Mediterranean

Zucchini Fry


The zucchini, courgette or baby marrow  is a summer squash, a vining herbaceous plant whose fruit are harvested when their immature seeds and epicarp (rind) are still soft and edible.

Ordinary zucchini fruit are any shade of green, though the golden zucchini is a deep yellow or orange.  At maturity, they can grow to nearly 1 metre (3 feet) in length, but they are normally harvested at about 15–25 cm (6–10 in).

In botany, the zucchini’s fruit is a pepo, a berry (the swollen ovary of the zucchini flower) with a hardened epicarp. In cookery, it is a vegetable, usually cooked and eaten as a savory dish or accompaniment.

Source – wikipedia

Ingredients

(I am using 12 zucchinis approx. in the video recipe, so the ingredients used are proportionately more)

  • 4 to 6 Zucchini
  • ½ tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. Vinegar or Lemon juice, or to taste
  • ½ tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder or to taste
  • ½ tp. Cumin powder
  • ½ tsp. coriander powder
  • 3 to 4 tbsp. rice flour
  • 2 tbsp. corn flour
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying

Method

  • Wash and drain the zucchinis.  Trim the head and tail and cut vertically into ¼” thin slices.  If the zucchinis are tender and unblemished the skin can be retained.  Sprinkle 1 tsp. salt and set aside for 10 minutes. Then drain the water which is released from the zucchinis. Mix the ginger garlic paste, chilli powder, cumin and coriander powder, rice flour, corn flour, vinegar and salt (if required because the zucchinis are already salted) and make a thick paste using as much water as required.  Mix the slices with the batter.  A;ternatively you can dip each slice in the batter to coat before frying, in which case more batter will be required.  Heat oil for deep frying, when hot reduce flame and fry in small batches till crisp and golden.  Drain on kitchen towel.  Serve immediately when still crisp as a side with a main meal or with tomato ketchup as a snack or appetizer.

P.S.: The same batter can be used to fry arbi, egg plant, raw banana, bread fruit, potatoes, yam, mushrooms, etc.

Baked Potato with Sour Cream and Corn Salad


Ingredients

  • 6 large potatoes
  • 2 to 3 tbsp. Olive oil (or any oil)
  • ¼ tsp. Pepper powder
  • ½ tsp. Salt

Toppings

  • Sour cream
  • Green onions
  • Corn salad

Heat the oven to 220 deg C. Clean and scrub the potatoes well keeping them whole.  Prick lightly with a fork to avoid the potatoes bursting.  Mix the olive oil, pepper and salt and brush the potatoes with the oil.  For softer skins, wrap the potato in silver foil, for crunchier potatoes leave open.  Bake for 50 minutes to 1 ½ hours depending on the size and oven temperature.  To speed up baking  pierce a metal skewer  through the potatoes so that heat is conducted to the centres.  To test if potato is done pierce with a skewer which should go through easily.

Prepare the filling while the potatoes are baking so it is ready to be stuffed into the potatoes when baked.  Cut a slit or a cross on the top of the potatoes and squeeze the sides so the top is pushed open.  Use oven mitts as the potato will be hot. Fluff the flesh of the potato with a fork.  Top with your desired filling.  Spoon sour cream mixed with a little olive oil and garnish with green onions and serve with a generous helping of corn salad or fill with sour cream and/or corn salad.  Makes a delicious meal or starter or a side.

Artichoke Salad


Full of flavour, a great salad for artichoke lovers, like moi! The addition of herbs and abundance of vegetables makes it a hearty sumptuous salad and could easily double-up as a meal paired with crusty bread and some warm soup! Adding roasted peppers and sun dried tomatoes, rather than fresh would certainly take it a notch up. Must try it myself….. Fell free to add your choice of vegetables like asparagus, cucumbers, shredded carrots, olives, sliced fennel, etc.

