Matbucha, the spicy North African dip, is a major hit in Israel
Sephardi Jews are responsible for bringing matbucha (also spelled “Matbukha”) to Israel and it has become one of the most popular dips in the country! Found on lunch, dinner, Shabbat tables or inside of a falafel/shawarma in pita, it’s a salad we just can’t go without.
All around the Mediterranean, meals are started with a variety of delicious cold and sometimes warm salads. Matbucha is one of the favorites and in Israel, that’s no surprise. Spicy and packed with flavor, a good matbucha can go within minutes and have the table asking for refills. Brought to Israel and popularized mainly by Jewish refugees from North Africa, the “cooked salad” has become mainstream and restaurants are even judged by it. Our matbucha recipe here is simplified for ease (as it does take a bit of cooking), however whether or not you opt for fresh tomatoes or used the canned version found here, it’s guaranteed to fit the bill for any authentic Israeli meal.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooks in: 1 hour 15 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour 30 minutes
- 1 15 ounce can tomatoes
- 6 red peppers (bell peppers)
- 1 red Chile (2 for extra spicy!)
- 1 spicy green pepper (optional)
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
- 4-5 tablespoons canola oil
- Cut up peppers and chiles, remove seeds and drain your tomatoes
- Heat a large pan on your stovetop with your oil on low-medium heat and when warm, add peppers with a dash of salt
- After 30-40 minutes (or when your peppers collapse, mix in your chiles (again, the more peppers = the spicier so be careful!) and simmer for a further 10 minutes
- Stir in your garlic and cumin seeds and simmer for another couple minutes maintaining low-medium heat on your stovetop
- Add your can of tomatoes, strained, into the large pan and stir well
- Simmer for a further 30 minutes until the mixture becomes dark red
- Add salt and paprika to taste and let sit on the stovetop for another 5-10 minutes
*The key to this dish is slow and steady simmering
Amazing matbucha can be eaten straight up, however it is traditionally served with Challah (on Shabbat) or with pita bread. You can dip it, or put it in a pita with other salads and Shawarma or Falafel.
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