Fluffy basmati rice with turmeric & Middle Eastern spices, roasted eggplant and carrot, chickpeas & pine nuts. Fabulous vegan entree or side dish.
2 cups white basmati rice 16 oz eggplant, sliced into 1-inch cubes 2 whole carrots, scrubbed and diced into small pieces 1 3/4 cups chickpeas, cooked or canned and drained 1 1/2 tsp salt, divided 2 1/2 tsp turmeric 1/2 tsp cumin 1/8 tsp black pepper 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (parsley can be subbed) 1/4 cup pine nuts (optional - if nut allergic omit) 6 tbsp olive oil, divided
Recipe Notes You will also need: large 6-8 quart pot, large colander
Rinse and sort the rice for a minute in the colander with cold water. Pour the rice into a medium mixing bowl and cover it with 2 inches of cold water. Let the rice soak for at least 30 minutes, up to 3 hours.
Place a rack in the middle of your oven and heat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking oil spray or brush lightly with olive oil. Spread out the eggplant cubes and diced carrots out on the baking sheet. Drizzle evenly with 2 tbsp olive oil, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of salt, and use clean hands to toss the vegetables, coating them lightly.
Roast for 10 minutes. Stir the vegetables with a wooden spoon, then continue to roast for 15-20 minutes longer until the vegetables are tender and some pieces are caramelizing. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Drain the rice in a colander and rinse again with cold water, shake out the excess water.
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a 5 quart pot. Pour in the rice and 1 tsp salt. Stir. Bring the water back to a boil. Let the mixture simmer uncovered on medium for 5-8 minutes, or until water fully absorbs. Stir the rice periodically during cooking, and make sure you’re careful not to cook too long or your rice will begin to stick to the pot.
As soon as all the liquid has absorbed, pour the rice into a colander and rinse with lukewarm water, then drain (this step removes excess starch and makes the rice extra fluffy). Rinse and dry the pot and put it back on the stove. To the rice in the colander, add the turmeric, cumin, black pepper, cayenne pepper, fresh chopped cilantro, chickpeas, roasted diced vegetables and pine nuts (if using). Carefully stir these ingredients into the rice in the colander, making sure spices, vegetables and herbs are well mixed throughout the rice. This may take a few minutes. If your colander is on the small side, you may find it easier to mix the rice and other ingredients in a large mixing bowl. I just use the colander to avoid washing an extra dish.
Pour 1/4 cup olive oil in the bottom of the pot on the stovetop and turn heat to medium. Let the olive oil heat up. Carefully scoop the rice with vegetables out of the colander and into the pot-- it should sizzle as you place the bottom layer of rice. Continue to mound the rice on top of the bottom layer, forming a pyramid-shaped mound in the middle of the pot. Make a hole in the center of the rice mound with the handle of a wooden spoon, pushing it almost to the bottom of the pot.
Place a thin kitchen towel over the top of the pot, being careful not to let the towel get too close to the heat source. Place the lid tightly over the top of the towel. Reduce heat to low and cook for 30 minutes longer.
Fluff rice with a fork and serve hot. Some crispy bits of rice will form at the bottom of the pan. Eat them and enjoy, or stir them into the rice. They’re delicious!
The maamoul is a delicate Lebanese Easter cookie made with semolina and stuffed with dates and nuts.
PREP TIME 6 hours COOK TIME 12 mins TOTAL TIME 6 hours 12 mins
Author: Margarita Cuisine: Mediterranean Diet Serves: 35 cookies
For the cookie dough:
300g (1 ½ cup) Semolina 200g (1 cup) Thin semolina 250ml (1 cup) Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) 50ml (1/4 cup) Warm water A pinch of sea salt ½ Teaspoon mahlab 1 Teaspoon natural rose water 1 Teaspoon orange blossom water
For the dates filling:
150g (1 cup) Unpitted dates A pinch of freshly ground nutmeg 1 Teaspoon water
For the pistachio nuts filling:100g (1 cup) Unshelled pistachios 1 Teaspoon muscovado sugar ½ Teaspoon orange blossom water
For the walnut filling:
100g (1 cup) Unshelled walnuts 1 Teaspoon unrefined muscovado sugar ½ Teaspoon orange blossom water
INSTRUCTIONS For the cookie dough:
1. In a large bowl add the semolina and thin semolina, the pinch of salt and the mahlab and mix it all well until combined. Add the EVOO and mix well with the dried ingredients. Add then the rose water, the orange blossom water and the warm water and work it all with your hands very gently. At first you will get clumps, then the dough will start to come together. You are not aiming for a smooth dough but for a dough that comes together and is slightly homogenous. You should work the dough with your hands for about 15-20 minutes.
2. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rest for at least 1 hour. Then remove the dough from the bowl, roll the dough into 2 long kind of sausages shape and cover with cling film. Allow them to rest over night (or for a minimum of 4 hours). The next day remove the cling film from the dough and cut off small pieces (see my step-by-step pictures for guidance).
For the dates filling:
1. Cut the unpitted dates into very small pieces and add them into a bowl. Add the pinch of freshly ground nutmeg and a teaspoon water and with the help of a blender, mix it all until you obtain a paste.
2. Roll the date paste with your hands into small walnut size balls.
For the pistachio filling:
1. Mix the pistachios, sugar and orange blossom water
For the walnut filling:
1. Mix the walnuts, sugar and orange blossom water
For the final preparation:
1. Cut off small pieces of the dough. Do not worry if it crumbles a bit between your fingers, to avoid that my tip is to have your hands wet with water every time you are making a cookie. Flatten each piece of dough with your hands, form a hollow (see my step by step pictures for guidance) and stuff in the middle of it the filling of your choice. Then close carefully until you have a filled dough ball. Repeat the process with the rest of the dough.
2. If you have the maamoul molds press each of the filled dough balls inside them (the molds should be previously lightly greased with EVOO to avoid the cookie to stick to it), push the dough a bit inside the mold to make sure it gets the shape and then tap the tip of the mold against your working surface with a firm quick movement. To avoid them to crumble, when I release them from the mold I do it directly over ovenproof paper that I have previously added to my working surface. Like this I avoid having to touch them when putting them on the baking tray, and thus there is less risk of them to crumble.
3. If you do not have the maamoul molds do not worry, you can bake them without shaping them. Just make the stuffed cookies into balls and flatten them slightly. Their shape won’t change their taste! And if you want you can decorate them a bit with the help of a fork.
4. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F). Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool on a cooling rack.
If you are not vegan or do not have lactose intolerance and would like to try my family original recipe, just replace the 250ml EVOO with 250g melted butter.
If you keep the maamoul in an airtight container in the fridge they can perfectly last for up to 1 month.
Once the cookies are cold, you can add a small dusting of powdered sugar over the pistachio and walnut stuffed maamoul. Usually you don’t add any powdered sugar over the date stuffed maamoul since they are already sweet enough. But for those of you with a sweet tooth, add sugar to taste. In any case this delicate recipe is only made for Easter, it's all about balance! Source: Tasty Mediterraneo
For the Marinade Ginger (paste) 1 tbsp Garlic (paste) 3 cloves Chili powder 1 tsp Salt 1 tsp Turmeric 1 tsp Coriander powder 2 tsp Cumin powder 1 tsp Garam masala powder 3 tsp Natural yogurt 125 ml + 125 ml (for cooking) (1/3 cup + 1/3 cup)
For Rice Basmati rice 300 g Water 1 1/2 liter Cardamom (whole) 6 pieces Cloves (whole) 6 pieces Cinnamon stick 1 inch Bay leaf 1 piece
1. Place all ingredients for the marinade along with the meat, in a glass bowl, mix well and chill for at least 2 hours but ideally over night for more intense flavor. 2. Heat ghee/oil in a pot, add in the marinated lamb, sauté on high heat for 5 minutes while stirring continuously to ensure that the spices are cooked through. 3. Add 1 cup of water, cover and simmer until the lamb becomes tender for about an hour. Add extra water if required. 4. Before switching off the fire, stir in the additional yoghurt.
1. Prepare rice by rinsing it well until the water runs clear. Soak for at least 30 minutes. 2. Meanwhile, in a stock pot, boil 1.2 liters of water with cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick and bay 3. leaf and add enough salt to make the water salty (slightly more salty than you would like the rice to be). 4. Add the rice and let the water return to a boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes (until the rice suddenly fluffs up to three times its original volume), drain and set aside.
1. Deep fry the remaining onion and set aside on an absorbent towel. 2. Soak saffron in 3 tbsp of hot water and set aside. 3. Place half of the meat and gravy on the base of a stock pot, then sprinkle one half of the mint, coriander, browned onions and slit chilies over it. Evenly spread half of the par cooked rice over it and drizzle a few spoons of the oil in which the onion was fried, repeat the process one more time. Lastly, drizzle the saffron water over it. 4. Cover the pot with an aluminum foil or tight fitting lid and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. A good indication that your Biryani is ready when the steam escaping from the edges of the lid, starts to reduce, indicating that the liquid on the base has evaporated. Be careful not to burn the base of the pot. 5. Serve hot with the yoghurt raita, which is a mixture of yoghurt, onions, tomato, cucumber, mint and coriander leaves, all finely chopped.
