Monthly Archives: July 2013

Kafta on Skewers

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In the past meat was not always plentiful or of good quality. To overcome these problems it was either ground or cut into small pieces and cooked with cereals and vegetables to absorb the nutrients and flavour of the juices and to make the meat go further.

Mixed spice is available in a Lebanese or Iranian grocery store. It is a mixture of allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cinnamon oil.

Kafta mixture is basically finely ground meat, made up of either lamb or beef.

Ingredients

  • 2                  lbs finely ground beef or lamb 
  • 1                  cup finely chopped parsley 
  • 1                  tsp crushed garlic 
  • 1                  tsp crushed ginger 
  • 1                  tsp mixed spices 
  • 1                  cup finely chopped onions 
  • 2                  tsp salt 
  • 1/2               tsp freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and knead well.
  2. With wet fingers, mould the kafta mixture into meat balls slightly larger than an egg. Thread a skewer through each meat ball and mould the meat into a finger shape along the skewers.
  3. Gently barbecue or grill the meat, making sure not to overcook as it will dry out.
  4. To serve: 
  5. Remove the meat from the skewer with an open piece of Labanese bread, which are then left around the meat to make juicy sandwiches. The sandwiches are served with Yoghurt soup.
  6. The kafta may be served without bread with a salad.

Cold yoghurt Soup

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Ingredients

  • 2                   cucumbers, peeled and sliced
  • 1-1/2           teaspoon salt
  • 2                   cups yoghurt
  • 2                   cloves crushed garlic
  • 3                   tbsp finely chopped fresh mint.

Instructions

  1. Sprinkle the grated cucumber with salt and set aside in a colander to drain.
  2. Beat the yoghurt with a whisk until smooth.
    Beat in the crushed garlic and stir in the mint and drained cucumber.
    Serve chilled with pita bread or kebabs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegetable Pakora

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Ingredients

  • 1                  med potato
  • 1                  med onion
  • 1                  small eggplant
  • 1                 Jalapeño
  • 1-1/2         cups chana flour(gram flour)
  • 1                  tsp salt
  • 1/2              tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2              tsp freshly ground cumin seeds
  • 1/2              tsp ajwan
  • 1/2              cup chopped cilantro
  • 1                  cup chopped spinach leaves
  • 1/2              tsp baking soda 3 cups oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Peel the potatoes and onions. Thinly slice all the vegetables either with a slicer or by hand.
  2. In a medium bowl add chana flour, salt, black pepper, cumin seeds, ajwan, cilantro, spinach and1-1/2 cups of water. Mix everything together.
  3. Heat oil in a Wok on medium hot heat. The oil is hot when if, you put the handle of a wooden spoon in the centre and the bubbles form around it.
  4. Add the baking soda and mix well.
  5. Add the vegetables and mix.
  6. Drop the pakoras with a soup spoonfuls in the oil and fry about 10 at a time until golden brown or cooked about 3 minutes.
  7. Drain well on paper towel.

Serve with a hot Green Chutney and/or ambli(tamarind)

Serve as an appitizer or a tea time snack.

Spinach Turnover

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Savoury Pastries are a popular features of Lebanese cuisine. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and the fillings are almost limitless.

Savoury pastries are excellent for mezze or light snack, but may also be served as part of the main course.

Filling

  • 1                     pkg. chopped frozen spinach
  • 1/4                  cup oil
  • 1/2.                 finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4                  cup finely chopped mint
  • 1/2                  cup finely sliced spring onions
  • 1/2                  tsp crushed garlic
  • 1/4                  cup pine nuts lightly fried in olive oil (optional)
  • 1                     tsp salt
  • 1/2                  tsp black pepper
  • 1/4                  tsp mixed spices
  • 1/2                  tsp thyme
  • 1/4                  cup oil
  • 1/4                  cup lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Defrost the spinach and squeeze out all the liquid. Heat the oil. Add the spinach,chopped parsley, chopped mint, sliced spring onions, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes stirring.
  2. Add the pine nuts, salt, black pepper, mixed spices, thyme and lemon juice. Cook till the mixture is fairly dry, about 5 min. Cool the mixture completely.
  3. If filo is exposed to air it will become dry. Before commencing this recipe, lay all the pastry flat on a tray and cover with greaseproof paper then a damp cloth and remove one sheet at a time.
  4. Cut the filo in half lengthwise, we need half the pastry. Cut it in half again.
  5. Brush one pastry sheet with oil. Put 1 tsp of filling in one corner and fold the corner in a triangle. Fold it in a triangle all the way.
  6. Arrange the pastries on a baking tray and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 min or until light brown.

