Lebanese Style Grilled Spicy Lamb Chops

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Lebanese food has a perfect blend of herbs and spices none of either overpowering the flavor of the main ingredient. In fact, it helps and enhances its taste and texture . This is what is the uniqueness of Lebanese cuisine and I am a huge fan of it!

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The role of marinade is very important in Meditaranean cuisine  to tenderise the meat, and the longer the meat is left to marinate, the better the ate the resuresults usually.

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TIPS & TRICKS

  • Yogurt and lemon works really well as a marinade
  • Arabic & Lebanese cuisine is all about spices. Adding  plenty of spices; minced garlic, Sumac, mint leaves, extra virgin olive oil, and seasoning to build the taste further.  Mediterranean spice rub, lemon juice and olive oil, and a few hours to marinate
  •  infuse your meat with the marinade or spice rub and your meat will turn out to be with hard-to-resist flavor.

BBQ OR Gas grills works wonderfully and takes less time. About 10 minutes each on the gas grill.

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Lamb and I haven’t had such a great relationship, until I had the Arabic and Lebanese style grilled lambs and Kababs. They are absolutely juicy and just fabulous.

This recipe is one that will be repeated over and over because my family devoured it!

TIPS: A wonderful meat marinade makes the ultimate grilled meat. Marinated Lamb Chops are packed with delicious flavor and perfect for summer grilling and even during winters  too in case you live in the Middle East. It is impossible to have BBQ’s at the temperature of 40-50 degrees during summer

During the summer months, I go for minimum fuss and maximum flavor with my lamb which means an intense herb and garlic marinade, a few hours to soak up the flavors and a good sear on stove top.  Nothing better than that!

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 mutton (goat)/lamb chops
  • ¼ cup yogurt
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil or any regular cooking oil you use
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced or paste
  • 1 tbsp. All spices or Garam masala
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced/ paste
  • Fresh mint chopped- a handful
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTION

  1. In a large bowl, combine the mint, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon zest, red pepper flakes and olive oil. Mix to combine. Add the lamb chunks and toss until well coated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight
  2. Preheat the oven at 200 degrees. Cook the mutton chops in their own juices in the oven at medium heat for 30-40 minutes.
  3. Heat a grill pan ( or a regular pan), add 1 tsp of cooking or olive oil and grill each chop for 2 minutes on each side or until a nice brown color.

 

* NOTE: Cooking time depends on the freshness of the meat too. Fresh meat grilled, results to be soft, succulent and juicy.

FALAFEL- My Turkish Falafel, yumminess that cannot be resisted!

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Its that time of the year again, when shops, supermarket, and hypermarkets in particular, wear a festive look with colourful posters, banners, and irresistable offers and dispalys of various items and you know ramadan is round the corner and once Ramadan sets it can Eid be far behind.

Here I bring you quick lip smacking Ramadan special recipes and making your Suhoor and Iftars super special.

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FALAFEL, where did it come from? Well, the Wiki theory suggests falafel was invented by the Egyptians, some says Israeli’s, where it is the national food of the country. Wherever it may have originated but it has widely conqured almost all the Middle Eastern countries.

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INGREDIENTS

  •  2 cups dry chickpeas/garbanzo beans ( when I say dry it must dry chickpeas and not canned one, else you will end up making humus)
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 3-5 cloves garlic (I prefer roasted)
  • 1 large bunch chopped parsley
  • Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 11/2 tbsp flour
  • Salt according to taste
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup white sesame white seeds
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder (optional)
  • Vegetable oil for frying

