There are hundreds of cuisines in the world, but nothing matches the simplicity and diversity of Middle Eastern cuisine.
We are saying this because we have seen everyone snacking on cucumbers, carrots, and hummus. Their food is easy to make and fills the mouth with flavor. It has a great blend of herbs, spices, and flavors, so everyone has fallen in love with this dish. If you want to know about this finger-licking dish, we are sharing the details!
What is Masalwseen?
This is a traditional dish from the Middle East. This is a vegetable and meat stew that’s loaded with complex flavors. It is extremely popular in Lebanon, Syria, Iran, and Iraq. The word comes from an Arabic word, “maslakh.” It means roasted or cooked. The stew is slowly simmered to extract the flavors (yes, that’s how it gets the amazing aroma). Also, it’s a comforting bowl on cold winter nights.
Many people confuse Masalwseen with different types of stews. However, many things set it apart from our regular stews, such as;
It has an extremely signature flavor that comes with warm spices. The chefs use a combination of spices, such as allspice, cumin, nutmeg, coriander, pepper, and cinnamon. All these spices help create a bittersweet and earthy flavor.
Long Cooking Time
Many people wonder how this stew is so flavorful. So, the secret is long cooking times. The vegetables and meat are cooked at low flame for a long time. In most cases, everything is left to cook for over five to six hours. This helps extract flavors from every ingredient, so the flavor is stronger. Also, the meat becomes tender, and vegetables get mixed up properly.
When it is properly cooked, it becomes a rich and thick gravy. It’s different from other stews because you don’t get the soup-like consistency. The texture becomes thick naturally because vegetables release starch during the cooking process.
Combination of Veggies & Meat
The meat includes beef or lamb. As far as the veggies are concerned, you can add tomatoes, eggplants, onions, potatoes, okra, and zucchini. In addition, the chickpeas are added to thicken the texture. All these ingredients create a hearty meal.
Hundreds of years ago, the Arab traders who introduced exotic spices from Asia into what is now Syria and Lebanon laid the groundwork for Masalwseen. Ancient cooks utilized these robust spices for more than just flavoring; cumin was believed to improve digestion, and coriander to alleviate respiratory ailments.
These fragrant herbs were gradually mixed with various meats, grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables to become the popular dishes that we know and love today.
When it comes down to discussing some dishes, you cannot ignore the recipe, right? For this reason, we are sharing everything you need to know about making Masalwseen from scratch. However, before we start sharing these details, remember that you need time and patience. If you are ready, we have the ingredients and instructions mentioned below!
- 2 minced medium-sized onions
- 2 cloves of minced garlic
- 2.25 teaspoons of cumin
- 1.5 teaspoons of cinnamon
- 50% allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon of cilantro
- Add 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg.
- 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 2 chopped medium zucchini
- 6 little potatoes, cleaned, cut in quarters
- Whole, peeled tomatoes, one 28-oz can
- A cup of beef stock
- 15 ounces of drained chickpeas from a can
- chopped parsley
We recommend that you collect all the ingredients in one place before you start the cooking process. It will save you a lot of hassle. So, if you have the ingredients set up on the kitchen counter, follow these steps;
- Once the beef cubes are dry, sprinkle them with a little salt. Over medium-high heat, heat the oil in a Dutch oven. Brown the meat on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, working in batches if necessary. Place the browned meat on a serving platter.
- Lower the heat to medium-low. Sauté the garlic and onions for 2 minutes or until they begin to smell fragrant. To avoid flavors from burning, add spices and stir constantly for 30 seconds.
- Put the meat back in the pot and stir in the potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes (and their juice), beef stock, and chickpeas. Heat till simmering.
- Cover the pot partially, tilting the lid to create a space. Bring to a simmer and cook for two or three hours or until meat and veggies are soft to the touch. Add salt according to your taste.
- Over rice or warm pita bread, serve it with chopped parsley as a garnish. Tender beef and veggies simmer in a fragrant Middle Eastern stew. Savor the rich flavors.
When you are preparing this stew, you need the right spices to achieve the signature flavor. Many people use the substitutes, but we want to add that they can change the flavor. So, in this section, we are sharing some of the must-have spices that you need.
Incorporating an earthy tone that complements other flavors, such as those produced with tomatoes or cilantro, cumin is an essential component of any recipe, whether it’s meat-based or vegetarian.
Coriander & Turmeric
While cloves impart heat and coriander sweetness, turmeric not only imparts color and flavor but also functions as an anti-inflammatory agent, explaining its widespread application in medicinal preparations.
Ginger & Garlic
Both ginger and garlic are essential when making savory foods since they impart heat and powerful, pungent flavors, respectively.
Just like cinnamon and nutmeg add nuanced nuances without dominating other ingredients or any particular taste bud experience, cardamom adds depth to every dish.
Lemon or Lime Juice
The last ingredient is lime or lemon juice, which adds brightness to any dish and helps to hold all the tasty ingredients together.
Benefits of Eating Masalwseen
Many people think that the benefits of this Middle Eastern stew are limited to its flavor. However, that’s not all because there are physical health benefits as well. It’s a great addition to a healthy diet for many reasons. Nonetheless, we believe they are particularly excellent for healthy eating due to five key characteristics!
1. Controlling One’s Weight
Eating this as weight loss advice may sound unconventional, but the science supports it. People who don’t eat it are more likely to be overweight or obese, according to one research. Even waist size and body mass index (BMI) were linked to how often they ate stew. According to additional studies conducted by Penn State University, eating soup before a meal can reduce calorie consumption by 20%!
