Before the conflict began, there was a little restaurant in a hidden corner of a back alley in Aleppo’s Old City, next to the old Jewish cemetery. The restaurant was called the King of Omelettes (Malik Al Ijja) and aptly named it was, too. The place was so tiny, they could only cram in two customers at a time, and there was only one thing on the menu: Aleppian Omelettes. People from all around the ancient souq flocked to it every lunchtime and lined up to get a taste. Celebrities from all over Syria came to visit and the owner proudly covered his front window with pictures of himself and the famous people. The place was shabby and unpretentious, and it operated for generations without ever changing a thing. We’re not sure whether this restaurant is still there. We loved it, and now we’re passing on its secret.
MAKES 7 SMALL OMELETTES
6 large eggs
1 onion, grated
1 medium zucchini, grated (optional)
Big bunch of parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper, to taste
1⁄2 teaspoon ground Aleppo pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
Vegetable oil, for frying
In a mixing bowl, add the eggs, onion, zucchini, if using, and parsley and mix well. Stir in the flour and add the salt, pepper, and spices. It should make a nice thick batter.
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Scoop one small ladle of the batter and pour it into the middle of the pan. Level it out a little with a spatula so that it is about 1⁄2-inch/1 cm-thick, but no more. Cook for 2 minutes, then flip onto the other side and cook for a further 1 to 2 minutes. Each side should be light brown in color. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more oil as needed.
Traditionally this is served with Ayran, or just plain yogurt. It tastes great with a squeeze of lemon juice, too.