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Grilled eggplant with sesame paste and lemon juice Moutabel is a dip like hummus, but it is a completely different experience. Like hummus, moutabel is regularly found on nearly every Middle Eastern table. In this recipe the eggplants are grilled, however they can also be fried. You may be familiar with a form of this dish known by another name, babaganoush. During the month of Ramadan, moutabel is eaten every day. In the past the eggplants would be pounded and mixed with all other ingredients by hand in a large copper bowl. I can remember my mother assigning me the task of garlic crusher. Ingredients (serves 4-6 people) 2 eggplants 1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste) 3 ounces plain yogurt 1-2 teaspoons of salt or to taste 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 1/2 tablespoons pomegranate paste (optional) For garnish: Paprika Sweet red peppers Parsley Pomegranate seeds Walnuts Preparing Moutabel Grill the eggplants. Stick the eggplants on a couple of skewers and grill over an open flame (I place them on the naked flame of my gas stove). This is the best way to obtain that great smoky flavor (you can put them under the grill if you like). The skin will blacken and wither with the heat, keep turning them until the eggplants¶ skin is soft all over to the touch and a skewer can easily cut through the vegetables. As soon as this happens, take them off the flame and put them in a pot filled with cold water (this will help to cool the eggplants and make it easier to peel them). Peel the eggplants (I found it helps also to peel them under cold running water). Discard the burnt skin and put the pulp in a strainer to preferably leave overnight in the fridge. This will ensure that the excess water is removed. (Instead of grilling, you can deep or shallow fry your eggplants until golden. Then continue on with preparation. Using this method however, you do not get that smoky taste which is so typical of this dish.)
In a bowl mix the paprika. lemon juice. But the popularity of chicken means that we long ago adapted one of our most popular ways of preparing meat to chicken as well. SHISH TAOUK (Chicken Shishkebab) Boneless chicken marinated in garlic. Ingredients (serves 4-6 people) 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinned chicken 1 tablespoon paprika 2 tablespoons lemon juice 5 tablespoons olive oil Garlic sauce (see recipe below) Salt and pepper to taste Preparing Shish Taouk Cut the chicken into medium size cubes. wedges of sweet red pepper. Like hummus. it¶s good to have some texture left). lemon juice and olive oil and grilled on skewers When I was growing up in the 70¶s. but if you like that bitter taste don¶t add any yogurt). delectable chicken. Don¶t forget to cover with plastic wrap. salt and pepper. Serving Moutabel Place the mixture in a dish and smooth it out to cover the dish. Now add the lemon juice and the salt (to taste). parsley leaves. Finish off with a dash of olive oil. Now. It is very simple and the marinating yields the most tender. olive oil. Marinade the chicken cubes in the mixture for 4-5 hours or overnight. If you prefer a sweeter taste I found that adding pomegranate paste works very well. shish taouk is one of the most popular meat dishes at Al-Waha. add the tahini. moutabel will keep for a couple of days in the fridge. . then the yogurt if you wish (yogurt will help take some of the bitterness of the vegetables away. As you add the other ingredients make sure you incorporate them one by one into the mixture. pomegranate seeds and walnuts (walnuts go extremely well with this dish). ³shish´ almost always meant grilled lamb ± you rarely saw chicken.Cut the eggplants into small pieces and then pound to a rough pulp (you don¶t want it too smooth. Garnish with paprika. First. garlic sauce.
Serving Shish Taouk This delicious dish can be served with wedges of pita bread and lemon. Should the mixture separate in the process. When I was growing up in Damascus. Re-assemble the processor put and egg in and beat. Hummus even shows up regularly on Western appetizer lists and buffet tables. charcoal) until the meat begins to brown. Then add the mixture very slowly. simply grill (or better. Alden AL-WAHA'S GARLIC SAUCE Garlic sauce is made like mayonnaise and a lot of fresh garlic is added in the process. Make sure the pieces are firm (you do this by cramming lots of them on the same skewer). Add the oil very.´ because it¶s very filling and fairly nutritious. Add the egg and mix until very smooth. Alden HUMMUS Pureed chickpeas with sesame paste and lemon juice Hummus has its history as a ³food of the poor. You could even provide your own tahini (sesame paste) and .When ready to cook. and is particularly good when served with rice and salad. and yet this chickpea dish has now become a staple eaten throughout the Middle East. remove it from the food processor. ~ M. Then. ~ M. A simpler way of doing this is to use ordinary mayonnaise and add lots of fresh crushed garlic. my father used to go to the shop to have our hummus made to taste. Ingredients 1 head of garlic 1 egg vegetable oil Preparing Garlic Sauce Peel and crush the garlic and place in a food processor. showing up on every table at every meal at every level of society. very slowly (like a trickle) in the mixer until you reach a creamy consistency. thoroughly wash and dry the machine. thread the chicken pieces on a skewer.
