Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hamour Ceviche

I've had the idea for this recipe for a while because it requires no cooking, is quick to prepare and makes use of the local fish available in the waters off the Persian Gulf.Plus, it's well suited for the hot weather of the Middle East.

Yield:6 Servings
1 1/2 lbs. skinless hamour or other white fish fillets, cut into small pieces
1/2 c fresh lime or lemon juice
2 large tomatoes,cut into small cubes
2 chilies, seeded and minced (optional)
1/2 c fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
1 ripe avocado,cut into small pieces (optional)

1. Put all ingredients in a glass bowl and mix thoroughly until evenly combined.Place in refrigerator and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.

2. When ready to serve, add the pieces of avocado and mix, if using. Serve immediately.
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Zaatar Pita Bites

This recipe is so easy and quick to put together that it takes just under 20 minutes to put together and be ready.Perfect for when unexpected guests arrive.

Yield:24 zaatar bites

6 pita breads, cut into fourths
7 Tbsp. zaatar spice
6 Tbsp. olive oil

1. Preheat broiler.

2. Place spice and olive oil in separate bowls.Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

3. Lightly brush olive oil on both sides of the pita pieces and dip one side of it onto the zaatar spice bowl. Set aside on the aluminum foil and repeat with the remaining pieces.

4. Place in the broiler for 3 minutes and remove.Serve immediately.
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Moroccan Chicken Pie (Bastilla Dajaj)

Don't let the simple title fool you. Moroccan bastilla's are a time consuming affair. They are not difficult to put together but their preparation can take upwards of up to 2 hours to prepare and put together because of their numerous steps. This recipe took a total of 2 hours from start to finish, so if you have the time and are up to the task it is well worth the time and effort because the results are worth it.

Yield:6 Servings

1/2 large onion, peeled, finely chopped
1 handful cilantro, leaved removed from stems, finely chopped
1 handful parsley, leaves removed from stem, finely chopped
4 oz. almonds, slivered
1/3 c butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ras al hanout
2 Tbsp. orange blossom water
7 Tbsp. water
2 eggs, beaten
8 sheets filo pastry

1. Toast the almonds in a dry pan over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes till they become slightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400F.

2. Melt 2 Tbsp. of the butter and the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season the chicken breast on both sides with salt and add to the pan. Cook until both sides are browned well. Take the chicken out of the pan and set aside.Lower the heat a little.

3. Add the onion to the skillet and brown them.Add the cinnamon and ras al hanout and stir together till evenly combined. Add the orange water, water and bring to a boil.

4. Return the chicken breasts to the skillet and cook for an additional 10 minutes over low heat.

5. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside. Turn off the heat and remove the onion/spice mixture to a separate bowl.Cut the chicken into small pieces.

6. Add the beaten eggs to the onion/spice mixture then add cilantro and parsley and mix well.

7. In a 9 in. pie dish, stack 4 filo pastry sheets overlapping each other and brush with melted butter. Pour the onion/spice mixture into the pie dish and cover with the filo pastry.

8. Repeat with the remainder sheets. Add the almond pieces and evenly distribute the chicken pieces on top. Fold the pastry sheets on top covering the chicken completely and tucking the edges that are loose. Brush top of bastilla with olive oil.

9. Bake for 10-15 minutes until top is lightly browned. Remove from heat, wait for it to cool and serve warm.
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Persian Herb Rice (Sabzi Polo)

Yield:4 Servings
1 1/2 c basmati rice
1/2 c plain yogurt
2 2/3 c water
2 tsp. sea salt
6 Tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 c mixture of fresh herbs ( cilantro, mint, chives, and/or flat-leaf parsley),finely minced

1. Place rice in a bowl and cover with water.Swish around and discard water.Repeat.

2. Place yogurt in a medium bowl and thin with a little water then add the 2 2/3 c water and mix.

3. Place the rice in a saucepan. Add the yogurt/water, salt and pieces of butter.

4.Bring rice to a boil.Then let simmer until the water is half absorbed and steam begins escaping
through holes in the rice.

5. Add the herbs and fluff the rice till evenly distributed throughout. Cover and cook for an additional 45 minutes.

6. Remove rice from saucepan and place in serving dish.Serve.
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tunisian Tomato,Bell Pepper & Cucumber Salad (Salata Jida)

Here's a delightful Tunisian salad that is quick to put together and is perfect with any dish. Just keep in mind that it needs to rest a minimum of 1 hour to let the flavors blend together.

Yield: 4 Servings

2 tomatoes, thinly diced
1/2 cucumber, thinly diced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, thinly diced
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded, thinly diced
4 green onions,thinly sliced
handful of cilantro, minced
juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Place the tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers, green onions, and cilantro in a bowl. Mix vegetables thoroughly till evenly combined.

2. Add the remainder of the ingredients and mix again.

3. Place bowl in the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour.

4.Place in a serving bowl and serve.
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