Thursday, December 22, 2011

Moroccan Grilled Salmon ( Samak al Maghreb)

Yield: 4 Servings


1/2 c plain Greek-style plain yogurt
juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 1/2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
dash of salt & pepper
4 (6oz.) skinless salmon fillets

1. In a food processor, place the yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic cloves, coriander, cumin and
salt and pepper and process until evenly combined.Pour the yogurt marinade into a
resealable plastic bag and place the salmon in the bag.Coat the salmon with the marinade
and refrigerate it for about 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, preheat grill.Lightly coat with some olive oil and place the salmon fillets on it.
Grill the fillets for about 5-6 minutes per side or until they begin to flake.

3. Remove salmon fillets from the grill and serve immediately.
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Arab Salad (Salata Arabi)

Yield: 6 Ingredients

1/2 head romaine lettuce, shredded into bite-size pieces
1/2 red onion, peeled, finely diced
1 large cucumber, cubed into bite-size pieces
1 large tomato, cubed into bite-size pieces
6 radishes, thinly sliced, then cubed
5 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, finely chopped

For the Dressing:
5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt & pepper to taste
1 large garlic clove, peeled, crushed

1. In a large serving bowl, combine all the salad ingredients together and toss evenly to combine.

2. In a small bowl pour the extra-virgin olive oil and slowly add the remaining ingredients one by

by one, slowly mixing after each one.

3. Pour the salad dressing over the salad greens when ready to serve and mix well before serving.
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Friday, December 2, 2011

quince preserve (murabba safarjal)

Photo courtesy of Najmieh's Kitchen

Native to the Caucasus, the quince is much beloved for providing tartness and a delicate fragrance to dishes.It is commonly used in dishes from Iran, Turkey, Armenia and the Levant.Quince resembles a large pear and its taste is a cross between an apple and a pear.It cannot be consumed raw.It must first be cooked to remove its astringent taste.Once it has been prepared, it emits a floral fragrance and a delicate sweet and sour taste which lends a lovely flavor to a wide range of dishes from stews, braises, stuffings to syrups, desserts and preserves.Quince preserves being one of the first preserves to be enjoyed in the Arab world.

Yield:48 oz.

2 lbs. quinces
juice of 1/2 lemon
4 1/2c sugar

2-(24oz) clean glass jars

1. Cut the quinces in half and remove the seeds and black stem and discard.
2. Put quinces in a pot and cover them with water and add the lemon juice.
3.Bring quinces to a boil then simmer for 45 minutes until they are tender.Remove them from
the pot with a slotted spoon and set them aside to cool.
4.Meanwhile, bring water in pot to a boil and add the sugar and stir till evenly dissolved.Bring
down the heat and continue simmering till the water becomes syrupy.
5.Cut the cooled quinces into bite-sized pieces and add to the pot and stir.Cook for an additional
30 minutes.
6.Remove pot from heat and allow to cool completely.Pour preserves into 2 (24oz.) clean glass
jars and refrigerate.
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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Libyan Spicy Fish (Haraimi)

Yield:6 Servings
6 cloves, peeled, crushed
1/2 Tbsp. ground cumin
salt, to taste
juice of 1 lemon
2 lbs. fillet of red snapper, grouper or cod
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. tomato puree
2 tomatoes , roughly chopped
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. caraway seeds

1. Mix together the crushed garlic, cumin, salt and lemon in a small mixing bowl.Pour into a
resealable plastic bag and place the fish fillets in it .Shake the bag until the fish fillets are
evenly coated.Leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

2. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add the chopped onion, tomato puree,
chili powder, turmeric and caraway seeds.Stir for about 5-6 minutes .Add 1 cup of water
then add the fish to the pan along with the marinade.Cover and cook fish for an additional 10
to 12 minutes or until fish begins to flake.

