Sumaqiyya (Gazan Stew)

Rawhiyah Eltayeb

1½ hours

Serves 6-10

A plate of thick Gazan stew
Sumaqiyya. Photo by Matan Choufan.

This veal shoulder and lamb stew with sumac and dill seeds is a Palestinian dish from Gaza. Chef Rawhiyah Eltayeb, who previously called Jaffa home, says she first encountered the dish when “girls from Gaza who married men from Jaffa would cook and share this dish with neighbors in order to make a connection and as proof that they could cook.” According to Ruhiya, the dish is usually served at parties, mostly weddings, usually among families who cannot afford to serve whole lamb or large chunks of meat.

Traditionally, this recipe is made using red tahini made from slow roasted sesame seeds. As it is very difficult to source in Israel and overseas, the recipe can also be prepared using regular raw tahini.


  • 2.2 lb / 1 kg lamb shoulder and/or veal shoulder, cut into 1/2-in / 1-cm cubes 
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • ½ cup / 120ml olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups chickpeas, soaked overnight, cooked until soft, and drained 
  • 3 bundles chard leaves without the stems, thinly sliced
  • 1.7 oz / 50 grams freshly ground sumac
  • 2 tablespoons Ein Jarada (dill seeds)
  • 1 garlic head, separated into cloves and peeled 
  • 1 hot green chili pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup / 140 grams flour
  • ½ cup raw tahini
  • To serve:
  • Chopped parsley
  • Olive oil


  1. Place a pot over a high heat, add the diced meat, onion, olive oil and ½ cup water and bring to a boil. Skim any froth that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat and cook until all the water evaporates and the meat is lightly browned. Add 1 liter / 1 qt of water, cover and cook until the meat softens, about 1 hour.
  2. Add the coriander seeds, black pepper, allspice, cumin and chickpeas, reduce to a low heat and stir for 1 minute. Set aside 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
  3. Add the chard leaves and stir for 2 minutes, until wilted.
  4. In a separate bowl, pour 3 cups / 720ml boiling water over the sumac and stir for 1 minute. Using a cheesecloth, strain the liquids and add to the stew.
  5. Using a pestle and mortar, mince the dill seeds, peeled garlic cloves, hot chili pepper and 1 teaspoon of salt, to a paste. Add to the stew and mix well.
  6. Beat the flour with the reserved cooking liquid in a bowl to a smooth mixture. Add the mixture into the stew, increase to a medium heat and cook while continuously stirring until the stew thickens. Stir in the raw tahini, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  7. Divide the hot stew into plates, sprinkle the chopped parsley, drizzle a little olive oil and serve.

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