Spooky cooking, scary movies

main dish


This is my month to host the MENA Cooking Club; I was excited to volunteer for Qatar because it’s one of the only Middle Eastern countries I’ve actually been to, if only for a layover in Doha on our way to Pakistan. Qatar, may I say your airline is amazing, and extremely accommodating to travelers with babies!

I had no idea it would be difficult to find Qatari recipes (it’s just Googling, right?), but the recipes I suggested all got rejected, even those straight from a Qatar-based website! There appears to be a lot of misinformation out there (shocking, I know – something on the internet is wrong). And the recipe they decided to use instead says it’s from the Najd region, which is in Saudi Arabia? So who knows 😉

A little frustrating, but I guess this experience just highlights why Noor’s goal to bring more awareness to Middle Eastern food is valuable. Good job, Noor!

Anyway, I may be a terrible hostess, but I’m a decent cook, and I love to try new ingredients. This time it was black lemon, which are actually dehydrated limes, and I just loved the flavor they imparted to this dish. I often squirt lemon or lime juice at the end to lighten up a heavy curry; this was the same concept only less sharp, more mellow, the sweet tartness cooked right in. I used three because I didn’t know how strong they would be, and I think it came out well (although I would have liked a fourth for an extra-lemony broth).

Margoog is traditionally served either poured over thin flatbread (I love the concept of bread soup, see my Spring Ribollita) or else baked with a dough stretched over the top like a pot pie (edit: I misunderstood, it’s actually thin discs of dough that you drop into the hot pot, and they cook in the liquid like dumplings).

However, I forwent this very important step (blasphemy!) because we’ve just started this low-carb meal plan at home to help my mother-in-law, who is diabetic, get her blood sugar under control. She’s made really good progress, so as much as I would like to make a lovely crust for this fragrant steamy stew (sigh, that sounds like pure comfort food)…I instead added extra vegetables.


Note: this doesn’t include the dough which is a key part of traditional margoog, if you are interested see this recipe for method

  • 2 pounds bone-in goat, cut by butcher into 1 inch pieces
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil
  • To flavor the broth: 2 smashed garlic cloves, 1 stick cinnamon, and 3 black lemons, slit
  • 3-4 shallots, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon kashmiri chili (less spicy, I did this so kids could eat it) or cayenne (more spicy)
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut/broken into florets
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into thick chunks
  • 3 zucchini, cut into thick chunks

Season goat with salt and pepper. In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil and brown the goat on both sides, in two batches, removing the first batch to a plate. When they are all browned, deglaze the pot with a little water, then add the rest of the goat back in, plus garlic, cinnamon and black lemons, and water to just cover. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, covered, for an hour to an hour and a half, until goat is very tender, adding more water when necessary.

Meanwhile, in another cooking vessel (I used a wok), heat another three tablespoons olive oil. Saute shallots until very golden, being careful not to burn. Add garlic and stir for a minute or two, then add tomatoes, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and kashmiri chili. Cook until tomatoes are broken down, thick and jammy, and most of the liquid has evaporated.

Combine the goat and tomato mixtures in whichever pot is bigger so you have room for all the veggies (I put the goat into my wok). Add cauliflower and carrot and mix well, adding water so they are not quite covered. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes, then add zucchini and cook, covered, 10 more minutes, until all veggies are tender. Simmer uncovered for about 10 more minutes, until stew has thickened up a little (but still a little brothy).

Garnish with a little chopped mint (optional) and and serve hot!

This was lovely, but I am wickedly looking forward to pouring leftovers over naan at my desk lunch tomorrow.

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