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Arabic Food Recopies

Arabic food has a unique flavour and taste. Most of the middleeast has somewhat similar food and each country has one or two special varaities of the food. In Dubai all these foods come together as one cousine the Arabic Food Here you will find some common food recopies available in Dubai restaurants.


Probably the most common thing that identifies that the food is indeed Arabic is the Hammus it is made with Chick Peas and Saseme Seeds known as Tahina Here is the recipie

Hummus bi Tahina (English: Chickpea and Sesame Dip)

25 g (4 oz) chickpeas, soaked for a few hours better soak in the evening and prepare in the morning
juice of 2 lemons
3 Tbs. tahina (Sesame Seeds)
2 garlic cloves, crushed Add more if you like


1 Tbs. olive oil

1 tsp. paprika
a few sprigs of parsley, finely chopped

Take the soaked chickpeas and cook in water until well cooked & tender. Keep the cooking water. Grind the chickpeas in a blender (or food processor) with the lemon juice, tahina, garlic, salt and enough of the cooking water you kept. Bring it to a soft creamy consist paste

Serve on a flat plate, garnished with a dribble of olive oil, a dusting of paprika and a little parsley or coriander leaves.

Serve with warm pita bread for dipping. Serves 4-6.

Falafel or Ta'meya

Falafel is a popular Arabic food in Dubai Falafel or Tameya as called by Egyptians is fried ball or patty made from spiced fava beans and/or chickpeas. It is usually served as a starter as well as main course dish. Falafil is also used in popular Falafel sandwitches which are basically Arabic Flat bred filled with salad & falafel.

1 cup dried (Chic Peas) Garbanzo Beans, soaked in water whole overnight
1 cup dried shelled fava beans, soaked overnight and drained
1/2 cup peeled and finely chopped yellow onions
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 cup water
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup garbanzo flour
1/4 cup fine bulgar (Whole wheat soaked and cooked and broken).
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/4 Tbs. salt
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Oil for deep-frying

Grind Garbanzo Beans (Chic peas) and fava beans with fine blade on your meat grinder. Add in all the remaining ingredients and let the mixture stand for 1 hour. Form into little patties 1/3 inch thick and 1-1/2 inches round. Or, you can form them into balls the size of walnuts. Deep-fry in 375° oil until toasty brown and crunchy on the outside, about 4 minutes.

Fill pita bread with Falafel, sliced tomatoes, sliced onion, lettuce and yogurt.

Makes about 24 patties, enough for 6 sandwiches.

Falafel Hot Sauce

Falafel hot sauce can be drizzled into a falafel pita sandwich or used for dipping falafel.

3/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon harissa
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 15 -20 minutes. Stirring frequently.
Serve falafel hot sauce immediately as a dip for falafel or drizzle onto falafel pita sandwich. Falafel hot sauce is great at room temperature and even cold!
You can Store in refrigerator for up two weeks.

Tahinat el Beid


2 tablespoons sesame oil
lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 hard-boiled egg

Put the oil in a salad bowl and add lemon juice drop by drop – the quantity depends on how astringent you want it. Thin with a little water.

Add the garlic, parsley and salt and the egg very finely chopped. Sprinkle on cayenne.

This is another bread dip.

Baba Ghannouj (Eggplant Dip)

1 large round eggplant (aubergine)
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
60 milliliters (3 oz., 4 Tbs.) tahina
60 milliliters (2 oz., 4 Tbs.) lemon juice
salt, red pepper
olive oil
chopped parsley
slices of red bell pepper to garnish

Cook the eggplant in a hot oven or on a fork over the flame of a gas stove. When it is well cooked through and the skin is blackened, douse with cold water, peel and chop into small pieces. Mash two or three cloves of garlic to a paste with about the same volume of salt. Add eggplant, mash to a smooth consistency and blend the tahina and lemon juice to make the Arab version of this dish; omit the tahina for the Turkish version. Serve in a bowl with little olive oil on top and garnish chopped parsley, red pepper slices and a dusting of red pepper. Serves five.

Muhammara (Hot Pepper Dip)

3 medium onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup crushed walnuts
3/4 cup breadcrumbs blended with cold water to a purée
2 tablespoons paprika (or 1 teaspoon chili powder for a very hot muhammara) or 1 small can hot pepper purée
a pinch of ground cumin
1 tablespoon pine nuts sautéed in a little oil

Using a deep skillet, sauté the onions gently in the oil until soft and golden. Add the walnuts, the breadcrumb purée, the pepper (chili or purée), the cumin and salt to taste. Continue to sauté gently on a low heat until the ingredients are well blended - about 12 minutes.

Remove from the heat, place in a bowl and garnish with pine nuts.

Muhammara is eaten as a dip with bread. It can also be used as a spicy dip with kebabs, grilled meats and fish. The Lebanese also eat it as a spread on toast.

Serves about 6.

Salatat Bathinjan (Eggplant Appetizer)

Eggplant, often called "the poor man's meat" or "the poor man's caviar," is one of the staple foods of the Middle East, valued for it's great versatility.

1 large eggplant, peeled and thickly sliced
8 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 medium hot pepper, finely chopped
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt. Place in a strainer or colander, top with a weight, and allow to drain for 45 minutes.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, then add the eggplant slices and fry on both sides until they are golden brown. Remove the eggplant slices, dice them, then set aside in a bowl.

Mash the garlic cloves with salt. Add to the diced eggplant along with the hot pepper and lemon juice. Chill slightly and serve.

