Monday, March 17, 2008

Middle Eastern Gala

by Priyanka posted at 3:54 PM 6 comments


From left to right: Sweet and sour beet dip, red pepper hummus, Zuchini with pomegranate molasses, Potato salad, Lentil lemon soup, Wheat pita and Center: Muhamara

I promised in my previous post that i would post more often.However, everytime i cooked something - not that i cooked a lot of new dishes (just baingan- methi and alu-methi sabzi), i forgot to take the pictures. Plus we have been doing a lot of travelling and eating out at some really awesome places (will post about it some other time). The only part of blogging that i dislike is the write-up- one reason being i am not so good at it, second, i havent had the time-since i had to drive to miami everyday for my internship the past month (let me tell you-3 hours commute on a daily basis can kill you especially if you have to wake up at 4 in the morning and are stuck in traffic on a regular basis). I really appreciate all you guys dropping by my blog......havent had a chance to reply to your posts or visit your blog, but am picking up on it.

This past weekend, i invited a good friend of mine who recently got married, to dinner. And which cuisine was the pick of the week? Well, all of you who read Hummus in the title should have been able to guess right- it was middle eastern that i dished out. I have recently joined the public library close to my house and on my last visit, i picked up a couple of books on cuisine of the middle east- One of them is "Secrets of Healthy Middle eastern cuisine" by Sana Abourek and the other one is "A Book of Middle Eastern Food" by Claudia Roden. Both these authors have written about the middle eastern cuisine but from two different aspects. I could identify with Sana Abourek's book since it has a majority of vegetarian recipes which have been tried and tested from a healthy nutrition perspective given that the author is a nutritionist by profession. The other book by Claudia Roden is also pretty good, with more dessert and non-vegetarian recipes to choose from.

The recipes that i am writing about today are all from Abourek's book and i have not contributed in any other way than cooking these wonderful dishes. So whenever you feel like and as long as you have a good blender these dishes shouldnt take you long to cook.

Zuchini in Pomegranate molasses (Kusa Be Debs Al-Ruman)

1/2 lb zuchini
1/2 red pepper
4 tsp pomegranate molasses (heat 2 cups of pomegranate juice -store-bought, with 1/4th cup sugar and 2-3 tbsp lemon juice till it reduces to a thick syrupy consistency for approx. 1 hour- From Simply Recipes-keeps good for 3-4 weeks in the fridge)
2 small cloves garlic, finely crushed

1, Boil the zuchini till it becomes very soft. Mash it , add the finely chopped red pepper, pomegranate molasses and garlic.

Sweet and Sour Beet Dip (Shamander Bel Tahini)

2 Beets
2 tbsp yoghurt
1 tbsp tahini paste
1 clove garlic-mashed
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
salt to taste

1. Boil the beets, peel them and mash them.
2. Add the tahini paste, yoghurt and garlic and mix well.

Red Pepper Spread (Muhamara)

2 loaves of bread
1 red bell pepper
2 tsp walnuts
1-1/2 tsp cumin-coriander powder
1/2 onion
salt to taste
1/2 red chili pepper
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses

1. Put all the ingredients in the blender and blend into a smooth paste.

Lentil Lemon soup (Shorbet Adas Bel Hamath)

1 cup lentils
1/2 onion- finley chopped
pepper to taste
salt to taste
1/2 lemon
4 -5 tbsp coriander
2 cloves garlic mashed

1. Boil the lentils with the onion, salt and pepper.
2. Saute the mashed garlic with half of the coriander in olive oil and when the lentils are soft and tender, add the coriander garlic mix to it.
3. Keep heating for 5- 10 more minutes, thena dd the lemon juice and serve hot garnished with the rest of the coriander.

Potato Salad (Salatat Batata)

2 potatoes- boiled
1 tomato- finely chopped
1/2 onion-finely chopped
3-4 tbsp parsely
2 tbsp lemon juice
pepper to taste
salt to taste
1 tbsp olive oil

1. Dice the potatoes into small cubes, add in the chopped tomatoes, onions, parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Mix well and serve.

Roasted red pepper Hummus (Flehfleh Hummus)

1-1/2 cup canned garbanzo beans (chick peas)
1 can roasted red peppers
2 cloves garlic
salt to taste
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp tahini paste

1. Put all the ingredients in the blender and make a smooth paste. Adjust for garlic and lemon juice as per your taste.

Bulghur with lentils (Mujaderrah)

1 cup lentils
1 cup bulghur
salt to taste
1 onion- sliced
2 tsp cumin powder

1. Boil the lentils and bulghur till the are soft and well-cooked.
2. Add in the salt and cumin powder.
3. In a pan saute the onions in some olive oil till they turn completely brown.
4. Top the onions off on to the lentils and bulghur.
5. Serve with some curd or tomato salad.

For the wheat pita bread, look up my recipe on the pita bread in the previous post and substitute all-purpose flour for whole wheat.

Comments 6 comments
Asha said...

WOW!! Great array of food, love the colorful Hummus!:))

Happy cook said...

Wow this is indeed a Middle Eastern Gala.
Love them. Pity we are not there to enjoy the gala in real life :-)

evolvingtastes said...

Lovely spread, Priyanka - I hope your friends were suitably impressed and happy. I know what you mean by the brutal commute - I did that for long too, and would never want to do it again if I had my way.

Suchita said...

Hey! I had been eying the mid-eastern recipes on here, last week and here you come up with another whole bunch of awesome recipes.

zlamushka said...


What a gorgeous feast. I am loving the presentations, so many colors, happy lunch, thats for sure.... And a healthy one, too :-)

Richa said...

absolutely love that mahamarra', hv never used onion in it, will try. btw try adding garlic too, gives an excellent flavor!
also thanks for the pom molasses rcp, was looking for it. did u use readymade pom juice for it? how long does it keep in the fridge?
thanks sweetie!

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