Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Koshary (Egyptian Lentil, Pasta, Rice Dish)

Koshary comes from the Hindi kishri meaning an "unlikely mixture".It is a popular traditional Egyptian dish consisting of a layer of rice, brown lentils, chickpeas, elbow pasta toppped with garlic, vinegar and spicy hot sauce garnished with caramelized onions.It is a very poopular and inexpensive dish consumed throughout Egypt at any time of day.It is sold by street vendors and restaurants that sell koshary only.

6 Servings


2 c white rice, cooked

1 lb. elbow macaroni pasta, cooked

2 c brown lentils, cooked

2 c chickpeas, cooked

For the Salsa:

2 onions, sliced thinly

4 Tbsp. vegetable oil

4 Tbsp. white vinegar

2c tomatoe puree

1 tsp. cumin

pinch of salt

pinch of cumin

pinch of black pepper

For the caramelized onions:

3 onions, roughly chopped

2 c vegetable oil

For the garlic & vinegar Sauce:

1 Tbsp. garlic, crushed

pinch of salt

4 Tbsp. white vinegar

1/2 c water

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. cumin

For the hot Sauce:

1 tsp. garlic, crushed

pinch of salt

1/2 c vegetable oil

1/2 tsp. chili flakes

1 chili pepper, finely chopped

  1. Cook the rice, pasta, lentils , and chickpeas according to instructions on package. Set aside individually.

  2. For the salsa, add the chopped onions to the hot oil and saute until golden, stirring frequently. Add the vinegar and continue cooking for another minute. Add the tomatoe puree, cumin, salt, and black pepper.Cook until the tomatoe sauce thickens.Then set aside and keep warm.

  3. For the caramelized onions.Heat the oil on a pan and add the onions and saute , stirring frequently until golden brown and crispy.Set aside on a paper towel to drain.Keep warm.

  4. For the garlic and vinegar sauce, add vinegar, water, lemon juice,and cumin to garlic and mix well.Set aside.

  5. For the hot sauce, mix garlic with salt, set aside.Heat vegetable oil and add chili flakes and stir.Add chili pepper and garlic mixture and stir till well combined.Remove from heat and set aside.

  6. In a large dish, layer the rice, pasta,lentils, chickpeas, salsa, and caramelized onions on top of eachother.Serve with the garlic/vinegar and hot sauce on the side.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Morgh Shekumpour Advieh (Advieh Stuffed Chicken)

Here's a simple chicken recipe using the persian spice mix, advieh. A recipe for advieh is available in the preceding post.You can serve this recipe with some steamed vegetables like carrots.

4 Servings


1 large 7-8lb. chicken

2 tsp. salt

1/2 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, mashed

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 c rice, rinsed

1 Tbsp. advieh

salt and pepper

1 c chicken broth or water

3 Tbsp. pistachio pieces

3 Tbsp. raisins

1/2 c chicken stock or water

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.

  2. Clean and wash chicken and rub allover with salt.

  3. In a skillet, add the olive oil , then add the onions and garlic and stir till transluscent.Add rice, advieh,salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  4. Add chicken broth or water and simmer for 20 minutes.Add pistachios and raisins and remove from heat.

  5. Stuff chicken with advieh stuffing.Place in an oven-proof dish.Add chicken stock or water and cover with aluminum foil.

  6. Bake for 1 1/2 hours , basting occasionally.

  7. Serve hot with steamed vegetables of your choice.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Advieh (Persian Spice Mix)

Advieh is a persian spice mixture that is used in Persian cuisine. It is used in rice dishes as well as in stews such as advieh-e khoresh. It is hard to get an exact amount of spices that go into each mixture as they vary from region to region.But a general consensus is equal amounts of ground cinnamon, ground cardamon,ground coriander,ground cumin, and ground rose petals.Of course there are those that prefer a more "fragrant" or "spicier" advieh.

For more "fragrant" add saffron and ground pistachios. And for the "spicier", add black pepper, ground cloves, and ground turmeric as to your taste.Below is a recipe for a basic advieh.Feel free to adjust the amount of spices to suit your taste but always included dried rose petals as this is a necessary ingredient of this spice mix.