Stuffed Pastry Squares (Al-Motubug)

6 cups flour
2 eggs beaten with 1/2 cup corn oil
2 bundles leeks (medium sized)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
3 eggs (beaten)
3 onions (finely chopped)

Sift flour, add the water and salt a little at a time, mixing dough until it becomes soft but pliable. Divide the dough into ten pieces, knead each piece well. Place on a tray sprinkled with a little water and let rise for at least one hour. Put ground beef in a saucepan with chopped onion, black pepper and salt. Stir over medium heat until cooked. Set aside until cool. Chop leeks and wash several times through a strainer; drain and put on a paper towel until excess water is absorbed. Add to ground beef.Take a piece of dough and cover in flour, roll out, place over back of hands and stretch until dough becomes quite thin. Place dough on worktop and trim uneven edges. Brush two tablespoons of egg and oil mixture over dough surface. Fold to form smaller squares. Place in frying pan or griddle over medium heat with one tablespoon of oil. Place pastry squares in pan and fry on both sides until golden brown. Repeat above method using five of the remaining pieces. With piece number six repeat as above to the folding stage. Place one fried pastry square in the center of the unfolded piece, cover generously with ground beef and three tablespoons of beaten egg. Fold into a square. Remember to sprinkle oil and egg mixture between layers. Fry in 3 tablespoons of oil over medium heat until both sides are golden brown. Repeat using remaining four pieces of dough. Serve hot. Serves 10-12.

Adas Bil Hamod (Lentils with Lemon Juice)

Chickpea Soup

This thick, stewlike soup is eaten in many countries of the Middle East, often forming the centerpiece of simple peasant meals. Salads, olives, bread, and yogurt dishes are served on the side. Although soaked shickpeas are generally tender enough to eat after an hour of cooking, it is important here that they cook longer. This way the chickpeas themselves get somewhat softer, the liquid thickens considerably, and the soup develops a cohesion that it would otherwise lack.

It might be a good idea to taste the soup before putting in the lemon juice. Chickpea broth has a natural sweetness that you may prefer to leave untouched.


2 cups dried chickpeas, picked over, washed, and drained
2 medium-sized onions, peeled, and chopped
2 medium-sized boiling potatoes, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 T. salt, or to taste
1/2 t. ground turmeric
1 t. ground cumin seeds
1 t. ground coriander seeds
1/8 t. cayenne pepper, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
2 T. lemon juice

Soak the chickpeas in 8 cups of water for 12 hours. Drain and rinse thoroughly. Put the chickpeas, onions, and 8 cups water into a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover partially, turn heat to low, and simmer gently for 1 hour. Add the potatoes, salt, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and another 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on very low heat for another 1-1/2 hours. Stir a few times during this period. Check seasonings. Add the black pepper and lemon juice. Stir to mix.

Serves 6.

Beid Bi Lamoun (Egg and Lemon Soup)

This is a great favorite all over the Middle East. It is the Greek avgolemono. Egg yolks alone or whole eggs are used as a thickening for this very lemony soup.


7-1/2 cups chicken stock (see below)
Salt and white pepper
1/3 cup rice, washed, or 1/3 cup Italian pastina, or 1/4 cup tapioca
3 egg yolks or 2 whole eggs
Juice of 1-2 lemons
2 T. finely chopped parsley or chives (optional)

Make a rich chicken stock with leftover chicken bones or giblets. If it is not strong enough, add a stock cube. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the rice, pastina, or tapioca to the boiling stock and simmer until tender. Beat the egg yolks or whole eggs and add the lemon juice, beating constantly. Add a ladleful of the soup to the egg mixture and beat well. Pour this back into the pan slowly, still beating constantly. Keep the heat under the pan very low, and cook the soup gently, stirring all the time, until it thickens. On no account allow it to boil, or the eggs will curdle. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more lemon juice if necessary.

Garnish, if you like, with chopped parsley or chives, and serve immediately.

In Greece, fish and meat stocks are also used to make the soup, but this is uncommon in the other countries of the Middle East.

Shourabit' Ads (Red Lentil Soup with Lamb)

Combine, bring to boil, cover and simmer 1 hour:

2 cups ads majroosh (red lentils)
1 pound or more lamb shanks
6 cups water
1-1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper

Sauté until soft in:

3 T. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced


4 cups chopped Swiss chard

Cook and stir until chard is wilted. Add to soup and simmer 15 minutes. Then add:

1/4 cup lemon juice

Adjust seasonings and serve with lamb shank on side, or cut up in the soup. The red lentils turn a golden color, making the soup attractive with the green of the chard. Thick and creamy. May be made ahead of time.

Serves 6.

Toasted Bread and Salad (Fattoush)

Fattoush means "moistened bread", and this salad consists of a chilled mixed salad tossed with small cubes of toasted bread. The texture of the toasted bread adds an unusual quality.

2 or 3 tomatoes, cubed
1 small cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and chopped
1 medium green pepper, seeded, deribbed, and diced
5 scallions, chopped
1/2 small lettuce, shredded
2 Tbs. finely chopped parsley
1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh mint or 1 tsp. dried mint
1 pita bread (or 2-3 slices of bread), toasted and cut into cubes
A dressing made from equal amounts of olive oil and lemon juice and seasoned with salt and black pepper. (Make plenty of dressing and store whatever you do not use in the fridge.)

Combine the vegetables, herbs, and bread. Make the dressing, pour it over the salad, toss well, and chill for 30-60 minutes before serving. For an authentic Arabic flavor, the dressing should be made of equal parts of oil and lemon juice. However, you may prefer to use more oil - perhaps two to three parts of oil to one of lemon juice. Serves 4 to 6.


Jajik (Cucumber Salad)


1 cup yoghurt
2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped
1/4 t. salt
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 t. olive oil
1 T. minced fresh mint

Serves 4.