For Tahini Sauce Yogurt 3/4 cup Tahini 4 tbsp Lemon juice 3 tbsp Garlic (mashed) 2 cloves Salt as required Cumin a pinch
For Serving Arabic bread 1 plate Cooked chickpeas with stock 2 cups
Garnish/ Tempering Aleppo pepper a pinch Ghee 2 tbsp Pine nuts 1 tbsp Parsley 1 tbsp
To Make Tahini Sauce
1. In a bowl, mix yogurt with tahini, add lemon juice, garlic and season with pinch of salt and cumin. Adjust taste, acidity and thickness.
To Make the Fatteh & Assemble
1. Preheat the oven to 160˚C. 2. Cut bread into cubes, medium in size and toast in the oven. 3. Heat up the boiled chickpeas, season with salt and black pepper to taste. 4. Place toasted bread on the bottom of the plate, topped with chickpeas and then spoon some of chickpea stock over. 5. Cover with tahini sauce and sprinkle red Aleppo pepper on top. 6. To temper: heat ghee in a skillet and toast the pine nuts until golden and immediately pour over the Fatteh. Garnish with parsley.
1. Wash the soaked chickpeas and simmer in plenty of water for 4 hours until they become soft and tender. The chickpeas can be boiled in a pressure cooker to shorten the cooking time.
2. Blend the chickpeas in the food processor until smooth.
3. Add the cold water/ice cubes in batches until the desired consistency is reached and blend for another minute.
4. Add the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, salt and blend for 2 minutes.
5. Finally add the olive oil and adjust the taste. Hummus must be tangy, rather than salty. The flavor of tahini and garlic must be subtle and not overpowering.
Method for Baba Ghanoush
1. Pierce the eggplants using a fork or the tip of a knife, then roast in the oven on very high heat until the skin is charred/ burnt or it can be roasted directly on a gas flame until the skin is burned and the eggplants are cooked. If roasted on a gas flame, the eggplant must be constantly rotated to ensure even cooking.
2. Cool and peel the eggplants. Ensure that the charred black skin particles are completely removed, else they will be visible in the Baba Ghanoush.
3. Place the eggplants in a colander and put them in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
4. Using a knife, cut the eggplants into small pieces, and then adds the onion, garlic, bell peppers, lemon juice, olive oil, season with salt and cumin. Mix using a fork in a mashing movement.
5. Add the tomatoes, parsley and mint.
6. Adjust the seasoning and sourness.
7. Pour the mixture into a serving plate and sprinkle some pomegranate molasses, pomegranate seeds and olive oil on top. 8. This dish is best served chilled.
This is a vegetarian stew from the traditional Lebanese cuisine.
Kibbet Raaheb Ingredients (5 servings)
Dough Ingredients: 1 cup of all-purpose flour 1/2 cup of fine burghul (cracked wheat) 1 small onion very finely chopped (very finely minced, important) 1 teaspoon of dried mint powder A pinch of salt
Stew Ingredients: 2 cups of fasolia (brown/red kidney beans) 1 garlic head, crushed 1/4 cup of olive oil 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice A dash of salt
1. Heat the beans on medium heat in 6 cups of water. Let boil for 3-4 minutes, then take off stove and empty the beans in a strainer/filter to discard the water. 2. Put the beans back in the pot with 6 cups of fresh warm water and a pinch of salt, and heat again. As soon as they boil, turn the heat to medium low, cover the pot and let simmer for about 50-60 minutes until the beans cook and turn soft (time depends on type of beans). If you use a pressure cooker, it’s even better. 3. Meanwhile, soak the Burghul in a cup of water for about 5 minutes, then strain and add to a mixing bowl. Add the flour, dried mint powder and finely minced onions and a dash of salt to the bowl. Mix the ingredients well, then add 1/2 cup of water and knead with hands into a dough. Don’t add too much water so the dough doesn’t turn soft, it needs to be somewhat dry. 4. Making the dough rolls: Moisten your hand palms with a few droplets of water (it helps to have a cup of water around). Take a tiny chunk of dough (as in the photo) and roll between the palms of your hands until it turns into a small ball the size of a chickpea (less than 1 cm in diameter or about 1/3 of an inch). Make them small so they cook faster. Place the dough balls on a tray dusted with flour until you’ve processed the entire dough. 5. As soon as the beans are cooked, add the dough balls to the pot gently, one by one. 6. Crush the garlic and mix with the olive oil and a dash of salt in a blender or using a mortar/pestle (better). Add to the cooking pot. 7. Add the lemon juice to the pot. For best flavor, it’s important to use freshly squeezed lemon juice. 8. Stir the pot gently, cover and let simmer for another 20-30 minutes until the dough cooks. 9. Serve hot.
Preparation time: 40 minute(s) Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 20 minute(s) Number of servings (yield): 5 Source: Mama’s Lebanese Kitchen.