Artichoke Salad

Marinated Artichoke Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 Can artichokes (400 gms), preferably marinated
  • 1 can chick-peas (400 gms)
  • 1 capsicum (or roasted peppers)
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup lettuce
  • 1 tbsp. honey or maple syrup
  • Salt to taste (if required)

To marinate the artichokes (if using regular canned artichokes)

  • 2 flakes garlic, thinly sliced
  • ½ to 1 tsp. red dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp. dried or 1 tbsp. fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, rosemary)
  • 1 tsp. whole peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup olive oil

Method

  1. Dain and rinse the artichoke hearts
  2. cut each into four and transfer to a jar or dish with a lid. 
  3. Put the sliced garlic over the artichokes,
  4. followed by the chilli flakes,
  5. herbs, whole peppercorns, salt, lemon juice and olive oil. 
  6. Cover and shake gently to mix. 
  7. Artichokes can be eaten or used in the salad right away or leave to marinate couple of hours.  I left it in the refrigerator overnight.
  8. To make the salad – (if using ready marinated artichokes, start from this step)
  9. Take a serving dish and add the chick-peas, drained and rinsed.
  10. Then add the tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, marinated artichokes, honey or maple syrup, salt if required and onion.
  11. Mix well and check seasoning and add some marinade from the artichokes if required. 
  12. Toss well and chill before serving. 
  13. Makes an excellent starter or appetizer or accompaniment with any main meal.

Stuffed Mushrooms Baked


Stuffed Mushrooms Baked

Ingredients

  • 12 to 15 medium mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • ½ cup grated cheddar or mozzarella cheese
  • ½ tsp. pepper powder
  • ½ tsp. salt or to taste
  • 1 tbsp. oil

Rinse the mushroom under running water.  No need to wipe as we will peel them. Remove the stems and set aside.  Peel the mushrooms and place in an oven proof baking dish.  Chop the mushroom stems finely.  Add the grated cheese to a mixing bowl.  Heat oil in a pan and saute the mushrooms stems and chopped onion for 2 to 3 minutes till it softens.  Cool the mixture and add to the cheese.  Add the bread crumbs, pepper powder and salt and mix.  Stuff the mushrooms with this mixture and bake 20 minutes in a moderate oven till tops are golden.  Serve immediately as a starter or appetizer.

Shish Taouk


Shish Taouk Sheesh Tawook Lebanese Style Chicken Kababs

Delicious Middle Eastern Kabobs – Lebanese style. Superb as appetiser, starter or make a meal of it. And what to say of sandwiches, which are at the heart of middle eastern food and lifestyle. Just slather the pita bread with Toum and pile on the shish taouk kabobs and salads and pickles for a satisfying and delicious snack or meal!

Ingedients

  • 1 Kg. Boneless chicken breasts
  • 6 tbsp. yogurt
  • 1 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 small slice of lemon with the peel
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar, if available.  If not use regular vinegar
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. garlic paste
  • 2 tsp. white pepper or black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. ginger garlic paste
  • ½ tsp. oregano, crushed
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder or paprika
  • 2 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste

Method

  1. Cut the chicken into 1” cubes.
  2. Mix all the ingredients from yogurt to tomato paste and mix well into the chicken cubes. 
  3. Marinate for 4 to 6 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. 
  4. Heat the grill. 
  5. Skewer the chicken and grill till light brown. 
  6. Turn over and brown the other side. 
  7. Serve with grilled tomatoes, onion, olives, cucumber, olives, etc.
  8. Serve as a appetizer or accompaniment to any main meal.
  9. Have with pita bread, spread with Toum (Garlic Sauce) and green salads.

Toum


Traditional Homemade Lebanese Garlic Sauce

Toum (Garlic Sauce) usually used as a dip for grilled chicken, meat, etc. So creamy and fluffy and ah the taste… simply lip-smacking, you can just eat and lick it as it is. You would never believe it is homemade! Serve with Shish Taouk, Souvlaki chicken, Crispy fried chicken and any grilled meats or roasted vegetable. Slather on pita bread sandwiches or serve as a regular dip!

Traditional homemade garlic sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup garlic
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup iced water
  • 3 cups oil, like canola, sunflower

Method

  • Peel garlic and remove the germ if desired (makes the taste less sharp) by cutting in half and scooping out the germ in the centre of the garlic.  I skipped this step today due to lack of time.
  • Place the garlic with salt in a blender and process till garlic is smooth, use the lemon juice at intervals to facilitate movement of the garlic. 
  • Add a little water if the lemon juice is not sufficient.  Adding more lemon juice may make it too sour.
  • Once the garlic becomes a smooth paste, start adding the first cup of oil in a continuous drizzle while the blender is running. 
  • Stop the blender to give it a rest.
  • Then continue adding the remaining oil alternating with the iced water till all oil and water are incorporated. 
  • The paste should be light and fluffy by now.  
  • If not add one egg white and run the blender for 2 minutes to achieve the fluffy consistency.
  • Transfer to a sterilized glass jar or a container and refrigerate. 
  • Use for a month, if it lasts that long! 
  • This recipe makes a large quantity of toum.  So it would be better to try with half or quarter of the recipe. 
  • But bear in mind that if the toum doesn’t become thick and fluffy, the garlic mixture should not be wasted, use it in cooking where garlic paste (with tartness) is required.

