I started cooking from Joudie Kalla’s Baladi cookbook by making a more complicated dish—meat stuffed grape leaves with tomatoes and potatoes—then I moved on to a simpler cabbage salad. This dish is even easier than that—eggs with yogurt, chili, olive oil and lemon. Joudie writes that it is her father’s favorite breakfast, and I can see why. The hot, soft boiled eggs melt into the yogurt, and the resulting fondue-like blend gets a jolt from fresh lemon and chili. That’s a lot of flavor before 9 am.
For those of you who’ve been hesitant to try one of these recipes— maybe you think the whole thing is a irredentist Palestinian plot to undermine the Jewish state, or an imperialist Israeli plot to get you to appropriate Palestinian culture, or, you now, maybe you just hate cooking– this is a good dish to try. You can make it in 5 minutes. It captures the flavors of the land, and it really does go well with strong black coffee.
A few recipe notes: You can make this with labne, Greek yogurt or strained regular yogurt. you can dust with some za’atar. I’ve also made a version adding a small scoop of warm garbanzo beans and a tomato-harissa sauce– a perfect brunch meal.
Next up: dessert. The Times of London just named Baladi as Best Cookbook of 2018. Congratulations/Mazel Tov/Mabrouk to Joudie Kalla—it’s time to celebrate!