Your Mecca to Middle Eastern Foods.
Salam Al'Aykum, Ansuf, Khosh Amadid, Hoşgeldin, Barev, Bruchim ha-baim, and Welcome one and all to the definitive, ultimate collection of Middle Eastern foods on MDA. I have already posted some (ok, 2..) recipes before (which I'll be posting here as well), and whilst I needed this to be pointed out to me, it only makes sense that I start a thread dedicated to all recipes of the cultural and historical birthplace of civilisation.
Why am I so into Middle Eastern (ME) foods you ask? (you didn't, but I'll go on) I myself am of Armenian decent to a mother who was born and raised in central Tehran. It is of cultural significance. Food has always been of great importance in our house, not only from my mothers' side. My British dad has always been a believer that you should never skimp on good food, so it's much more than something that keeps us alive. I'm sure that most of you can relate.
ME food seems to me like a dark void when it comes to wider consumption. Everyone knows the Chinese or Indian places down the street, and can even mistake the kebab shop as being a representation of ME food, but real middle eastern food is fresh, aromatic, and healthier than even the most pungeant of rotating skewers that some may be familiar with at 3 in the morning. By hopefully sparking interest in the region, you will see that the ME contains some of the finest foods in the world, and not to mention, almost every dish is compliant with the PB. The removal of rice usually is all it takes.
I've been lucky if you've read this far, so without anymore procrastination, let the posting begin!
This one is an egg based recipe, called (clear your throat) 'Mirza Ghassemi'. After spitting out the phlegm, read on for ingredients:
6 Cloves garlic
Turmeric+Pepper to taste,
-Bake the aubergine until the skin hardens up and it goes squishy on the inside.
-Wait till it cools, (or burn your hands) then scrape the flesh and put it in a suitable bowl to mash it.
-Melt butter and fry onions and garlic till it goes translucent
-Add aubergine, tomato and spices and fry over low heat for about 5 minutes
-Add the eggs and stir gently until they just start to solidify.
Serve with salad, or vegetables.
This dish is a herb omlette, properley know as 'Kuku Sabzi', which is an Iranian traditional dish (Eaten I think at easter time, but far more in my house!) consisting of a mixture of herbs and eggs, yet cooked slower and looks like a cake when done. In Iranian/Middle eastern cooking, the flavours come from fresh ingredients, so if you do choose to make this, it's best made on the same day.
Eggs-Enough to make the mixture a thick, sticky mess
The good thing is, proportions of herbs may vary. Use more of which ever herb you like most. If lost, just use one bunch of each.
-Wash herbs, then remove (if you even want to) the stems.
-Chop, or food process them to smaller pieces.
-Empty into a large mixing bowl, and start adding eggs one by one until desired consistency is reached
-Place in a non stick pan with a lid, and place on a low to medium heat (we have an aga, so we just put it on the 'slow one') for about 10-15 minutes, then using a clever plate technique because of the pan we have, flip it, and continue cooking until it's firm, and moist
Other sites with this may tell you to put loads of other stuff in it, feel free to look and try, but I've found it doesnt need anything else. Served as a starter, but eaten when felt like it!
This next one doesn't get any more Iranian: The Dolma.
You've probably heard or seen these before, unaware of their appearence. Essentially, a stuffed vegetable, although my mother is more familiar with stuffed grape leaves. Typically, served warm, they are a main meal. Cold, and they are a starter. The fillings can range from any meat and spice ground up, but as lamb, beef, and even goat are more common meats, it only makes sense that we use these as the ingredients:
450g Minced meat
1 Bell Pepper
Tomato Puree (although, I've never used it..)
The last five ingredients are up to you on the proportions used. I won't stifle your creativity!
1. Grape leaves- Depending on where you buy them, they may be heavily salted. If so, soak them overnight to rid the salty taste.
2. Everything else- Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, and mix well.
3. Wrap the leaves around the mix. Be careful not to rip the leaves, small tears hardly make a difference to the end result though, but as far as shape retention is concerned, be careful
4. Bring enough water to the boil that your parcels will be completely submerged. Add the parcels and reduce to a simmer. Leave for an hour. To test if it's cooked, poke with a fork. It should be tender.
If you choose to stuff a vegetable such as the aubergine, courgette, tomatoes, and bell peppers (Armenians will stuff a watermelon) then here's how to prepare:
-Cut stalks off, and with an apple corer, (or intricate knife skills, i would suggest the former however!) remove as much of the flesh as possible. Then, soak in cold salted water for 30 mins or so. NB this only applies to the aubergines and courgettes.
There is so much room for playing around with this recipe, it's hardly a 'recipe'. The beauty of this dish is it's up to the whimsiness of Grok(ette) as to what goes in it, and also what to serve with. I'll be posting another recipe soon (Probably after this, not much else to do on a sunday!) about a yoghurt dip which is so easy, you'll wonder why you haven't invented. Alternatively, discover your own dips and share. That's why this whole forum exists! Good luck
Last edited by Jenry Hennings; 06-18-2013 at 12:23 AM.
So, it took about 5 minutes before I had to post the yoghurt dip recipe..
This is called 'Mast o Khiar' literally meaning 'yoghurt and cucumber'. It's more commonly known as Tzadziki, which is the greek name. I use the Farsi name. Basically, greek yoghurt, and finely chopped mint and cucumber. Mix. Done.
Thanks for these recipes. I have been a great fan of ME cooking since Claudia Roden released "Middle Eastern Cooking" years ago - my paper back copy eventually fell to pieces! And it led me to Al Salam restaurant in Oxford where I have had some wonderful meals. Haven't been back since going grain free three or so years ago now.
I shall await more recipes with great anticipation!
I love Middle Eastern food! My mother is Lebanese and we grew up eating the more Levantine cuisine, plenty of rice, red meat etc.
We call Dolma "Waraq Dawali" and it's delicious! I always feared having it without rice but might try it with just meat. It's hard to find raw grape leaves around here, though. Where do you find yours?
Thank you for sharing these, Middle Eastern cuisine can be Primal, too
I would love to see some lamb recipes if you have them to share
Love middle eastern food but only really have Lebanese , been to Beirut last year was great
Moutabal aka babagounash is 1 of my favourite dishes !!!
Missing lemon juice !!!
Add cumin or paprika on top also n some mint !!!