On a recent afternoon in a kitchen in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens, chef Diaa Alhanoun drizzled olive oil over creamy hummus and garnished it with pita bread. Diaa grew up in Syria. There, he barbecued meat and crispy kibbeh, or potato croquettes filled with minced red meat, onion, and spices, alongside his family and friends. He picked up the abilities from a cook dinner in his uncle’s eating place in his place of origin of Damascus. “When I consume, or I prepare dinner, Syrian food, I consider when I turned younger,” he said in this week’s episode of the Bite podcast. “When I was very young, my mother cooked Syrian meals.
When I make it now, I remember all these moments. Before the disaster in Syria started, Diaa turned to Sudan and his family, looking to launch an eating place there. But he couldn’t pass lower back to Syria while he wanted to depart because the struggle had commenced. So he went to Jordan, thinking the battle would end quickly and he could return to Damascus. He waited four years in Jordan as a refugee before coming to the US in 2016. He now lives in Staten Island with his wife, son, and daughter.
According to statistics from the United Nations Refugee Agency, 12 million Syrians have been forcibly displaced in 2016. That’s more than 1/2 of the United States of America’s populace. In New York City, Diaa continues to prepare dinner Syrian food through an Eat Offbeat catering organization, which employs refugees resettled in the city as cooks. Manal Kahi, co-founder and CEO of Eat Offbeat, says her company started with a craving for hummus. After coming to New York City from Lebanon in 2013 to wait for graduate faculty at Columbia University, Kahi quickly found out she didn’t like the hummus on American grocery store shelves.
So Kahi made her hummus based on her grandmother’s recipe. Her brother, Wissam Kahi, encouraged her to promote it. This occurred amid the Syrian refugee disaster in their home country. S. Of Lebanon.
The siblings found out they’d an opportunity to share their delicious hummus recipe with New Yorkers and help refugees resettle in New York City by offering them education and employment possibilities.
Manal Kahi’s take on her grandmother’s hummus recipe: “Chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, for sure—that’s important. Salt.” And the secret aspect?
“A little little bit of yogurt,” she said.
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