ALRIGHT, Latin Americans have Salsa nights but Yemenis have SALTA nights. The ONLY thing they have in common is that they are both HOT! This dish is made in a dish made of STONE called MADRA or HARADHA–yes stone and it is stove-top and oven safe and it stays hot for a long time during COLD Sanaa nights. It literally keeps whatever is in it hot–if not boiling– for quite some time as well. According to my knowledge you can ONLY buy them in the Old City of Sanaa in Yemen. But if you can’t find one–or don’t have a yemeni friend to get you one you can use a stove-top safe stone dish as well, if you can find one.
First make the Hulba (fenugreek) –here is how:
You will need ground fenugreek for this recipe. Be careful one tblsp of ground fenugreek goes a long way. For this you will need 1/2 tsp of ground fenugreek, which you will soak for about 2 hours or so.
Then throw away the water and take the fenugreek paste (yes it has turned into a paste like mixture) and place in a liquidizer. Add 1/2 of a small tomato (preferably still a little hard–not ripe and mushy), a clove of garlic,1 tblsp of cilantro chopped, 1/4 green chilly (or less if you like), juice of 1/2 lemon, salt to taste.
Keep this aside.
Now for the Salta.Usually these dish is made with leftover TABEEKH (lamb or beef stew), rice, meat etc. SO if you have leftovers then this is the way to make it (I will have the method from scratch as well insha Allah as well). This is really a throw together dish, you are merely putting it all together and letting the contents mingle and boil. Nothing to it. As i said, traditionally it is made with leftovers.
Take the stone and place under high heat, then add a little oil (tsp of oil) and crack an egg and cook. Once cooked, then add some of the stew (as desired–depending on how many will be eating–so eyeball it) let it cook with the egg. Add the meat–can be ANY meat, either ground or small stew pieces. Add about 1 tblsp of the leftover rice and let boil as well. Then add the Hulba (fenugreek) let cook until it starts to bubble. Serve hot with bread. Usually the bread that this is served with is called Malooj and it looks like Iraqi Tanoor bread. But you can eat it with pita as well.
Now for the Salta from scratch you will need the Hulba (fenugreek) see above, and the following:
1) 1/4 pound of veal or lamb–as you desire. I find the veal tastier
2) a quarter of a green bell pepper, cut into cubes.
3) an egg OPTIONAL
4) 1 tbls of cooked rice–i just boil it in salted water, run it through a sieve and keep it aside.
5) a small onion
6) a quarter of green chilly pepper (cut into small pieces) OPTIONAL
7) clove of garlic minced
spices–i have a mixture of cumin, coriander, black pepper, cardamon, and cinnamon all mixed together. I use that for this dish. You can use any mixed spices you like
9) a small tomato diced
10) a tblsp of oil
11) tsp of tomato paste
12) tbslp of cilantro finely chopped.
14) OPTIONAL red chilly sauce (i make my own from dried chilly peppers, that i soak, blend and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator)
First let the Veal or whatever meat you are using BOIL–until cooked through. If you perfer to use ground beef, then cook it with a little oil, onions and spices. Should be dry and NOT SAUCY.
So to start place the MADRA (stone dish) on high heat, when it is hot add the oil and the onions until golden brown. Add the green chilly peppers, bell peppers and garlic. Let them sautee for about a minute. Then add the red chilly sauce [or you can use red chilly powder], and the tomatoes and sautee some more. Then add the meat, spices and cilantro. Let the flavors get to know each other–in other words let them SAUTEE.
Then add the egg and let that cook in as well. Add the cooked rice and add about 1/2 cup of water to the mixture and let boil for about 2 minutes. Then add the tomato paste and let it thicken. Once it has thickened, as desired, then add the hulba (fenugreek) and watch it boil. That part is sooooooooooooo fascinating to me.
Serve BOILING hot with bread.