Category Archives: Cooking middle eastern

Falafel with tahina sauce

chick peas dry- soak overnight with a pinch of baking soda- 200 gms

fresh parsley- few sprigs – enough to make the mixture nice and green and give it a burst of flavour

fresh peeled garlic cloves – 4 nos.

lemon juce- from 1 lemon

salt – to taste

white onion peeled- 1 no

sesame seeds- about 2 tsp/10 gms

now drain the chickpeas, and grind to a semi smooth paste, without any water,(ok maybe 20 ml or so)  but with the onion, parsley, and the garlic. add in the lemon juice, the sesame seeds and season with salt.

form into about 20 gm patties and deep fry till browned and cooekd through.

serve with tahina sauce (tahina thinned down with some natural yoghurt ) called taratoor sauce in lebanon/syria

good as a snack or in a bun as vege filling.

Oriental rice.

This is the one served with ouzi or the arabic styled roasted lamb.its really aromatic and flavourful.

you will need

  1. lamb mince- 200 gms

  2. onion chopped- 1 no / 150 gms

  3. garlic- 2-3 cloves chopped

  4. bayleaf-1 no

  5. baharat powder- 1/2 teaspoon ( you can make this one at home and use for shawarma etc, needs cinnamon, cloves, some green cardamom  and some pepper, quite strong on the cloves)

  6. cinnamon powder as well again -1//4 tsp

  7. black pepper powder-1/4 tsp

  8. Gum arabic/ gundar/ gond/mistika – 1/4 tsp- pounded with some rock salt to a fine powder

  9. Basmati rice- 250 gms soaked in cold water and washed well.

  10. Saffron strands- 1/4 gm or less.

  11. oil+Butter mix-25 ml

Process

  • heat oil and add onions and garlic, lightly brown and then add the mince, which has to be really well browned and caramelised.

  • then add the spice powders and stir fry even more. add bayleaf and the rice and continue to stir fry till the rice is well coated with the mince and the oil . that will make the rice grains quite separate and nice when the mix has cooked.add in the gum arabic powder.

  • Add in enough hot stock or water (you can add some chicken stock powder to cheat) to cover the rice and a little more still.

  • Top with the saffron which you must have soaked in a little water.(what you dint know that?.Then get out of here).

  • cover with a lid for about 15 minutes on a low heat .

  • Serve with roasted lamb as an accompaniment.you can top the rice with fried almonds, cashew, pistachio ..

Hummus – by Petit Fleur De liban Ibrahim hadla

For this delicious and sometimes gassy levantine dip you need chick peas, tahina(sesame seed paste),garlic, lemon juice or citric acid.and olive oil to top it off.

  • chick peas- 250 gms
  • Tahina – 40-50 gms ..look for the ones from lebanon, habibi ibrahim will be most upset if its an israeli tahina paste, and not kanater abu naoum or mounir bissat from good old lebanon. having said that i use an israeli one in nz, though ibrahim will have a fit if he knew that.
  • garlic- 2-3 cloves peeled
  • lemon juice- from1 lemon . alternatively you can use a citric acid dissolved in water.
  • soda bicarb- 1/4 tsp to soak the chickpeas.
  • salt- to taste.

method.

  1. soak the chickpeas overnight with soda bicarb and plenty of water. the next day the soaking and soda will have softened the skins of the chickpeas.
  2. These then should be drained and washed very thoroughly. Put it with some fresh water and cook, for really very long. Chef ibrahim hadla, would famously take one chickpea and throw it on the wall. it should be cooked so much that it will stick to the wall.
  3. after they are cooked till really soft and mushy. drain and wash these very well in water.let them soak in a bowl of cold water and let the skins float on top.take these skins off and discard.
  4. Then you need a good food processor.like a food chopper, moulinex or any similar ones. at work we used one called robot coupe, which is the Mercedes Benz of food processors. start to blend .also add a few crushed ice cubes to the mix or really chilled water about 20 mls or so..
  5. this will make the mixture very light and airy and fluffy.add in the tahina and garlic,salt and lemon juice.it should be slightly garlickly , and lemony, but most importantly very very creamy and smooth.
  6. arrange in a flat- ish sort of dish nd then top it with some fruity good quality olive oil, and enjoy with pita bread.
  7. this can be topped with toasted pine nuts or small cubes of lamb/ beef sauteed with onions garlic and some lemon juice as well.
  8. Sahten as they say in arabic, or Bon appetit.
  9. Dedicated to le petit fleur de liban!!!! god how much we laughed when chef ibrahim used to say that.