Salatat Bazinjan Eswed Bel-Filfil (Eggplant and Chili Pepper Salad)

4 eggplants
4 tomatoes (cut in rings)
3 green chili peppers
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup corn oil
1/2 t. ground black pepper

Wash, peel, and cut the eggplant into medium sized rings. Put in a sieve, sprinkle with salt. Leave for half an hour, then wash off the salt and drain. Dry with towel and fry each piece on both sides until golden brown. Place on paper towels to soak up the excess oil. Fry the tomato rings. Place the eggplant, followed by tomato rings on a plate. Clean the chili peppers by cutting off the stalk and removing the seeds, Wash, dry, cut into rings and fry. Place on top of the tomato rings. Mix the vinegar, salt and pepper together and pour over the vegetable rings. Serve chilled.


Green Coriander Salad (Salata Ducos)

3 tomatoes
Juice of 2 lemons
2 green chili peppers
1/2 bundle fresh green coriander

Grill tomatoes on low heat; remove from the heat; peel, puree and place in a deep dish. Wash the coriander and chili pepper; chop them both, then grind, using a pestle and mortar. Add this mixture to the tomatoes, plus the salt and lemon juice. Mix and serve. Serves 4-6 persons

Lentil Salad

This salad may be stored in the refrigerator for several days. It is excellent to take on picnics.

1 pound (about 3 cups) dried lentils
1 t. ground cumin seeds
2-1/2 t. salt
4 scallions
4 to 4-1/2 T. lemon juice
1/8 to 1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup minced parsley, well-packed

In a 3- to 4-quart pot, combine the lentils with 5-1/2 cups of water. Add the cumin, 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Cover, and simmer gently for 25 minutes. Remove cover and let the lentils cool a bit. Slice the scallions in very fine rounds halfway up their green sections. When lukewarm, add the remaining salt, the lemon juice, the black pepper, oil, parsley, and scallions.

Stir and cool. Serve at room temperature or cold.

Serves 8.


From "World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking" by Madhur Jaffrey


Labni (Fresh Cheese made from Yogurt)

2 cups yogurt
1/2 t. salt


Muslin sack or several layers of cheesecloth made into a bag
Large bowl

Combine yogurt and salt. Pour into a muslin sack, tie up, and suspend over a large bowl. Let drain overnight. The bowl will catch the dripping liquid. In the morning, discard the water. Unwrap the cheese and use as a spread on pita or form into small balls and serve with olive oil and chopped fresh mint or with black olives.

Makes 1/2 cup

Mahammara Labni (Fresh Cheese with Dill and Pimento)

1/2 cup labni (see recipe for Labni)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 T. chopped fresh dill
1 roasted pimento, chopped
Sweet paprika
8 melba toasts

Combine labni, salt, pepper, dill and pimento, mixing well. Spread on melba toasts and sprinkle with paprika.

Khubz - Bread

Pita Bread

2 tsp. dry yeast
1 cup warm water
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt


Dissolve the yeast in 1 cup warm water. Sift together the flour and salt and mix the yeast and water. Work the mixture into a dough and knead for several minutes. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place for 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Divide the dough into 6 equal portions and roll into balls. With either your hand or a rolling pin, pat and press each ball of dough into a 5-inch circle about 1/2-inch thick. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until the pita are light golden brown.

Serves 8.

Bread with Meat (Aish Bel-Lahm)

4 cups flour
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon yeast
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon powdered bread spices (black pepper & cumin)

3/4 pound ground beef
2 black peppercorns
2 onions (finely chopped)
3 tablespoons corn oil (to grease tray)
1/2 bundle leeks
1 tablespoon poppy seeds (for decoration)
6 tablespoons sesame cream (Tahini)
2 teaspoons salt

Dissolve yeast in half a cup of warm water and set aside to soften. Put flour in a large bowl, make a well in center and add eggs, oil, yeast, salt and bread spices. Mix well, adding the water a little at a time until you have a firm dough. Grease a large tray with oil. Put dough on tray and cover with a damp cloth. Place dough in a warm place for at least two hours. In a saucepan put ground beef, onion and salt. Place over medium heat, stirring until meat is cooked. Set aside until cool. Finely chop leeks and wash several times through a strainer. Spread leeks on paper towel to absorb excess water. Add leeks to ground meat. Mix sesame cream with vinegar, a little water and black pepper. When you have a smooth paste add to leek and meat mixture, mixing thoroughly. When dough has risen, roll out into circular shape of medium thickness, spread the meat mixture over the dough leaving edge uncovered. Sprinkle with poppy seeds, and place in a 350-degree oven for half an hour or until bread is baked.

Egg Kabab (Aijet Beythat)

8 hard-cooked eggs, shelled
1/4 cup butter
1/3 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon white pepper
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

PRICK whites of eggs all over so they won't split as they are heated through.

SAUTÉ eggs in butter over low heat, turning, until light brown.

MIX seasonings. Sprinkle over eggs.

YIELD 4 to 8 servings


Stuffed Eggs Beyth Mahshi


6 hard-boiled eggs
1 teaspoon sherry
6 oz. cooked spinach
1/2 pint herb dressing
1 tablespoon yoghurt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon French mustard
Salt and pepper

Cut a slice from pointed end of each egg and remove the yolks, taking care not to break the whites.

Sieve the yolks and put in bowl with the yoghurt, sherry, olive oil, mustard and seasoning. Mix well together, then fill the whites with mixture. Stand eggs upright on a bed of spinach and add herb dressing. Chill for 1 hour before serving.

Okra in Oil

2 medium onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbs. olive oil or cooking oil
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 10-ounce package frozen whole or cut okra
1/4 cup water
2 Tbs. vinegar
2 canned green chili peppers, rinsed, seeded, and chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. pepper

In a large skillet cook onions and garlic in hot oil till onion is tender but not brown. Stir in tomatoes, okra, water, vinegar, green chili peppers, salt, coriander, and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 20 minutes. Serve warm or chilled. Makes 6 servings.

