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Hammus is a very popular middle eastern/Mediterranean dip, which is very healthy and super delicious. They are commonly made using cooked chick peas. (Here is a Video recipe to perfectly cook and store Chick pea at home).
I have flavored classic hammus with sun dried tomato.We love tangy and smokey flavor which gives to our hammus. You can simply opt them out if you dont want to use it. I have used Home made tahini which gave my hammus lot more fresh taste and healthier than store bought one.
We love to have hammus with as a dip for our veggies. You could use them as spread on your bread for sandwiches as a healthy and vegan alternative to your mayonnaise.
Dolma is one of the very popular dish in Central Asia, Eastern Europe and middle east. Grape leaves stuffed with meat and rice filling, lightly spiced and cooked to perfection. Other veggies like Zucchini, bell pepper, cabbage, eggplants are also used instead of grape leaves. I became fan of Dolma after coming to Tashkent. All these years, from UAE, I never dared to taste Dolma, somehow in my mind that was some weird snack, which is not suitable for my taste buds.
Once my friend here brought me piping hot Uzbek dinner, two types of Dolma (with grape leaves and bell pepper Dolma) and Uzbek Samosa and some sweets. When I opened the box first I saw was grape leaves Dolma. My face became 🙁 immediately. Hubby started eating that one after another. I just looked at him and asked – is it that tasty you are enjoying it like anything??! In my life, first time I tasted Dolma on that day!!! Since then I decided never prejudice anything as I did with Dolma!!! Sorry Dolma for underestimating you 😀
I was waiting for summer to get fresh grape leaves. You can also use canned vine leaves which will be available in most of the Middle eastern/Asian stores. You can also get them online.
Filling can be adjusted as per your family preference. It can make without meat for Vegetarian/vegan version. Carrots, minced cabbage, mushrooms etc can also be used. There is no strict rules how the filling should be.
I cooked Dolma with Chicken stock which I had in my fridge. It definitely enhanced over all flavor. Dolma with dollop of sour cream were sooo good, as we enjoyed it for our Iftar. It can be used as snack/appetizer or serve it as your dinner.
If you had pre-judged Dolma as I did, I strongly recommend you to try this at least once. Lemme know how you enjoyed them.
One of the most famous ramadan treat,Middle eastern sweet snack – qatayef. Yeast pancakes are filled with simple and delicious nuts mixture, baked/fried to perfection an d dipped in flavored sugar syrup and devoured!!!
Can you believe we are at the last 10 days of Ramadan now??!! I din’t even know how these beautiful days flied. Alhamdulillah went well so far. I delayed Ramadan posts till these days, because of blog back end work. Hope you all liked our new theme and please let me know if you face any issues.
During Ramadan one or the other Middle eastern desserts hold my Iftar table everyday. Some how those sweets call for Ramadan for me. When comes to savory snacks, no choice other than our very own Malabar snacks.
Best part of qatayef is they will freeze very well. I have added pine, walnut and coconut mixture. You can use your choice of nuts mixture. And instead of those nuts filling, you can also fill them with cheese of your choice. Sometimes I used to fill both cheese and nuts together. Back home everyone is fan of cheese qatayef.
Hope you will love this recipes as much as we did. Lemme know what filling variation you did and how you enjoyed it. Always love to hear from you. Lets see the recipe……….
Here is another Middle eastern dessert – Aish el saraya which literally means “palace bread”.The bottom layered with bread and topped with milk pudding/ custard. This luxurious Lebanese treat can be prepared with simple and easy steps and minimal ingredients. A perfect summer dessert too.
Eid is already at the door step and muslims all around the globe is waiting to celebrate after a month-long auspicious days of fasting. Ladies must have started thinking and arranging the menu for the Eid day and here is a small treat from my side to make your life easier, a delectable dessert – Aish el saraya. You don’t need to put all your energy and time to make this melt in your mouth dessert, prepare the day before eid and you can spend your rest of the time in prayers and other things, Insha allah!
This scrumptious eggless bread pudding is flavored with rose-water and orange blossom water and it is simply comforting dessert. Topped with lots of chopped almonds and pistachios which for sure give this creamy and smooth pudding something to get crunched.