DIRECTION

  1. Pour the chickpeas into a large bowl and cover them by about 3 inches of cold water. Let them soak overnight. They will double in size as they soak – you will have between 4 and 5 cups of beans after soaking.
  2. Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans well. Pour them into your food processor along with the chopped onion, garlic cloves, parsley, flour, salt, cumin, ground coriander, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice.
  3. Pulse all ingredients together until a rough, coarse meal forms. Scrape the sides of the processor periodically and push the mixture down the sides. Process till the mixture is somewhere the texture of a course paste. The mixture should be such that it holds together to form a small ping-pong shaped ball or a small patty , and a more paste-like consistency will help with that, but donot over process, else the mixture will turn to humus!
  4. Once the mixture reaches the desired consistency, pour it out into a bowl and use a fork to stir; this will make the texture more even throughout. Remove any large chickpea chunks that the processor missed.
  5. Now add in the baking soda ( which is absolutely optional) and the sesame seeds. I like the sesame seeds to be mixed together, because this gives a nice nutty taste with every bite you have, instead of coating it at the last.
  6. Fill a skillet with vegetable oil to a depth of 1 ½ inches. I prefer to use cooking oil with a high smoke point, like canola. Heat the oil slowly over medium heat. Meanwhile, form falafel mixture into round balls or slider-shaped patties using wet hands or a falafel scoop. I usually use about 2 tbsp of mixture per falafel. You can make them smaller or larger depending on your personal preference. The balls will stick together loosely at first, but will bind nicely once they begin to fry.
  7.  To test, fry just one in the center of the pan, before frying the first batch of falafel. If the oil is at the right temperature, it will take 2-3 minutes per side to brown. If it browns faster than that, your oil is too hot and your falafels will not be fully cooked in the center. Wait till the oil cools down slightly and  then try again. Once the oil is in right temperature, fry the falafels in batches of 5-6 at a time till golden brown on both sides.
  8. Once the falafels are fried, remove them from the oil and keep it on plate with paper towel to drain out the excess oil. Serve the falafels fresh and hot; they are perfect with some pickled salad or a  plate of hummus and topped with creamy tahini sauce.

To make a Pita sandwich, you can stuff them into a pita with fresh salad and humus.

SPICED LAMB SOUP

 

 

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I was not a big fan of lamb soups until I had this in one of the restaurants here. On the contrary i enjoyed cooking lamb dishes a lot may be because of the colour and texture it gives once cooked. 

 

The cumin, tomatoes and parsley gives the soup the perfect body and a balance taste without overpowering the lamb taste. Slow cooked in parsley,tomato and mildly spiced broth for a good 45 mins to an hour results in the tender meat sunk into this delicious soup.

Preparation time: 15 min   Cook time: 45-1 hr  Total time: 1 hr 20 min

INGREDIENTS

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  • 250gm lamb/ mutton cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 large chopped onion
  • 2 large pods of chopped garlic
  • Half bunch chopped parsley
  • 1 cup blanched and chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  •  Pinch of turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp red chili paste
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

DIRECTION

A step by step method of the preparation of the soup

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  1. Heat oil in a sauce pan and sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat. Now add the lamb and fry for a 4-5 mins.

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  1. Add the tomatoes, half of the parsley and the spices and cook for a couple of mins until all well combined.
  2. Add 1 1/2 cup water and salt, cover with a lid and let it cook on low heat for 45 mins. Add required water when needed.
  3. Now add the remaining parsley , little more cumin powder and let it cook until the meat is quite tender.
  4. Garnish with cracked fresh black pepper and few parsley leaves.

Serve hot with any nice French or Arabic bread.

ROYAL RAMADAN DRINK- JELLAB!!!

RAMADAN DRINK – JELLAB

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 Living in middle east has given me endless opportunities to learn, get inspired with its vivid flavors  and to create some authentic and  some fusion recipes too…….. How can I explain, oh man!!!! There is so much to learn from the Middle East only……

This drink is usually very common during Ramadan.  Served ice cold, the floral fragrance of rose water…….. “Aah! What’s this??’” when I first had it in a restaurant while enjoying my Ghabga (the meal which is served after Iftar and goes on for the whole night until the morning meal Suhoor), just beautiful!  by its appearance and taste too. Just like the rich culture their drinks are rich too, with nuts, saffron and rose water……woof!!!  Sounds so ROYAL!

 

This drink is a unique blend of grape molasses, dates and rose water, served with lots of ice, topped with pine and almonds and that’s a must to make an authentic Jellab…. A cool summer Arabian drink!!

All the ingredients are easily available in any middle-eastern store.

Prepration time 10 mins

INGREDIENTS

2-3 tbsp.  Store bought Jellab syrup

Or

1 Tbsp. grape syrup

1 tbsp. date syrup

2 tbsp. rose water

2-3 tbsp.  Store bought Jellab syrup

2 tbsp. finely chopped pine nuts and almonds

Few golden rasins

DIRECTION

  • Fill a tall glass with crushed ice, little water, and all the above ingredients except the nuts
  • Top it with nuts and rasins

