Mai Kakish's Fundraising Page
Fundraising Header image
Mai Kakish's Fundraising Page
Fundraising Page Image

A Summer cooling salad with fire charred zucchini, mint and yogurt from my grandmothers kitchen

A recipe by Mai @almondandfig

Since my trip to go home to Palestine to visit my family was cancelled this summer. I found myself cooking dishes that evoke my senses. These summer dishes are an account of memories that dance through my childhood and the summers spent with my family in Palestine. The fresh herbs my mother plants, the seasonal vegetables and the tree ripened fruit in my grandparent's garden. The rhythmic beat of teta's mortar and pestle pounding this mutabal. These are the type of things that evoke more than just memories, they excite my imagination and fill my senses with possibilities. So this summer when Palestine seems in the far distance you will find me cooking from home, the summer dishes that my grandmothers and mother make. 

Summer lunch at my grandmother's house was often filled with dishes like this one. Teta always cooked with whatever is in season.  She would be happy eating a bowl of this mutabal with  charred crispy bread (that's how she likes it), olives and sliced tomatoes.

Mutabal in Arabic means "seasoned." It often refers to these delicious creamy salads or sides that are often mixed with tahini, yogurt or the combination of both.  My teta's (grandmother) cooling mutabal with charred kousa, creamy yogurt and mint is perfect in the summer with grilled meats, part of a mezze plate, served with pita bread and other crisp veggies.


Mutabal Kousa, A Summer cool salad

Serves: 4

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time 35 minutes


  • 2 large zucchinis or 5 small ones
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 jalapeño (optional)
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin Olive oil 2 tbls
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint


To prep the zucchini:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375
  2. I like to fire roast the zucchini’s and jalapeño whole first on an open flame just like my teta does. A gas stove top or on the grill will work as well. This step is optional but it adds lots of flavor. Then finish roasting the zucchini in the oven until they are tender and completely cooked through.
  3. Place the zucchini on a baking tray and let it finish cooking in the oven until tender and soft on the inside about 20 minutes depending on the size of your zucchini. The best way to check is insert a skewer or the tip on your knife if it goes in the flesh of the vegetable easily then the vegetable is done. Let them cool to handle.
  4. With a paring knife peel some of the blackened skin. You don't need to peel it all as it adds a layer of flavor.
  5. Roughly chop the zucchini with a knife, my grandmother would pound the zucchini, garlic and the jalapeno if using a mortar and pestle.
  6. Add the zucchini, jalapenos, garlic, lemon juice, yogurt, salt and mix to combine. Fold in the fresh chopped mint and the olive oil.

Serve in a bowl, with a generous drizzle of olive oil and extra chopped mint.

Note: you can chop or pound your vegetables to the consistency you like. If you like it more, chop it further.

 This cooling mutabal is perfect in the summer with grilled meats, part of a mezze plate, served with pita bread and other crisp veggies.


ABOUT Taste from Home

Taste From Home is brought to you by the Chicago Cultural Alliance. Our mission is to connect, promote, and support centers of cultural heritage for a more inclusive Chicago. 

Taste from Home is collection of recipes and stories inspired by the food that defines who we are and where we come from. As we are all home exploring new recipes and cuisines, we encourage you to share a recipe and story with us that connects you to your family and cultural heritage. 

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today, if you are able. If you are unable to donate, you can still participate by sharing a recipe by using hashtags #tastefromhome, #tastefromhomerecipe, & #chicagocultural on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

Name Date Amount Comments
  Total $0.00  
Report Abuse Edit My Page