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巴勒斯坦美食 你准备好享用了吗?

Is the world ready for this Palestinian dish?
巴勒斯坦美食 你准备好享用了吗?

Palestinian cuisine is having a moment. There’s a wave of new cookbooks, such as Zaitoun: Recipes and Stories from the Palestinian Kitchen by Yasmin Khan and Joudie Kalla’s Baladi: A Celebration of Food from Land and Sea, documenting the diversity of flavours and techniques. Palestinian foodies on Instagram are going back to their roots, collecting lost and marginalised recipes, and holding pop-up dinners and food tours. And upscale restaurants are bringing a taste of the Palestinian plate to a wider clientele around the world, as detailed by Eater.

巴勒斯坦美食正风靡一时。市面上涌现出一批新的烹饪书,比如雅思敏·汗(Yasmin Khan)的《巴勒斯坦厨房的食谱和故事》(Zaitoun:Recipes and Stories from the Palestinian Kitchen),及朱迪·卡拉(Joudie Kalla)的《原味:陆海食物集锦》(Baladi: A Celebration of Food from Land and Sea),记载了巴勒斯坦的各种食物风味和烹饪技巧。Instagram 上的巴勒斯坦美食爱好者也在追根溯源,搜集失传的、被忽视的食谱,举办快闪晚餐和美食之旅活动。据《食客》(Eater)杂志介绍,一些高档餐厅也开始把巴勒斯坦菜肴的味道带给全世界更多的食客们。

But food businessman Ala Tamam doesn't think the world is quite ready yet for his favourite Palestinian gem: qizha, also pronounced with a silent ‘q’ as izha, a richly bitter and pungent shiny black paste of roasted nigella seeds with just a hint of sweet creaminess that surprises all the senses.

但食品商塔玛姆(Ala Tamam)并不认为世界已经完全准备好接受他的最爱,有巴勒斯坦瑰宝之称的依扎酱(qizha,q不发音)。这是一种用烤过的黑种草籽(nigella seeds)研磨制作而成,黑得发亮的酱,有浓郁的苦味和辛辣味,并带有一丝丝甜味的奶油口感,给人视觉和味觉都有很大的冲击。

Tamam, who is from the Palestinian city of Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, has been making tahini (or tahina as it’s called in Arabic) a sesame-seed paste, along with qizha in his family’s factory since childhood. Now he can’t live without it. He also knows that due to qizha’s richly dark look and sharp taste, people either love it – or hate it.

塔玛姆来自被以色列占领的约旦河西岸的巴勒斯坦城市纳布卢斯(Nablus)。他从小就在家族工厂里制作芝麻酱(tahini,阿拉伯语称为“塔希娜”,tahina)和依扎酱。现在他的饮食根本离不开依扎酱。他也知道由于依扎酱颜色黢黑、味道浓烈,人们对其要么是喜欢,要么就是讨厌。
 

依扎酱的颜色和味道使其不如姐妹产品芝麻酱那么受欢迎

Tamam seemed relieved to learn that I was ‘Team Qizha’ from the first bite.

塔玛姆了解到我吃第一口就成为“依扎酱爱好者”后,神情放松下来。

“I used to take it with me to England when I was a student,” he said. “And a very nice lady from Helsinki came to me and she saw me eating this nigella [paste] and she said, ‘Oh my god. What … are you eating? It looks like engine oil!’.”

他说:“我去英国读书的时候带了些依扎酱,一位来自赫尔辛基的漂亮女士来找我,看到我在吃依扎酱,她说‘天呐,你这是在吃什么,看起来跟机油似的?’”

His eyes twinkled as he recalled her reaction. Undeterred, he’s been working to popularise this uniquely beloved part of the Palestinian palate ever since.

塔玛姆回忆起这位女士的反应时,眨了下眼。他没有气馁,反而从那时起就一直致力于推广这一巴勒斯坦人钟爱的独特口味。

Nigella seeds are indigenous to Israel and the Palestinian territories, as well as other countries like Turkey and India. They are also called black cumin seeds, among other names. But while many cuisines put the seeds in bread or even cheese, Palestinians are known for roasting and grinding them with sesame seeds (the latter are needed in the mix for their higher oil content, Tamam said). The thick, ink-like paste is then traditionally mixed with honey or date syrup to make a spread, or used as a base for halwa (or halva), a sesame seed-based crumbly confection, and other desserts, like a dense, dark and bittersweet semolina qizha pie.

黑种草籽产于以色列和被占领的巴勒斯坦地区,以及土耳其和印度等国家,也称为黑种草苜蓿或其他名称。其他菜系多是把这种种子用在面包或者奶酪里,巴勒斯坦人则把黑种草籽和芝麻一起烘烤和研磨制作成酱,并因此而出名。塔马姆解释说,之所以混合芝麻是因为芝麻含油量高。这种粘稠的、黑如墨水的酱通常会和蜂蜜或者枣糖浆混合在一起涂抹食物。或者用来制作哈尔瓦(halwa/halva),一种常用芝麻来做的松脆甜点。也会用作其他甜品,比如又浓又黑又苦又甜的依扎粗麦饼。

In Arabic, nigella seeds are called habbat al baraka, or ‘seeds of blessing’. According to tradition, the Prophet Muhammad proclaimed that the seeds could cure anything except for death. Modern science, as explained by The Telegraph, has attributed a superfood-like status to nigella seeds as a possible factor in reducing cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes, among other ailments.