Your Royal Drink is ready to serve  

LUKAIMAT- Ramadan Special

LUKAIMAT- A quintessential of Ramadan

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This one is damn funny. I was looking around for Indian sweets, a month or two after my arrival in Bahrain for the first time. In those days, there wasn’t any Indian sweet shop nearby my area. Haldiram’s packed tin sweets were not available in all super markets. I was craving for sweets, and that too Indian. Unfortunately, I didn’t have an expert pair of hands in making Indian sweets during those days. So I was confined to just a few of them. Days passed by and the festivities almost started with the Ramadan and I was experiencing it for the first time. One early afternoon, I happened to visit a traditional pastry shop to buy some sweets as I had an Iftar invitation that evening. There I saw a huge pile of syrupy small Gulab-Jamun like sweet, but a little different. These weren’t immersed in the syrup, unlike regular Gulab-Jamuns. To my excitement after seeing those and assuming to be Gulab-Jamuns, I asked them to pack half a kilo of it. Once I came back home, there was no waiting at all and I immediately opened the box. In fact I was telling Biman (my husband) Bahrainis also have Gulab-Jamuns on special occasions. By its look, it wasn’t syrupy so I assumed it will be less sweet, hence less calories ha ha ha ha. I popped one into my mouth and was like surprised, said it aloud gosh! This is not at all Gulab-Jamun, something very light, fluffy and not very sweet, just the sweetness of honey and flavor of saffron. Much later I got to know this is “LUKAIMAT”, a very traditional Arabic dessert or sweet made during Ramadan. It’s one dish known by different names in different middle eastern region, like in bahrain it’s called as ‘Gaymat’.

 

LUKAIMAT is like, what is Roasted turkey for Thanks Giving, Gujiya for Holi, Sheer Korma for Eid ul-Fitr and Pithas for Bihu festival. Though quite easy to make, these dishes are made in every household only during festivals and I think, that’s how these simple recipes has their own sweet charm. This quintessential sweet prepared during Ramadan is made with just a handful of ingredients.

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INGREDIENTS:

1. 1 cup all-purpose flour.
2. 1 teaspoon sugar.
3. 1 tablespoons corn starch.
4. 1 teaspoon oil.
5. 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder.
6. 3/4 cup warm water (you may need less, depends on the flour you’re using).
7. 1/2 teaspoon dry yeast.
8. Few strands of saffron.
9. Oil for frying.
FOR SYRUP:
1. 1 cup sugar.
2. 1 cup water.
3. A pinch of saffron.
4. A pinch of cardamom powder.
METHOD:
1. Mix all the ingredients by add water and combine them well. Blend well until you get a smooth batter.
2. Now, cover, and let it rest in a warm place till it is double in size May for about an hour.
3. Heat oil in a deep frying pan. Once the oil is hot reduce to medium heat.
4. To check how hot the oil is, take a teaspoon of the batter, and drop it in the oil, if it floats quickly, the oil is too hot.
5. Now dip a spoon in some oil, then take a heaped teaspoon from batter, push the batter off using your finger or with another spoon.
6. When the dumplings are light brown, remove from oil, and place them on kitchen paper.
7. Now you can either Pour your favorite syrup on top or dip your Lukaimat in syrup and take it out (I’ve used honey syrup, one can also use date syrup instead of regular ones). The syrup should be at room temperature.

VEGGIE MEDITERRANEAN PASTA

 LIGHT VEGGIE MEDITERRANEAN PASTA

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If given a choice of pasta with meat or veggie, I would prefer a veggie one. I am not a big fan of saucy pasta, but this kind of light pasta delights me more. This zucchini, mushroom fettuccini pasta is a very simple, tossed with fresh veggies, herbs, lemon, lemon zest and olive oil. Absolutely easy to make with simple ingredients, full of flavors of each and every ingredients used. I have always loved the Mediterranean cuisine; hence this pasta is inspired with all the Mediterranean flavors.

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Ingredients

  • Fettuccini pasta
  • 2 Zucchini peel
  • 1 cup sliced mushroom
  • ½ cup sliced bell peppers of your choice
  • 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic
  • 1 ½ tea spoon dry Mediterranean mixed herbs
  • 1 -2 tea spoon finely chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. Grated parmesan cheese or Romano cheese (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. crumbled feta cheese
  • Zest of half lemon
  • ½ teaspoons cracked black pepper
  • Salt as per taste
  • 2-3 tbsp. extra virgin Olive oil

Method

  • Cook the pasta in large saucepan with a pinch of salt.
  • Once the pasta is cooked drain the water, drizzle some olive oil; mix it well to prevent the pasta from sticking together. Then keep them aside
  • In the same saucepan heat olive oil over just a medium heat. Add the garlic, toss for few seconds, and then add in the veggies and sauté for few mins…
  • Add n the cooked pasta, the herbs, parsley, lemon zest, pepper powder, cheese. Gently mix it well.
  • Garnish with some more grated parmesan, a good drizzle of olive oil and a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
  • Serve warm with some fresh bread and a dip of aged balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.