Rustic White Beans in Tomato and Onions

This dish has a vague Turkish origin. White beans – haricot or cannellini beans – are cooked and mixed with a delicious tomato-based mixture. You could make the same dish with chickpeas or lima beans.

I often make it with passata for a real saucy base, but other times will use chopped tomatoes for quite a different style. Your choice.

Similar dishes include Broccoli and White Bean Soup, Fennel and Potato with White Beans and Garlic, and Rustic, Spicy Butter Beans.

Browse all of our White Bean recipes and Turkish dishes.

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Turnips and Onions in Olive Oil

Turnips, the forgotten vegetable of Winter. Yet they are divine either raw or cooked. We have quite a few recipes for you to experiment with. And to add to that list is a simple Turkish dish of turnips and onions simmered using an a la grecque style, and finished with herbs. It is a simple and easy recipe.

The dish is very gentle, some might think it is bland. But it marries beautifully with a host of other, more strongly flavoured dishes. Just don’t overcook the turnips or they will go watery. Remove from the heat when juuuuust tender enough.

Browse all of our Turnip recipes and our Turkish dishes.

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Bamiya | Okra with Apricots and Lemon

This dish is an Armenian classic, one that brings sweetness through fruits into a dish with the softness of long-cooked okra. This recipe is a straightforward version of the dish – some recipes add tamarind and spices, but this one is quite an easy dish to cook while retaining the beautiful flavours of the cuisine. Tartness is added to the dish with lemons and tomato puree.

The okra are first sautéed and then cooked in the tomato puree with the apricots and lemon, for 40 mins or so, until meltingly soft. You will love it.

Are you after more Okra dishes? Try Okra with Chilli Spice Paste, Plain Kuzhambu with Okra, and Sambar with Okra.

Are you looking for more Armenian dishes? Try Green Peppers in Yoghurt and  Armenian Pickled Okra.

And try our Sweet Apricot Salad with Orange and Thyme.

You can browse all of our Okra dishes, all Apricot recipes, and all of our Armenian dishes. Or simply explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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Bami Titvash | Armenian Pickled Okra

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 Okra in Tamarind with Prunes and Apricots, 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.

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Falafel | Ta’amia | Spicy Middle Eastern Chickpea Patties or Balls (With Side Recipe of Toum)

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. (I use partially cooked chickpeas in this recipe, but use soaked but uncooked if you prefer.)

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 stuffed with cardboard-tasting falafel as the “vegetarian option”?

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 they fry.

Here is how to cook the softest chickpeas.

You might like to also try hummus, which goes well with falafel. Chickpeas make a whole range of dishes.  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.

Similar recipes include Vegetable Cutlets, Broad Bean Burgers, Broad Bean, Bulgar and Cabbage Kofta, Pea Croquettes with Mint Sauce, Broad Bean and Mint Falafel and Fava Bean Falafel.

Browse all of our Middle Eastern recipes and our Chickpea recipes. Or explore our easy Mid Spring recipes.

This recipe  is one from our  first blog which ran from 1995 – 2005. Feel free to browse other recipes in our Retro Recipes series . The recipe has its genesis in Middle Eastern Vegetarian Dishes by Arto Der Haroutunian who has written many classic Middle Eastern and Northern African cook books – my copy is a an ancient one, but it has been re-released in recent years.

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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 Thick Thick Yoghurt with Walnuts and Zaatar, Fragrant Eggplant with a Garlic-Yoghurt Sauce, Cucumber and Yoghurt Mezze, Green Tahini Dip and Sauce, and Chickpea “Tabbouleh”.

Capsicum recipes you might like to explore include Grilled Peppers and Eggplant Salad, Roasted Red Pepper Salad, Char Grilled Banana Chillies Stuffed with Tomatoes and Spices, and Baked Peppers with Cherry Tomatoes.

Explore all of our Capsicum dishes, our Middle Eastern dishes and 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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Yazarf Sabzi | Iranian Bowl of Herbs

Another amazing dish from The Archives. This traditional beginning to a meal is very special.

This is another traditional dish that I love very much. It’s a traditional beginning to a meal and is very special.  The Caucasians and Iranians, particularly the latter, have a beautiful custom of offering fresh herbs and vegetables with cheese at the beginning of the meal. Adopt this habit for your own…. Not only is it healthy, starting your digestive fires, it is yummy as well.

Note the name of the dish – Sabzi – literally means “herbs”. Quite like the Indian word Subzi or Subji, meaning vegetables.

Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series. You might also like our Middle Eastern recipes here. Or you might like to browse Salad recipes. Check out our easy Summer recipes 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.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Green Tahini Dip and Sauce, Yoghurt Tahina Dip with Herbs, and Green peppers in yoghurt.

You can browse all of our our Dips are here, Lebanese dishes here and Middle Eastern recipes here. Or be inspired by our Late Spring recipes.

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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Dukkah and Zahtar (Za’atar, Zaatar)

Imagine a piece of bread dipped in lovely golden olive oil, then into a bowl of ground nuts, spices, lentils and seeds.

Imagine a piece of bread dipped in lovely golden olive oil. Then, dripping still, is dipped in a bowl of ground nuts, spices, lentils and seeds. The wonderful aromas. The extraordinary flavours. Popped right into your mouth. Over a cup of coffee. For breakfast.

This mix is Middle Eastern in origin, where it is served at breakfast with bread. One takes a piece of bread, dips it first into a bowl of very good olive oil and then into the mix and then eaten.

Dukkah is a real textural treat, blended from nuts such as pistachio, hazelnut or almond with spices such as cumin, toasted sesame and coriander seeds.

In Australia it is quite popular to serve with drinks before a meal. But it is perfect at any time. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. As a salad topping. Sprinkled over roast or steamed vegetables. Sprinkled over soups. Covering bread dipped in olive oil. Divine. For vegetarians it adds a little protein via the sesame seeds and chick peas.

By contrast, Za’atar is a herbaceous mix of thyme and oregano, sometimes marjoram, that is grounded by toasted sesame seeds and lifted by sumac. It’s brilliant sprinkled over homemade hummus, mixed with olive oil for a paste that you can slather over Lebanese bread and used in baked vegetables and salads.

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