Tahini, aah, such a wondrous ingredient, made from sesame seeds and not understood or used enough in this country. One of its properties is that it thickens in the presence of acid, so you can add lemon juice to it to thicken it as well as flavour it, and gradually thin it with water or milk until you get to the right conistency (depending on what you are using it for).
This classic green sauce includes garlic and parsley as well, for a great dip, spread, sauce or dressing. It is Middle Eastern in flavours, so pair it with pita bread, falafel, herby salads, or any flatbread. It is great in salad sandwiches and wraps. Dress vegetable salads with it, pair it with some steamed beetroot. Dip crackers and crudites into it. Spread tiny toasts and top with chopped cucumber or chopped tomato and chilli. You are going to love it.
You might like to try some other Tahini recipes. We have Crushed Du Puy Lentils with Tahini and Cumin, Yoghurt Tahina Dip with Herbs or Tahina Tarator | Tahini Spread, Dip or Dressing.
Try these spreads too: Avocado Mash, and Broad Bean and Butter Bean Spread.
All of our recipes featuring Tahini are here. Feel free to browse our Middle Eastern recipes, or our Salad recipes. Or all of our easy Mid Summer Recipes.
Continue reading “Green Tahini Sauce | Dip | Dressing | Spread”
This year I have a surfeit of Pomegranates from a wonderful friend that has a prolific tree. Juice, Pomegranate Honey, Pomegranate Vinegar and other such goodies emerge from our kitchen, including this Pomegranate Molasses.
Are you looking for Pomegranate recipes? Try Pomegranate Salsa, Tomato and Pomegranate Salad, and Green Olive, Walnut, Pistachio and Pomegranate Salad.
Browse all of our other Pomegranate recipes. You might also be interested in our Autumn Preserves. Or browse our easy Early Winter recipes.
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I love this recipe – it is so versatile, and the sort of recipe you can pre-prepare the ingredients, charring the okra and tossing it with the other ingredients at the last moment. The preserved lemon and fresh lemon juice contrast so wonderfully with the charred but still crunchy okra. This dish is GOOD.
The okra can also be charred on the BBQ (grill), tossing them on the hot plate as you sip wine and talk to friends. Then throw them into a pan and toss them with the other ingredients and place on the table for your guests to munch on (try with some flat bread) while you get on with BBQing the rest of the meal. I use a kadhai (Indian wok, flatter than a Chinese one) to make this dish, it is perfect for it.
It is an Ottolenghi recipe, of course, born of the Israeli and Palestinian roots of Sammy and Yotham. Okra features well in these cuisines, from the sun dried okra hanging from strings, to being served in dishes heavy with tamarind syrup. What a divine thought!
For this dish, use short, young, fresh, crisp okra only.
Are you looking for other Okra dishes? Read more about Okra here. And try Crispy Okra (Kurkuri Bhindi), Stir Fried Okra with Sesame Seed, Goan Fried Okra, and Lemak-Style Vegetables.
Perhaps you are looking for Salads? Try Tomato Salad with Green Olives, Chickpea and Carrot Salad with Curry Dressing, and Cucumber and Avocado Salad.
Perhaps try some other Middle Eastern dishes: Babaganoush, Falafel, Parsley and Barley Salad with Spiced Marinated Feta and Chickpea “Tabbouleh”.
We have a wealth of Ottolenghi recipes that we have tried. Or have a look at all of our Okra recipes and all of our Salad recipes. Our Middle Eastern Dishes are here. Or spend some time browsing our Mid Autumn dishes.
Continue reading “Warm Salad of Charred Okra with Tomato, Garlic and Preserved Lemon”
Orzo is petty good, don’t you agree? This little rice-shaped pasta has an elegance that eludes other pastas. I was delighted to find another way to cook this star in Jerusalem, the cookbook by Ottolenghi and Tamimi.
Rice is a staple of many of the communities of the Middle East and features in quite complex dishes as well as very simple ones. Quite often, other ingredients like chickpeas, vermicelli, potatoes, lentils and nuts are are cooked with the rice.
Spices are also used, for example the Bucharan Jews in Jerusalem use ginger, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon with mint, raisins and peas. How delicious!
