Chef Feature: Nadia Tommalieh

Your Lebanon Chef Feature:

Nadia Tommalieh

Nadia Tommalieh is a food blogger who shares instructional videos of Middle Eastern cuisine and detailed bits about each of the dishes she prepares. We enjoy these informative details and the way she lets us into her kitchen to experience the cooking with her!

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Q & A with Nadia

Please tell us about yourself:

My name is Nadia Tommalieh I was born in Brazil to a Palestinian dad and a multi-cultural mom with Egyptian, British and Italian heritage. I moved to Jordan at an early age and this is where my cooking journey for Arabic cuisine started. I finished my education in Jordan with a BA in modern languages. I moved to the US to pursue a carrier in the corporate world and to be with the love of my life. The US quickly became my second home where I live with my husband and three boys.

Where are you from:

I’m Palestinian with family origins from the village of Annaba.

Where are you currently residing:

Seattle, Washington, United States

What is your favorite Middle Eastern dish to make:

My favorite two dishes to cook are Sayadiah and Musakhan. Both I learned from my mother-in-law, who lived in Haifa and Tulkarm respectively and mastered these two dishes.

 

Layali Lubnan Dessert Recipe

Do you prefer traditional Middle Eastern dishes or modern/fusion Middle Eastern dishes:

I love preserving the traditional way of cooking dishes. But most of these dishes have slight variations between countries and even towns. I try to incorporate what I find the best out of these variations.

What do you love most about cooking Middle Eastern cuisine:

My love for Middle Eastern cuisine comes from my exposure to all the unique varieties of spices, flavors and seasonal ingredients that we have. I believe our simplest ingredients hold the best flavors! Our cooking is adjustable to accommodate any dietary needs thus making it easy to incorporate into any household. That’s explains how our unique Arabic spices and recipes are being embraced now around the world.

I love the fact that most of our food is served family style and the culture and traditions that certain meals hold. Not to forget the precious childhood memories that come out when cooking these dishes.  For me, living in the United States and having my own family pushes me to be an ambassador for our cuisine through sharing the amazing culture, generosity, and hospitality that our food symbolizes. Through our frequent visits to Jordan and Palestine I try to replicate the experiences I was raised with for my own boys. This is why I started my Instagram food profile.

What is your favorite Middle Eastern restaurant:

I’m in love with street food! When I travel anywhere in the Arab world, I’m always looking for a good and quick street food like Mana’eesh , Hummus or a falafel. But when I want that special dinner Fakhreldin Restaurant, a Lebanese restaurant in Amman, is where I go.

Hibiscus and Orange Blossom Water Juice Recipe

What is your favorite food blog:

Thanks to social media, I have discovered an amazing community of Middle Eastern food bloggers. People that wake up every day to share the beauty and deliciousness of our cuisine. I wish I can list them all! Joumana Accad @tasteofbeirut , Nadia @Potsnbits , Nivin @Nivinskitchen , Joudie Kalla @palestineonaplate , Massiel @Mzcuisine Majid Ali @thecinnaman , Chef Wassem @chefwassem , I can go on and on and on…

What is a must have tool in your kitchen for making Middle Eastern food:

My meat grinder is my must have tool for many of the dishes I make especially Falafel, Kebbeh and Kafta

What advice do you have for someone just starting to find their way around the kitchen:

No one is born a cook. Always remember that regardless of what you end up cooking,  take pride in your attempts because cooking is not solely about the end product you produce. Don’t be afraid to add your personal touch. Whether it’s adding an extra teaspoon of Aleppo pepper, Sumac, Za’atar or reinventing the main sauce of a dish. And don’t be hesitant to share your cooking out of fear that others will criticize it. Embrace the fear, and recognize that feedback from others is the best way to perfect your meals.

Happy Cooking!

Seafood Sayadia Recipe

What nostalgic candy would you grab on walks to the local deken when you were a kid:

The delicious Candy Coated Chickpeas ” Emlabas E’edameh”. To this day it is a must bring back from home when I visit.

 

I’m truly honored to be featured here today. Thank you Tina @yourLebanon for all your amazing work on sharing our beautiful cuisine, culture and traditions with the world out there. Not to forget introducing us to an amazing community of Middle Eastern food bloggers. – Nadia

“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.” -Cesar Chavez

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