Tabbouleh Salad

Salads are an important part of the Lebanese menu. No meal is complete without a platter of crisp salad vegetables or a toss salad.

The king of Lebanese salads is the famous Tabbouleh, made with parsley and bur’ghul.

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Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup bur’ghul 
  • 8-10 spring onions 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper 
  • 1/4 tsp mixed spices 
  • 5 cups very finely chopped parsley 
  • 1/4 cup very finely chopped fresh mint 
  • 3 large tomatoes, finely chopped  
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Instructions

  1. Wash the bur’ghul and drain well by squeezing out excess water with cupped hands. Place in a bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  2. Trim the spring onions to leave about 20 cm (8″) of green. Finely chop the white of the green onions and mix it into the bur’gul with the salt, pepper and spices. Finely chop the green of the spring onions and place it with parsley, mint and tomatoes on top of the bur’ghul mixture. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  3. Just before serving, add the lemon juice and olive oil and toss well. Adjust salt and lemon juice to taste.
  4. tabbouleh is usually served in a wide based bowl or deep serving dish and garnished with lettuce leaves. When it is served as a mezza a large spoonful is placed in a lettuce leaf, wrapped into a roll and eaten with the fingers.
  5. Variation:
    Add 1 small cucumber or 1/2 green pepper (both finely chopped) to the salad.

Surprise 65th Birthday Party

I catered for a surprise 65th Birthday Party and we decided to go for a Lebanese meal.
Mezza is a selection of hors d’oeuvres, often comprising thirty or more small dishes. It is traditionally served as an appetizer, but is sometimes eaten as a meal.
To make up a mezza you may choose a selection of Kibbi(Kebabs), cheese, nuts, raisins, pickles, Olives, dips, Tabbouleh and other salads, grape vine rolls, and various savoury pastries.
Hummous and Pita Bread(Hummous is a chick pea dip) 
Baba Ghannouj(an eggplant dip) 
Yoghurt soup 
Falafel 
Spinach Turnover 
Kafta(also known as Kebab) 
Tabbouleh Salad(Parsley and Bur’ghul salad) Green Salad
Entree Persian Chicken Saffron rice
Dessert Ice Cream cake Butterfly Cup cakes

Yoghurt Soup                                                        Falafal                                                                                  Spinach Turnover

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Kafta(Kebabs)                                                                              Tabbouleh Salad

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    Persian Chicken and Rice                                    

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Butterfly Cup Cakes with fresh cream and berries

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Khichdo

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Ingredients

  • 1                  cup wheat
  • 1/3              cup toor daal
  • 1/3              cup mung daal
  • 1/3              cup chana daal
  • 2                  lb beef
  • 2                  med onions
  • 1/4              cup vegetable oil
  • 1                 1” piece cinnamon stick
  • 5                 cardamom
  • 5                 cloves
  • 1/2             tsp black pepper
  • 1/2             tsp cumin seeds
  • 2                 medium tomatoes
  • 2                 tbsp green masala
  • 1                 tbsp dhana jeera
  • 1/4             tsp haldi
  • 1/2             tsp red chili powder
  • 2                 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2             tsp citric acid or
  • 2                 lemons
  • 1/4             cup chopped cilantro
  • 1                 tsp garam masala

Instructions

  1. Rinse and soak wheat in cold water overnight.
  2. Rinse and soak all the daals in cold water overnight.
  3. Cut meat into 1/2″ cube.
  4. Peel and slice the onions.
  5. Dice the tomatoes to 1/4″.
  6. In a large saucepan heat the oil. Add cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black pepper and cumin seeds. Add the sliced onions and fry till the onions are a light gold colour. Add the tomatoes, green masala, dhana jeera, haldi, chilli powder and tomato paste, salt and citric acid.
  7. Add the meat, wheat, and the daal.  Add 4 cups water and mix well.  Cook in a preheated 350 degree oven for about an hour or till the meat and the wheat are cooked.
  8. Mix well and serve, sprinkled with garam masala and chopped cilantro.