Sweet Cardamomed Carrots

(Helawat al Jazr)


1 pound carrots, peeled and finely grated
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
2 cups low-fat milk
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
2 tsp. grated lemon peel
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour



pine nuts, pistachios, almonds, raisins


  1. Steam the carrots with the sugar, milk, cardamom, and lemon peel for about 15 minutes, until the carrots are tender. Pour into a sieve, pressing firmly on the carrots to remove all the liquid. Reserve the liquid.


  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Add the carrots, stirring to coat with the flour mixture, and toss for 3 or 4 minutes.


  3. Pour the cooking liquid over the carrots, mix well, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour into individual serving dishes and garnish with nuts and raisins.


Ardy Shouki

(Artichoke Casserole)


10 Fresh artichokes
1/2 lb. Ground lean veal meat
1/4 cup Chopped onions
3 tablespoons Pine nuts
Lemon juice
Salt, pepper and cinnamon
Vegetable oil

Take out all the thick leaves around the artichoke. Cut the top horizontally, cut the base too. With a tablespoon remove the hairy center, making a well in the center.

Do the same thing with the rest, putting them in a pan filled with water and 1/4 cup lemon juice when you finish each one, in order to preserve its color.

With one tablespoon butter, stir the meat, onions and pine nuts till brown. Add the seasoning.

Fry the drained artichoke with 5 tablespoons vegetable oil till slightly brown. Drain.

Arrange in pan, pour in it a cup of water and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Adjust the seasoning.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes till they are tender. Serve with Aroz Mofalfal and green mixed salad.

Arabian Stuffed Vegetables



2 cups water
1 cup long-grain rice


1/2 lb. lamb, finely ground
1/2 lb. beef, finely ground
pinch of ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 Tbs. butter, melted


Choose any of the following or any combination. The mixture will fill:
4 medium tomatoes, tops cut off and hollowed for stuffing or
6 medium zucchini, cut into 3-inch lengths, hollowed out with a corer, placed on end for stuffing or
4 medium bell peppers, tops cut off and cored and seeded for stuffing


1/2 cup water
1/4 cup canned tomato sauce
Juice of 1 lemon

In a 2-quart covered saucepan bring 2 cups of water to boil. Add the rice, return to the boil, cover, and turn off the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Drain and cool before proceeding with the recipe.

Mix cooked rice thoroughly with the stuffing ingredients.

Fill the vegetables loosely with the rice mixture. It will expand during cooking, so do not pack; leave room at the top or the sides. Arrange the vegetables in a covered, deep skillet. Simmer, covered, along with the water, tomato sauce, and lemon juice on low flame (30 minutes for bell peppers and zucchini; 20 minutes for tomatoes). Check water to see that it is not evaporating. If it gets low, add more hot water.

Use the same Hashwe to stuff a chicken or a turkey. Or wrap in partially cooked fresh grape leaves, Swiss chard, cabbage, or slices of eggplant. Cloves of garlic added to the cooking liquid impart authentic flavor.

Serve accompanied with Leban Sauce, if desired. Serves 4.

Kousa Bil Bandora

(Zuccini with Tomatoes)


2 1/2 lbs. Zuccini
1/4 cup Lean ground meat
1 cup Rice
Salt, pepper, cinnamon
4 Peeled, chopped, seeded, medium size tomatoes
16 oz. Tomato sauce

Clean the zuccini. Cut one end and make a hole through the zuccini, leaving 1/4 inch at the end, taking all the seeds from inside.

Mix meat, rinsed and drained rice, dash of salt, pepper and cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons finely chopped onions.

Stuff the zuccini with the meat mixture. Fry them with 2 tablespoons shortening till lightly brown.

Add tomato, chopped and sauce, and more water just till covered. Let boil.

Reduce heat to medium. Cover and let cook till done, about 30 minutes. If some of the stuffing is left, add it to the sauce before cooking.

Serve with pita bread.

Aroz Mofalfal (Arabian Rice)

2 cups Rice (rinsed and drained) (long rice)
2 cups Boiled water
1/4 cup Vermicile noodles, very thin, broken to small pieces
2 tablespoons Butter
1/8 teaspoon Salt

Fry vermicile noodles with butter till slightly brown.

Add boiling water and salt. Stir till boiling.

Add rice slowly. Let it boil before covering. Stir.

Put a thin layer of tin under the pan to prevent burning. Reduce heat to low and leave to cook for 30 minutes.

Open the pan. Stir the top and see if rice is done. If rice is still a little hard, cover and cook longer.

Server with any vegetable hot dishes.

Ruz bil-loz wa bil-tamar

Rice with Almonds and Dates


1 cup (225 g / 8 oz.) rice
50 g / 2 oz. butter
50 g / 2 oz. almonds, blanched and halved
8 dates, stoned (they should be fresh, but dried ones will do, if plump)
50 g / 2 oz. sultanas
1 tsp. rosewater (but this can be omitted)

While the rice is standing, after cooking, melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the almonds, stirring until they turn golden. Now add the dates and sultanas, and cook, stirring, for a few more minutes. Remove from the stove and mix in the rose water, if used. Pile the rice on a dish and arrange the mixture on top of it. Serves 4-6.

