"Abla Amad is one Australia’s food treasures, arriving in Australia in the 1950s and opening an adored restaurant in North Carlton in 1979, showcasing many classic Lebanese recipes including this delicious vegetarian delight - Mahshi Selek or silverbeet rolls. The simplicity and deliciousness of rice stuffed leaves are taken to a new level with this recipe - one of Abla’s tips is to squeeze the parcel gently once rolling so it stays intact when it's cooked. A simple and incredibly satisfying dish from someone who has pioneered the flavours of her homeland. We are so proud Abla is part of Food Safari Earth!" Maeve O'Meara, Food Safari Earth
Rice, tomato and herb gets a great big hug from silverbeet to create a wholesome and satisfying snacking sensation.
- 2 bunches fresh, crisp silverbeet
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground allspice or baharat
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 95 g (½ cup) dried split chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
- 200 g (1 cup) long-grain rice, washed and drained
- 3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tbsp chopped mint
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 125 ml (½ cup) olive oil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Serves 6-12 as a part of a mezza.
For the filling, combine the onion and spices in a large bowl and use your hands to squeeze together well. Add the remaining filling ingredients and combine well.
Wash the silverbeet leaves thoroughly, then remove the stalks and the thickest part of the centre veins. Line the bottom of a 26 cm saucepan with any irregular-shaped leaves. Cut the other leaves into even portions, roughly 8 cm x 10 cm. Place the silverbeet in a large bowl and pour over boiling hot water. Stand for 1-2 minutes to just soften, then drain well.
Take 1 softened rectangle, making sure it is not broken (or you can use smaller pieces to patch any larger ones with holes), and place 1 tablespoon filling in the centre. Fold in the sides and roll up, gently squeezing to tighten as you roll. Squeeze out any excess juices into a bowl and reserve. Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling. Place the rolls, spine-side down and in firmly packed layers into the lined pan. Pour the squeezed-out juices into the pan and add salt, lemon juice and 125 ml (½ cup) water. Cover and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 20- 25 minutes. Serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from The Lebanese Kitchen by Abla Amad. Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Emma Warren. Creative concept by Belinda So.