Yeild:2 oz.
1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground cardamon

1 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. cinammon

1 Tbsp. ground dried rose petal

  1. Combine all ingredients together and mix well.

  2. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Shorba Dajaj bil Loz (Chicken Soup with Rice)

Soups aren't regularly eaten in the Middle East except during the holy month of Ramadan where they are part of the breaking of the fast.Here is a simple Middle Eastern recipe for chicken soup which uses leftover rice.

4 Servings


2 1/2 lbs. skinless chicken strips

1/2 onion, finely chopped

2-3" cinnamon sticks

1 Tbsp. cardamom, ground

2 tsp. salt, more if needed

1/2 tsp. white pepper

2 bay leaves

1 c leftover basmati rice , or any rice

fresh cilantro,finely chopped, for garnish

  1. Combine chicken, onions,cinnamon sticks,cardamom, salt, pepper, and bay leaves with 9 cups water in a pot and bring to a boil over high heat.

  2. Reduce heat to medium and cover the pot and keep cooking for another 40 minutes.

  3. Remove pot from heat.Remove chicken with a slotted spoon and set it aside until cool enough to handle.

  4. Strain soup into another pot using a mesh strainer.Discard spices and onion mixture.

  5. Once chicken has cooled, gently tear into shreds and add to soup pot along with the leftover rice.

  6. Keep cooking for another 15 minutes.

  7. Remove from heat. Season with more salt, if desired and garnish with chopped cilantro.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tibsi Samak bi Loomi (Red Snapper with Lime)

Here's a simple fish recipe from the Iraq using loomi (dried limes). If you cannot get a hold of any loomi , feel free to substitue with lime juice.

6 Servings


1 Tbsp. salt

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

4 lbs. cod or red snapper, fillets

4 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 onion, finely chopped

3 loomi or substitute 1 Tbsp. lime juice

2 large cloves garlic, mashed

4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped

2 Tbsp. pomegranate syrup

handful fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.

  2. Combine salt, cumin, pepper flakes in a small bowl and mix. Rub allover fish.

  3. Oil a baking dish.Arrange chopped onions on baking dish.Lay the fish on top of onions.Spread garlic on top.Add loomi.Scatter tomatoes on top of fish.

  4. Mix pomegranate syrup with 1/2 c water and pour this over fish.Garnish with cilantro.

  5. Bake for 55 minutes.Serve with Basmati rice.
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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Loomi (Dried Limes)

A specialty of Iran, Iraq, and the Gulf States where they are known as limoo omani,noomi basra, and loomi respectively, loomi is a common ingredient in many of these countries main dishes.Loomi are used in stews and in fish dishes of the Gulf.They are used to lend a citrusy, tart flavor to these foods.Sometimes, loomi are ground to a powder where they are added to soups and stuffings. Loomi are usually sold in the spice section of most Middle Eastern markets or if there isn't one in your city, you may try making them yourself.

Loomi are easy to prepare but unfortunately require some time for them to be ready and of course the weather must be in your favor.To prepare loomi, just get a handful (5-6)limes and put them out in direct sunlight to dry.They will be ready when they are brown, feel light, and sound hollow inside. Loomi will keep for about a year in a cool, dark place.When ready to use them, just use them according to recipe instructions or if your pressed for time and don't have time to prepare them just substitute lime zest instead.
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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mahmous Rubyan (Shrimp with Garlic and Cilantro)

This dish is popular all over the Arab Gulf States.It is usually served with rice and Arab flatbread.It is the perfect dish for when you are in a rush because it takes about 30 minutes to put together and prepare.

4 Servings


3 Tbsp. olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

5 garlic cloves, mashed

1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

1 tsp.Baharat spice

handful fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 Tbsp.salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1 1/2 lbs. large shrimp, peeled & deveined

basmati rice, to serve

Arab flatbread, to serve

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.Add the onions and stir for about 5 minutes.Add the garlic, cardamom,Baharat,cilantro, salt, and pepper.Keep stirring for another 8 minutes.

  2. Add shrimp and continue stirring untill all the shrimp turn pink, 8-10 minutes.Remove from heat.

  3. Serve with basmati rice and Arab flatbread.

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