from delicious shots
Posts Tagged ‘middle eastern’
baba ghanoush, baba ganush, baba ghannouj or baba ghannoug, or بابا غنوج
i take this stuff for granted, because i tend to eat it often.
some kids, wrinkling their noses, asked me yesterday, “what are you eating? it looks disgusting.”
it may not look pretty to them, but anyone lucky enough to sample some of this extremely healthy, cheap meal will know that beauty is relative, and real food doesn’t always look like its processed counterparts.
one head of garlic
one hot pepper
stick all these things in an oven and roast at a high temperature (425? 400?) until blackish outside. discard skins. stick everything in a food processor or blender.
add lime or lemon juice and salt to taste, and a fat spoonful or two of tahini and olive oil.
you can add anything to this and it’d be fantastic. sometimes i’ll stick in whatever vegetables are going bad in my fridge (hence the addition of the zucchini to the recipe). often i’ll add a pinch of cumin, cinnamon, paprika, black pepper, and/or sumac. cayenne is a must for me, but the hot pepper and cayenne are, of course, both optional.
wonderful served as a dip, along with hummus, pita (or dosai or any other bread,) and veggies. don’t worry, dieters, celiacs-faces, and other gfs! you can dip anything in this – kebabs, carrots, celery, tomatoes, anything. make “tortillas” out of lettuce, kale, cabbage, or mustard greens and wrap up some beans and baba. you can use it as a sandwich spread – a great lo-cal mayo substitute with way more flavor.
a great baba trick? buy a week’s worth of veggies, roast them all in one day, tupperware ‘em, and your mid-week baba fix will be ready in less than five minutes.
i recently picked up a bottle of pomegranate molasses at a middle eastern shop. for $2, how could you go wrong? i think i’ll try it for the first time tonight, either in an eggplant-lentil stew or this, a fantastic-looking recipe from here.
FRIED CAULIFLOWER WITH TAHINI AND POMEGRANATE MOLASSES
500ml sunflower oil
2 medium cauliflower heads, split into small florets, weighing 1kg in all
8 spring onions, each cut into three long segments
180g tahini paste
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
15g chopped parsley
15g chopped mint, plus more to finish
150g Greek yoghurt
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp pomegranate molasses, plus more to finish
sea salt and black pepper
Roughly 180ml water
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Lay in a few cauliflower florets at a time and cook for two to three minutes, turning so they colour evenly. Once golden-brown, transfer to a colander with a slotted spoon, sprinkle with a little salt and leave to drain. Repeat with the rest of the cauliflower. Next, fry the spring onions, also in batches, for a minute. Add to the cauliflower and leave to cool down.
Pour the tahini paste into a large mixing bowl and add the garlic, herbs, yoghurt, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses and seasoning. Stir with a wooden spoon as you add the water. The tahini sauce will first thicken and then loosen up as you add water. Don’t add too much, just enough to get a thick yet smooth pourable consistency, a bit like honey.
Stir the cauliflower and onion into the tahini bowl, taste and adjust the seasoning. You may also want to add more lemon juice.
To serve, spoon into a serving bowl and finish with a few drops of pomegranate molasses and some mint.
I didn’t really follow the proportions. Also, the recipe called for way more sauce than my cauliflower needed. I tried to stick somewhat closely, though. Because the cauliflower are fried, it’s much more filling than it sounds, and part of a batch did me well for lunch. The pomegranate molasses doesn’t stand out strongly; the sauce mostly tastes of tahini and lemon. Cauliflower isn’t my favorite, but this camouflaged the cauliflower flavor well enough that I ate until I was full! I hoped that frying the cauliflower in oil would make it less cauliflowery, but it didn’t.
Not my favorite dish, but the yogurt sauce was good. I suspect I will find myself making that yogurt sauce again – but without the cauliflower.
the first time i tasted labneh, i hated it. so salty! such a weird texture! so… yogurty!
now i crave it.
make yogurt (or buy it, whatever.)
pour it into a bowl with salt. squeeze a lemon into it and add a little zest.
flavor it. fresh herbs (mint? parsley?), garlic, sprouts, olive oil, whatever. stir it up. let it sit a few minutes.
line a colander with cheesecloth or muslin and set it in a big bowl.
pour the mixture in, let it drip for ten minutes (or however long, doesn’t matter,) then gather the edges and let it hang and drip whey into the bowl.
(i read recently that sometimes people line a colander with paper towels instead of cheesecloth and let it sit in there instead of hanging it. i’ve never tried it. i like cheesecloth because it’s reusable.)
drain for any amount of time you want. an hour should be sufficient for wet, spreadable labneh, perfect as a cream cheese substitute. two days should work for storage – roll the labneh into small balls, and store in olive oil with a sprig of thyme, a few cloves of garlic, or whatever you like.
i remember my mind being blown at the variety of condiments and cold salads at even the most broke-down falafel carts. in the middle east, they’ll put ANYTHING on a falafel – almost all of it laced with parsley and raw onions. this is my tried-and-true falafel recipe.
1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.
2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough bulgur or flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.
4. Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts.
5. Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.