Posted by: Who-sane | May 25, 2007

El Gallayeh

There is the gallayeh and there is the 2allayeh.

There’s no difference really, but for some unknown reason the gallayeh always tastes better and is always taken more seriously than the 2allayeh! I haven’t had a good gallayeh in AGES!

Quick note: I’m not a male chauvinist pig, but don’t you agree that the best gallayehs are cooked by men? Not like chefs, but plain ordinary men.

I don’t think there’s a cheaper meal than el gallayeh. All it takes is tomatoes, onions and garlic (and hot pepper if needed) … and voilà! There you go, you have yourself a gallayeh.

But a really good gallayeh is all about timing and the proportions of ingredients.

I always thought my father’s gallayeh was the best, until a Salti friend of mine (Abul 7yari) strongly stated that the best gallayeh EVER is served in a small restaurant in Salt (السلط).

So one day, me and a bunch of friends were really bored and hungry. Abul 7yari suggested we go to Salt and eat the one-and-only gallayeh he previously recommended. We thought it’s such a long drive from Amman just to eat a gallayeh, but we did it anyways.

Salt City

In the small roads of Salt and deep inside its beautiful old Souq, there lies a small restaurant, (I forgot its name. Maybe some Saltis can help me here). The restaurant didn’t look encouraging from the outside and it sure didn’t look encouraging from the inside either.

Reluctantly, we all sat down and ordered a couple of gallayehs. “What kind?”, the waiter asked. Apparently they had several ways for a gallayeh:

  • Regular Gallayeh
  • Hot Gallayeh
  • Burning Hot Gallayeh
  • Gallayeh with Minced Meat
  • Gallayeh with Eggs.
  • Gallayeh with Eggs AND meat.

Just so we wouldn’t miss out on anything, we ordered all of the above. And believe you me ladies and gentlemen, there, in that too-small-to-be-known restaurant, we all had the best gallayeh in our entire lives! I can’t begin to describe how wonderful it tasted!

Abul 7yari won the bet and ate his free meal, not that it cost a lot. I think the whole feast that got four big men really full didn’t cost more than ONE JD!

So if you’re ever in Jordan and felt like having a really good gallayeh, that’s the place you should go to.

Ba3dain why do I think 3awwayeh whenever I say gallayeh? Is it just me?

UPDATE: The name of the restaurant is Al Salam (مطعم السلام). I just called one of the friends who were with us and he confirmed it. Bonne Appetite!!


  1. Gallayeh is COMPLETELY a male dish … It’s just designed like this. Women can never make it the same way!
    Speaking of which, this morning I made 5 Star burning hot gallayeh … and it was absolutely out of this universe … too bad … couldn’t share it with the rest of the expats🙂
    The ritual is as follows
    You cut the tomatoes… make the gallayeh …
    remove half .. and add couple of eggs to the other half to make Baid-and-bandora .. which is one of my my most favorite dishes.
    Yum yum!

  2. wow Qwaider … we had a gallayeh YESTERDAY and I ate ALL the leftovers today!

    Is it just me or does it really taste better next day?

    gallayeh with eggs and pepper is amazing!

  3. bidddddddiiiiiii, you made me hungry. While I am sitting here eating a stupid chicken strip😦

    And “3awwayeh ?” yes it’s only you.

    By the way, expats think about food a lot, I think we miss it more than family he he he.

  4. And yes, 2allayeh tastes better the next day.

  5. My God people, it is so true “Gallayeh” is best done by us, or is it the only thing we can do and never goes wrong? It’s been a while since my last gallayeh,
    And yes gallayet “shakshoka” (aka baidh o bandora) is the best!

  6. 7aki: let hubby do it, I’m sure he’ll make a good GALLAYEH, not 2allayeh please!

    Sel3: yeah man shoo imfakkir? .. we rule el gallayeh!

    ba3dain man shoo el shakshoka? haik it doesn’t sound right .. it sounds dala3 for something disgusting, lol!

  7. walla ya man this is the name ele kol ahel baladna be3rafo. once i was in a Yemeni restaurant (you know mandi o mazbi) and they make gallayat, one of them was baidh o bandora I asked for one, but i got something really disgusting, they scramble the egg with the tomato in the pan! so bad and ugly. o men yomha batalt a7ki baidh o bandora! the correct method is that you just break the egg over the tomato and NO stirring, then you cover the pan until egg is cooked completely!

  8. o man, i have no idea what ghallayah is! but it sounds just bandoora, onions and garlic?? how about spices?? i’ll get hubby to cook that tonight…since u all say it is better cooked by all for that…men doing the cooking..and not offended at all…got any more tabkhat that only taste better cooked by a man??