they are too soft!) 1 tablespoon of baking soda 6 ounces of tahini (sesame paste) 6 ounces of lemon juice (very cold: add icy water to achieve this) Salt For garnish: Paprika Sweet red peppers Parsley Olive oil Soaking the Chickpeas It is a good idea to sort through your chickpeas before you boil them to remove any disfigured or bad chickpeas. While making it. the volume of chickpeas). . it is still usual to pop out to buy your hummus freshly made in a neighborhood shop. The next day.not as hard as it may sound!! (Once a customer asked me how did we do this in Al-Waha.) Ingredients (Serves 4 to 6 people) 20 ounces (1 ¼ pound) of dried chick peas (also known as garbanzo beans) (Note: Do not use canned chickpeas. Cooking the Chickpeas Fill a pot with plenty of water. Keep stirring a little and removing the skins that surface until you¶ve removed most skins. (To check if your chickpeas are cooked. preferably overnight. rinse the chickpeas well with cold water. In order to allow them to float up you need to gently stir the chickpeas and as the skins surface remove them with a slotted spoon. however.. When the water is boiling turn the heat down and allow to simmer until the chickpeas are cooked. using the same amount as when you soaked them. then bring to the boil. You can cover them with a lid. This will allow all the excess water to drain. you need to skin the chickpeas -. Add the baking soda. velvety texture: this is absolutely essential! In order to achieve this. If it sticks. in the fridge.a little more lemon.. or a bit more salt.and it¶s delicious! Hummus must have a smooth.. they are cooked!) Skinning the Chickpeas Take the pot off the heat and put it under the cold water tap. Now strain the chickpeas and leave them in a colander.. I answered that we had about 20 little children in the kitchen doing just that. The cold water will shock the skins into cracking so that they will easily come off and float to the surface. Soak the dried chickpeas overnight with a lot of water (cover them completely. just make sure that the water keeps boiling. throw one onto the wall. The lady looked at me very perplexed and after some hesitation asked whether that was legal! Now I shall tell you how it¶s really done..lemon juice. but this is not necessary. use twice the amount of water vs. This personalized approach to hummus may be a thing of the past in Damascus. the shopkeeper would let you taste it so that it could be prepared exactly how you wanted it.. 60 to 90 minutes.
Alden FATTOUSH SALAD Mixed salad with herbs. as the freshness awakens the taste buds. toasted Lebanese bread. Finally add salt to taste. place the chickpeas in a food processor until you have a smooth paste. decorate with shapes made out of sweet red pepper. It's a wonderful starter. but still a little firm. so the bread stays crispy and crunchy ± because if you leave it too long. you find that it is too thick. cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it. At this point add the very cold lemon juice (mix icy water and lemon juice to have an extremely cold juice). So.Preparing the Hummus You can pound the chickpeas by hand in a bowl using a pestle. By adding very cold lemon juice you will prevent the mixture in the food processor from heating up so much as to affect its taste. however. Now leave the mixture as it is in the processor for 15-20 minutes. add the tahini (sesame paste) until the mixture become very smooth. Serving the Hummus Put the hummus in a dish and sprinkle some paprika. just add a little more lemon juice. If you have some hummus left over. vinegar and garlic Fattoush is a very simple salad found everywhere in the Middle East. It will still be delicious the next day. this allows it to rest and develop its full consistency. when you return to it. If. the bread goes soggy. Fattoush is best made right before you eat. a food processor makes things much easier. then sprinkle some chopped parsley and finally a dash of olive oil. Ingredients (serves 4 to 6 people) 1 tomato 2 cucumbers 3 scallions Lettuce 1 green pepper 1 red pepper 5 radishes 1 small onion . ~ M.
this gives it a heavier texture. except for the onion. ~ M. which needs to be chopped very finely. I like to dice the bread and then deep fry it in very hot vegetable oil -.1 large pita bread For the dressing: Olive oil Vinegar (balsamic vinegar works well) Salt to taste Preparing Fattoush Cut all the vegetable fairly finely. Stir everything together. or can diced it first and then toast it. At my restaurant. add the dressing and mix. Alden . You can toast the pita bread and then crumble it onto the salad.
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