Potato chops (Batata Champ)

Potato Chops

Makes 20 

Ingredients

  • 2              lbs lean ground beef
  • 1/4          cup water
  • 2              tsp salt
  • 2              tsp green masala
  • 1              tsp freshly ground cumin
  • 1              tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3              medium onions
  • 2              tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1              level tsp garam masala
  •                 boiling water
  • 1/2         tsp salt
  • 1/2         tsp red chili powder
  • 1           Idahoan mashed potato
  • 4              eggs
  • 6              cups oil for frying

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan cook the ground beef with water on medium heat, stirring and breaking the lumps until the colour of the meat starts to change.
  2. Add salt, green masala, ground cumin and ground black pepper.  Continue cooking until all the water has evaporated and the mixture is completely dry.
  3. When mixture is cool add chopped onions, chopped cilantro and garam masala.
  4. In a large bowl pour boiling hot water, salt and chilli powder.  Add the mashed potato and mix well.  Let it cool.
  5. Divide the potatoes into 20 and roll them into a ball the size of a golf ball.
  6. Roll the ball in bread crumbs and press it into to a patty in the palm of your hands.  The patty should be about 2 1/2 inches round.  Put 1 tbsp meat mixture in the centre and cover the meat with the potatoes.  Use more bread crumbs if necessary.  Shape it into a round.
  7. Make all the chops first and then fry them.
  8. Break the eggs and beat them.  Add a  4 tbsp water and beat  well.
  9. Heat the oil in a wok to medium hot.  (The oil is ready when, if you put the end of the wooden spoon in oil and small bubbles form around it).
  10. Deep 1 chops at a time in eggs and deep fry it for 3 minutes turning once.  (The oil should cover the chops).  You can fry 5 chops at a time depending on the size of the wok.

Serve it with green chutney and lemon.

Idahoan Mashed Potato

You can use fresh potatoes too.

Ingredients

  • 5             lbs russet potatoes
  • 1             tsp salt
  • 1/2          tsp chilly powder
  • 1             tbsp chopped cilantro

Instructions

  1. Peel and cub the potatoes in 1” cube.
  2. Half feel a large saucepan with water.
  3. Put the cubed potatoes in a colander and steam the potatoes till they are soft, about 15 minutes.
  4. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher.
  5. Add the salt, red chilly powder, chopped cilantro and mix well.
  6. Let the mixture cool a little.
  7. Make a ball about the size of a golf ball, and roll it in bread crumbs.
  8. On a piece of plastic wrap or a plastic bag flatten the ball into a 3” round.
  9. Add one and ah half tablespoon meat mixture, pick up the plastic and make a round potato chop.
  10. Remove the plastic make a smooth potato chop, dip it in beaten egg and fry for 2 minutes on each side.
  11. Drain on paper towel

 

Flatten Potato Patty

Potato Patty with the filling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hoummus

Hoummus is a Chick Pea Dip served with Pita Bread.

 Hummous

Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients

  • 1           can garbanzo beans 
  • 2           teaspoon salt 
  • 2           cloves garlic 
  • 3/4        cup tahini paste 
  • 1/2        cup lemon juice

For Garnish

  • 2                    tbsp chopped parsley  
  • pinch             cayenne pepper  
  •                       a few chick peas

Instructions

  1. Drain the chick peas and rinse it in cold water. 
  2. Puree the chick peas and garlic in a food processor or a blender. 
  3. Add the salt, tahini paste and lemon juice and mix well.
    If the mixture is too thick add some water, it should be a thick creamy consistency.
    Adjust salt and lemon to taste.
  4. Serve on a platter garnished with a pinch of cayenne pepper, parsley and the reserved chick peas.

Mitha Chokha

                                  Mitha Chokha

Ingredients

  • 2              cups basmati rice 
  • 1/4           cup butter or vegetable oil 
  • 1              1″ cinnamon stick 
  • 6              cardamon pods 
  • 2              tsp golden raisins 
  • 3              cups water 
  • 1/4           tsp yellow colouring (powder) 
  • 1/2           tsp crushed cardiomon seeds 
  • 1/4           tsp nutmeg powder 
  • 2              tbsp slivered almonds (optional) 
  • 1-1/2.       cups sugar 
  • Pinch       Saffron

Instruction

  1. Clean wash and soak the rice for 15 min. 
  2. In a large saucepan heat the butter/oil. 
  3. Add the cinnamon stick, cardamon, and raisins, when the raisins pop add 2 cups of water.
    Add the food colouring. 
  4. When the water starts to boil add the rice. 
  5. When the rice starts to boil lower the heat to medium, cover the saucepan and let it simmer till all the water has evaporated. 
  6. In the meantime boil 1 cup water with the sugar till the sugar dissolves. 
  7. Add this syrup to the rice, add crashed cardamon, nutmeg and almonds, cover the saucepan and put it in the preheated 300 degree oven for about 15 min.

Serve with Gosht Wari Daal or Chana Daal