  9. Ya salaaaaaaaam.. 3ala 2allayet bead o bandoora WOW but walahi enno mu mom makes better that everybody else I know, my dad and brithers don’t know nothing about cooking “well look at the sister” LOOOOOOOOOOOL
    But yeah, it’s been a while since the last time I had some YUM YUM

  10. da7noon: shiklak elak 3al shakshoka mnee7! and el Yemenis should focus on el mandi wil mathbi, khalli el gallayeh la enla!

    sam: you liked the idea of having men cook and loving it eh? well unfortunately that’s the only one in the men’s cook book😛 … and I have a feeling that your hubby knows it but trying to avoid cooking … but I’m really surprised you don’t know what a gallayeh is!😦

    Maioush: you really gotta check that place in Salt! Hopefully someone will know its name … IT’S FANTASTIC!

  11. look it man,
    Thats how I eat gallayeh, Maybe I got it from my grandfather from the moms side, Tomato Ba3el(Which means never irrigated) Lots of garlic, Olive oil salti, a couple of jalpenos(Hot peper) and thats IT!!Any additions–>It is no more called gallayeh! He used to have it with arak:) but instead of two peppers it was more like 10…

    And if you are now asking youself if I know the Place, ehm..No, We lived in amman:) ya3ni bas aroo7 3l salt bakoon el 6an6:)

  12. wow! arak? interesting!

    I thought you’d help us with the name of the restaurant man … ba3dain you don’t have to go to Salt to be a 6an6😛

  13. Ta3 kef kan jeddi, ma 3lena. Bas 3afwan a7’i sho gazdak? Bas ya a7’ee fe3lan kef el nas bel salt be66ala3o 3la ahl 3mman:)

  14. Wat zis food you beebol zpeak of?! Me must eat

  15. Mohanned and Who-sane and Sam
    GoLLayeh is NEVER made with onions … It becomes Tabeekh if you add onions

    Gallayeh is NEVER made with Ba3el fresh tomatoes. It ruins the taste because these are fresh. They should be eaten raw

    Gollayeh must use the extremely ripe tomatoes just before they turn bad. This is the origin.

    To make Gollayeh taste really good. Use firewood (7a9ab) in a big iron kettle, add the olive oil (you can mix with some cooking Mazola oil so it won’t get burned) then you roast the Garlic and the green peppers until the garlic is a little done… the oil should be VERY VERY VERY hot when you add the tomatoes which MUST SIZZEL when you throw them in the pan (9ishhhhhhhh)… THE WHOLE secret is in the 9ishhhh! if there is no 9ishh there is no good Gollayeh!

    Now, you must make it become a thick paste all the excess water is out … (a little burn won’t hurt, it in fact makes the taste more intense) and eat and enjoy ….

    Master of the GoLLayeh…
    (PS, Zait zaiton bir3ayet Mazra3et Abu Samer, Al 3alook, Al Ordon awwalan)

  16. As Q said, there is no onions at all in gallayeh, ijust noticed that.
    btw 7sain, damman 5afak🙂

  17. KJ: if you don’t know el gallayeh, you’re missing a lot buddy! (Check Qwaider’s comment below yours)

    QWAIDER!! DUDE, this should be a post all by itself! 3an jad ‘Master of the Gallayeh’!

  18. Q,
    Dude, ba3el doesn’t mean gasi and fresh, we used to harvest our bandora and consume what we can but then it becomes ripe and ready to be made into either gallayeh or tomato paste(home made, yonsor deenek yamma) bas I agree totally with the sizzle thing it must 6oshhhhh:) O gallayet mandora la3yonn el shabab

  19. Qwaider that is what hubby not put basal in it…i made it last night..but i didnt have enough tomatoes so i used the canned diced ones…with some green hot pepper and shwait salt and tasted good as a side dish with the steak and hummous:)

  20. Back home, mama would do sofra for dinner…we eat! And then my father would start making his Gallayeh, and no matter how full we are, we just end up having 2 dinners!! His Gallayeh is a blast! It’s soooo HOT and u just can’t stop eating it, for it’s never enough! hehe…I might take him to this rest. in SALT once Im in Amman inshallah, I hope I’ll remember;). I wish u know it’s name though!

  21. Nido: I just made an international call to find out the name of the restaurant😛 ..

    Check the update on the post🙂

  22. guys know how to make gallaya because YES its the only thing they know how to cook🙂 so it tastes delicious because THEY cook it🙂 bass el sa7ee7, even IIII can cook gallayeh :p

    PS. i always always said that it is “Gallayeh” people, not “2allayeh” it sounds totally different!

  23. Thanks a lot:) I would really like to try it:)

  24. No.. I make a very good 2allayeh.. but I never made a gallayeh actually.. so I leave it to you guys😀

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