Salata Khadra Mafruma (Basic Minced Green Salad)

Laila El-Haddad and Maggie Schmitt


  • firm tomatoes
  • mini Middle Eastern cucumbers (1/2 peeled hothouse cucumber or other seedless variety may be substituted)
  • 1/2  bunch green onions, rough stems removed
  • yellow or orange bell pepper, seeds and veins removed
  • 1 Cup  finely minced red cabbage
  • red radishes, trimmed of roots
  • 1/2 Cup  packed fresh mint, stems removed
  • 1/2 Cup  packed parsley, thick stems removed
  • green chile peppers, seeds and veins removed
  •   Rind of 1 lemon, finely chopped or zested
  • clove garlic, mashed well in a mortar and pestle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon  freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons  high-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  •   Juice from 2 lemons

This bright and spicy twist on the basic Arabic salad of minced tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions gets its color from red cabbage and orange bell peppers, both of which grow in abundance in Gaza. Middle Eastern cucumbers are sometimes labelled as "Persian" or "Japanese," but any burpless variety will do. In Gaza, the dedication of the cook is revealed by how finely she chops her salad.


Finely mince all of the vegetables into roughly equal-size bits and toss in a bowl. Add the mashed garlic and lemon rind or zest. Just before serving,  season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Toss to combine. Adjust dressing to taste: salad should not be soggy. Serve with rice-based main dishes such as maqluba or qidra, or with stews (tabikh).

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