Mama Dallou’ah – Go for a dip!

I love beetroot, always have, for its colour and earthy flavours – not to mention the fibre, folate (B9), magnanese, potassium, and the phytonutrient betalain.

I get mine from a stall in the market – tops intact – which I use cooked as an  accompaniment or as a bed for my favourite breakfast scrambled eggs. The tap root I use cooked in salads , or to make mama dallou’ah: a Lebanese dip that’s worth making just for the name alone – Mama is Mum and dallou’ah is Lebanese slang for coquettish1 – well, it is kind of bright. You can serve it as part of a Mezze – that near Eastern version of tapas – along with hummus, baba ganoush/ mutabal, tzatziki, falafel … To accompany the dips; serve crispy flatbreads and/ or crudites.


makes ~500g

2 medium beetroots ~450g

a sprig of thyme and rosemary

a dash of sherry (Jerez)

olive oil

2 tablespoons tahini

1 garlic clove, minced

a pinch of sea salt

4 tablespoons of lemon juice

½ pomegranate

  1. First, peel the beetroot – using gloves if you don’t want red hands – and cut them into segments of equal size. I typically cut them vertically into 6 or 8 segments – depending on their size.
  2. Pile the segments in the centre of a sheet of foil then season, add the herbs along with a splash of sherry and a drizzle of olive oil. Seal up the parcel and roast for about 40-60 minutes at 220ºC – until soft.
  3. Once cooked, remove from the oven and set aside and leave to cool.
  4. Remove from the foil and place in a food processor along with the garlic, lemon and tahini. Blend to a paste and season with salt to taste.
  5. Transfer to a serving dish and create a moat using a teaspoon. Fill the moat with the pomegranate arils.
  6. Enjoy.




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