Fragrant Persian Rosebud and Borage Flower Tea

Persian food is pretty extraordinary, and one of the more unusual ingredients that features in it is the Dried Persian Borage Flower. This is different to the European Borage flower which is quite tiny compared to the Persian one. Beginning life as a pink flower, it turns blue as it dries. It has such a relaxing quality, that making tea from it is a perfect evening task.

You can find Persian Borage Flowers online, at Persian shops or at Afghan shops. I found mine recently at a local Afghan shop. Also close by you will see the Persian dried Rosebuds. I like these better than the Chinese ones as the Chinese ones currently available have had a strange colour and no flavour or aroma. The Persian ones are so fragrant and don’t colour your tea the way the Asian ones do.

While you are there, pick up some dried limes as well – they will be near the spice section. Intensely lemony, they feature often in Persian food and we put some in this tea. Also near the dried ingredients you will find dried mint. You will need a pack of these two. Also pick up coriander seeds, saffron and cinnamon sticks if you don’t have any at home.

You might like to try our other teas made from herbs and spices. Try Cardamon, Cinnamon and Clove Tea, Mint and Lemon Verbena Tea, or Balinese Lemongrass and Ginger Tea.

You will find all our our Teas here, or just browse our Late Summer recipes.

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Falafel | Ta’amia | Spicy Middle Eastern Chickpea Patties or Balls

Using cooked or tinned chickpeas, falafels are very easy to make.

Who can resist a good falafel? Wonderful for snacks, meals, in wraps or topping salads, they are wonderfully tasty, textural and healthy. Whip them up using chickpeas you have previously cooked and  frozen, for an easy supper.

Home made falafel are a huge cut above store-bought ones, or even those from some restaurants that must purchase them in bulk and keep them frozen for a long time. One has to wonder why, they are so easy to make, whereas many pre-prepared ones taste like cardboard. Who hasn’t had a wrap or roll with cardboard-tasting falafel stuffed into them for a “vegetarian option” when it would have been more flavoursome to leave them out?

Worry no more, we have your back. These are fantastic. Crispy crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. You can grind the chickpeas coarsely or more finely, which ever is your preference. But they must be ground enough to hold together as fritters.

You might like to also try hummus, which goes well with falafel. Chickpeas make a whole range of dishes. Try Chickpea Fingers, for example (it uses chickpea flour). Or Chickpea “Tabblouleh”Chickpeas can be baked, or made into a spread, or smashed and made into a salad.  They are really healthy – have a look at this article.

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Green Peppers in Yoghurt

The Middle East has a variety of flavours and dishes that are amazing and under-explored in other countries. And yoghurt, one of my favourite food stuffs, features strongly there as it does in India. The recipes using yoghurt are often simple – take a vegetable, some yoghurt, garlic, dried mint and some spices, mix and serve.

Traditionally it is used as a pre-dinner snack or appetiser, generally served with pita bread., but you can use any flat bread. We get a great Afghan flatbread cooked fresh on the tandoor from our local shop, and it is amazing.

You can use the Green Peppers in Yoghurt as you might use a salad. If you use thick, drained yoghurt they can be used as a dip or spread, or it can be used as a sauce or dressing.

If you are looking for other Middle Eastern dishes, try Fragrant Eggplant with a Garlic-Yoghurt Sauce, Cucumber and Yoghurt Mezze, and Chickpea “Tabbouleh”.  All of our Middle Eastern dishes are here.

Capsicum recipes you might like to explore include Grilled Peppers and Eggplant Salad, Roasted Red Pepper Salad, and Baked Peppers with Cherry Tomatoes. All of our Capsicum dishes are here. All of our Salads are here.

Our Dips are here if you are after dips and sauces. Or simply take some time to explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Cardamom Spiced Coffee

Are you wishing that you could have a nice spiced coffee, the way that Chai adds spices to the humble black tea to create a wonderful, headily aromatic drink that is both warming and nourishing? Well, you can. Apart from some small pockets of this planet, it has been a well kept secret. But let that be no longer.

The simplest way to spice up your coffee is to add some cardamom. This elixir is common in Israel and the Middle East as well as India. Make your coffee as usual, adding some cardamom seeds, or crushed cardamom pods to the coffee grounds. The bitterness of good strong coffee with the sweet, pungent flavour of cardamom is not to be underestimated. Not only does cardamom coffee taste delicious but in Ayurvedic medicine the cardamom is reputed to reduces the acid in coffee and neutralise the over-stimulating effects of caffeine.

But it doesn’t end there. Other spices can be added too. Cloves, coriander, fennel, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger can be added – singly or in a mix.

You might also  like our other Coffee recipes and our Chai suggestions.

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Dried Lime Tea | Chai Noomi Basra

A popular Iraqi tea, it is said to be good for the digestion.

This is a popular Iraqi tea made with dried limes. It is said to be good for the digestion including stomach aches. Dried limes are popular in Middle Eastern and Israeli dishes and can be found in Middle Eastern groceries or herb specialist shops.

You will also love this Fragrant Persian Rose Bud and Borage Flower Tea. Or try Cumin, Coriander and Ginger Tea and Lemon Verbena and Lavender Tea.

Please browse all of our Tea and Infusion recipes here and here. We have some Middle Eastern recipes here and here. Or get inspiration from our Spring recipes here and here.

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Chickpea “Tabbouleh”

A chickpea salad with the taste of the Middle East.

There are some things that just go together. Like Figs and Almonds. Like Chickpeas, olive oil, lemon and parsley. Tomato and Basil. Take a combination that works, and it will give you endless dishes.

Here, we pulse the chickpeas and make a tabbouleh style salad with them.