3. Remove fish from pan and serve immediately.
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Monday, July 18, 2011

Moroccan Fish Bastilla (Bastila maal Samak)

Yield:4 Servings
1 c cilantro, finely chopped
1 c parsley, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp. paprika
salt, to taste
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/3 c extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. any firm white fish fillets(pollock, halibut, sole)
3 1/2 oz. soy vermicelli
6 Tbsp. butter
6 sheets filo pastry

1. Add the cilantro, parsley, garlic cloves, lemon juice, paprika, salt, cumin, red wine vinegar and olive oil to a food processor and mix till you have an evenly combined puree.Divide in half and set aside.

2. Place the fish fillets in a dish and evenly coat with half the cilantro-parsley puree.Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

3.Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to a boil.Add the vermicelli and turn off heat and remove from stove top.Drain and set aside.

4. In a medium skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. of olive oil and place the fish fillets in it.Cook fish for 7-8 minutes.Add the vermicelli to the skillet and continue cooking for an additional 3-4 minutes breaking the fish into pieces.

5. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.Preheat oven to 400F.

6. In a 9"pie dish, grease well with olive oil.Stack 3-4 filo sheets overlapping each other and brush with the melted butter.Add the fish/vermicelli mixture then top with the remaining cilantro-parsley puree to the pan and cover with remaining filo sheets making sure the top is fully covered.Brush top with melted butter and sprinkle some water on top.

7. Bake in oven for 15 minutes.Allow to slightly cool before serving.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Shanklish (Syrian Mezze Salad)

Photo courtesy of SyrianFoodie

Shanklish is an aromatic, zaatar-coated cheese from Tartous, a port Northwest of Damascus.It is traditionally made at home from either cow, sheep or goat's milk. Shanklish is usually eaten as part of a mezze dish where it is usually served crumbled in a salad of finely chopped tomatoes, onions and olive oil.

Yield:4 Servings


1/2 lb. shanklish, crumbled

1 medium red onion, peeled, finely minced

3 tomatoes, finely diced

4-5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1. In a medium serving bowl add all the ingredients together and mix thoroughly.

2. Chill for 1/2 hour and serve.

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hamour Ceviche

I've had the idea for this recipe for a while because it requires no cooking, is quick to prepare and makes use of the local fish available in the waters off the Persian Gulf.Plus, it's well suited for the hot weather of the Middle East.

Yield:6 Servings
1 1/2 lbs. skinless hamour or other white fish fillets, cut into small pieces
1/2 c fresh lime or lemon juice
2 large tomatoes,cut into small cubes
2 chilies, seeded and minced (optional)
1/2 c fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
1 ripe avocado,cut into small pieces (optional)

1. Put all ingredients in a glass bowl and mix thoroughly until evenly combined.Place in refrigerator and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.

2. When ready to serve, add the pieces of avocado and mix, if using. Serve immediately.
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Zaatar Pita Bites

This recipe is so easy and quick to put together that it takes just under 20 minutes to put together and be ready.Perfect for when unexpected guests arrive.

Yield:24 zaatar bites

6 pita breads, cut into fourths
7 Tbsp. zaatar spice
6 Tbsp. olive oil

1. Preheat broiler.

2. Place spice and olive oil in separate bowls.Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

3. Lightly brush olive oil on both sides of the pita pieces and dip one side of it onto the zaatar spice bowl. Set aside on the aluminum foil and repeat with the remaining pieces.

4. Place in the broiler for 3 minutes and remove.Serve immediately.
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Moroccan Chicken Pie (Bastilla Dajaj)

Don't let the simple title fool you. Moroccan bastilla's are a time consuming affair. They are not difficult to put together but their preparation can take upwards of up to 2 hours to prepare and put together because of their numerous steps. This recipe took a total of 2 hours from start to finish, so if you have the time and are up to the task it is well worth the time and effort because the results are worth it.

Yield:6 Servings

1/2 large onion, peeled, finely chopped
1 handful cilantro, leaved removed from stems, finely chopped
1 handful parsley, leaves removed from stem, finely chopped
4 oz. almonds, slivered
1/3 c butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ras al hanout
2 Tbsp. orange blossom water
7 Tbsp. water
2 eggs, beaten
8 sheets filo pastry

1. Toast the almonds in a dry pan over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes till they become slightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400F.