Cracked Wheat with Yogurt

(Gereesh Bel Laban)


4 cups yogurt
4 cups cracked wheat
1/2 lb shortening
4 chili peppers (red)
2 tablespoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons butter
salt to taste

Put the yogurt and salt in a pan. Keep stirring over low heat. Grind the shortening, cumin and chili peppers in a mortar and pestle. When the yogurt is nearly boiling, add the ground mixture and mix well. Wash and drain the cracked wheat and add to yogurt. Cover the pan and simmer over low heat for three hours. Remove from heat, beat with a wooden spoon and blend in a food processor. Pour wheat/yogurt mixture into a deep serving dish, making a depression in the center and pour in the melted butter. Must be served hot. Serves 8-10 persons.

Samak Bil Tahini

(Fish with Tahini)


Never equaled in the world. A star dish on the buffet table.

4 1/2 lbs. Red snapper
3 cups Tahini (found in Greek and specialty shops)
7 Chopped onions
Vegetable oil
1 cup Lemon juice
1 tablespoon Crushed garlic

Sprinkle inside and outside of fish, brush with vegetable oil.

Put in a pan and bake in oven for 30 minutes.

Fry onions with vegetable oil till tender. Add them to the fish.

Mix tahini with 1/4 cup water very well before adding to the rest of the ingredients. Mix well. (Add enough water to make it drip from a tablespoon.)

Pour tahini mixture over the fish and bake for 30 minutes longer.

Before serving, decorate with fried pinenuts and dash of red pepper. Serve with pickles, salads and fried pita bread.

Shrimp Abu Dhabi




1 lb. large shrimp or prawns (about 12)
Salt to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbs. butter or margarine
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime (3 Tbs.)
Cilantro sprigs for garnish

Clean and devein shrimp or prawns, removing shells but leaving shells on tails intact. Sprinkle shrimp or prawns with salt. Roll lightly in flour, shaking off excess. Melt butter or margarine with olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic. Sauté until onion is tender. Add shrimp or prawns and chopped cilantro. Sauté until shrimp or prawns are golden, about 7 minutes. Place on a platter. Sprinkle with lime juice. Garnish with cilantro sprigs. Makes 4 servings.


Yoghurt Marinated Shrimp

(Awaal Arrubyaan bil Lebaneh)


Kuwait, Gulf States

2 pounds shrimp, shelled



1 cup low-fat yoghurt
1/2 tsp. curry powder, cumin, or allspice
1/4 tsp. red pepper
pinch black pepper
2 cloves garlic, crushed with


  1. Combine the marinade ingredients. Add the shrimp and turn to coat each piece with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or longer.


  2. Thread onto skewers and grill or oven broil, basting with the marinade.

From "The Arabian Delights Cookbook" by Anne Marie Weiss-Armush


Chicken & Rice Skillet




1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 (2-1/2 to 3-lb.) chicken, cut up
1 large onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup tomato sauce or puree
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 medium carrots, grated
grated peel of 1 orange
3 whole cloves
2 cardamom pods or 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom seeds
1 cinnamon stick
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup long-grain rice
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup toasted sliced or slivered almonds

Melt butter or margarine in a large skillet. Add chicken pieces. Sauté until onion is tender. Stir in tomato sauce or puree. Simmer over low heat 1 minute to blend flavors. Add tomatoes, carrots, orange peel, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon stick, salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute. Add broth. Return chicken pieces to skillet. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer over low heat 30 minutes. Stir rice into liquid between pieces of chicken. Or remove chicken, stir in rice, then return chicken pieces to skillet. Cover. Simmer 30 minutes longer or until rice is tender. Garnish with raisins and almonds. Makes 6 to 8 servings.


Farareej Mashwi

(Broiled Chicken with Oil, Lemon, and Garlic Sauce)


1 small chicken, quartered
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 T. fruity olive oil
1 T. chopped parsley


Broiling pan with rack

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a shallow dish filled with a mixture of garlic, lemon juice, oil, and parsley, roll the chicken quarters to coat them. Allow to marinate at least 1 hour.

Preheat the broiler. Drain the chicken, reserving the marinade. Set the broiling rack about 7 inches from the heat. Place the quarters, skin side down on the broiling rack, and broil 10 minutes, basting often with the cooking juices and a little of the marinade. Turn the quarters over and broil the chicken 10 minutes longer. Turn and brush twice more until both sides are golden brown and crusty. Pour over the remaining oil mixture. Serve at once.

Serves 2.

Dajaj Bil Fitr

(Mushroom Chicken)


2 small Chickens
1 cup Sliced mushrooms
Vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Crushed garlic
1 cup Chopped parsley
Salt, pepper and cinnamon

Add seasoning and flour to the chickens from all sides, plus inside.

Fry chickens with butter till brown from all sides. Leave on low heat, cover pan and cook till chickens are tender.

Fry mushrooms, garlic and parsley with more butter and 3 tablespoons vinegar, and cook for a few minutes.

Serve chickens and pour over the garlic mixture.

Serve with green salad

Kofta Mlebissa

(Batter Kofta)



1 lb. beef
2 onions, finely chopped
3 T. rice
1/4 bundle finely chopped parsley
1 T. finely chopped fresh mint
1 t. salt
1 t. ground black pepper
1 t. ground cinnamon
4 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 t. baking powder
1-1/2 cups oil for frying

Wash the rice and add to the meat with the parsley, onion, mint, spices and salt. Mix thoroughly. Take a small piece of the mixture and roll into a ball between wet palms; place in a pan. Continue until all the mixture is used. Pour half a cup of warm water over the koftas, cover the pan and cook over low heat until the rice is soft. Remove from heat and leave aside until cool. Mix the eggs with the flour, baking powder, a pinch of salt and half a cup of warm water. Mix to a batter. Heat the oil, dip the koftas in the batter, place in hot oil and fry until golden brown. (Note: Koftas should be evenly sized and trimmed of excess batter.) Serve hot.


