To this day, I don’t understand why meatloaf always had a bad reputation. It’s always been a winner at our house. Ok, could be the sweet sauce I throw in at the end, but even without the sauce, it usually gets gobbled up (well unless the meat is particularly gristly, then there may be some left over).
It’s easy to make, basically along the lines of the tuna loaf/patty really.
- 1 lb ground beef (lahm mafroom) (here in Yemen, its ½ kilo ( 1 kilo = 2.2lbs)) Things are not measured in pounds here.
- 1 -2 slices of cubed bread
- 1 egg, beaten
- Optional: Lipton onion soup mix, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Maggi cube.
Brown Sugar or regular sugar
Basically mix items 1 -5 together. I just shake the salt and pepper over the mixture (not exact amount); for the ketchup, I just shake some in, maybe like 1 – 2 tbsp worth. In the the states, I sometimes used Lipton onion soup mix and so wouldn’t use the ketchup. If I used ketchup, then I would use a little mustard , say 1 tsp. If I used the Worcestershire sauce (had to use spell check for that) I probably wouldn’t add the rest of the optional ingredients. And of course, if I didn’t use the soup mix or Worcestershire sauce, then I would just use a crumbled Maggi cube.
They do sell the Worcestershire sauce here, you can find it at Huda Market and Shumaila Hari. Huda has a lot of American and Asian sauces. Barbecue sauce can also be found at these big markets, including City Mart.
- Add the beaten egg, to bind it all together.
- Shape the loaf. I don’t really make the traditional loaf shape, but rather form it into a circle and then taken my hands and insert in the middle and pull the center part towards the outside making a ring. The meatloaf cooks more evenly; you don’t have to worry about a hunk of uncooked meat in the middle that takes longer to cook.
Put it in the oven to cook, maybe like 350 – 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. Again, I don’t really use exact times, I just let it sit cooking for a while and then keep checking it.
When it’s done cooking, I mix up a sauce to put on top. I have seen this sauce in recipes online and people either seem to hate it or love it. We love it.
You basically mix ketchup and brown sugar together. I do substitute white sugar for brown sugar when I don’t have it on hand. But they do sell brown sugar here as well. And again, I just throw in some ketchup, maybe like ½ cup and add some sugar. I just kind of taste it to know how much. If it’s too ketchup-y, I add more sugar, if it’s too sweet, add more ketchup. The original recipe that I had called for dry mustard powder, but I think I have only had that in my kitchen at one point in my life, (think my mom might have given it to me) so I don’t usually put that in. If you want exact amounts, I know the recipe can be found online, googling something like meatloaf sauce, or sweet sauce for meatloaf, or something like that. I then spoon the mixture over the loaf, kind of like icing it, and put it back in the oven for maybe 5 minutes.
A note on the beef here in Yemen. If you go to one of the major grocery stores, you can find ground beef. It’s typically not as lean as the ground beef in the states. Sometimes there will be a light colored one and a dark one. The butcher said one was baladi (local) and the other was Hindi (Indian). Can’t remember which was which, but I stick with the darker one. I prefer Huda Market’s ground beef as it usually seems a little less gristly to me, but that’s my own personal opinion.
And the local beef here, comes from Zebu, not American type cows. If you are new to Yemen and you stroll down the street and see a small animal, resembling a calf with a hump on its back, that’s a zebu. I remember when we were in Egypt, the local meat was the jamoosa. It translates into water buffalo and one time I actually saw one up close and these are such massive animals. I didn’t really eat a lot of ground beef in Egypt. One time, when we were in this little village in Alexandria, my husband brought back some “ground beef” from a local butcher I guess. I don’t think I ever asked for ground beef in Egypt again. It was jamoosa meat and there was like an equal portion of meat, gristle and bone. My son said that the local people ate it all– including the bone pieces. I sat there and picked out everything white and of course had just a little bit of meat remaining. I am sure that you can get ground beef more resembling that in the United States there.
Also, here in Yemen, they sell minced beef. It comes frozen in a cylinder shaped roll. When I first got here and hadn’t discovered the big grocery stores, I got that. At first, it was doable, but it is ground up so much its almost like a paste. After discovering the real deal (fresh ground beef, not minced), I left it alone. When we were in Damaaj about 3 years ago, everyone, ok, sisters were talking about the minced beef, as it was new. A lot of people were getting their ground beef from Sadah, which was some distance away. However, it kind of received mixed reviews, some absolutely hated it, others seemed to like it. It was great at the time, because I didn’t really buy a lot of meat, so that was the meat we ate, in addition to tuna, really. Of course chicken is popular here, but we didn’t do chicken until I found it in the big grocery stores. To this day, even in Sana’a, I have never purchased meat from the little neighborhood butchers. Sometimes I worry about their cleanliness, though I do seem them hose the places down and clean them. And then I have issues, I guess, with seeing a little animal outside one minute and then taking it home in a bag, warm to the touch. As I said, chicken is really popular here and you many people by their chicken from the little butchers. You see lot of chicken in cages, and you pick your chicken and then its slaughtered right there. Again, I am not all that for super fresh meat, I guess, so I get mine from the butcher or frozen section in the bigger markets.