Jul 02

Cheap Syrian refugee style dinner

Reading Time: 2 mins

Doesn’t sound very appetising, does it? I’ve been challenged to cook a meal for friends with just a few ingredients (chickpeas, lentils, salt and rice – see photo) which are the staple foods many displaced Syrians are living on at the moment. Obviously, I am adding a few ingredients, and asking my guests for a donation – to be sent to

Millions of Syrians are facing their 5th year of civil war, and some 10.8 million of them are living in makeshift tents. Many rely on the food parcels sent by Human Appeal, and other aid agencies. Host your own dinner – and spread the message on twitter using the hashtag #shareameal.

Hoummous, Photo: Sarah Lockett

Hoummous, Photo: Sarah Lockett

Fortunately chickpeas, lentils and rice are cheap, so this fits in with the moneymagpie ethos. I am going to add some more protein though, probably roasted chicken thighs, or maybe a roasted salmon fillet. The chickpeas will be made into homemade hummous, with tahini and garlic. The rice will be boiled and buttered (a wicked addition of calories, but heavenly), and the red lentils will form a starter soup – originally a Weight Watchers recipe and never bettered! The husband has even said the WW recipe is dinner party material, and doesn’t taste “diety” at all. The Tabasco is the secret.

I’ll be doing a luscious salad, rich with herbs, olive oil, Pomegranate essence dressing (very middle eastern), ripe tomatoes, peeled cucumber, mixed baby leaves and finely chopped red onions. And I’ll serve my homemade Chill Jam on the side – see recipe here. Plus a massive chocolate fudge cake for afters, which the Syrian refugees almost certainly won’t have, but i want to encourage my guests to go away full and happy – and willing to DONATE!

Recipe: Homemade Hummous

Ingredients: (serves 4-6)

400g/7oz canned chickpeas

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp ground cumin

Salt to taste

100ml/3½fl oz tahini

4 tbsp water

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp paprika

Method: Blend everything – except the last 2 ingredients – together in a liquidiser/food processor. Transfer to a pretty bowl and drizzle over the olive oil and add a sprinkle of paprika. Serve.


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