In this recipe, the usual vermicelli is replaced by Ottolenghi and Tamimi by orzo. Don’t confuse this orzo with the Greek barley – it is the Italian pasta version. You can use vermicelli if you like, just don’t fry them as long as they will burn.
Are you looking for other Orzo recipes? Try Elegant Orzo Salad.
Perhaps you are looking for mixed rice dishes. Try Zucchini Rice, Mango Rice, and Pepper Rice.
We have several Middle Eastern Recipes to try. Beetroot with Yoghurt-Tahini, Saffron and Rosewater Scented Aubergine, and Beautiful Hummus.
Are you looking for more? Explore our Ottolenghi recipes, all of our Orzo dishes, our Rice recipes, and all of our Middle Eastern dishes. Or simply spend some time browsing our Mid Autumn collection of dishes.
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We like to keep some pickles on our shelves – usually in the fridge for longer storage. Given our current focus on Okra, it was wonderful to realise that these can be pickled as well as our usual ones – carrots, jicama, cumquats, quinces, onions, ginger – pickles feature big here.
This is an Armenian Pickle, from Arto Der Haroutunian’s Middle Eastern Vegetarian Dishes – my old copy that I bought at a second hand stall in about 1985. I love this book.
The recipe would be quite tweak-able, and I am quite excited about it. As the jars lined up on the shelf, I imagined it with various other spices included. This will stay on our list of often-repeated dishes for some time. It is surely a nice way to use up an over-abundant crop from the kitchen garden.
It’s a long wait though. Between the easy part – placing them in the jar with spices and vinegar – an eating them is the difficult part, that of waiting 8 weeks. Oh well, just imagine, in early Winter we will have pickled Okra with our meals. A nice thought.
Are you after other Okra Recipes? Try Crispy Okra, Okra with Chilli Spice Paste, and Goan Fried Okra. Read more about Okra here.
Or perhaps you are wanting other pickles? Try Pickled Jicama, Pickled Lemon Slices, and Quince Pickle.
We have one other Armenian dish – Green Peppers in Yoghurt.
If you are keen for more information, browse all of our Pickles and all of our Okra recipes. Our Middle Eastern Recipes are here. Take a look at Arto’s dishes that we have made. Or take some time to explore our Mid Autumn dishes.
Continue reading “Bami Titvash | Armenian Pickled Okra”
Beetroot is back on the menu, our earthy flavoured friend. In this salad, the beets are grated and mixed with a classic yoghurt and tahini dressing. To keep up the Middle Eastern theme, we add some za’atar.
This is a perfect Autumn Salad, although it does work really well in all other seasons. I love it in Autumn because we are moving from the cool blue colours of Summer into the oranges, golds, reds and crimsons of Autumn. It seems to fit well somehow.
If you are interested in other Beetroot Salads, try Beetroot, Orange and Olive Salad, Beetroot with Honey Dressing, and Warm Beetroot and Carrot Salad with Indian Spices.
Or try other Beetroot Recipes – Beetroot Risotto, Beetroot Fry and Beetroot Halwa.
Otherwise, have a look at all of our Beetroot Salads and all of our Salads. You can have a look at all of the other Beetroot recipes too. Or browse our Early Autumn dishes.
Continue reading “Beetroot with Yoghurt-Tahini Dressing and Za’atar”
A Summer-time salty yoghurt cooling drink from the Middle East.
I am keen on yoghurt drinks in warmer weather. Somehow they keep me feeling well and balanced. Lassi drinks – India’s contribution to the world of yoghurt drinks – are diverse and wonderful. Smoothies, made with yoghurt, encapsulate the modern trend of blending ingredients together. And the Middle East has much to offer.
This recipe is Ayran/Airyan, a drink claimed by both Turkey and Bulgaria. But it is popular across all of the Middle East. Syrians and Lebanese call it Laban Ayran. In Iraq and Jordan it’s called Shenina. And if you add a little crushed or dried mint to the drink, you’ll have Doogh, the Iranian version of Aryan.
Ayran is a mixture of yogurt, cold water and salt, but there are variations. What makes its Ayran special is that it is quite frothy. For example, one variation, the Susurluk Ayran, comes from a small town, Susurluk, in Turkey. The ingredients are the same, but in Susurluk restaurants cirulate the Ayran through a faucet, using high speed pumps, and this creates a foamy texture with a heavy creamy top. It is very famous, and eaten with a cheese panini-like dish called tost.