2. Melt 2 Tbsp. of the butter and the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season the chicken breast on both sides with salt and add to the pan. Cook until both sides are browned well. Take the chicken out of the pan and set aside.Lower the heat a little.

3. Add the onion to the skillet and brown them.Add the cinnamon and ras al hanout and stir together till evenly combined. Add the orange water, water and bring to a boil.

4. Return the chicken breasts to the skillet and cook for an additional 10 minutes over low heat.

5. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside. Turn off the heat and remove the onion/spice mixture to a separate bowl.Cut the chicken into small pieces.

6. Add the beaten eggs to the onion/spice mixture then add cilantro and parsley and mix well.

7. In a 9 in. pie dish, stack 4 filo pastry sheets overlapping each other and brush with melted butter. Pour the onion/spice mixture into the pie dish and cover with the filo pastry.

8. Repeat with the remainder sheets. Add the almond pieces and evenly distribute the chicken pieces on top. Fold the pastry sheets on top covering the chicken completely and tucking the edges that are loose. Brush top of bastilla with olive oil.

9. Bake for 10-15 minutes until top is lightly browned. Remove from heat, wait for it to cool and serve warm.
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Persian Herb Rice (Sabzi Polo)

Yield:4 Servings
1 1/2 c basmati rice
1/2 c plain yogurt
2 2/3 c water
2 tsp. sea salt
6 Tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 c mixture of fresh herbs ( cilantro, mint, chives, and/or flat-leaf parsley),finely minced

1. Place rice in a bowl and cover with water.Swish around and discard water.Repeat.

2. Place yogurt in a medium bowl and thin with a little water then add the 2 2/3 c water and mix.

3. Place the rice in a saucepan. Add the yogurt/water, salt and pieces of butter.

4.Bring rice to a boil.Then let simmer until the water is half absorbed and steam begins escaping
through holes in the rice.

5. Add the herbs and fluff the rice till evenly distributed throughout. Cover and cook for an additional 45 minutes.

6. Remove rice from saucepan and place in serving dish.Serve.
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tunisian Tomato,Bell Pepper & Cucumber Salad (Salata Jida)

Here's a delightful Tunisian salad that is quick to put together and is perfect with any dish. Just keep in mind that it needs to rest a minimum of 1 hour to let the flavors blend together.

Yield: 4 Servings

2 tomatoes, thinly diced
1/2 cucumber, thinly diced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, thinly diced
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded, thinly diced
4 green onions,thinly sliced
handful of cilantro, minced
juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Place the tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers, green onions, and cilantro in a bowl. Mix vegetables thoroughly till evenly combined.

2. Add the remainder of the ingredients and mix again.

3. Place bowl in the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour.

4.Place in a serving bowl and serve.
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fatut (Yemeni Fried Eggs with Bread)

It doesn't get much more simpler than this.Start the day of right with this rustic Yemeni breakfast dish that takes few minutes to put together.

Yield:2 Servings
1 Arabic bread, cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp. butter or samneh (clarified butter)
3 large eggs, beaten
salt, to taste

1. Heat butter or samneh in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the bread and stir until it becomes slightly browned.
2. Pour eggs into the pan and stir until they are well cooked.Place on a serving dish and serve immediately.
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Michoteta (Egyptian Cucumber and Feta Salad)

Here's a perfect little salad for when the weather's warm and you don't have much time on your hands.It can be put together in under 15 minutes.Feel free to substitute low-fat feta for the regular, it tastes just as good.

Yield:6 Servings
1/2 lb. feta cheese, crumbled
juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 red onion, peeled, finely chopped
1 large cucumber, finely diced
1 Tbsp. fresh mint finely chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh dill, finely chopped
dash pepper

1. Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and mix together until evenly combined.Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately or chill in refrigerator till ready to serve.
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Monday, May 23, 2011

Qishr (Yemeni Ginger Tea)

Picture courtesy of Just Food Now

I came across this unusual Yemeni drink recipe while doing research on something else. Qishr is the name given to a Yemeni tea/coffee that is made from ground up coffee husks. Apparently, it originated in al-makha , a port located on the Northwestern coast of Yemen where the original coffee trade route was located and as you may have guessed , it's where we get the name mocha.