You might like to browse our Chickpea Salads, or all of our Chickpea dishes here and here. Explore our Middle Eastern Dishes here and here. And check out all of Bittman’s Salads.

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Saffron and Rosewater Scented Aubergine | Persian Style Eggplant

This beautiful recipe of eggplants stewed in a jammy tomato sauce flavoured with saffron and rosewater is testament to the versatility of this exquisite vegetable.

Aubergines! No one cooks them better than Italians, Indians and Middle Eastern cuisines. This beautiful recipe of eggplants stewed in a jammy tomato sauce flavoured with saffron and rosewater is testament to the versatility of this exquisite vegetable.

This recipe has a wonderful mix of spices including saffron and the sprinkling of rosewater gives it a wonderful Middle Eastern ambiance. The house smells amazing as the aubergines cooks gently in this scented tomato base.

You might also like Turkish Red Lentil Soup, and Eggplants with Sultanas and Pinenuts.

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Eggplant, Sultanas and Pinenuts, with Yoghurt and Mint

Eggplant, the versatile King of Vegetables.

Such stunning weather this Spring, a little breezy, not too hot, not too cold. Everything is green, roses and other Spring flowers abound. The air is heavy with scents of roses and blossoms. The Jacarandas are flowering so prolifically.

And so our mind turns to Aubergines and yoghurt. A quick dish for lunch or side dish for dinner; it is very easy.

You might also like to browse our other eggplant recipes here and here. especially Saffron and Rosewater Scented Eggplant, Deep Fried Eggplant and Sauteed Eggplant.  Or be inspired by our Middle Eastern recipes here and here. Continue reading “Eggplant, Sultanas and Pinenuts, with Yoghurt and Mint”

Salty, Garlicky Labneh | Thick Thick Yoghurt

A beautiful, garlicky thick yoghurt for salads, soups and dips.

Labneh is a particular favourite, going into salads, soups, pasta dishes, dips, vegetable dishes, deserts and breakfast dishes.

We call it Thick Thick Yoghurt. See these previous posts on our love for this wonderful food. And this is how to make it: Making Thick Thick Yoghurt. Recently we began making it pre-flavoured with salt and garlic. You will love it too.

You might like to browse all of our yoghurt recipes here and here, and our Middle Eastern recipes here and here. Find inspiration in our Autumn recipes here and here.

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Rose Petals and Yoghurt with Fruits

Yoghurt and roses. A wonderful marriage.

Yoghurt forms the basis of so many great dishes, savoury and sweet. Dried rose buds which can be purchased at Asian and Middle Eastern groceries, have a natural affinity to yoghurt, sweetening and perfuming it. This recipe brings the two of them together.

We have a wealth of yoghurt recipes, from drinks to curries to salad dressings, desserts, dips, toppings and more. Browse through them here and here. Dessert recipes are here and here. Or find inspiration in our Spring recipes here and here.

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Yoghurt Tahina Dip with Herbs

Thick yoghurt and tahini dip with walnuts.

Try this Yoghurt Tahina Dip with herbs. You might like to eat it with Oatmeal Crackers, or perhaps, just by the spoonful. It is made with Thick Thick Yoghurt, a favourite ingredient in this kitchen.

You might like to try Shrikhand or Haydari. Or browse our yoghurt dishes, or Turkish dishes, and the general Middle Eastern dishes. Find inspiration in our Spring recipes here and here.

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Tahina Tarator | Tahini Spread | Tahini Dip or Dressing

A taste of the Middle East

This is a wonderfully simple dip, spread, dressing or sauce, quick to make, healthy and delicious to eat while watching the share prices.

This time in other years I was making a Cucumber Olan Curry, Salt and Pepper Lotus Seeds, Marinated Zucchini, Dal Makhani Nilgiri, Green Mung Dal Soup, Lentil Dumplings in a Spicy Gravy, and Overnight Breakfast Oats.

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Green Olive, Walnut, Pistachio and Pomegranate Salad

The most incredible salad

In the past it has been difficult to get pomegranates that were as tasty as those in Tamil Nadu and Kerala in India. There, they are so flavoursome, sweet, served by the bowlful for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here, early in the season, there were only wild pomegranates in the shop. Small, tart, hard, inedible. It was only later, much much later, some became available that approach the deliciousness of the fruit of India.

Are you looking for Pomegranate recipes? You can browse them here. And browse salad recipes here and here. Our favourites are Pomegranate and Banana Salad and Mung Sprouts Sundal. Or be inspired by our Winter recipes here and here.

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Haydari | A Turkish Yoghurt Dip

A Turkish Dip

Haydari is a thick dip and spread made from strained yoghurt which is called suzme in Turkish. It is very much like the Middle Eastern labne. Spread it on toast or flat breads, or serve with salads or chargrilled vegetables and tofu.

Looking for other Turkish recipes? Browse them here. Or browse our Dips, Sauces and Salsas here. Our favourites are Cacik and Pawpaw Salsa. You might like our Yoghurt recipes here and here. Or be inspired by our Winter recipes here and here.

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Spicy Rustic Red Lentil Soup with Thick Thick Yoghurt

In my palette of dried beans and lentils, it is the red lentil that is used least of all. I am not sure why. Its colour is lively, it is so easy to cook, does not require previous soaking and it falls to a wonderful creamy mush as it cooks. Perfect for when there is never enough time.

Red lentils were one of the four pulses commonly available as I was growing up – red lentils, split peas,  yellow split peas, barley – and was often thrown by the handful into overcooked soups and stews, left bland and forgotten at the bottom of the dish in an era when spices and herbs were not to be found in any Proper Country Australian Housewife’s kitchen. These women knew how to cook vegetables and meat for their men, but not “these dried things”.

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