divide the dough into 18 balls and flatten each ball with your hands. Using a rolling pin, shape each piece of dough into thin, 20 cm. circles. 

2.Place one tortilla at a time on a warm skillet or frying pan (without adding oil or butter) and cook on each side for ca. 45 seconds to 1 minute, depending on your oven. They shouldn't be hard and should have some 'brown spots'. Stack cooled tortillas under a dry towel and serve warm.

2 comment (s):

Anonymous said...

this looks like a very cute farm ^^

Madame Grenouille said...

It sure was! :-)

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