When I invite friends over for dinner, I often think long and hard about what to cook. In the end, it usually ends up being a big mezze with all kinds of delicious specialities from the Levant. Hummus, falafel, labneh and baba ghanoush have won over every one of my guests so far. These delicacies have become “old acquaintances” on the plates. Matbucha is often a different story. “A salsa?” is what I often hear. Yes, matbucha is a tomato salsa with a hint of mint.
Matbucha is more than just a tomato salsa
By the way, matbucha means “cooked” in Arabic. Simple, isn’t it? And the preparation is just as simple as the name suggests. You only need a few fruity tomatoes, garlic, onions, some harissa and dried mint. Oh yes – and of course a whole lot of the best olive oil. The whole thing is then simply simmered for half an hour and is then ready for dipping.
But matbucha isn’t just great for dipping. You can use the delicious tomato-mint salsa to refine or expand many other familiar dishes. For example, you can give a bowl of hummus a matbucha swirl and you’ve created a new dip right away. If you like, you can also use the tomato salsa as a base for a delicious shakshuka or serve it with kafta. What I have also done is to use matbucha as a pasta sauce. It was delicious!
As you can see, matbucha is super easy and versatile. Be creative and use the vegan tomato and mint salsa however you like. If you don’t like mint, you can of course leave it out. But with mint, it’s our family recipe and gives the salsa that extra something.
Recipe for Matbucha
- Dice the tomatoes.
- Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic.
- Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan or deep frying pan and sauté the onions and garlic for approx. 5 – 7 minutes on medium heat.
- Add the tomatoes and harissa/chilli and reduce on a medium heat for approx. 25 minutes.
- After about 15 minutes, add the mint and season with salt.
Want to know more about the cuisine of the Levant? Then take a look at the guide.