Remedy for Cold

  • 3 pieces, black lemon, pierced and 2 cups water
  • Boil black lemon for a couple of minutes. Drain. Use the liquid to ease discomfort from cold. 

Beef in Tomato Sauce and Black Lemon
(Beef Saloona)

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp ghee (or cooking oil)
  • 2 big-sized onions, chopped
  • 1 kg beef cubes
  • 6 medium-sized fresh tomatoes, skinned, chopped
  • (or 1 400-g can chopped tomatoes)
  • 1 tbsp baharat (mixed spices)
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • your choice of vegetables – I used 3 small zucchini, 2 medium-sized carrots, 1 small green bell pepper, 1 cup sweet potato, 1 cup green beans
  • 2 pieces black lemon, pierced twice with the tip of a knife
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup tomato paste

Instructions:

  • Sautee onions in ghee (or cooking oil) till golden brown.
  • Add turmeric, baharat and ground coriander and stir for a minute.
  • Add beef. Cook until the pink juices start to come out.
  • Add ground cloves, cinnamon powder, tomatoes and black lemon.
  • Let boil. Lower the heat and simmer till meat is tender (about 2 hours) adding water as necessary.  You should have about 1 cup of water left with the meat at this stage.
  • Add vegetables, parsley, salt and black pepper. Simmer again till vegetables are tender (about 30 minutes) stirring occasionally, adding tomato paste halfway through.

 

Tadaaannnnggg! 

Yes, I gave you the recipes immediately before this little blog. Why not? Why make you wait, right? 

Now, if you still have the time, here’s my little kitchen story.

the least of my favorites

Among the many spices I got to know while living and working in the Middle East, black lemon was the least of my favorites. Mostly because I prefer fresh limes, lemons and calamansi; and probably because there is this certain smell and taste in black lemon that I was not familiar with. I would omit the poor black lemon whenever the recipe called for it. My opinion is that “it is not necessary.”

How long ago was that? More than 10 years. 

mom (in-law) knows best

Whenever Mama M (my mom-in-law) cooked her beef saloona, I knew I would over-eat. Ah, why not, it does not happen every day. She told me that one of her secrets is the black lemon. The first time she said that, I involuntarily made a face; I guess I looked like I had a sip of stale milk. 

When she said that black lemon is also a remedy for colds, I asked her if it were better than Vicks Vaporub!  It was her turn to have had a sip of stale milk.

black lemon deserves a second glance

I gave black lemon a good chance. A chance you would give a long-lost love, the one your heart is not over with yet.  It was a conditioning, to be honest!   But it worked.  These days, I do use black lemons.  My kitchen has the powdered version and those that seemed like magical black balls.

Before I forget, here are a few tips: 

Do not add sugar to the black lemon tea. This time I am sure, sugar is not necessary 😊.

As for the beef saloona (Arabic term for sauce), it is best when the sauce is a bit thick. As there is no thickening agent in the recipe, you are right in thinking that the onions, tomatoes, tomato paste and the right amount of water are the team that can deliver your choice of thickness in the sauce. Did you say the stirring as well? You are right and that’s no stir.

Enjoy!

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