Thursday, January 28, 2010

Arabian Recipes

This one is for you Carrie, who asked long ago for recipes, and for all others out there interested in what's for dinner on the other side of the world. You will have to forgive the spelling of the meals because they are Arabic names that I just transliterated. Also, Arabic cooking, or my version there of, does not have exact measurements.

Layer 1:
Peal eggplant and cut into 1/2 inch thick coins
Fry the eggplant in vegetable oil
Place in bottom of 9x13 Pyrex

Layer 2:
Fry 1 small diced onion with 1 diced green pepper and 1 pound ground beef, salt and pepper to taste.
In separate pan fry handful of pine nuts or slivered almonds in olive/vegetable oil
Mix together and layer on top of eggplants

Layer 3:
Dice 10 small on-the-vine tomatoes
Place tomatoes evenly over eggplants and ground beef.

Preheat oven 350F and place in oven until tomatoes are cooked (about 1 hour). There should be some water produced by the tomatoes on the bottom of the pan, if not you can add a little water 1/2 way thru cooking for moisture. Serve with Pita Bread.

Boil chicken (breast, leg, whatever with bone) in lightly salted water until done
Cut either cauliflower into large florets or eggplant (as described in Mnazeleh above), pat dry and fry to golden brown in vegetable oil

Slice 1 tomato very thin and place on bottom of very large pan
Add fried cauliflower or eggplant to large pan (on top of tomatoes)
Then add chicken to large pan followed by 2 cups of golden rice (NOT instant rice) and 4 cups of water from boiled chicken.
Add salt, pepper and allspice to taste.

Cook on stove top, medium heat, until rice is finished.

This meal is called Maglooba in Arabic and "Upside Down" in English because you flip the meal onto a large serving dish (served upside down).

Fry raisins lightly and pine nuts or almonds in olive oil over medium heat.
Sprinkle raisins and nuts over Maglooba

Serve with plain yogurt, yogurt salad or vegetable salad

In frying pan, fry diced 1 Anaheim peppers in olive oil
When peppers are cooked thru, add 1/2 Tbsp cumin and 3 finely cut garlic cloves
Set aside in small bowl

Dice 10 tomatoes
Add tomatoes, 1/2 can tomato sauce and 1/4 cup olive oil to same frying pan (to save on cleanup later)
Cook tomatoes until they are a sauce
Add pepper and seasons above, add additional salt and pepper to taste

Do this as you are making sauce:
Boil 1 cup Brown Lentils until done in salted water
Cook 1 cup pasta according to directions on box (I use elbow macaroni)
Heat 1 can Garbanzo/Chick Pea
Cook 1 cup rice with salted water

Do this just as everything else is finished:
Cut about 6 medium onions (cut onion in half, sliver the onion and then cut in half again)
Fry in vegetable oil until crispy, dark brown...FYI-open your windows for ventilation!
Pat off excess oil when finished to keep them crispy

Serve: I place the lentils, rice, beans, pasta, sauce and onions in separate bowls. This way they can put together what they like. Dish up lentils, rice, beans, pasta in equal parts, add sauce to desired amount then add fried onions.

Yogurt Salad
1/2 container plain yogurt
Dice 3/4 cup Italian or Mexican cucumber into 1 cm, leave skin on or off (if using American cucumber, be sure to seal the skin off the cucumber and gut out the seeds and then dice).
Smash 2 medium garlic cloves
Mix together, add salt to taste (about 1 tsp), Optional to add mint or parsley to taste.
Served with Maglooba, Kabobs with rice, and other chicken with rice meals

Vegetable Salad
Dice Tomatoes, cucumbers (as describes in Yogurt Salad), onion (white or green), and any other lettuce/veggies in your fridge. Dice them to your desired size and stir together in bowl.
Dressing: in small bowl whisk together: approx. 1 Tbsp olive oil, approx. 1/2 Tbsp white vinegar, 1 squeezed lemon and salt, pepper to taste.
Pour and stir dressing over veggies.
Served with almost every meal in different variations

Lentil Soup
Dice and fry 1 medium onion in olive oil until translucent
Soak and clean 3 cups of Red Lentils with tap water for about 5 minutes
Add lentils to fried onions.
Add 6 cups water and let cook over medium-high heat
Add cumin (1-2 Tbsp), salt and pepper to taste.

Hareesa (dessert)
3 cups smeed aka farina in English, Cream of Wheat in lay-mans terms :-)
1/2 cup white sugar
3 Tbsp coconut
1/2 vegetable oil with 1 tsp Ghee added (Ghee is a special Arabic ingredient for many desserts, skip it if you don't have it, but it's better if you do)
3 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 cup plain yogurt

Mix solids together
add oil and mix with hands, rubbing hands together like a bar of soap
add yogurt until mixtures starts sticking to your hands.

Press into two 9x9 pans
350F for about 1/2 hour or until light brown

When cool, add this sugary liquid
3 cups white sugar
4 cups water
2 teaspoons rose water (again, skip if you don't have but better if you do)
spot of lemon juice
Bring to boil, should thicken slightly
Pour over Haressa when Haressa is cool...or add to hot Haressa when sugar is cool (important that one is cool and the other hot).

Cut into small 2x2 inch pieces for serving.

Arabic cooking uses nearly all fresh ingredients. It makes the food taste delicious, but it is tedious in the kitchen. FYI-Arabic food isn't necessarily the most beautiful to the eye, but the flavors are wonderful! I cook many, many Arabic meals, salads, soups and desserts. If you are interested in something in particular...let me know! Otherwise, here's just an example of what's cooking tonight somewhere in the desert!


  1. Yummy!!! I've tasted your Arabic dishes and they are delicious. Can't wait until midMarch to sit at your table and eat your cooking! Love, Mom

  2. I'm sure Dad and Laura can't wait to...LOL...we'll have to order them Domino's or KFC ;-)

  3. Jason and I have made the yogurt salad before. It's great; especially in the summer time with chicken- like you said. Now- could you hook me up with that chicken enchilada recipe that you have? I know it's not Arabic, but it's delicious and I've been craving it!

    Love you,

  4. I know what ghee is. It is a clarified butter used in Indian cuisine too. It has a high burning quality. All the milk solids are taken out in a heating process. Anyone can do it themselves. It also has a long shelf life. I may have to try one of your recipes. Thanks Beth

    Love Auntie Sharee

  5. Arabic dishes as well as lebanese cuisine are amazing. I jsut found your blog on her voice magazine. I saw those pics and really nice.