Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Baked Egyptian-Style Felafel

Some Egyptian friends of mine asked me if felafel is as popular in the U.S. as it is in Egypt.I usually like to joke with them by saying that the only felafels that I have ever come across are from a box.The kind where you just add water to a prepared felafel spice mix and then fry.But, I don't think anything would upset them more than to learn that my method for preparing them involves baking them as opposed to frying.
The following recipe takes about the same amount of time to prepare as the frying version but minus the calories and fat.Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Yield:18 felafel balls


2 Tbsp. olive oil

1-14 oz. canned fava or lima beans, rinsed well and drained

2-14oz. canned low-sodium chick peas (garbanzos), rinsed well and drained

6 Tbsp. fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, peeled, minced

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

2 tsp. whole coriander seedsfinely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 c chickpea or regular flour

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 c sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Oil a large baking dish with the olive oil. Set aside.

2.Combine all the ingredients together except the sesame seeds in a food processor or blender.Process until well combined.

3.Form the felafel mix into 2 Tbsp. sized balls or patties.

4.Place the sesame seeds on a dish.Roll the felafel balls or patties into the sesame seeds fully coating them.

5.Place the felafels in the oiled baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.Serve with sliced tomatoes, romaine lettuce, and spreadable feta.

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Mamounia (Semolina Pudding)

Yield:4 Servings
3 c water
1/2 c superfine sugar
1/2 stick butter
1/2 c semolina
1 Tbsp. rose water
1 Tbsp. orange blossom water
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. slivered almonds, to garnish

1. To make the sugar syrup, place the water and sugar in a saucepan , stirring continuously till the sugar dissolves and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.Remove from heat and set aside.
2.In a separate pan, melt the butter, then add the semolina, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes until all the butter is absorbed. Slowly stir in the sugar syrup and continue stirring until the mixture has thickened.
3.Remove mamounia from heat and add the rose and orange blossom water. Stir to evenly combine.
4. Pour mamounia into 4 serving dishes and sprinkle with ground cinnamon and slivered almonds.
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Orange-Blossom Scented Chicken(Dajaj Mai Qedda)

Orange-blossom water (mai qedda) is a popular flavoring derived from the blossoms of the sour orange tree. It is used in middle-eastern and arabic cooking. to give a delicate perfume flavoring mostly to pastries, syrups, and puddings.This recipe combines essence of orange-blossom with chicken to create a fragrant and flavorful dish perfect for a quick mid-week meal.

Yield:4 Servings
For the Marinade:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. ground cardamom
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
finely grated zest of 1/2 an orange
1 oz. orange juice
2 Tbsp. orange-blossom water

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.Oil a baking dish with the olive oil, set aside.
2. To make the marinade, in a small bowl, combine together the cardamom, minced garlic cloves, salt, freshly ground pepper, ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, orange zest, orange juice and the orange-blossom water.Stir together till evenly combined and a paste is formed.
3.Put the marinade in a resealable plastic bag and add the chicken breasts one by one and shake making sure the marinade completely covers each breast.
4. Put each chicken breast in the oiled baking dish and bake for 45-50 minutes.Serve with basmati rice.
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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Za'faran wa hail ka'ak (Saffron & Cardamom Cake)

The idea for this cake recipe was inspired by the spice souks of the Middle East.This cake is perfect for Ramadan and any other festive occasion or is the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea.The combination of saffron, turmeric and cardamom blend perfectly together to create a cake that is both light and aromatic.

Yield:6 Servings
pinch of saffron threads
6 dates,pitted, chopped
5 eggs
5 oz. sugar
1 tsp. cardamom, ground
pinch of turmeric
5 oz. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
butter or oil for greasing
flour for dusting
handful of almonds, sliced

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Soak the saffron strands in 2 Tbsp. of hot water for 1 hour, then set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar till well combined, about 10 minutes.Add the cardamom and turmeric.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder together.Then sift into the egg/sugar bowl slowly while mixing.
4. After the flour and baking powder have been folded into the egg/sugar, add the saffron water and vegetable oil and mix.
5.Grease a small cake pan with butter or vegetable oil.Dust with a little of the flour.
6.Pour half the cake mixture into the pan. Add the chopped dates , then cover with the remaining cake mixture.Top with the sliced almonds.
7. Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes.
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hamour Mahshi (Arabian-Style Stuffed Fish)

Hamour is a type of grouper that is commonly found in the waters of the Persian Gulf and is the fish of choice in a lot of gulf recipes.Unfortunately, it is only available in the Gulf countries and is quite expensive because of its future danger of extinction Banned Fish Traps Threaten Hamour. Here's a common recipe that is popular throughout the GCC countries,if you cannot find hamour you can replace it with sea bass or cod.

Yield:2-3 Servings
1 hamour, cleaned and scaled
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 plus 1/2 tsp. turmeric
sea salt, to taste
3 garlic cloves,crushed
1/8 tsp. ginger,ground
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. black pepper
sea salt, to taste
1 3/4 oz. almonds, sliced
3/4oz. pine nuts (optional)
3/4 oz. walnuts,roughly chopped
3 Tbsp. cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 small yellow onion, sliced

1.Preheat oven to 350F.
2.Oil an oven-proof baking dish with the olive oil and place fish in it. Rub 1 tsp. of the turmeric allover hamour and sprinkle it with salt and set aside.

3. In a small bowl, blend together the crushed garlic, ground ginger,cumin, and remaining turmeric,black pepper, and sea salt until it becomes a paste.

4. Add the almonds, pine nuts (if using),walnuts and cilantro and combine together until well blended.

5. Stuff the hamour with the nut stuffing and place some on top.Place the half the sliced onions inside the fish and the other half on top.Bake for 45-55 minutes.Serve with yellow or white rice.

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