Contrary to the usual square piece Aish el saraya, I made it in round removable bottom dish which alot resembles the cheese cake. It will look great and appealing on your Eid table for sure.
Fatayers are famous middle eastern snacks prepared with pizza dough filled with different delicious fillings. Meat, spinach and cheese fillings are commonly used. As promised here is my fatayer recipe.I have made Spinach and feta combination and it became our favorite filling now for fatayer.
By making all lots of non veg items for Iftar, I thought of giving a vegetarian touch to my Iftar table. Vegetarian savory dishes pop up very rarely during this month here. So I thought spinach is by all means a healthy choice.Spinach filling paired very well with my Homemade Pizza Doughas well. Hubby is not a Pizza fan, but this little spinach triangle pie disappeared easily from here.
Addition of feta cheese really took the taste to the next level, those toasted walnuts added the crunch.These are not loaded with spices, so it was very comforting savory snack for Iftar!!
After my third attempt, I got those pies unopened after baking!! It’s really very important to squeeze out the moisture from the spinach and make it dry. Otherwise by the time your pies are baked … all those naughty little ones would have opened… haha….I was able to eat those…but were not good enough to present in front of you guys ;). Do you know I was waiting near the oven very curiously to see whether they are being naughty again!!! Childishness in me came out when I made this. It was funny too!
So squeeze spinach as hard as possible….. it will be a stress buster exercise tooo ;-). Don’t worry, follow exactly all steps as given…You can also make half-moon shaped pies, that would be really easy in fact, you can follow the steps here. Share with me your experience in comments, would love to hear from you!!!
Prepare the Pizza Dough and keep it ready or you can use store-bought as well.
Add little salt to chopped spinach and keep aside for 10 to 15 minutes. Then take the spinach in muslin cloth and squeeze out the water from it.
In pan add chopped walnut and dry roast until just it changes color slightly.
Heat oil in the same pan, add chopped onion and grated garlic, saute until onion became translucent.
In a bowl add spinach,sauted onion,parsley,cumin,chilli and mix well.
Then add in crumbled feta cheese and walnut. Add salt and pepper to taste (remember you already added salt in spinach, so add if only require).
Preheat your oven at 180 ° C.
Now roll the pizza dough about 1/8 inch thickness and cut using around 4 inch diameter cutter. (Please keep unrolled dough close with kitchen towel to prevent from drying out)
Now add 1 tea spoon filling at the centre of the cut dough (make sure not to touch the filling on the sides where you gonna punch together. If your filling touches the edges it will be difficult to stick together and will open up while baking).
Now bring together two sides of the dough until centre and take third portion and pinch towards centre. You will get a triangle shape as in the picture.Close them and punch them firmly and well. Repeat the process with rest of the filling and dough.
Place prepared fatayer on baking sheet.
Beat the egg with a tea spoon water, brush it evenly on top of prepared fatayer (Egg wash gives shining and nice golden color).
Bake it in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes until bottoms are lightly golden color. Then turn the grill/broiler mode and keep for 3 to 4 minutes just to get the golden brown color.(don’t keep more, it may tend to burn).
Tips & Tricks :-
It’s really very important to squeeze out excess moisture from the spinach.
Kunafa is a delicious cream and cheese filled middle eastern dessert. This sweet dessert is called by different name like Kanafe, Knafe, Kunafa, or Kanafa. Some call it as Queen of middle eastern dessert. No wonder why Kunafa called so…. it is sooo scrumptious dessert which you can’t stop having it.They are prepared stuffing the shredded phyllo dough(Kataif) either with cheese or cream or with combining both cream and cheese.
Arabic desserts are very comforting during Iftar and most of the time my sweet dish used to be some middle eastern dessert. Best thing about arabic dessert is that they are very easy to make and taste sooo delicious.