A simple yet very delicious traditional Lebanese omelet.
Omelet Ingredients (3-4 servings)
9 Eggs 3 teaspoons of dried mint powder A pinch of Salt 3-4 table spoons of Olive Oil
1. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, salt and dried mint powder well. 2. Drizzle a bit of olive oil in a frying pan over medium/low heat. 3. Pour the equivalent of 3 eggs at a time in the frying pan for 3 minutes then turn the omelet over to the other side using a spachula for another 3-4 minutes.
Preparation time: 5 minute(s) Cooking time: 6 minute(s) Diet tags: High protein Number of servings (yield): 3-4 Culinary tradition: Middle Eastern Source: Mama’s Lebanese Kitchen.
4 apples (different colors) 6 tangerines 4 medium mangos 8 prunes 20 strawberries 1 lemon
1. If fruits are not organic, soak them in water + vinegar for a few minutes then rinse them well. Or you can use vegetable wash as well. 2. Juice 2 tangerines and put aside 3. Juice 1 lemon and put aside 4. Cut remaining fruits in small chunks of ⅔ of an inch and add to bowl 5. Add juice from tangerine and lemon on top and mix well with clean hands 6. Serve with a topping of fresh cream/whipped cream and some honey, or serve plain.
You can virtually add any fruits you like. Make sure to have at least 5 types of fruits, and that they are a mix between sour and sweet. Or to your likings. Source: Mama's Lebanese Kitchen
1 medium pineapple 2 cups(440g) caster sugar 1 1/2 cups(240g) icing sugar 2/3 cup(100g) cornflour 1/4 tsp tartaric acid juice of 1 lemon 10 leaves gold-strength gelatin 2 dried pineapple rings, cut into small pieces white sugar, for dusting
Roast pineapple turkish delight
Preheat oven to 220°C (200°C fan-forced). Line a 10x20cm lamington tray or 23cm square cake tin with plastic wrap. Place pineapple on a roasting tray and roast until skin is black, about 90mins. when cool, remove skin with a seated knife. Remove and discard core, then use a stick blender to puttee flesh until smooth. Set aside.
Place caster sugar and ½ cup water in a large saucepan. Stir to dissolve and bring to the boil, brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush from time to time. Simmer until mixture reaches 115°C on a confectionery thermometer then add tartaric acid and lemon juice.
Meanwhile, place icing sugar, cornflour and ½ cup cold tap water in a bowl and stir to combine. Add cornflour mixture and 2 cups boiling water to hot sugar syrup. Cook over medium heat, stirring with a whisk, until thick and translucent, about 15 mins.
Soak gelatin in cold water until soft, about 2mins. Squeeze out excess water then stir gelatin through mixture. Add pineapple puree and stir until combined. Pour into lined tray and refrigerate 2 hrs or until set. Turn onto a board and cut into squares with a slightly wet knife.
Delicious and chewy chocolate Turkish delights with the sweet scent of rosewater and the crunch of sliced almonds.
Chocolate and rosewater turkish delight bites
1/4 cup(45g) powdered gelatine 1/4 cup(60ml) water 3 cups(660g) caster sugar 2 cups(500ml) water, extra 3/4 cup(110g) cornflour 2 tbsp glucose syrup 2 tbsp rosewater red food colouring 360 g dark (semi-sweet) chocolate 1/4 cup(20g) flaked almonds
Chocolate and rosewater turkish delight bites
Grease deep 17cm (6¾-inch) square cake pan.
Sprinkle gelatine over the water in a small heatproof bowl; stand bowl in a small saucepan of simmering water. Stir until gelatine dissolves.
Stir sugar and ¾ cup of the extra water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, without boiling, until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Boil, uncovered, without stirring, until temperature of the syrup reaches 116°C/240°F (soft ball stage) on a sugar thermometer. Simmer at 116°C for 5 minutes, without stirring, regulating heat to maintain temperature at 116°C. Remove pan from heat.
Meanwhile, place cornflour in another medium saucepan; gradually stir in the remaining extra water. Bring to the boil, stirring, until the mixture thickens.
Gradually whisk hot sugar syrup, gelatine mixture and glucose into the cornflour mixture; bring to the boil. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring, about 10 minutes or until mixture thickens a little more. Remove pan from heat; whisk in rosewater, tint with colouring.
Strain mixture through a fine sieve into cake pan; skim any scum from surface. Stand 15 minutes; cover surface with lightly greased baking paper, stand 3 hours or overnight to set.
Melt chocolate. Turn turkish delight onto a board; cut into squares with an oiled knife. Using a fork, dip squares into chocolate, drain off excess; place on baking-paper-lined tray, sprinkle tops with nuts. Refrigerate 1 hour or until chocolate sets. Recipe by Australian Women's Weekly
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