2. High-Quality Food
The total fat consumption of stew eaters is lower when compared to those who adhere to healthy eating norms. In addition, they consume more nutrients, including protein and dietary fiber, than the average person. While watching salt consumption is important, stew eaters are more likely to eat healthily overall.
3. Better Heart Condition
Regular eaters of Masalwseen had lower heart rates, according to a study of middle-aged and older persons. Triglyceride levels have dropped significantly, and other studies have revealed encouraging benefits to blood health as well. It’s made from vegetables, especially those high in phytochemicals and fiber, have medicinal and functional uses.
4. Gastrointestinal System Health
Several diseases have been found to have a function by eating this stew. For instance, it has helped people get rid of GERD as well as gastrointestinal cancer. Moreover, people with eating disorders are more likely to enjoy this stew as it’s rather convenient to eat.
5. Extremely Flexible
It can be easily adapted to suit dietary restrictions, personal tastes, and dietary sensitivities. Because of this, it is perfect for satisfying visitors or children who are finicky eaters. Research has shown that alterations can sometimes improve the nutritional content. Making a few adjustments can even improve the nutritional value compared to what’s available locally. If you would like some ideas, below are some;
- Meats: Beef, lamb, chicken, or a mix of the three.
- Vegetables: A variety including onion, zucchini, eggplant, okra, potatoes, tomatoes, chickpeas, pumpkin, peas, and green beans.
- Spices: Adjust the cinnamon, pepper, cumin, coriander, allspice, and nutmeg quantities.
- Sweet toppings: mint, pistachios, raisins, and plain yogurt.
What’s The Reason behind Its Popularity?
Although it has its roots in the Middle East, its tasty stew has gained popularity all across the globe. Its rich flavor and diverse smells make it a popular choice. Many Middle Eastern eateries in North America and Europe now serve this stew. When visiting nations like Iran, Iraq, and Syria, travelers who are interested in local food often seek out authentic renditions. There are many reasons behind its popularity, but some of them include;
Higher Immigration Rate
As the Middle East sees a surge in immigration, traditional delicacies like Masalwseen are making a triumphant return. Restaurants serving the cuisine of the immigrants’ home countries are common.
Advertised as One-Pot Meals
Masalwseen and other Middle Eastern dishes have been featured in the media as easy, tasty one-pot dinners. This piques the curiosity of home chefs.
Spice blends that share ingredients with this stew, such as ras el hanout, baharat, and advieh, are becoming increasingly popular. This stew becomes more palatable with these mixes.
Compared to other comfort foods, this stew is better for you. This is because it is packed with protein, fiber, and nutrients from beef, chickpeas, and veggies. Many dietary demands can be met by its versatile character and abundance of veggies.
As the popularity of this traditional Middle Eastern stew grows globally, you can find Masalwseen on menus and in home kitchens from Sydney to San Francisco. Its multi-layered flavors never cease to amaze and delight diners all around the world.
Mistakes to Avoid While Making Masalwseen
Now that you all about this recipe, you must be getting ready to try it out, right?
While we want you to go ahead, there are some additional points that you’ve to remember while making this delicious stew. In particular, we are sharing some mistakes that beginners make, so you don’t do them.
Choosing the Wrong Meat Cut
Just meat, isn’t it? Not! Instead of using lean, more costly cuts of meat in a stew, use rougher, cheaper cuts. Lean cuts, like sirloin, become rough and chewy from the lengthy, slow cooking process, whereas tougher cuts, like chuck, break down and become incredibly tender. Having said that, chuck meat is your best bet when making Masalwseen. This cut yields juicy, flavorful bits as it cooks because it breaks down so well. The fact that chuck beef is inexpensive is a bonus!
Not Searing the Meat
Do not, under any circumstances, assume that Masalwseen will taste the same from just adding raw meat to broth. Also, browning the cubes thoroughly isn’t enough. To achieve the perfect Masalwseen, searing the meat is a must. The deep, rich flavor of the stew begins to develop at this point.
The meat must be seared. Brown it a little bit more. Put the beef cubes in a heated skillet and sear them on one side until a brown crust forms; flip them over and sear them on the other side. You’ll end up with stew that’s much tastier because of how timely it is.
Putting the Veggies In Too Quickly
Adding vegetables to the saucepan at the same time as meat is unnecessary because vegetables cook much more quickly. If you throw them in too soon, the vegetables will become mushy and taste terrible. Layer in some veggies midway through cooking. Peas and other fragile vegetables should not be added to the stew until just before it is removed from the heat.
The Bottom Line
In the end, making Masalwseen is extremely delicious. In addition, eating it will take you back to the times when flavors were robust. We don’t mind saying that it’s a good option for people with a diverse flavor palette. So, will you try this out?
Can I change the amount of spice in this recipe to suit my taste?
One can get a wide range of heat levels by adjusting the spice and chili powder proportions in a dish.
Does Masalwseen have any spice or heat?
Depending on the amount of spice used, Masalwseen can have a mild to moderate level of heat.
What beverage goes well with Masalwseen?
Masalwseen complements a variety of juices, including white wine, minty lemonade, and cold yogurt.
What makes Masalwseen a delicacy in the Middle East?
This dish has come to represent Middle Eastern cuisine because of its characteristic use of spices, herbs, and cooking techniques.
Is Masalwseen available in any vegan varieties?
Vegan Masalwseen recipes are available. Instead of beef, these meals feature veggies or tofu.