Meatballs in Batter

(Qady Qooda)


3/4 lb ground meat
2 eggs
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 tablespoons rice
1 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon ground black pepper salt
1 cup of flour
oil for frying

Mix the meat, garlic, rice, black pepper and salt in a bowl. Shape into balls half the size of an egg; put in a pan with a little water and cook over medium heat until ready. Mix the flour with the baking powder, yeast, eggs and a little water to form a dough-like batter. Set aside to rise for at least two hours (Alternative: use pancake mix to make the batter). Coat the balls in batter; fry in very hot oil and serve hot. Serves: 3 - 4 persons.


(Stuffed Cracked Wheat Shells)




250 g (8 oz) burghul (cracked wheat)
500 g (1 lb) minced beef
1 onion, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper



1 onion, finely chopped
2 Tbs. sunflower oil
2 Tbs. pine-nuts
500 g (1 lb) minced beef
salt and pepper


sunflower oil for deep-frying


To make the shells, soak the cracked wheat for about 20 minutes in water, then drain. Blend the meat, onion, salt and pepper in a food processor. Then process again, in batches, with the cracked wheat and continue until the mixture is soft enough to work like a dough. Knead well by hand

For the stuffing, fry the onion in oil till soft, then add the pine-nuts and fry till golden. Add the meat, salt and pepper and stir until the meat changes colour.

Wet your hands. Take a small egg-sized portion of the shell mixture and roll into a ball. Make a hole in the centre with your finger and shape into a thin-walled pot with a pointed bottom by turning and pressing it in your palm. Place some stuffing into the hole and pinch the top of the pot together to seal it. Shape the top into a point. Repeat with the rest of the mixtures, wetting your hands frequently.

Heat the oil. Deep-fry 4 or 5 kibbeh at a time until golden brown and drain on kitchen paper. Serve hot. Makes 20.

Blehat Lahma

Lamb Loaves with Apricots and Egg


2 lbs. ground lamb shoulder
12 dried apricots, coarsely chopped, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes, drained
1 onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 tsp. each ground cinnamon and ground allspice
Salt and pepper to taste
2 hard-cooked eggs, with shells removed
1 cup tomato paste, canned
1 cup water

Equipment: Medium-size mixing bowl, clean hands or wooden mixing spoon, lightly greased or nonstick 9- x 13-inch baking pan.

Preheat oven to 350 ° F.

1. Put lamb, apricots, onion, pine nuts, cinnamon, allspice, and salt and pepper to taste in mixing bowl. Mix well, using clean hand or wooden spoon.

2. Divide the mixture in half and shape each half into a loaf around an egg. Put the loaves side-by-side in the baking pan.

3. Mix tomato paste with water and pour over the loaves. put loaves in oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until meat is cooked. Baste frequently with the tomato sauce to keep loaves moist.

To serve the loaves, cool to room temperature and cut into thick slices. Blehat lahma makes an excellent filling for sandwiches. Serves 6 to 8.


Fetteh Dajaz

(Chicken with Torn Bread)

four servings

  • 2 loaves Arabic bread, toasted and torn in small pieces
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, cut in bite-size pieces
  • 2 cups chicken broth

Mash garlic in salt; add to yogurt. Stir to mix.

Place bread in serving dish (about 8x6). Heat broth to boiling. Add chicken and heat until heated through. Pour combination of broth and chicken over the bread.

Spread yogurt over top. Dust with paprika if desired.


Buy any olives, canned or bulk from an ethnic grocery. Drain. Rinse if very salty. Place in jar with:

  • Lemons, sliced paper thin, and salted
  • Garlic cloves, peeled, sliced in pieces if large
  • Banana peppers, or other mild peppers
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste

Cover completely with olive oil. It takes a few days for flavor to develop. You may add olives as supply is depleted. Add other ingredients as needed. Always be sure to keep covered with oil, as mold will develop otherwise. You don’t want water in this mixture, so draining water from canned olives is essential. Other spices such as whole allspice, bay leaves, or oregano are possibilities.


Shish Kabab

2 lb. leg of lamb
1 Tbs. olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper
1 medium onion, sliced
3 medium tomatoes, sliced
Bay leaves
Green pepper (optional)
Eggplant (optional)

Cut the meat into 1-inch cubes. Mix olive oil and lemon juice and rub into meat. Place in dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cover with slices of onion and tomatoes and a few bay leaves. Place in refrigerator for 4 or 5 hours.

Arrange meat on skewers with tomatoes and onions, alternating. Add an occasional bay leaf. Broil over charcoal, but may also be done over an open wood fire or in an oven broiler. Green pepper and eggplant may also be inserted on skewers.


Lamb with Rice Cooked in Milk


Here is a popular Saudi Arabian specialty which is similar to a medieval al-Baghdadi dish.

This makes rather a large quantity suitable for a party. Reduce it by half to serve 6 people.


1 large leg of lamb
2 onions, finely chopped
Salt and black pepper
4 cups milk
4 cups long-grain rice
12 - 16 T. butter, melted

Simmer the lamb whole or cut into pieces for 2 hours, or until tender, together with the chopped onions and water to cover, seasoned to taste with salt and pepper. When cooked, remove the meat and keep warm. Add water if necessary to make the volume of stock up to 6 cups. Add the milk and bring to the boil. Then add the rice and cook very gently, covered, until it is so soft it is almost a purée. Adjust seasoning.

Serve in a large tray with melted butter poured over the rice and the pieces of meat arranged on top. This dish is served with a cucumber, lettuce, and tomato salad. Some people like to accompany it with clear, pure honey, to be stirred into each portion separately.

Rice with Lamb Casserole

(Roz Tajin)


Serve this with plain yogurt or yogurt and cucumber.

