This is a Saudi Arabian dish and was adapted from that curious book Memory Recipes of Desert Storm which was published following the Gulf War. I met the author,
Peel the onions carefully, cutting off the root ends. Cut one half of the onion from top to bottom leaving the other half intact. Put in a saucepan of boiling water and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain cool and separate carefully into layers. Mix together the cinnamon, allspice, mince, tomatoes and breadcrumbs and add seasoning. Place a tablespoon of the stuffing on each onion slice and roll up tightly. Line the bottom of a heavy saucepan with the unused onion pieces. Pack in the rolls closely, seam side down. Mix sugar and lemon juice with half a cup of water and pour over the rolls. Top with the oil. Place a small upturned saucer or plate over the rolls to prevent unrolling. Simmer gently over a low heat for 1 hour adding water if necessary. Transfer to a serving plate.
© 1998 Jennifer Paterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright estate. All rights reserved.