Traditional Middle East Recipes to Fall in Love With (Part 2)

Hi all!

Welcome back. Here, I am continuing the mouth-watering recipes of the Middle East. So enjoy the flavors!

  1. Baklawa or Baklava:
One of the most popular sweets, Baklava is a layered pastry dessert made of filo pastry, filled with chopped nuts, and sweetened with syrup or honey.

Ingredients:

500g thin phyllo pastry, 130 gm (1 stick) butter, 500g sugar, 150gm pistachio, 3 tbs. Lemon juice, ½ cup vegetable oil, 

Ingredients for the baklava phyllo dough: 

2 eggs, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1/2 cup yogurt, 1 tsp salt, 3 1/2 cup of flour.

Method:

Starting with the syrup, transfer 1 ½ cups of water into a pot, then 

add sugar, when it boils, add the lemon juice and turn off the heat. 

The syrup is ready.

Next melt the butter in a small pan, add the vegetable oil, 

cut the phyllo according to your size of your try, then grease the tray, 

brush some oil between every 2 layers of phyllo.

When you are done placing half of the phyllo, spread a layer of minced pistachio. Place the rest of the phyllos. 

Once you are done, slice your baklava into rectangles 

Pour the leftover oil after you slice the baklava  

On 180C(360F) pre-heated oven, bake for around 25 to 30 minutes 

When both tray and the syrup warm down, pour the syrup on the baklava.

  1. Shakshouka:
 This Mediterranean dish is a simple combination of simmering tomatoes, onions, garlic, spices and gently and poached eggs.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil, 1 medium onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped 2 cups diced tomatoes, 2 tbsp tomato paste, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp paprika chili flakes, to taste 1 tsp sugar, salt and freshly ground black pepper 

6 eggs, fresh parsley/cilantro for garnish

Method:

1. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes until the onion begins to soften. Stir in garlic.

 2. Add red bell pepper and continue to cook for 5-7 minutes over medium heat until softened 

3. Stir in tomato paste and diced tomatoes and add all the spices and sugar. Season with salt and pepper and simmer over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until it starts to reduce. Adjust the seasonings according to your tastes, add more chili flakes for a spicier sauce or sugar for a sweeter one. 

4. Crack the eggs over the tomato mixture, one in the middle and 5 around the edges of the pan. Cover the pan and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked. 5. Garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro and serve with crusty bread or pita.

  1. Pita Bread:
Pita Bread has gained a worldwide popularity in the recent year. Flatbreads baked from wheat flour are perfect to complete the platter anytime.

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups warm water, 1 packet of active yeast, 2 tablespoons sugar,  3 cups all-purpose flour, ¾ cup whole wheat flour, 2 teaspoons sea salt, 3 tablespoons olive oil

Method:

1. Add the water, yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar to a stand mixer and whisk using a hand whisk until it is combined. Let sit for 5 to 7 minutes or until a raft has formed on the top.

 2. In the meantime, whisk together the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar, flours and salt until combined. 

3. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the stand mixer along with the dry flour, sugar and salt ingredients.

 4. Place on the hook attachment and mix on low speed for 8 to 10 minutes to knead. 5. The dough should be smooth, and you want the dough to be a little sticky, but you still may need to add in a bit more flour to get it to the right consistency. 

6. Coat with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and place in a container and cover with a lid or towel and let sit for 2 hours or until doubled in size. 

 7. Remove the dough and place on a lightly flour dusted surface and press to form a rough rectangle. 

8. Cut the dough into 12-14 pieces and then take each piece of dough and keep folding it under to form a smooth dough ball. 

9. Roll each dough ball out on a lightly flour dusted surface. 

10. Place on a cookie sheet tray lined with parchment paper or just on parchment paper on your countertop and cover with a towel and allow to rest for 20-25 minutes. 11. Cook on a preheated pizza stone or sheet tray in the oven at 550° and cook for 1 to 1 ½ minutes per side until dark brown marks are formed onto the dough and so it puffs up into a hollow ball. 

  1. Fattoush
Fattoush, a Levantine salad with toatsted khubz pieces, tomatoes, radishes, and other green vegetables.

Ingredients:

1 Small Romaine Lettuce, 1 Medium Red Onion, 2 Medium Tomatoes, 

3 Medium Cucumbers, (85 g) Olives, 1/2 Bunch Italian Parsley, 1/4 Bunch Mint Leaves, 1/2 Bunch Radish, 1 Pita Bread, 1/4 Cup Olive Oil, Dijon Mustard, Salt as required, Black Pepper Powder, Dried Basil 

3/4 Cup Plain Yogurt, 2 Tbsp Tahini, 1/3 Lemon, 1/4 Bunch Dill

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, chop/mince and combine the romaine, red onion, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, Italian parsley, mint leaves, radishes.
  2. In a smaller bowl, mix olive oil, Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, salt and black pepper powder and mix well.
  3. Add the vinegar mixture to the large bowl and mix well. 
  4. Break the toasted pita bread and add to the bowl and mix. Sauce: 
  5. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice (squeeze 1/3 of a fresh lemon), salt, black pepper powder.
  6. Mince ¼ bunch of fresh dill and add to the yogurt sauce and stir well. 
  7. When serving, sprinkle sumac, dried basil and the yogurt sauce
Priya
I, Priya Nagarajan, is a past Assistant Professor, mentor, tutor, counselor. Writing has always been a passion of mine and so changed my path to my passion. I believe language is the best way to convey your thoughts and dreams to get the results. I believe it takes a personal approach to reach individual success. I write with a flair for creativity and a keen eye for the professional.

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