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Is the world ready for this Palestinian dish?

Due to qizha’s richly dark look and sharp taste, people either love it – or hate it. But once you get past the shock of the first bite, it’s ‘an addictive experience’ for many.

Palestinian cuisine is having a moment. There’s a wave of new cookbooks, such as Zaitoun: Recipes and Stories from the Palestinian Kitchen by Yasmin Khan and Joudie Kalla’s Baladi: A Celebration of Food from Land and Sea, documenting the diversity of flavours and techniques. Palestinian foodies on Instagram are going back to their roots, collecting lost and marginalised recipes, and holding pop-up dinners and food tours. And upscale restaurants are bringing a taste of the Palestinian plate to a wider clientele around the world, as detailed by Eater.

But food businessman Ala Tamam doesn't think the world is quite ready yet for his favourite Palestinian gem: qizha, also pronounced with a silent ‘q’ as izha, a richly bitter and pungent shiny black paste of roasted nigella seeds with just a hint of sweet creaminess that surprises all the senses.

Tamam, who is from the Palestinian city of Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, has been making tahini (or tahina as it’s called in Arabic) a sesame-seed paste, along with qizha in his family’s factory since childhood. Now he can’t live without it. He also knows that due to qizha’s richly dark look and sharp taste, people either love it – or hate it.

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Tags: #food, #palestine
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