Food and some Fun Competition!

Palestinians love to eat! As does every culture and some well know traditional Palestinian favorites are shawarmas and falafel.

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Shawarmas are an Arab meat prepared dish, where lamb, chicken,turkey, beef, veal, carabeef, or mixed meats are placed on a spit (commonly a vertical spit in restaurants), and may be grilled for as long as a day. Shavings are cut off the block of meat for serving, and the remainder of the block of meat is kept heated on the rotating spit. Shawarma can be served on a plate (generally with accompaniments), or as a sandwich or wrap. Wraps are the most common form of Shawerma.

Shawarma is an Arabic term that means ‘turning’, in reference to the rotisserie-cooked nature of the meat, which “turns” around an axis. They are generally wrapped in pita bread and filled with yummy additions; including pickles, fried potatoes, and garlic sauce.

Falafel Image Credit “Choices in St. Louis”

Falafels are also another Palestinian favorite. It is a deep fried ball or patty that is made from chickpeas and spices. It is a vegetarian food and is one of the most widely consumed and recognized foods of the Middle East.

Falafel is very popular in the Middle East as a fast food. Vendors sell it on the street corners is most popular in countries like Palestine, Egypt and Syria. It is regarded as a “fast food” and sold like hot dogs by street vendors. Falafel is also the national dish of Palestine.

How could we not incorporate this traditional dish into a tasty, but fun competition?! Of course if had to be done! Here is a little friendly falafel eating competition from this year’s festival.

Shout out to Nasser El Haj for chowing down 8 full falafels! Way to go!

Qoosa mahshi is also another traditional Palestinian dish, that takes hours to prepare and only minutes to devour. Qoosa mahshi is stuffed zucchini. You begin by ‘efharing’ the qoosa, or hollowing out the qoosa using a qoosa corer. You then stuff it with a rice, ground meat, and spice mixture and then bake it. SO delicious!

One of the challenges of ‘efharing’ qoosa (hollowing it out), is not breaking through the zucchini! Most new brides have horror stories to tell on their first experience efharing qoosa. Break through the zucchini, your mixture won’t stay, and your dish is sure to be ruined! Palestinian women take pride in their ability to core and cook a good qoosa dish.

So how about we have a little bit of fun with a qoosa efharing competition! Ladies and gentlemen, lets see who can best core the zucchini!

Shout out to Nora Al-Titi for winning this year’s qoosa efharing competition!

Join us next year to become king or queen of the falafel and qoosa efharing competitions!


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