Quick Breakfast Tortilla Wrap


Quick Breakfast Tortilla Wrap

This easy and quick breakfast is ready in minutes! Enjoy as a snack or for dinner or supper.

For variation, use chapatis or phulkas instead of tortillas.

Quick Breakfast Tortilla Wrap

Ingredients

To make one wrap – per person

  • 1 Tortilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices cheese
  • A handful fresh baby spinach
  • 2 or more slices of cold cuts (beef, pork, chicken ham, smoked turkey, mortadella, etc.)
  • A pinch Salt & pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tsp. butter

Method

  1. Break the eggs into a bowl, season with salt and pepper. 
  2. Heat a pan, add butter and pour the beaten eggs into the pan. 
  3. Immediately place the tortilla over the egg and quickly turn the tortilla over (must use your fingers for this) so it is coated with the egg on both sides.
  4. Now fry for a minute till egg on the underside is light brown. 
  5. Flip the tortilla over and place 2 slices of cheese side by side at the end nearer to you. 
  6. When cheese melts slightly, top with spinach and 2 or more slices of cold cuts, as per your taste. 
  7. Carefully transfer the tortilla to a board and form into a compact roll, beginning from the side with the filling. 
  8. Cut diagonally into two halves and serve immediately. 
  9. Ketchup, mayonnaise or mustard sauce may be added as per taste. 
  10. I prefer it plain.

Imam Bayildi


Extraordinary dishes prepared with ordinary vegetables!!

Imam Bayildi translated The Fainting Imam, the name given to this Eggplant (Brinjal/Aubergine) preparation originates from one of the stories on the origins of this dish. It is said that the Imam passed out when he tasted this simple but flavorful dish, although not certain if it was due to the amount of olive oil or from the delicious taste!

Imam Bayildi (The Fainting Imam)

Blanch, peel and chop tomatoes. Chop parsley/coriander leaves. Remove stems and peel strips of skin lengthwise from the brinjals to get a striped effect. Cut lengthwise stopping short of the edge. Place the brinjals in salted water to avoid turning brown. Cut the onions into wedges. Chop the garlic. 

  • Heat half the olive oil and fry the onion till nearly transparent. Add the garlic and fry for a minute. Add the tomatoes and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper and sprinkle parsley/coriander leaves all over. 
  1. In a frying pan, heat remaining oil over high heat. Drain the eggplants well and fry until lightly brown on all sides but still firm. Cool the eggplants slightly and stuff the onion mixture as much as possible into the eggplants. Place the eggplants over the remaining mixture. Sprinkle the lemon juice, sugar and ½ cup water, cover and place on medium-low heat for 45 minutes.

Imam Bayildi

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 3 long medium-large eggplants
  • 3 large onions
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4 tomatoes
  • Large bunch parsley or coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp. black pepper powder
  • 1 lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup olive oil

Method

  1. Blanch, peel and chop tomatoes. 
  2. Chop parsley/coriander leaves. 
  3. Remove stems and peel strips of skin lengthwise from the brinjals to get a striped effect. 
  4. Cut lengthwise stopping short of the edge. 
  5. Place the brinjals in salted water to avoid turning brown. 
  6. Cut the onions into wedges. 
  7. Chop the garlic. 
  8. Heat half the olive oil and fry the onion till nearly transparent. 
  9. Add the garlic and fry for a minute. 
  10. Add the tomatoes and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. 
  11. Add salt and pepper and sprinkle parsley/coriander leaves all over. 
  12. In a frying pan, heat remaining oil over high heat. 
  13. Drain the eggplants well and fry until lightly brown on all sides but still firm. 
  14. Cool the eggplants slightly and stuff the onion mixture as much as possible into the eggplants. 
  15. Place the eggplants over the remaining mixture. 
  16. Sprinkle the lemon juice, sugar and ½ cup water, cover and place on medium-low heat for 45 minutes.
  17. If necessary add a little water to prevent from drying.
  18. Ideally served with Pita bread, goes well with chapatis or any Indian bread.

Extraordinary dishes prepared with ordinary vegetables. Also check out Aloo Chutneywale and Musallam Phool Gobi.

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