Food as the path to peace?

I found myself with a lot of extra parsley after making Lebanese Tabbouleh, so the timing was right when I ran across this Kubideh recipe. I had a large bag of parsley in the fridge; of course I would try out an interesting recipe that called for parsley.

Even more interesting than the recipe itself is the Pittsburgh restaurant that shared the recipe: Conflict Kitchen. I first read about it, and got the recipe from, Relish Magazine.

Conflict Kitchen is a take-out restaurant that only serves cuisine from countries that the United States is in conflict with. The food is served out of a take-out style storefront, which will rotate identities every four months to highlight another country. Each Conflict Kitchen iteration is augmented by events, performances, and discussion about the culture, politics, and issues at stake with each country we focus on. source

Very interesting, right? Food provides a non-threatening introduction to another culture. Maybe the dialogue that follows the food will help lead to a greater understanding among different cultures.

This Kubideh recipe comes from the first version of the Conflict Kitchen, which was Iranian take-out. It was suggested to serve the kubideh with naan.

(recipe as written in Relish Magazine – I cut it in half)

2 pounds ground sirloin
2 eggs
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
8 naan breads or pita pockets
Basil leaves
Mint leaves
Sliced onion

1. Preheat oven to 300 F

2. Combine meat, eggs, parsley, onion, salt, turmeric, cinnamon, pepper and baking powder in a large bowl. Mix well.

3. With wet hands, roll 1/8 of mixture into a ball the size of your palm. Flatten to the length of your hand. Using your fingers, press dimples into the surface of one side. Repeat with remaining meat mixture.

4. Cook over medium-high heat on a grill pan, 4 minutes on each side.

5. Place naan on baking sheets. Heat in oven about 5 minutes, until warm. Place cooked meat on naan. Add 3 leaves of basil, 3 leaves of mint and 2 small slices of onion. Fold naan over toppings. Serves 8.
(I skipped this step since I was making the naan at the same time. It was already nice and hot.)


1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup butter, melted

1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead 6-8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let rise one hour until the dough has doubled in size.

2. Punch down dough. Pinch off handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

3. During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat. (I used the griddle.) At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill and cook for two to three minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with melted butter, and cook until browned, another two to four minutes. Remove from grill and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.

Melissa’s Notes:

Make this when you have plenty of time, unless you are buying your naan or pita pockets. It’s a long process when you have to let your dough rise.

My son liked the meat patties. He also liked a Morroccan recipe that we have tried in the past. What an open-minded little guy! 😉 My daughter wasn’t so happy with the meat, but then again, she isn’t as big a meat eater as her brother in general. They both liked the naan.

We had more Tabbouleh with the Kubideh.

Do you enjoy trying foods from different countries? Have you heard of Conflict Kitchen?


2 thoughts on “Food as the path to peace?

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