1-1/2 lbs. lean lamb, diced
2 medium onions, quartered
1/2 cup butter or olive oil
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 Tbs. pine nuts or chopped almonds
2 Tbs. tomato purée
Salt and black pepper
2 cups long-grain rice, washed and drained
2-1/2 cups boiling water

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Sauté the lamb and onions in the butter or oil in a heavy frying pan over low heat until the meat is almost tender. Stir in the cinnamon and nuts and sauté until the nuts are lightly browned. Stir in the tomato purée, season to taste with salt and pepper, and transfer the mixture to the bottom of a heavy casserole. Distribute it evenly and spread the rice over the top. Pour in the boiling water. Cover and transfer to the preheated oven. Bake for 1 hour or until the rice is tender. Place a large serving dish over the top of the casserole and invert the contents of the dish. Serves 6.

Variation: Add 1 Tbs. fresh chopped mint or 1 tsp. dried mint to the pan with the tomato purée. Fifteen minutes before the end of the baking period sprinkle grated cheese over the contents of the casserole and continue baking.

Carob Date Loaf


1 cup pitted dates, cut up
1-1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/4 cup carob powder
3 T. safflower shortening
3/4 cup, plus 1 T., boiling water
1 t. orange blossom water or vanilla extract
3/4 cup honey (warmed to pouring consistency)
1-1/4 cups whole wheat flour

Place the dates, baking soda, salt, and carob powder in a mixing bowl. Toss lightly with a fork. Add the shortening and boiling water, but do not stir. Let stand 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Combine the eggs and orange blossom water or vanilla. Add the honey and flour, stirring until well blended. Add the date mixture, stirring just to blend. Pour into a well-greased 9- by 5-inch loaf pan. Bake 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool before removing from pan. Serve plain or top each slice with plain yogurt sweetened with a little honey.

Replace carob powder with 3/4 cup chopped walnuts. Decrease the amount of boiling water by 1 tablespoon and replace honey with 1 cup sugar.

Yeild: 1 loaf or 16 slices.





10 cups milk
1 t. banana essence
6 T. custard powder
1/2 cup water
10 T. sugar

Pour the milk into a pan, add the sugar and bring to a boil. Mix the custard with the water and add the banana essence. Pour the custard into the boiling milk, stirring constantly; let it simmer for ten minutes. Remove from heat, pour into serving dish and leave to cool. Place in the refrigerator until cool. Decorate with fruit. Serve chilled.


Umm Ali

("Mother of Ali")


10oz cooked puff pastry
1/4-1/2 cup pistachio nuts, chopped
1/4-1/2 cup flaked almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
a pinch of cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons rose water
1 cup light cream

Grease a round, glass baking dish, and preheat the oven to 375° F. Crumble the pastry into the dish and mix with the nuts and lemon juice.

Heat the milk, sugar and cinnamon to just below the boiling point, then slowly add the beaten egg. Pour this over the pastry mixture in the dish, and sprinkle with rose water. Top with the cream and bake for about 30 minutes, until golden.

Serves 6.


Egyptian Sweet Couscous Dessert


Among the variations of couscous this recipe from Egypt is unrivaled for the sweet-toothed palate. Serve with a cold glass of milk or a demitasse of heavy Arabic coffee.

Follow basic directions for steaming couscous, using:


1 cup couscous
2 cups fruit juice
2 Tbs. rose water

After first steaming, rub well into grains:

3 Tbs. melted sweet butter

After second steaming combine couscous with:


4 Tbs. melted sweet butter
1/4 cup each finely ground blanched almonds and pistachio nuts

Mound on serving platter and sprinkle with mixture of:


1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 to 1 Tbs. cinnamon

Surround with:


1 cup kufeta (candy-coated almonds)

Sprinkle with:


1/2 cup pomegranate seeds if in season

Serves 6.



("Cigar" Pastries with Walnut Filling)


3 oz. Shelled walnuts, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons Sugar
1/2 lb. Butter, cut into bits and clarified
14 sheets Phyllo pastry, each about 14 inches long and 12, thoroughly defrosted if frozen

Stir the chopped walnuts and the 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar in a small bowl and set the mixture aside.

Preheat the oven to Mark 6:400 degrees F. Grease 2 baking sheets with 1 oz. of the butter, using a pastry brush.

Assemble each "cigar" in the following way: Brush one sheet of phyllo evenly with 3/4 teaspoon of the butter. Fold the sheet in half crosswise to make a two-layered rectangle about 12 inches long and 7 inches wide. Brush the top with about 1/2 teaspoon of the butter. Make a 1-inch-wide fold on the closed side of the pastry and brush the fold lightly with butter. Sprinkle a teaspoon or so of the walnut mixture in an even row along its length, and roll the phyllo into a tight cylinder, about 1 inch in diameter.

Assemble the remaining sheets of phyllo in the same way. Gently transfer the rolls to the baking sheet, and brush the tops lightly with the rest of the butter. Bake in the top part of the oven for about 20 minutes, until the rolls are crisp and a delicate golden brown. Then slide them carefully onto a large serving dish.


1 1/4 lb. Sugar
1/2 pint Water
2 1/2 teaspoons Fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Rose-water

Meanwhile, make the syrup. Bring the sugar, water and lemon juice to the boil over high heat in a small, heavy saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Cook briskly, undisturbed, until the syrup reaches a temperature of 220 degrees F on a sugar-boiling thermometer, or a small bit dripped into iced water immediately forms a coarse thread. Add the rose-water and pour the syrup into a heatproof bowl or jug, and let it cool to lukewarm.

To serve, cut the rolls into 2-inch lengths and arrange them attractively on a serving plate. Moisten the warm pastry with a little syrup and serve the rest separately in a small jug.

Makes 7 dozen.

