Last Friday we had our first fundraising event for the #CookforSyria campaign to raise money for UNICEF to support their humanitarian efforts for Syria's children. It was a great event where we each researched and cooked Syrian food to celebrate their food and culture.
Prior to the event I had a conversation with a lady I now call my friend. I came to know her (she does not want to be named) when she came to work in my team about five years ago through a refugee career placement program. She has fled her home twice. Once from Armenia, and then the second time from Syria then onto Australia with her husband and two sons. She had fled 'home' twice to seek safety, security and opportunity with her family. I have never met a person more determined to make use of all the opportunities that we around her. Determined, hard working, stepping forward to do hard things, proving herself all so that she can create her own place of safety for her family, do what she was originally trained to do and provide opportunities for sons.
She now has a permanent role, saving for her own home and her sons now have almost completed their university studies. There is now a sense of security, and happiness that her hard work is paying off but the determination is still there. We talked for some time about her life and how her some of her family is that are still in Syria are still struggling to provide for their basic needs daily. This is a seven year war that has no end as she sees it.
She is a cook with all of her recipes in her head with no need for cookbooks but there is one thing I wanted to ask her....
What dish does she make now that reminds her of home and happiness? It is Kubba with Chickpeas. She remembers being 10-12 years old in Armenia coming home from school and her mother making this dish and the smell and remembering how happy she was. There are different variations of this dish with meat but this is hers.
Kubba with Chickpeas
1-2 cups of chickpeas
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup fine crushed bulgur
1/2 cup flour
Heat the oil in a medium pan and fry chickpeas and onions and garlic until onions are soft. Add tomato paste and cook for a further 1-2 mins and add small amount of water to thin the sauce.
Combined bulgur and flour and add water until you get a soft dough and season with salt and pepper. Shape into small teaspoon size balls.
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and add balls and cook until they rise to the top.
Place balls in a serving dish and pour sauce over the balls and serve with lemon and mint.