When we were young, this dish was always present, since it didn’t take too long to make.
I have included two versions here, since you can literally swap the peas for the beans if you like. Ruz wa bazela, how we know it in Palestine, was a childhood favorite of mine and still is. I love the meat-and-rice mixture with the spices and the peas, served with buttered pine nuts. We prefer the peas, but my mama loves the ful (fava beans). Try both and decide which is your favorite.
Lamb and Egyptian Rice With Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Peas/Green Fava Beans
5 tablespoons sunflower oil
200 grams (7 ounces) ground lamb
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 ¼ cups (450 grams / 1 pound) Egyptian or short grain rice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 ¾ cups (650 milliliters) water
1 ½ cups (200 grams / 7 ounces) frozen peas or fava beans
2 tablespoons (30 grams / 1 ounce) butter
½ cup (70 grams / 2 ½ ounces) pine nuts
Yogurt dip, to serve
If using frozen fava beans, boil them in water for 25 minutes and drain.
Heat the oil in a pan, add the ground lamb and cook for 5 minutes to brown. Add the salt, pepper and rice; stir to combine. Add the cinnamon and nutmeg and stir again. Add the water, bring to a boil and add the frozen peas or cooked fava beans. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a separate pan, melt the butter and fry the pine nuts until golden. Keep a close eye on them, since they burn easily. Set aside.
Spoon the rice into serving dishes, add the buttered pine nuts and serve with the yogurt dip on the side.
Reprinted with permission from Baladi Palestine,
Joudie Kalla, 2019, Interlink Books, 978-1-62371-981-4, $35 hb, www.interlinkbooks.com.
has been a chef for over 20 years. She trained at Leiths School of Food and Wine, London, and worked in many prestigious restaurants before going on to run her own successful catering business. She opened a Palestinian deli, Baity Kitchen, in London, from 2010–2013 to much acclaim before turning her sights to writing her first bestselling cookbook Palestine on a Plate
. She runs cooking classes, catering events and pop-up supper clubs, and she consults on food projects.