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Hamin Ta’amer

August 24, 2023
Hamin Ta’amer

From Shabbat by Adeena Sussman, published by Avery, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright 2023 by Adeena Sussman.

Featured in: Embracing My Whole Self, Through Food

“In my childhood, it wasn’t Shabbat if we didn’t have hamin,” Vered Tsabari said as we stood in her kitchen with her son Avichai, a long­time friend of mine and the owner of a culinary travel company. Vered’s Moroccan mother, Rosa, would tuck one of two extras into her hamin before setting it on the hot plate. “Sometimes there were marrow bones,” Vered told me as we peeled potatoes. “And there was ta’amer. That was the real treat.” A sort of meatloaf shot through with warm spices and a prodigious amount of nuts, the ta’amer (or ta’amara, roughly translated from the Arabic word for “stuffed”) was suspended in the hamin, where it would cook overnight with the other components. “All my mother’s pots were huge, and her hamin would feed 16 people, 20 people, or whoever showed up,” Vered told me as we mixed eggs with ground beef, nuts, and spices before enveloping them in cheesecloth and adding it to a giant pot filled with meat, beans, and barley. Before sealing Vered’s decorative earthenware pot for cooking, we stirred in some of her tkilia, a condiment made of nothing more than hot chilies fried, ground, and suspended in oil. Just as Rosa passed down her tra­ditional recipes to Vered, Vered is in the process of passing them along to Avichai, an accomplished cook in his own right. Vered sent me on my way with an extra ta’amer and a jar of tkilia to use when I went home to recreate the hamin for myself. “How many people are you having?” she asked me on my way out. “I’m sure there will be enough.”


For the Ta’amer

  • 6ounces shelled nuts, such as pecans, walnuts, or a combination (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • ¾pound 80/20 ground beef
  • 1large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
  • ½teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • Pinch ground ginger
  • ¾teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch ground white pepper

For the Hamin

  • 1 ¾cups (3/4 pound) dry white beans, soaked for 8 to 12 hours
  • 2tablespoons olive oil
  • 2large onions, chopped (4 cups)
  • 1 ½cups pearl barley (3/4 pound), rinsed
  • 5medium potatoes (about 2 pounds), scrubbed, peeled, and quartered
  • 2small sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), scrubbed and left whole
  • 2 ½pounds short-rib meat, cut into large chunks on the bone
  • 1 ½tablespoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2-3tablespoons tkilia (recipe follows)
  • 3tablespoons silan (date syrup)
  • 6large uncooked eggs, shells on
  • 2whole garlic heads, top 1/2 inch removed

For the Tkilia

  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 20small dried hot chilies, such as chilies de arbol, stems removed
Yield: Serves 12


To make the Ta’amer

  • Step 1

    Place the nuts in the bowl of a food processor and process until the nuts resemble fine crumbs, 10 to 15 seconds, making sure to not overprocess them into a paste. Transfer to a bowl and gently mix with the beef, nuts, egg, egg yolk, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, salt, and black and white peppers with your hands until incorporated. Form the mixture into a 3 × 9-inch log and wrap it in cheesecloth, tying the ends in knots to secure it.

To make the Hamin

  • Step 1

    Arrange a rack in your oven to leave space for a very large (10-to 12-quart) lidded pot, then preheat the oven to 200°F. Drain the soaked beans and reserve. In the pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat, then layer in the barley, beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and meat. Fill the pot with water until all of the ingredients are entirely covered by 1 1/2 inches. Add the salt, tkilia, and silan, then nestle the ta’amer, the uncooked, shell-on eggs, and the garlic heads on top. Bring to a boil, then cover and transfer the pot to the oven. Cook for at least 12 hours and up to 16, depending on how much you want to reduce the liquid in your hamin (you can also uncover it during the last hour or two of cooking to further reduce the liquid). Uncover, then remove and unwrap the ta’amer and shell the eggs. Taste the hamin and season with more salt if desired. Serve the hamin in bowls with pieces of the ta’amer and the eggs.

To make the Tkilia

  • Step 1

    In a medium skillet, heat ¼ cup of the oil over medium heat. Add the chilies and cook, stirring, until fragrant and crispy, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Cool, then transfer chilies and oil to a mini food processor or bowl of a standard food processor and process until smooth, 10 to 15 seconds. Scrape into a jar and cover with the remaining ¼ cup oil. Refrigerated in an airtight container, tkilia will keep for up to 1 year.