Yoghurt with Cucumber and Mint

Yoghurt and Cucumber is such a heavenly pairing that it is used around the world to make a cooling accompaniment to meals (and the pair is also often blended together to make cooling Summer drinks).

This recipe is reminiscent of the Middle East, where mint and garlic are added to yoghurt with cucumber. This can be used as a dip (for me, dips never went out of fashion), or a cooling yoghurt salad to have with meals. It can be a sauce or dressing, or make it thick and use it as a spread.

Similar recipes include Cucumber, Feta, Mint and Dill, Cucumber Lassi, and Raita recipes.

Browse all of our Cucumber recipes and all of our Yoghurt dishes. All of our Middle Eastern recipes are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Thick Thick Yoghurt with Zaatar, Walnuts and Olive Oil | Labneh with Walnuts and Zaatar

While others may call drained yoghurt as Labneh, I have always made it myself and began calling it Thick Thick Yoghurt all those years ago, before I had ever heard of Labneh and before labneh became trendy.

It is a versatile product that can be used in a multitude of savoury and sweet ways. Salt it and add spices to use as a spread, dip, dressing or filling. Serve with wedges of toasted pita bread. Sweeten it a little (or not) and use it with fruits, jam, on scones, on toast and jam and it is a great alternative to cream.

Countries from India through the Middle East and into the Mediterranean make and use thick thick yoghurt. This dish is one that uses golpar, that tangy, slightly tart powder made from Persian hogweed. Speaking in terms of traditional medicine, the use of golpar with yoghurt counteracts the cold property of yoghurt. You can buy it from Middle Eastern, Afghan and some Asian groceries. You can substitute some grated lemon rind – it is a different flavour but will still be very very good.

Use this as a mezze dish, a dip, with tomatoes and cucumbers (and radishes), a spread in a sandwich or wrap, slavered over baked vegetables, in place of sour cream.

To get you started, this is how you make Thick Thick Yoghurt. And read more about Golpar.

Similar dishes include Yoghurt and Kaffir Lime Spread, Ways to Use Thick Thick Yoghurt, Salty, Garlicky Thick Thick Yoghurt, and Blueberry Shrikand.

Browse all Thick Thick Yoghurt dishes and our Dips and Spreads. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Cucumber, Feta, Mint and Dill Salad

Quick salads, they make my heart beat faster. Quick, tasty salads faster still. Salads with the creamy, beautiful feta from the local Afghan shop, that is almost a heart attack! Here is your 3 minute salad, plus one more minute to slice up the crusty bread or tear the tafftoon or Nan-i Afgani flatbreads into bits and set up your place under the tree outside for a perfect light lunch.

Similar recipes include Parsley and Barley Salad with Marinated Feta, Broad Beans with Feta and Preserved Lemon, and Artichoke Hearts and Feta Salad with Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Feta dishes and all of our Salads. Our Middle Eastern recipes are here. Or browse our Early Summer dishes.

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Golpar Namak

Persian Hogwood seeds, ground into a powder called Golpar, makes an interesting spice – slightly bitter, earthy, woody.  You will find it quite aromatic too. It is used a lot in Middle East countries, and you can buy the seeds Middle Eastern or Afghan grocers. You might be able to buy the powder, but I can only get the seeds and grind them myself.

I got chatting to a gentleman in the local Afghan shop, and he says that Golpar is known and commonly used in Eastern European countries too. It is sometimes called Angelica seeds, but that is incorrect.

Golpar Namak is the powder mixed with salt. It is a great seasoning, useful for almost anything, and especially good with beans, grains, rice and lentils. Try it sprinkled over cucumbers and pomegranates. If you can find sour plums, use it with them too. Put some in your preserves and chutneys.

Read more about Golpar here.

Browse all of our recipes using Golpar, and all of our Middle Eastern recipes. Or try our Early Summer recipes.

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Freekeh Pilaf with Herbs and Yoghurt Dressing

Such a wonderful earthy flavour, Freekeh, that strange sounding name (to Western ears) belonging to the nutty grain. Sold whole or cracked, it is easy to find at Middle Eastern stores, some providores and some bulk lentil and grain places. Freekeh actually means rubbed – the process of removing the grains from its husks.

Like quinoa, freekeh is full of protein, with a beautiful smokiness, and is dead easy to cook. It is Middle Eastern duram wheat that is picked while unripe then traditionally roasted over wood fires to burn off the husks – hence its wonderful smoky flavour. Surprisingly it is also a little sweet, so a squeeze of lemon or lime always does wonders to a freekeh dish.

Freekeh is so unusual as generally the grains we use have been allowed to mature and dry on the head.

This dish is a take on an Ottolenghi dish from his book, Plenty, but has some minor variations. It is beautifully cooked by simmering for 15 mins and then leaving covered, to steam until cooked. Then it is tossed with herbs and topped with garlicky lemon yoghurt before serving.

Similar recipes include Green Beans with Freekeh, Walnuts and Tahini, Barley Pilaf with Mushrooms, and Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf.

Browse all of our Freekeh recipes and all of our Pilafs. Our Middle Eastern dishes are here. Or browse our Late Spring collection of recipes.