Are you after Yoghurt Drinks? Try our Lassis, we recommend Strawberry and Peach Lassi with Basil, Jeera (Cumin) Lassi, and Mango Lassi.
You can find all of our Yoghurt Drinks here – please browse. Also browse our Middle Eastern recipes here, and all of our Yoghurt recipes here. Or explore our easy Early Spring recipes.
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Suddenly the eggplants in the garden have found their mojo and are producing so many eggplants. It has me scrambling to find different ways to prepare them. Today they are grilled and the flesh is combined with tahini. It is another lovely mezze or tapas dish, or an any-time snack with flatbreads. You will love this. A take on Babaganoush, it is rich, smoky, and creamy.
You can grill/bake the eggplant in several ways. Cook it under the griller, turning often until the skin is blistered and blackened, and the flesh is soft. Or it can be cooked over a gas flame in the same way. But my favourite way is to grill it whole in a covered BBQ (grill) until the skin is blackened and the flesh collapsed. It is the easiest and quickest way at our place.
Are you looking for other Eggplant recipes? Try Eggplant Simmered in a Beautiful Broth, Grilled Eggplant Salad with Pinenuts and Pita Chips, and Deep Fried Eggplant.
Is it Dip Recipes that you are looking for? Try Coriander-Walnut Dip, Tomato and Chilli Jam, or Tahina Tarator.
You can explore all of our Eggplant recipes here, and all of our Dips here. Browse the Middle Eastern recipes, or take some time to explore our Late Summer recipes.
Continue reading “Babaganoush | Roasted Eggplant with Tahina”
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 to the Borage Flowers 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 (I think they are dyed). The Persian ones are so fragrant and a natural pink in colour.
While you are at the Afghan or Middle Eastern shop, pick up Dried Limes as well – they will be near the spice section. Intensely lemony, they feature often in Persian and Middle Eastern food, and we put some in this tea. They come in black and yellow-brown colours. Either will do. I love the look of the black ones and the slight smoky flavour they add.
Also near the dried ingredients you will find Dried Mint. You will need a pack of this as well. Also pick up coriander seeds, saffron and cinnamon sticks if you don’t have any at home. And for a treat, grab a packet of nabāt, crystalised rock sugar on sticks. It is a beautiful sweetener with a lovely clear flavour, without any taste of caramel.
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.
Continue reading “Fragrant Persian Rosebud and Borage Flower Tea”
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.
Continue reading “Falafel | Ta’amia | Spicy Middle Eastern Chickpea Patties or Balls”
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, Green Tahini Dip and Sauce, 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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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.
Why not also try Unusual Coffees, and Barley Coffee.
You might also like to browse all of our other Coffee recipes and our Chai suggestions.
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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.
Are you looking for teas? You will love Fragrant Persian Rose Bud and Borage Flower Tea, Cumin, Coriander and Ginger Tea and Lemon Verbena and Lavender Tea.
Please feel free to browse all of our Tea and Infusion recipes. All of our Middle Eastern recipes are here. Or get inspiration by exploring our Early Spring recipes.
Continue reading “Dried Lime Tea | Chai Noomi Basra”
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.
Read all about chickpeas here.
Are you looking for other Chickpea recipes? Try Chickpeas with Beetroot Greens and Chilli, Simple Delicious Chickpea Salad, Baked Chickpeas, and Tomato Paella.
You might like to browse our Chickpea Salads, or all of our Chickpea dishes. Explore our Middle Eastern Dishes. And check out all of Bittman’s Salads. Or explore all of our Mid Autumn dishes.
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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.
Are you looking for more Eggplant dishes? Read more about Eggplants, and try Brinjal Tamarind Kothsu, Babaganoush, and Marinated Eggplant.
Or Middle Eastern dishes? You might also like Turkish Red Lentil Soup, Beetroot with Yoghurt Tahini Dressing and Za’atar, and Eggplants with Sultanas and Pinenuts.
Or browse all of our dozens of Eggplant dishes, our Middle Eastern dishes and Persian dishes. Or simply explore our Mid Autumn dishes.
Continue reading “Saffron and Rosewater Scented Aubergine | Persian Style Eggplant”