Even though, at the time al-makha was a major coffee exporter, many of the locals could hardly
afford it. So, the coffee husks that were discarded were ground up, brewed with water and flavored with ginger.I've tried looking online for recipes on this Yemeni brew but unfortunately most recipes disappointingly use powdered coffee as the main ingredient but considering you can't get coffee husks in your neighborhood supermarket I found this ground coffee from the Haraaz Mountains to be a fairly decent substitute.

Photo courtesy of Yemen Peace Project

Yield:4-6 Servings


1 c water

6 tsp. Haraaz Mountain Yemeni Coffee or regular powdered coffee

6 tsp. sugar

2 tsp. ground ginger

1. Pour water into a Yemeni long-handled coffee pot or small saucepan.

2. Add the coffee, sugar and ginger and stir well until combined over medium heat.Bring to a boil.

3. Remove from heat and pour into small cups and serve immediately.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Muhammara (Walnut & Pomegranate Dip)

This Syrian specialty relish can be served spread on bread or served as a garnish over fish and
chicken dishes.

Yield:1 1/2 c
1 1/2 c walnuts, shelled
1 1/2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 slice whole wheat bread, cut into pieces
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. pomegranate syrup
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper flakes
1 tsp ground cumin
pinch of salt

1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and process till it turns into a paste.
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Moroccan Chicken Couscous (Couscous Dajaj)

Re-create the authentic flavors of Morocco in your kitchen. Requiring no exotic ingredients just an extra amount of time, this classic Moroccan chicken dish is sure to please your family and is perfect for when your looking for that something special to add to your culinary repertoire.

Yield:4 Servings
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into small pieces
1 tsp. ground ginger
pinch of saffron
1/3 c extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 large onion, peeled, thickly sliced
2 c chicken stock
3 1/2 oz. raisins, soaked in a little water
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tomato, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled, thinly sliced
1 package plain couscous

1. In a small bowl, mix the ginger, saffron, and 2 Tbsp. of the extra-virgin olive oil. Pour marinade into a plastic bag and add the chicken pieces.Place in refrigerator.

2.Meanwhile, bring the chicken stock to a simmer.

3.In a separate large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 the sliced onions, sprinkle with the sugar and brown.

4. Add about 8 Tbsp. of the chicken stock to the onion mixture and mix thoroughly. Cook for about 15 minutes.

5. Add the drained raisins to the onion mixture and continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes.Remove the skillet from the heat and place it in a separate bowl.

6. Return the skillet to the stove top.Add the chicken pieces, tomatoes,remaining onions and garlic to the skillet. Add the remaining chicken stock and cook for an additional 30 minutes stirring often.Remove from heat.

7.Prepare couscous according to directions on box.

8. In a large serving dish, add the couscous followed by the chicken and topped with the onion mixture.Serve immediately.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Herb and Onion Omelet (Eggah bi Basal)

Yield :
2 Servings


3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 large onion, thinly chopped

4 large eggs, beaten

2 Tbsp. parsley, finely chopped

2 Tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped

2 Tbsp. mint, finely chopped

salt and pepper , to taste

1. Heat a medium pan and add the olive oil.Add the onions and saute for about 2 minutes.

2. Add the beaten eggs to the pan.Add the parsley, cilantro and mint on top.Once the bottom
begins to set, turn over carefully and cook the other side for about one minute.

3.Remove omelet from the pan and place in serving dish.Can be served either warm or cold as an appetizer.
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Friday, April 15, 2011

Yemeni Fish (Samak al-Yamani)

Craving a bit of Yemeni home cooking but there isn't a Yemeni restaurant within a 5 mile radius??.This fish recipe is easy and quick to put together and is ready in under 30 minutes.Hamour fish is the best for this recipe but any firm fish like cod, halibut, or tuna will do.
Yield:4 Servings


2 lbs. cod, halibut, sole, or tuna fillets

1 1/2 Tbsp. Hawayij

1 Tbsp. salt

1 Tbsp. cumin

1 Tbsp. turmeric

1/8 tsp. black pepper

Vegetable oil for frying

1. Heat the oil in large pan on medium-high heat.

2.Rinse the fish fillets and pat dry.In a medium bowl.combine the hawaji, salt, cumin,turmeric and black pepper.

