Saltah is a traditional Yemeni dish known for its bold and distinctive flavors. This hearty and aromatic stew showcases the essence of Yemeni cuisine, combining tender meat, vegetables, and a flavorful sauce. In this article, we will guide you through an authentic Saltah recipe, allowing you to experience the unique taste and cultural heritage of Yemeni cooking.
For the base:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Salt to taste
For the stew:
500 grams lamb or beef, cut into cubes
2 cups water or beef broth
1 large potato, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced (optional for extra heat)
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
For the garnish:
2 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
1 teaspoon ground fenugreek (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Step 1: Prepare the base
Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic, sautéing until they turn golden brown. Stir in the diced tomatoes and tomato paste, cooking for a few minutes until the tomatoes soften. Add the ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric, ground black pepper, and salt. Stir well to combine the spices with the base.
Step 2: Cook the meat and vegetables
Add the cubed meat to the pot and brown it on all sides. Pour in the water or beef broth, ensuring it covers the meat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 1 to 2 hours, or until the meat becomes tender. Skim off any foam or impurities that rise to the surface.
Step 3: Add the vegetables
Add the potato chunks, carrot chunks, bell pepper slices, and jalapeno pepper (if using) to the pot. Continue simmering for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked and tender.
Step 4: Prepare the garnish
In a small saucepan, melt the ghee or clarified butter over low heat. Stir in the ground fenugreek (if using), ground cumin, ground coriander, and ground black pepper. Cook the mixture for a minute or two until the spices become fragrant.
Step 5: Serve and enjoy
To serve Saltah, ladle the stew into individual serving bowls. Drizzle the prepared garnish over the top, allowing the flavors to infuse into the stew. Sprinkle fresh cilantro on each serving for a vibrant touch. Serve Saltah alongside Yemeni flatbread or rice and enjoy the enticing blend of flavors and textures.
Optional: Customization and Variations
Feel free to add other vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant, or green beans to personalize your Saltah. For a vegetarian version, replace the meat with plant-based protein sources like chickpeas or lentils.
With this authentic Saltah recipe, you can embark on a culinary adventure to Yemen and savor the robust and aromatic flavors of Yemeni cuisine. Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of this traditional dish, where every spoonful takes you on a journey through the vibrant flavors and spices of Yemen.