desert truffles-5 copy

It’s this time of the year again when everyone is getting excited because desert truffles are back in season. Well, at least in Syria and Lebanon whereas they are just over in the Arabian Gulf — I missed them by a week or so. Not that I was so sad to miss them. I can’t say I am a great fan of these prized nuggets of the desert. They are more about texture than either aroma or flavour, and the annoying thing is that however well you clean them, there will always be a few grains of sand left to spoil the bite.

But I did have them once, at the house of a friend in Aleppo, when they were not only totally delicious — stewed with meat and served with the most divine rice flavoured with cardamom — but also without any grit. She had used truffles that are much bigger than those in the pictures here which I snapped last week in Damascus, and the girls who helped her in the kitchen spent a lot longer cleaning them. There wasn’t a single grain of sand.

desert truffles-cleaned & not cleaned copy

You can, if you want, buy them already cleaned but they never clean them well enough. They don’t want to lose any of the weight as they are very expensive, although nowhere near as expensive as either the black or white ones. In any case, I will not be buying them, either cleaned or still covered with earth. But if you are, ask for the darker truffles that are imported from Algeria. My Damascus grocer assures me they are far superior to the local ones. I guess they must be. They are twice as expensive.

There is 30 comments on this post

  • i would love to try these. what are some other ways you eat them? i’d love to have truffle stew. x shayma

  • btw, i was told by a syrian lady that there is a legend that these ‘come from the lightning’ i thought it was a sweet metaphor.

  • well, you can marinate and grill them, or boil them and dress them like a salad. and i think bodour said that they slice them very thinly and dress them to eat as a salad. i like the sound of this, as long as there is no sand in them.

  • I have eaten them in Egypt, roasted in hot ashes.
    They had interesting flavor but not great, as far as I can remember.

  • yes, they are not so interesting. it’s the rarity value, and the fact that it is so seasonal.

  • Any change we get an insight in the rice recipe? 🙂

  • they are like a cross between and mushroom and an artichoke in terms of texture and taste. Not much to twitter about. But the lightning analogy comes from the fact that they are created by the lightning from November thunderstorms in the desert. The Bedu collect them and bring them into Damascus, where they sit looking very grateful on the grassy traffic islands of Rawda and Malki, with a pile of the kama next to them. I think part of the appeal is the Arab’s curiosity about their Bedouin roots. I know many Syrians who go misty-eyed when they describe eating these truffles roasted, taken from the ashes of the campfire.

  • Beit Sissi in Aleppo does a very good kama kebab in season

  • i’ll see what i can do.

  • i guess that is when they would be really good. like baked potatoes.

  • as you know, i don’t like beit sissi but am prepared to take your word for it, although i won’d be going there to try it. too many tourists.

  • Agree with you on Beit Sissi! Full of cabin crew (sorry cabin crew) and they are resting on their laurels a bit. They also regularly overcharge so you have to check the bill! Beit Wakil opposite has a surprisingly good restaurant.

  • i think it was good. not any longer, at least not according to my last meal there a couple of years ago.

  • How interesting! I’ve never heard of these before.

  • you should be able to buy them in london in some middle eastern shops.

  • @anissa

    You beat me again to it! Just today I posted a long post about kemeh with pictures I took last week in Damascus.

  • i’m sorry kano. didn’t mean to. was there for one day and meant to call but it was a mad rush. hope you had a great time.

  • @anissa

    I was actually waiting for your call. but no worries I know how it is when you are in a rush on holiday. We will catch up some other time.

  • definitely, in london.

  • Dear Anissa,

    I have read the reviews on the desert truffles. I have also read that the desert truffle is a cure for eye problem and comes in white or black. Where can i find this in the central london area for a reasonable price, without having the wool being pulled over my eyes. Or what should i expect to pay for a kg.

    Kind regards,


  • well, you will have to wait for the season which is in the winter. the desert truffles were about £30 a kilo but that was a few years back. not sure how expensive they are now. the black or white truffles are v different and a lot more expensive.

  • Thank you for your feedback, much appreciated. how many different kind of truffle’s are there? Yes, i have seen prices for the black truffle as little as 165 pounds per kg up to 500 pounds for the white truffle per kg.

  • i think white truffles can go much higher than £500. as far as i know there are 3 main types: black, white and the desert truffle.

  • Are the 3 types of the same texture and taste.
    And is the cooking method the same for all, as usual cooking is done or is there a particular way to cook the truffles?

  • no, they are not. the black and the white are shaved over various dishes to flavour them whereas the desert truffle is cooked in different ways, stewed, grilled or boiled.

  • how to clean truffles or named Kama and store them

  • you need to crush the sand off and wash them and get into the creases where there may be sand. they are best used very fresh. not sure how they are once frozen 🙂

  • Hello, does anyone know where I can find Canned Algerian or Moroccan Desert Truffles in London, UK?

  • i guess in middle eastern stores like green valley in upper berkeley str

  • Hello everyone

    We will have commercial quantity of the dessert Truffles after 2 weeks which is start of season here in Iran.
    Anybody interested we can export by Air.

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