Orange Blossom Bellinis – The Exotic Mocktail.
I was introduced to this beautiful drink on my trip to Dubai. It’s been a staple at my dinner parties ever since. The perfect mocktail, if you ask me. The light scent of the Orange Blossom Water along with the addition of nibbles is a combination of flavours to tease the senses. No alcohol required! This recipe replaces the customary peach puree and prosecco with sparkling grape juice, cranberry and sometimes blood orange juice. Here, it is the exotic scent of Orange Blossom that makes it all the more special.
This recipe was one of my contributions to a wonderful project, a Christmas Recipe Book that I was part of along with some fabulous foodies. Foodies+ Christmas Cook Book.
Muhallabia is a Middle Eastern Milk Pudding that is extremely light and extremely simple to make. My mom has made Muhallabia and many variation of it for years, and we always enjoy its super light feeling. You don’t feel overwhelmed by this sweet dessert at all, and it is therefore perfect after heavy meals and very popular for the same reason, during Ramadan. I have had this post in the making for so many months. I was waiting for Ramadan 2017, to post it. Here, I show you how to make it with just milk, cornflour, cream and sugar. I do make it sometimes by adding a little ground rice that has been soaked in water overnight overnight, when I feel like slightly more thickened pudding, but usually this ‘super light’ texture is what I opt for. There are two important flavorings to the Muhallabia as well. Rose water and Orange Blossom water are used in precise measurements for that Middle Eastern touch, quite whimsical indeed! I have seen many spellings of the dessert Mahalabia, Mouhalabieh,M’halabe and even more. Oh well مهليبة, it is in Arabic!
…Check out the video for Muhallabia below!
Simple Kabsa | Saudi Arabian Fragrant Rice
Kabsa, the National dish of Saudi Arabia, is quite the humble dish. Each home making it their own, with various methods.. but the most common, daily dish is a very simple one-pot dish. Check out my other popular Kabsa recipe, which has more steps involved and used for more special occasions. For your daily meal, however, I am sharing this favorite family method.
Harissa | North African Spice Paste
Harissa is a North African spice paste, a condiment found everywhere in Morocco and Tunisia. It is also widely used in the Middle East. Popularly used in dips and marinades and can add a spicy kick to just about anything! In mayonnaise, hummus, burgers… the list goes on.
Although there are variations to Harissa, according to region, it is basically a red chilli paste. Fresh chillies or peppers may be roasted and used as well. The type I prefer however, uses only dried, rehydrated chillies. Since not all varieties of dried chillies are available everywhere, I recommend using your favorite. New Mexico and guaijillo chilies are good options. I love these long and mild dried chillies, that I use in most of my cooking. It’s the slightly crinkled type as opposed to those deep red shiny dried chillies. Harissa, made with these smells great too!
This a my absolute favorite Keema Samosa | Mince Meat Sambousek Recipe! Quite easy to make, just takes some time, peeling the samosa pastry and filling them. I like to toss the wok and get some ‘flaming’ action in there to get a deliciously smoky flavor! Trust me you will love these. I will post my home made samosa wrapper recipe soon, but samosa pastry is available in most good supermarkets. I make these regularly during Ramadan. They can be frozen to make as needed. Check out the video below.
Ruz Bukhari | Middle Eastern Bukhari Rice
Bukhari Rice is a very simple but delicious rice which is popular in the Middle East. Especially the Gulf Countries. The name ‘Bukhari’ denotes that it comes from ‘Bukhara’ , a formerly prominent point on the fabled Silk Road, and has long been the centre of much trade, culture, scholarship and religion. The The region of Bukhara long formed part of the Persian Empire too. The Ruz Bukhara, in my opinion is one of the easiest rice dishes from the Region, which includes, Mandi, Kabsa, Mambos etc.
Dawood Basha | Lebanese Meatballs in Tomato Sauce Served with Saffron Rice
Dawood Basha or Lebanese Style Meatballs with Pine Seeds in a Simple Tomato Sauce. These meatballs, are tender, with a melt in mouth quality. Dawood Basha was the first Governor appointed by the Ottoman Empire. These meatballs were perhaps his favorite. They are very famous, served over rice. My love for Lebanese food, started early on in life. The food is generous, warm and inviting.
Traditionally, these meatballs are cooked in sheep tail fat, but ghee is a practical substitute. Served with a Simple Saffron Scented Rice, this makes for a very easy to prepare and comforting meal.
Sure sometimes, eating at a fancy restaurant is fun and offers great ambience. But don’t we all have our favorite snappy street foods, that we crave for much more often? Those who know me well, know that I absolutely love Shawarma! These lebanese wraps just make me deliriously happy and I can not explain why! My favorite of course, is the Chicken Shawarma but when I am in the mood for a heavier wrap, I will always opt for the Beef Shawarma. Ofcourse, you can’t beat the taste of the huge meat skewers that get shaved off as the outside gets grilled to perfection. However, did you know you can replicate this taste at home using a skillet or thick bottomed non stick pan? I follow my Home made Beef Shawarma Recipe and it comes out delicious every time! I also have recipes for Khubz(with Video) and Arabic Pickle(Mukhalal) , if you’s like to make everything from scratch.
Labneh Dip – Delicious Middle Eastern Dip
Yoghurt is called ‘Laban’ in the Middle East. ‘Labneh’ is this delicious, creamy dip which is made by hanging or straining the yoghurt to get it thickened to the consistency of cream cheese.
Although the prepared ‘Labneh’ can be eaten (plain) as it is with Arabic Bread, converting it into this creamy dip takes it to another level of deliciousness.
This Labneh Dip is so addictive, with the fresh sprinkling of herbs and spices and the luscious drizzle of olive oil. Perfect to mop up with a warm slice of Arabic Pita Bread! A regular item in the Middle Eastern Appetizers List or Mezze.
Goats Milk Yoghurt is best for making Labneh, but I make it with my Homemade Yoghurt (using Cows milk)
Za’atar Spice Recipe
Za’atar is the generic name given to the set of herbs that belong to the Genera Origanum. These are Oregano, Thyme, Basil Thyme and Savory. Za’atar is also the name for the spice/ condiment made from a mixture of these herbs with sumac and sesame seeds. It is very popular in Arab Cuisine. I love it on flatbreads and in dips like Labneh Dip. Here’s the Za’atar Spice Recipe so that you can prepare this handy spice mix at home!