在阿拉伯语中,黑种草籽被称为“habbat al Baraka”意为“赐福的种子”。根据传统,先知穆罕默德曾宣称,除了死亡,这种种子无所不能治愈。据每日电讯报报道,现代科学研究认为黑种草籽能有效减轻胆固醇、高血压和糖尿病以及其他疾病症状,可以称得上是一种“超级食物”。

“The old people eat a spoon of it each day so they won’t get sick,” explained Ischak Jebrani, who runs a tahini factory in Jerusalem’s Old City, which his family has owned for nearly 150 years. As a child, Jebrani’s mother used to mix the qizha with olive and sesame oils and grape syrup, warm it up, and then top it with chopped nuts. He still swears by its health benefits.

耶布拉尼(Jebrani)说:“老人们每天吃一勺依扎酱,就不会生病。”耶布拉尼在雅路撒冷老城区经营着一家酱料工厂,他的家族拥有这家工厂近150年。他小的时候,母亲会把依扎酱和橄榄油、芝麻油、葡萄糖浆混合加热,再在上面撒上碎坚果。他至今对依扎酱的健康益处深信不疑。

Jebrani only makes qizha paste once a month, while he roasts and grinds sesame seeds for tahini daily. He says that’s because qizha is consumed less than tahini, which can be used in a wider array of dishes from hummus to salad dressing to cookies.

耶布拉尼一个月只做一次依扎酱,但每天都烤芝麻和磨芝麻酱。他说因为依扎酱比芝麻酱的用量小,芝麻酱则用途广泛,鹰嘴豆泥、沙拉酱和饼干都会用到。

“Qizha doesn't have that many customers, just the people who know about it,” he said.

他说:“依扎酱没有那么多顾客光顾,只有那些了解它的人。”

Tamam’s tahini factory, Karawan, is right outside of Nablus, which is renowned among Palestinians for its sweet foods and as the source of the best tahini – and its sibling, qizha.

塔玛姆的酱料工厂“卡拉湾”(Karawan)就在纳布卢斯城外,纳布卢斯在巴勒斯坦人中则因甜品和出产最好的芝麻酱及其姐妹产品依扎酱而闻名。

He attributes qizha’s lower visibility to people being turned off by the colour and taste. The lower demand in turn makes it harder to scale and more expensive to produce in larger quantities.

他认为依扎酱之所以不常见,是因为人们对依扎酱的颜色和味道反感。需求的降低反过来又让扩大量产更难、成本更高。

When Tamam shows qizha at exhibitions in Israel and elsewhere, people “love it”, he said. “But it's not breaking the glass yet. It's really [almost] there. They like it. But the colour is holding it back... it’s not easy to accept it. As a colour, it’s really hard to eat it unless you know it.”

塔玛姆在以色列和其他地方展销依扎酱的时候,人们是喜欢的。“但还没有突破这层玻璃,也差不多了,人们喜欢依扎酱,但却对它的颜色不敢领教,要接受是不容易的。除非你知道这是什么,否则很难会去吃黢黑如漆的东西。”

Several years ago, when I purchased the paste in Nablus and sent a container home to family in the US to taste, they reacted just as Tamam feared: they looked at it, couldn’t place the flavour, decided it must have become rotten and threw it out. But once you get past the shock of the first bite, it’s an addictive experience for many.

几年前,我在纳布卢斯买了依扎酱,寄了一罐给美国的家人品尝。他们的反应恰恰正是塔玛姆担心的那样:大家看着它,无法判断其味道如何,断定一定是腐烂了,然后扔掉。不过一旦从第一口咬下去的震惊中缓过来,对很多人来说就是一种上瘾的体验。

Tamam has been in the tahini business all his life. In more recent years, he’s seen global interest spread as people have become more accustomed to it.

塔玛姆做了一辈子芝麻酱料生意,最近几年,他看到随着越来越多人开始习惯吃芝麻酱,全球对芝麻酱的兴趣也越来越热。

“You know, tahini now has a reputation, so even chefs globally are trying to think of things to do with this thing,” he said. “But nigella is not there yet. And I think it’s going to be hard for nigella to get there.”

他说:“你知道的吧,芝麻酱现在已经有了名气,全世界的厨师都在想怎么样使用它。不过依扎酱还没到这个阶段,我想依扎酱要做到这一点会很难。”

But it’s not just the fear of trying something new that’s holding qizha back, said Joudie Kalla, the Palestinian chef and cookbook writer.

巴勒斯坦菜厨师兼烹饪书作者卡拉说,“不仅仅是因为人们害怕尝试新事物,所以对依扎酱望而止步。”

“Palestinian food has been represented a lot as Israeli,” Kalla said. “No-one pays a lot of attention to our food until an Israeli chef cooks it, and it makes it cool and trendy, unfortunately.”

卡拉说:“很多巴勒斯坦食物被以色列食物代表了。不幸的是,之前没有人会关注我们的食物,直到后来一位以色列厨师开始烹饪巴勒斯坦食物。这让巴勒斯坦食物变得很酷很时新。”

All of this, plus limitations – such as access to agricultural and economic resources – due to the generations-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Kalla believes, is part of why Palestinian dishes like qizha have not grown in greater prominence. Physically and politically cut off from many markets, qizha has thus, so far, had a limited reach.

卡拉认为,以上种种,再加上长期巴以冲突带来的农业和经济资源限制,是导致依扎酱等巴勒斯坦菜肴没有得到更大发展的部分原因。由于地理和政治上的因素,依扎酱没办法出现在很多市场上,因此至今影响力有限。

“There are many good benefits to our cuisine,” Kalla said. “It’s just about breaking the fear of trying something different.” Kalla hopes that, despite these barriers, more people will try qizha and decide for themselves.

卡拉说:“只要大家能打破尝试不同事物的恐惧感,我们的饮食会有很多益处。”她也期望,尽管有这些障碍,更多的人会去尝试和选择。
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