Since I couldn’t find Kunafa dough here, to satisfy my kunafa carving I put my hands on making dough at home itself. Believe me they are easy to make with very simple ingredients! This dough can be prepared in advance, it will freeze well. Then I filled it with both homemade cream and mozzarella cheese. Traditionally Akawi cheese is used, since mozzarella is easily available ,I used that. You can also use ricotta cheese or fresh home-made cottage cheese too.After baking poured the simple syrup to sweeten them which is flavored with rose-water and orange blossom water. Hmmm they were smelling amazing!!!!Contrary to the traditional one big round Kunafa, I made it in little muffin tray which looks so cute and easy to serve individually.
Amaze your guests and family with this delicious and cheeselicious Kunafa. shhhh don’t tell them that Kunafas are soo easy to make ;)….. Serve it with some hot black tea or coffee. They gonna love you even more!! Here is the recipe….
Yet another easiest Middle Eastern Dessert is here for you – Layali Lebnan/Lubnan (Labanese Night). I am not sure why this delicate sweet dish got this name, but I know one thing – this is one among scrumptious desserts middle easetern people were/are enjoying for years. This goes well on any occasion and/or for ending your weekend meal, believe me there is no hard work to make this simple beauty.
usually this dessert used to make in two layers. Base with semolina pudding and topped with thick and smooth cream. I have given a third layer of nuts in between semolina and cream for an added crunch. Nut layer really enhanced the taste with little crunch in between the soft and delicate pudding. As always, rose-water fragranced sugar syrup gave soothing taste.
Here is the recipe for you for your weekend meal, hope you will enjoy this Layali Lubnan with your loved one.
Lahmacun/Lahmajun is a thin round crust topped with spiced minced meat masala and baked to the perfection. This is also known as “Turkish Pizza”. It’s a very popular turkish/Armenian/Middle Eastern dish.
One of our favorite menu item in turkish restaurant here in Tashkent. While ordering food, we never used to think twice to order this exotic dish. I always wanted to put my hands on Lahmacun preparation and book marked this recipe long back.But some how it took this long to come out of my oven.
During Ramadhan we never have food from outside. So when I got minced meat, first thing came to my mind was this yummyy dish to prepare for Iftar. Once it is in your oven, your house will fill with the irresistible smell of Lahmacun and will vanish from your table when served hot. Addition of parsley leaves are very important and it gives this dish a distinct aroma and taste.
Lahmacun is always our favorite and hope you will also start enjoying it as much as we do.
Luqaimat is one of the yummiest and my all time favorite middle eastern sweet snack. These sweet dumplings are very easy to prepare as well. If you had this yummy snack once in your life time, you would probably have craved for it again. Or if you have never had luqaimat, I suggest you must try once.
These fried sweet dumplings are a must on Iftar table amongst Arabs. We used to make this at least once during Ramadhan. Once you have a platter full of luqaimat in your hand, I bet you won’t stop eating them.
We both were keeping on eating this crunchy snack and finished all of them. These little snacks are little crunchy on outside, and little softer inside. Proofed batter are fried in hot oil and drizzle some honey or sugar syrup on hot dumplings and yummmm. We always prefer to enjoy it with honey.
Umm Ali/Omm Ali is a delectable and an age-old middle eastern dessert which gets creaminess from the milk & cream and crunchiness from the nuts used in it. This scrumpitious dessert is an absolute bliss. The perfect and soothing sweet dish for your Iftar too.
The arabic word “Umm Ali” literally means “Ali’s mother”. Sounds funny right?! But the bowl full of creamy & melt in your mouth dessert makes you forget about the name and you gonna love this and start making it for the rest of your dessert carving. There are many stories behind this sweet dish, but one thing for sure, Ali’s mother and wife of Sultan Ezz El Din Aybak, who has created this wonderful dessert is a Master Chef.
Traditionally Umm Ali is made using puff pastry, phyllo pastry or even with croissants as a base for the dessert. Topped with sweetened creamy milk and nuts of your choice. Believe me guys this is a super easy dessert and you will love-making it and enjoy having it.
Back in UAE, this delicious dessert is one of the unavoidable dessert in the buffet menu. I remember enjoying Umm Ali in our Office Iftar parties too. This dessert is traditionally served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or with whipped cream on top. But trust me which is yummy by its own. I used to serve this irresistible dessert cold as well.