With the summer heat, I always find that I crave salads and dips or salsas and this Gazan dish, dagga Gazawiya, is perfect in so many ways. A spicy tangy salsa, it can be eaten on its own with warm pita bread or served as a side dish with meat, chicken or seafood.
Making the salsa is super easy and quick but using the right tools does make all the difference. Traditionally, this dish is made in clay mortars known as a zibdeyeh, using a wooden pestle, in Gaza. The rough clay mortars help break down spices or vegetables and release their oils and juices, bringing so much flavour to any dish. These are made exclusively in Gaza and used daily in Palestinian kitchens. Of course, getting your hands on a zibdeyeh is tough, so feel free to use a normal mortar and pestle or even a knife to finely chop everything.
Because of how simple this dish is, you want to make sure you are using the freshest ingredients available so that the flavours shine through. Dill seed isn’t the easiest to source, but if you can get your hands on it, it makes all the difference in this dish, although it is still delicious with just the fresh dill. Dill seed is a very popular Gazan ingredient and gives the region’s cuisine its distinctive flavour that sets it apart from different parts of Palestine. When grinding it in the mortar and pestle, it is best to use a circular motion, as it gives you a finer grind on the seeds, releasing the flavour and you don’t end up having large pieces of dill seed in your salsa.
Try out this refreshing and spicy salsa and be prepared to fall in love with this delicious and versatile dish.
1 tsp dill seeds
1-2 chillies, to taste
1 small clove garlic
1 onion, chopped
2 small tomatoes, chopped
Lemon juice to taste
A handful of fresh dill
¼ cup olive oil
- In a traditional Gazan mortar and pestle or a regular one, grind the dill seeds until they become a powder. Add the chillies and salt and pound.
- Next, add the garlic and onion, pounding them each until they are somewhat fine and lose their shape.
- Add in the chopped tomatoes and pound until you have a chunky salsa-like consistency. Then add the lemon juice, olive oil and dill. Mix well with a spoon and serve with warm bread or as a side to meat or fish. Enjoy!