Matazeez مطازيز / Margoog ~ A Middle Eastern hearty stew of lamb and vegetables with whole-wheat ‘pasta’ discs.
MENA Cooking Club host for the country Saudi Arabia is non other than the founder of the club Noor of Ya Salam Cooking who is an ace when it comes to Saudi / Arabic food and well, food in general.
She picked some real treats for us to cook over the last two months, this dish Matazeez for one. It’s very similar to Qatari MENA Cooking Club dish Margoog also spelled Marqooq.
So similar in fact, I was convinced it was the same dish. It wasn’t until after I’d cooked a slightly adapted version of this recipe (that calls the dish both Matazeez and Margoog), that didn’t specify an exact amount of liquid which normally I’m fine with, not so when any type of pasta/rice etc is being added to a dish. As I began to write up this post I discovered whilst reading this article the only real difference between Matazeez and Margoog is the amount of sauce. From what I’ve seen in terms of recipes floating around the net, Matazeez tends to have less sauce so it’s more of a typical pasta-like dish and Margoog has more liquid and therefore more stew-like. Also sometimes the pasta/bread dough in Margoog is one large circle covering the stew instead of small ones mixed in.
As I was unaware of this issue before, whilst cooking the Matazeez I felt the need to increase the amount of liquid in the pot before adding the large amount of pasta discs, for fear they would stick together or to the bottom of the pot. Thus I now have Matazeez that resembles Margoog but because the two are so similar, does it really matter? You can be more daring if you like, not add that extra water and you will get a more authentic Matazeez, just please do me one little favour, keep checking the pot regularly and gently stirring to make sure nothing sticks! and you know add a splash of water if you think the dish needs it.
It didn’t help that my whole-wheat ‘pasta’ discs were of varying thickness, the result being some were more pasta-like than others and easy broke apart when stirring. Those pictured were a little more dumpling-like (albeit flat dumplings) in texture, which I favoured. Aim (like I promise I did but it seems my rolling skills are abysmal) to get your dough rolled out to one even layer before cutting out discs. If for whatever reason that doesn’t happen it’s not such a bad thing in my opinion, as this is home cooking after all not masterchef.
The flavour of this dish is so different to my regular north African stews as it contains loomi – dried limes, I used the white/tan not the black but if you want smoky flavour use black. Also used to flavour the dish is Arabic Baharat spice mix which is heavy on cumin that works so well with lamb and the unusual (for me) mix of vegetables cauliflower, aubergine and courgette. Some recipes also add pumpkin which is ideal this time of year. I did want to add carrots but didn’t realise until the last moment I hadn’t any at home. Oh well, the colour of the pot makes up for the carrotless stew!
By the way I didn’t cook the Matazeez in this pot, it’s simply for display purposes. My recipe below makes a lot of stew than you see here, you can easily feed 5-6 people so if you’re not feeding a crowd you can 1. make the full recipe and have some for leftovers (the pasta discs soak up the sauce on standing, again this means it will resemble authentic Matazeez ) 2. Reduce the recipe to suit your needs, I would always keep the first amount of liquid the same because you will be cooking the dish for the same length of time but do cut the amount of salt/black pepper and there isn’t too much meat in this dish really, 500g on the bone for 5-6 people therefore, you can keep that amount the same too, if you like.
This dish to me is like a Middle Eastern version of one of our more popular comfort foods here in the west, stew and dumplings. It’s also healthier; using whole wheat flour and not a drop of wine in sight.
One of my children (6 years old) thought it was so good (the pasta/sauce part – he sill hates veggies) he’s asked me to make it again.
Matazeez / Margoog
A Middle Eastern hearty stew of lamb, vegetables and whole-wheat ‘pasta’ discs.
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 500g halal lamb shoulder pieces with bone
- 2 onions, chopped finely
- 1-2 green chilli pepper
- 2 medium tomatoes, cut in half and grated on a box grater
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 teaspoon Arabic baharat spice mix
- to taste fine sea salt, (I used 1 1/2 teaspoon)
- to taste ground black pepper, (I used 3/4 teaspoon)
- 2 dried loomi (lime), pierced
- 2 litres water, divided
- 2 cups whole-wheat flour
- water, warm
- 1 teaspoon sunflower oil, plus more for rolling
- 4 large florets of cauliflower (I used frozen)
- 1-2 carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut into large pieces *optional
- 1 aubergine (eggplant), peeled and cubed
- 200g or 1 large courgette (zucchini), unpeeled, trimmed and cut into 4cm long pieces
- fresh coriander, chopped
- Saute the onions in oil in a large cooking pot until translucent, about 5 minute. Add the meat, season with salt, pepper, baharat, chilli and cook for a minutes until the meat is sealed stirring often, about 5 minutes, add a splash of water if the spices start sticking to the pot. Add tomato paste and cook out for 1 minute before adding fresh tomatoes. Add loomi and 1 1/2 litre water. Bring to a boil,cover, then let simmer at a gentle heat for about 1 hour.
- In a large bowl, add the flour, oil and enough warm water to make a dough then allow to rest in bowl covered with plastic wrap for 30-40 minutes before shaping.
- On a large oiled surface roll out the dough to one even thin layer, using a glass cut out small discs.
- After 1 hour and once you have prepared the cauliflower and carrot, add 1/2 litre water to pot and bring the stew back to a full boil, add the cauliflower and carrot then start dropping in the pasta discs a few at a time, make sure to gentle stir them into the stew. Once all the discs are added, cover and let the stew cook again for 40 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the aubergine and courgette and add them to the stew in the last 20 minutes. Serve warm and if desired, garnish with fresh chopped coriander.
if desired, add a pinch of salt whilst making the pasta