Sajjeyya – Syrian beef stew with arak

We are eating the last of the beef we got from Dr Louise, from cattle grazed on Askernish Machair. I made this last week, so easy. It is from #CookforSyria, a recipe book that I bought two years ago. The website link also tells you a little bit more about the creation of CookforSyria, a celebration of Syrian food culture, and a fund-raiser for Unicef. 

This dish is meant to be cooked in a single pot, as part of a barbecue, picnic or other al-fresco dining event. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g beef, cubed
  • 100g suet, beef fat or other cooking fat
  • 2 aubergines, cubed
  • 2 green peppers, chopped
  • 2 small onions, sliced
  • 300g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 125ml of Arak (or Raki, or Ouzo)
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • In the pot, cover the beef in cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Any stock that is produced can be used for other dishes. 
  • Take the beef out of the water, and reserve the stock for another day. In the pan, fry the beef fat for a few minutes then add the chopped vegetables and the beef. Add a few spoonfuls of the stock from earlier. 
  • Cover and leave to simmer for 25 minutes, and then add the Arak, and simmer for a further five minutes. 
  • Serve with flat bread and/or rice. 

Beef Jhal Faraizi

I had no idea that Jhal Faraizi was designed to use up left-overs. In fact, this recipe is almost like stovies, but with more meat, and green Chillies. Madhur Jaffrey’s book Curry Easy gives a short history of the origins of the dish, which originated in Bengal. Some versions have a sauce, but this is more pared back, and quick and easy. I didn’t have any left-over potatoes or beef, so this version includes cooking from scratch. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 medium floury potatoes
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil or other vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 fresh hot green chillies, chopped finely
  • around 350g beef (could be left-overs) – diced
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, roughly sliced
  •  Salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • Boil the potatoes whole, and then set aside to cool
  • Poach the beef in some water and ginger, for around 20 minutes, then strain and remove the ginger. I kept the liquid back and used it as stock in another recipe. 
  • When the potatoes are cool, peel them and cut into small dice. 
  • Put the oil in a large frying pan, and heat. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle briefly. 
  • Add the onion, potatoes and chillies, then turn the heat down a bit, and stir, cooking until the onions are translucent, around five minutes. 
  • Add the meat, a good pinch of salt and lots of black pepper. Stir and mix for a minute, and turn the heat down very low. Press the mixture down into the pan and then cook gently for around 15 minutes. 
  • We had this with poached eggs on top.