3.Dip the fish fillets in the spice mixture,lightly coating both sides.

4. Place the fish fillets in the pan and cook over medium heat, turning over every few minutes till they begins to flake.Remove from heat and serve immediately.
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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Iraqi Cucumber and Garlic Salad (Salata Kyhiar wa Toum)

I came across this salad in an Iraqi-Jewish cookbook and was intrigued by it because I've never seen a salad which included raw garlic cloves as an ingredient.I was skeptical at first because of the amount of garlic used but after marinating it for the allotted time, which mellows the garlicky taste and tweaking some of the ingredients, the salad has a very cooling and refreshing taste and similar to the other salads of the Middle East.

8 Servings


8 large cucumbers, peeled and diced

10 small to medium sized garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/2 c fresh cilantro, thinly chopped

1/2 c fresh mint, thinly chopped

juice of 3 large lemons

3 tsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. dill

3/4 tsp. sea salt

1. Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl, mix together till evenly combined, and chill for about 1 hour.
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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Zuchinni & Olive Couscous (Koussa wa Zeitun Couscous)

4 Servings

1 box packaged plain couscous

2 small zucchinis,ends trimmed, julienned

16 black kalmata olives, pitted and halved

1/4 c almonds, slivered

4 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

pinch of cumin

pinch of cayenne pepper

1.Prepare couscous according to package directions.Set aside.

2. Add the zucchinis, olives, and slivered almonds to couscous and mix together.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, cilantro, parsley, cumin and cayenne pepper.Stir into the couscous and toss gently to combine.Transfer to a serving dish and serve.
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Monday, April 4, 2011

Moroccan Chickpea & Carrot Soup (Shorbat Jazzar wa hummus min Maghreb)

I've been meaning to make this soup for a long time but for whatever reason have been finding excuses to put off making it.But I finally got to doing it and regretted not making it sooner as its really easy to put together and is requires about 20 minutes cooking time.If you don't have the Moroccan spice blend, Ras al Hanout on hand, the Saudi spice blend, Baharat is a perfect substitution.

Yield:6 Servings


1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 (14.5oz.)low-sodium canned sliced carrots

5 c low-sodium chicken stock or equal parts chicken stock & water

1(14oz.)can chick-peas, drained and rinsed

salt and pepper

2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, finely chopped

1. Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat until translucent, about 3 minutes.Add the Ras al Hanout and cook for about 1 minute while stirring.

2.Add the carrots and cook for about 3 minutes.Add the chicken stock and the chick-peas and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.Season with salt and pepper.

3. Remove the soup from the heat and transfer in batches to a blender and blend until smooth.

4.Transfer soup to a serving bowl and garnish with fresh cilantro.Serve immediately.
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Yemeni Oxtail Stew (Shorbat al-Yemeni)

Add a little spice to your winter's evening with Yemen's answer to meat & potatoes stew.Like most stews, this is pretty quick to put together but requires a lengthy cooking time but the results are worth the wait.

Yield:4 Servings
2 lbs. oxtail, washed and patted dry
6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. yemeni hawayji spice mix
1 1/2 large yellow onion, peeled and thinly chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly chopped
8 c water
5 tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
2oz. orange juice
zest of 1 small orange

1. Combine the flour with the salt and freshly ground pepper in a plastic bag or bowl .Toss the oxtail in bag or bowl and coat evenly.
2. Heat the butter in a large pot and gently brown the oxtails over low heat.Add the hawayji, onions, and garlic and stir gently till onions are slightly translucent.
3. Add the water,tomatoes, bay leaves, orange juice, and orange zest.Cover and cook for 3-3 1/2 hours till oxtails are tender and meat falls of the bone.
4.Serve with plain rice.
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