As we layered in the fresh tomatoes, followed by the cooked chicken, cauliflower and eggplant, and topped with soaked rice seasoned by turmeric and salt, I was excited to see how our ma’aloubeh would turn out.
Meanwhile, I helped chop tomatoes and cucumber to add to our farmer’s salad, and was led outside by the head chef with an eggplant to roast on the barbecue in preparation for our baba ghanouj.
Learning about a cultures food is such an important part of travel, and when visiting Amman in Jordan, I had the opportunity visit Beit Sitti for an afternoon cooking class.
Beit Sitti was established in 2010 by three sisters who wanted to keep their grandmothers legacy and recipes alive. The cook and dine experience is situated in their grandmother’s house in one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Amman. The house has been decorated with colour, family photos and their grandmother’s memorabilia.
On the menu the day I was visiting was:
(Note: Click the title of each of the below for the recipe)
Farmer’s Salad: A yummy fresh salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, parsley and mint, and topped with lemon juice, olive oil, sumac, and pomegranate molasses.
Baba Ghanouj: A classic dip made with cooked eggplant, and finely chopped onions, tomatoes, green peppers, olive oil and lemon juice.
Ma’aloubeh: A simple and yummy rice dish made by lining a pot with tomato, and layering chicken, eggplant, cauliflower and rice which has been seasoned with turmeric.
Osmaliyeh: For dessert we made Osmaliyeh, which is a shredded dough covered with ghee, and filled with milk, sugar, starch and a bit of orange blossom water.
The whole cooking experience is extremely organized. The teachers consisted of a local lady who was the “chef” and another local who articulated in English the instructions. Each participant (there was about eight of us) was given a cutting board, knife, and apron and we were each given different duties from cutting up vegetables, to helping layer the vegetables for the ma’aloubeh, or peel the roasted eggplants for our baba ghanouj.
The experience only took a few hours, and when our dishes were complete, we sat down around the colourful table like one big family and stuffed our faces with all our delicious rewards. I absolutely loved everything about my afternoon at Beit Sitti, from the beautiful home that it took place in, to the friendly staff, organized kitchen, and of course, the delicious, authentic meal. If you are ever in Jordan’s capital, Amman, I highly recommend that you reserve a spot to learn more about the Jordanian food and culture at Beit Sitti.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary trip with Bestway Tours & Safaris, in conjunction with Visit Jordan and Royal Jordanian which included this culinary experience at Beit Sitti, but all opinions on my experience above are my own.