Hashwe: The Ultimate Thanksgiving Stuffing
BY: Hala Atirah/Contributing Writer
Middle Eastern food is famous for its distinctive taste that originates from the use of different seasoning. The different spices used vary from cinnamon, cloves, tumeric, nutmeg, and saffron. Other spices often used include black cumin, black pepper, fennel, mastic, anise, coriander, bay leaves, dried lemon leaves, ant mint. Many seasonings are a mix of two or more of these spices.
These spices are mostly used to cook rice, meat and different kinds of sauce.
One of the most common dishes in the Arab world that relies on a spice blend for its flavor is Hashwe (rice stuffing). Hashwe is used to stuff any kind of vegetables, such as squash, potato, tomato, eggplant, and peppers. But Hashwe is an especially welcomed stuffing for meats, such as chicken, lamb, and turkey.
This Thanksgiving, thousands of Arab Americans will choose Hashwe to stuff their turkeys, rather than a traditional American bread stuffing. Hashwe’s aroma and flavor can’t be beaten, which is why Arabs have been using it as a stuffing for years.
Hashwe is very simple to make, and its ingredient can easily be found. Here is an easy way to prepare Hashwe.
6 cups water
3 cubes chicken stock (chicken bouillon), crushed
- Mix all the rice spices in a dish together with the crushed chicken stock cube
- Wash the rice and put it in a sieve for the water to drain.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a pan and add the onion (small pieces), then add the minced meat, 1 teaspoon mixed spices, and 1 teaspoon allspice. Toss in the pan until meat is done and it’s color becomes light brown. About 5 minutes.
- Using your hands, mix the rice spices with the drained rice. While mixing, be sure to have a dish under the sieve so that you can capture any spices that pass through and add them to the pan.
- Add the rice mixed with spices to the meat and toss over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. This infuses the spices into the rice.
- Add the water, mix well, and cover the pan and let it simmer over medium-low heat until rice is cooked.
- If using for stuffing chicken, turkey or lamb, let the rice cool before you stuff it.