Every Aliyah brought a young workforce that helped build the state. Along with them came new cultures, languages, costumes, folklore, and foods from far away places. While many craved a taste of home, few had anyone to cook the familiar dishes for them at home. immigrants craved a taste of home. Workers canteens took on the task, simmering large pots of Kurdish kubbeh and Hungarian goulash over kerosene stoves. Immigrants from Yemen made soups and stews from chicken, beef, offal, and shanks that were served alongside spicy sauces and bread to mop it all up.
In Rehovot, Sharabi restaurant is continuing the tradition. Stop by and you might see construction workers from Abu Ghosh enjoying Yemenite soup and whipped fenugreek, while others enjoying lunch stew — a dish that’s hard to find today. It’s rare that anyone still remembers to make it like they used to.
1 kg (2.2lb) beef lungs, trimmed and cut into small pieces
¼ cup oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
4 bay leaves
½ tablespoon Hawaij spice mix
¾ tablespoon sweet paprika
⅓ tablespoon cumin
¾ tablespoon ground coriander
¼ tablespoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground ginger
- Place the lung pieces in a pot with salted water and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam and scum that rises to the surface. Gently simmer over medium heat for 1 hour. Drain and wash.
- Heat the oil, add the onion and fry over medium heat until golden, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds while stirring. Add the tomato paste and fry for 30 seconds. Pour in ½ cup water and stir to create a thick sauce. Add the bay leaves and stir for 2 minutes.
- Add the lungs and salt, and pour water to cover. Gently simmer, partially covered, for 3 hours. The lungs will absorb the liquids so make sure to add more water if necessary.
- Stir in the spices, taste and taste for salt, adding more if needed. Cook for 2 more hours, partially covered, over low heat. The stew will taste better the following day.
- Serve alongside saluf, hilbeh (whipped fenugreek), and a lemon wedge.