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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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Crispy Cauliflower with Tahini Yoghurt Sauce

This Cauliflower dish is a take on a classic Israeli and Lebanese recipe in Ottolenghi and Tammi’s book Jerusalam. I have twisted it up just a little to suit us and our friends, but I have to tell you that this is a favourite dish in our circle. I love it partly because it is very quick to make if you roast the cauliflower. Ottolenghi deep fries it (and that is delicious) but often time is a real factor in this household. So the cauliflower is roasted when we need awesome dishes in quick-sticks time. We can get on with other things while the roasting happens. I have to say, though, that deep frying gives the cauli beautiful crispy exteriors and cooks the interior just enough to be amazing.

Tahini features in creative ways in Israel, in both simple eateries and upmarket restaurants. For these types of dishes, grab good tahini from your Middle Eastern grocers – you won’t go back to the supermarket shelves, and they have a smoothness not available in the Greek brands. Choose a light-coloured tahini made from hulled sesame seeds.

The tahini sauce, thick and wonderfully rich, is the focal point of this dish. I use about 3/4 of Ottolenghi’s sauce with the cauliflower, and the rest is put to use as dips and salad dressings. This dish fits perfectly in any mezze selection, makes a great substantial meal when served with fresh tomato salad and a warm pitta, or is an excellent side for many meals.

Similar dishes include Indian Style Roasted CauliflowerCrispy Cauliflower with Capers, Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Hazelnuts and PomegranateRoasted Cauliflower and White Bean Puree,  and Cauliflower Slow Cooked with Lemon and Spices.

Also try Miso Sesame Dressing, Green Tahini Sauce, White Beans with Tahini, and Tahina Tarator.

Browse all of our Cauliflower recipes, and dishes where tahini features. Our dips and sauces are here. Explore our Israeli dishes, all of our wonderful Salads, and check out or Early Spring collection of recipes.

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Quince with Split Peas | Afghani Channa Dal with Quinces

This dish is a vegetarian version of a stew from Afghanistan, Quince Stew or Qorma-e-Behi. It uses lentils in place of the non-vegetarian items. It is a perfect Winter dish, fragrant from the quinces, and comforting and warming. Deeply, deeply warming.

I often use soft chard or other greens in this dish in place of the spinach, it works just as well.

Are you looking for more Quince recipes? Try Quince Pickle and Spiced Quinces. Check out some ways to use Quince in sweet recipes as well.

Or browse all of our Quince recipes, and our Afghani dishes, or explore our delicious Mid Winter dishes.

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Bamia b’Mishmosh | Okra in Tamarind Sauce with Apricots and Prunes

Okra and Orzo Rice go so well together. Some time ago, we made Orzo Pasta Rice, a version of Vermicelli Rice, and the mixture of the two (rice with either orzo pasta or vermicelli) is utterly delicious. Today, we are pairing it with some simply cooked but oh so delicious okra, cooked on the stove top.

The okra, with Middle Eastern Flavours, is cooked with tamarind, dried apricots, prunes and spices, for that special Middle Eastern sweet-sour taste.

Are you after more Okra dishes? Try Okra with Apricots and Lemon, Okra with Chilli Spice Paste, Sri Lankan Okra Curry, Warm Salad of Charred Okra, and Okra with Mustard Oil.

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

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Pomegranate Molasses

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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Roasted Sweet Potato and Fresh Figs

The fig season seems so brief in Adelaide, but that might be because they are so hard to find in green groceries. It seems that as soon as they appear in the shops, the season is over.

This year I did manage to find some of the green variety of figs that ripen earlier, and then some outrageously expensive black figs. Really, I need to make friends with someone with a fig tree.

One of Ottolenghi’s dishes in Jerusalem takes advantage of the beautiful taste and texture of figs to pair them with sweet potatoes, chillies and spring onions. This is so good. I mean SO GOOD. You do need to have figs that are sweet, moist and very ripe. You can smell the sweetness.

By the way, if you have access to figs, don’t forget to dry a few dozen, for use over winter.

Are you looking for Fig recipes? Try Baked Figs with Cheese and Honey, Baked Figs with Thyme, Figs with Rosewater and Almonds, Fig Salad with Hazelnuts and Mesclun, and Fig and Pecorino Salad.

Or perhaps you are looking for Sweet Potato dishes. Read about Sweet Potatoes here. And then try Caramelised Sweet Potatoes, Potato and Sweet Potato Spicy Curry, Sweet Potato Wedges with Creme Fraiche Dressing.

Or take some time and browse all of the Fig dishes and the Sweet Potato dishes. We have a few Israeli dishes. Take a look at the Ottolenghi dishes we have tried. Or take some time and browse our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Warm Salad of Charred Okra with Tomato, Garlic and Preserved Lemon

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. Then try Okra with Apricots and Lemon,  Slightly Charred Okra with Chilli, Garlic and ThymeCharred Okra with Spiced Tomato Barley, Crispy Okra (Kurkuri Bhindi), Stir Fried Okra with Sesame Seed, Okra Stuffed with Onions, 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: Okra in Tamarind with Prunes and Apricots, 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.

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Rice and Orzo

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 Beautiful Buttered Orzo, and  Elegant Orzo Salad. You should also try Kosheri – Rice with Vermicelli and Lentils.

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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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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Beetroot with Yoghurt-Tahini Dressing and Za’atar

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 and Yoghurt Salad Beetroot Salsa with Yoghurt, Beetroot, Orange and Olive Salad, Beetroot with Honey Dressing, Raw Beetroot and Herb Salad, 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.

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