Basalia (Pea Stew)

Basalia (Pea Stew)

Welcome to the first of a series of posts entitled “Medley of Marakah.” Marakah (accent on the first syllable) is an Arabic word for a tomato-based stew/sauce and there many different kinds of Marakah. Arguably the most popular Marakah in our family is Basalia and for good reason. Basalia (peas in Arabic) is the main ingredient in this stew and gives it a slight sweetness that is balanced by the acidity of the tomato sauce. The ground meat adds a hearty protein that rounds out the dish. Pour it over a bed of a rice and your meal is complete.

Timin (Arabic for “rice”) and Marakah is a weekly dinner staple in our family. The varieties of Marakah are fairly easy and quick to make. They can even be made ahead of time and frozen for even easier meals during the work week. I remember my Mom asking us every so often especially before big milestones (like the first day of school or our birthdays) which Timin and Marakah we would like to have. Basalia was a clear front runner in answering this question. The coming weeks, however, will reveal a few more varieties you can try for yourself and then decide. Stay tuned ….


Peas and ground meat are braised in a tomato based sauce. It is eaten with rice, and is the most delicious and complete meal.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Arabic
Servings 8


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chopped yellow onion medium size
  • 1 lb ground beef (or ground turkey)
  • 1.25 tsp ground sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 15 oz cans tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp Iraqi baharat or all spice if you don't have baharat on hand
  • 4 cups frozen peas


  • Heat olive oil in large saucepan on medium heat
  • Add chopped onion and saute until soft and almost translucent
  • Add ground meat and mix with onion breaking up the meat with spoon until cooked thoroughly
  • Add tomato sauce, water, salt, pepper and all spice, peas and stir
  • Bring mixture to a boil then cover and reduce heat to low
  • Let cook on low for 15 – 20 minutes then uncover and remove from heat
  • Let it cool for 5 minutes then it's ready to serve with rice

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