Dates with Sesame Seeds

(Tumr Bel Simsim)


2 lbs. soft dates
1/4 cup corn oil
1/2 lb. almonds
1 tablespoon ground cardamom seeds
1 cup sesame seeds

Blanch, skin and split the almonds in two. Fry them in oil until golden brown. Remove, drain and spread out on a paper towel. Brown the sesame seeds in a pan without oil, until golden, stirring constantly. Spread sesame seeds on a tray. Remove the seeds from the dates and mix into the cardamom seeds to form a dough; take pieces the size of a date and stuff with a piece of almond. Close and mold into a finger shape. Roll in the sesame seeds and arrange on a serving dish. Serves 8-10 persons.

Semolina Cake



1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup superfine sugar
2 small eggs
2 cups fine yellow semolina
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
Blanched split almonds
Syrup (recipe follows)

Cream the butter and the sugar and then beat in the eggs. Stir in a 1/2 cup water. Sift together the semolina, baking powder, and soda, and stir into the butter mixture to form a smooth batter. Preheat the oven to 350 ° F. Lightly grease an 8-by-12-inch cake pan and pour in the batter. Spread it evenly with the back of a spoon and then score across the top of the cake parallel lines going from the bottom left corner to the top right and vice versa, to form diamond shapes. Place an almond in the center of each diamond. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, when the cake should be firm and lightly browned. Prepare the syrup as described below and pour it, spoonfuls at a time, over the hot cake. Stop when the cake will not absorb any more and set the cake aside to cool before serving.





2-1/4 cups sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Over a medium heat dissolve the sugar in 1-1/2 cups water, add the lemon juice and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and gently boil the syrup for 10 minutes.


Dried Fruit Salad


A great Middle Eastern favorite in which the fruit is not stewed but macerated. A superb dessert. Various dried fruits may be used, but purists feel that only apricots and raisins should go into this classic dish, together with the nuts and almonds.


1 lb. dried apricots
1/2 lb. prunes
1/4 lb. raisins
1/4 lb. blanched almonds, halved
1/3 cup pistachio nuts or pine nuts
1 T. rose water
1 T. orange blossom water

Wash the fruits if necessary and put them all in a large bowl. Mix with the nuts and cover with water. Add sugar to taste (from 1/2 - 1 cup is usual), and sprinkle with rose water and orange blossom water. Let the fruits soak for at least 48 hours. The syrup becomes rich with the juices of the fruit and acquires a beautiful golden color.

A less common variation is to add 1/4 lb. each of dried figs and peaches, and a few fresh pomegranate seeds when these are available. Their luminosity brings out the rich orange, mauve, and brown of the fruit, and the white and green of the nuts. Some people dissolve amardine (sheets of dried compressed apricot) in the water to thicken and enrich it.

Sweet Syrup for Middle Eastern Pastries



Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Gulf States

The general rule for syrup is to pour hot syrup over cold (or room temperature) pastries and to serve cold syrup over hot pastries.

In some areas, eating syrup and honey is superstitiously believed to ward off the djinn (evil spirits) and to make life sweeter.

3 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups water
1 lemon
1 tbsp. orange-blossom water or rosewater


  1. Boil the sugar with the water until dissolved and viscous, about 10 minutes.


  2. Stir in the remaining ingredients and remove from the heat.

Arabic Coffee

(Qahwa Arabeya)


3 cups water
3 tbsp. cardamom (coarsely ground)
2 tbsp. of Arabic coffee
1/4 teaspoon saffron (optional)
1 cup sesame seeds

Boil the water in a pot. Add the coffee to the water and bring to a boil over low heat. Remove from the heat for five minutes to allow the coffee to settle. Put the cardamom in the pot, strain the coffee into it and add the saffron. Bring back to boil once and serve. Serves 8-10 persons.

Hot Tea with Cardamom and Cinnamon


Put 2 Tablespoons of black tea leaves into a tea pot that you have just heated by rinsing it with boiling water. Add 6 cardamom pods and a 2-inch piece of stick cinnamon. Now pour in 5 cups of water that you have just brought to a rolling boil (put in 6 cups of you like your tea on the weaker side). Cover the tea pot and let the tea steep for 4 minutes. Stir the tea.

You may serve this tea with milk and sugar, honey and lemon, or just plain.

Serves 4-6.

Spicy Hot Drink

(Finjan Erfeh)


(Egypt) Finjan Erfeh is traditionally served to visitors who come to see a new baby.

4 c. water
1 T. whole anise seeds
2 pieces ginger root, bruised
2 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
4 tsp. sugar, or more
4 walnuts or almonds

Boil spices in water until it is dark colored. Put sugar and one nut in each cup. Serves 4.

Mint Tea

1 rounded teaspoon green tea
5 teaspoons sugar (granulated)
12-14 large fresh mint leaves
1 cup water
1 sprig of mint per glass to be served

Mix tea and sugar. Crush mint leaves in water. Bring to boil. Pour over tea and sugar. Let steep for 5 minutes. Place small sprig of mint in two thick 4-ounce juice glasses. Strain tea into glasses. Drink while hot.

The man I watched make this tea in Lebanon used one of the small brass coffeemakers so common in the Middle East. He boiled the mint leaves, tea and sugar over his charcoal fire. Then he strained this over the sprigs of mint in the glass. I also watched a man do it this way in Morocco, so if you want to be authentic, rather than take an American shortcut, that is the method to use

Rose Petal Tea

Serves 4.

1-1/2 cups rose petals
3 cups water
honey to taste

Choose fresh rose petals. Strip the flower gently under running water then place the petals in a saucepan. Cover with the water and boil for 5 minutes, or until the petals become discolored. Strain into teacups and add honey to taste.



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