Popular Palestinian cuisine
Mansaf is a traditional meal in the central West Bank and Naqab region in the southern West Bank, having its roots from the Bedouin population of ancient Arabia. It is mostly cooked on occasions such as, during holidays, weddings or a large gathering. Mansaf is cooked as a lamb leg or large pieces of lamb on top of a taboon bread that has usually been smothered with yellow rice. A type of thick and dried cheesecloth yogurt from goat’s milk, called jameed, is poured on top of the lamb and rice to give it its distinct flavor and taste. The dish is also garnished with cooked pine nuts and almonds. The classic form of eating mansaf is using the right hand as a utensil. For politeness, participants in the feast tear pieces of meat to hand to the person next to them
Maqluba, which literally means upside-down in Arabic, is an upside-down rice and baked eggplant casserole mixed with cooked cauliflowers, carrots and chicken or lamb. It dates back to the 13th century.
Musakhan is a common main dish that originated in the Jenin and Tulkarm area in the northern West Bank. It consists of a roasted chicken over a taboon bread that has been topped with pieces of fried sweet onions, sumac, allspice and pine nuts.
Kubbeh made of bulghur, minced onions and ground red meat, usually beef, lamb, or goat. The best known variety is a torpedo-shaped fried croquette stuffed with minced beef or lamb. Other types of kibbeh may be shaped into balls or patties, and baked or cooked in broth.
Waraq al-‘ainib (stuffed grape leaves), is a mahshi(stuffed) meal. The grape leaves are normally wrapped around minced meat, white rice and diced tomatoes, however meat is not always used. Each piece being tightly wrapped, although some families differ in their structure. It is then cooked and served as dozens of rolls on a large plate usually accompanied by boiled potato slices, carrots and lamb pieces. Kousa mahshi are zucchinis stuffed with the same ingredients as waraq al-‘ainib and usually served alongside it.
Labneh is a common breakfast food typically eaten with Arabic flat bread, olive oil and oftentimes mint. It is usually lightly salted and eaten in a fashion similar to Hummus in the region; being spread on a plate with thicker edges and a more shallow center, drizzled in olive oil. It is often served with an assortment of pickled vegetables, olives, Hummus and cheeses as part of a meal. Armenians who historically lived in Palestine have adopted the food as well as the name and mode of consumption. Like the Bedouin Arabs, Palestinians also press and dry strained cheese as a mode of preservation and flavor enhancement.
Tabbouleh is a type of salad made from parsley pieces, bulgur, diced tomatoes, cucumbers and is sautéed with lemon juice and vinegar. In 2006, the largest bowl of tabbouleh in the world was prepared by Palestinian cooks in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Kanafeh, a well-known dessert in the Arab World and Turkey, originated in the city of Nablus in the northern West Bank in the early 15th century. Made of several fine shreds of pastry noodles with honey-sweetened cheese in the center, the top layer of the pastry is usually dyed orange with food coloring and sprinkled with crushed pistachios. Nablus, to the present day is famed for its kanafeh, partly due to its use of a white-brined cheese called Nabulsi after the city. Boiled sugar is used as a syrup for kanafeh.