Kema or desert truffle
March 18, 2012 • Category: Main Dish
For those of you who recognized it, this is indeed a desert truffle or kema. In Lebanon, these are brought over from Syria. Lina Hamdan, board member of the Lebanese Association of Gastronomy was telling me that these erupt after a storm and lots of lightning. The desert floor cracks and the truffles pop up and are quickly snatched up by the Bedouin women who live nearby. At a grocery store in Beirut these can fetch L.L. 60,000 a kilo (about $22 a pound).
When I asked the greengrocer if I could use them for an omelette, he gave a look of disdain “eggs? you want to use eggs with these? MEAT, that’s what these are for”.
Lebanese foodies buy them while they’re in season in bulk (20 pound sacks); they get peeled and blanched and stored in the freezer in small bags and can last the rest of the year. Their season is very short.
In the US I found cans of these at the Middle-Eastern store but I thought they tasted bland.
It would be a thrill to spend a few days in the desert and forage them with the Bedouins don’t you agree?
15 Comments • Comments Feed
Angel of the North says:
On March 18, 2012 at 10:44 am
Kamat… or Middle Eastern Truffle….
a good one, where did you get it Joumana…
its been a long time since I ate this
On March 18, 2012 at 11:53 am
Belinda @zomppa says:
Dang. You got me.
On March 18, 2012 at 11:59 am
Dried yellow beetroot?
On March 18, 2012 at 12:05 pm
It looks like a desert truffle…
On March 18, 2012 at 12:41 pm
Patricia Boustany says:
Look’s like a some kind of potato; a would say it almost looks like a sweet potato.
On March 18, 2012 at 1:11 pm
Astra Libris says:
Is it a sunchoke/Jerusalem artichoke?
On March 18, 2012 at 1:19 pm
No clue… but I am fascinated… can’t wait to see….
On March 18, 2012 at 1:37 pm
Definitely looks like white truffles. And so many – have you come into an inheritance?
On March 18, 2012 at 2:08 pm
Theresa Gebrail says:
Looks like a Jerusalem artichoke.
On March 18, 2012 at 6:26 pm
Miss Haddad says:
Its called “Kamaa” its very popular in Iraq,slightly similar to mushroom tastes as I suppose it does belong to the same family!! Its not planted, just naturally grown, I found some tin of it here in London but was far too expensive!
I like it but it has been very long since I ate it;
On March 18, 2012 at 6:28 pm
Am swimming in unknown territory, but have been comparing ‘google’ photos for a few minutes: I’ll go for ‘the middle eastern truffle’ [which may be the same as desert truffle?], as the latter seeems to have a much whiter/paler cut surface?
On March 18, 2012 at 9:31 pm
this is truffle !
On March 18, 2012 at 10:10 pm
Lasto Adri says:
In Arabic is it called “Doom”..
On March 19, 2012 at 1:33 am
Nuts about food says:
Had no idea until I read the comments. Still don’t know what they are however.
On March 19, 2012 at 3:59 am