Easy Qalayet Bandura

Qalayet Bandura, Arabic for ‘pan-fried tomatoes’, is a traditional and popular vegetarian dish from Palestine.

Qalayet Bandura, Arabic for ‘pan-fried tomatoes’, is a traditional and popular vegetarian dish from Palestine. Originally a food of native villagers and farmers (fellaheen), it is a quick, simple and delicious olive oil and tomato stew that requires few ingredients, making it an ideal dish for peasants to prepare over a wood fire while working in the fields. Traditionally, they used ingredients they grew themselves to prepare meals. Due to their easy and abundant growth, high nutritional value and ability to enhance the flavour profile of any dish.

Thanks to the simplicity of the dish and the perfect balance of tangy, savoury and spicy notes, combined with rich olive oil, fresh tomatoes, fragrant onions and garlic, and the subtle heat of the chilli, Qalayet Bandura became a classic in Palestinian cuisine – and beyond. Throughout the Middle East, you will find regional variations in the name of the dish and the recipe. These include the addition of beef, lamb, or other vegetables. In Morocco, the dish is prepared with poached eggs in the stew and is known as ‘shakshuka’.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)
– 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
– 5-6 medium sized tomatoes, cubed
– 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
– 4 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 hot green chilli pepper, kept whole
– Salt and black pepper to taste
– Mint leaves or basil leaves, finely chopped (optional)

Directions:

1. Take a medium frying pan, place it on the stove over medium heat and add the olive oil.

2. Once the olive oil begins to simmer, add the onions. Fry over medium heat until they are soft and translucent (3-4 minutes).

3. Add the garlic, fry for 1 min and then add the hot green pepper and the tomatoes.

4. Season with salt and pepper and stir.

5. Let it come to a boil and cover.

6. Cook over medium to low heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are tender and the stew thickens (about 10-15 minutes).

7. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving dish.

8. Garnish with mint leaves or basil.

Serving suggestion
Serve for breakfast alongside other traditional Palestinian classics such as homemade hummus, labneh (yogurt), olive oil and za’atar (thyme) with fresh taboon bread (flatbread) and hot mint tea.

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