Monday, September 18, 2017

Stew of Pinto Beans and Cracked Wheat in Caramelized Onions – Mujaddara bi Fasoulia Recipe

Mujaddara bi Fasoulia

You’re about to experience one of the hardest-core of recipes in the traditional Lebanese Cuisine: Mujaddara bi Fasoulia

A Traditional Lebanese Stew Made With Pinto Beans, Cracked Wheat (Bulgur), and Caramelized Onions.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)
Cooking time: 1 hour(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4

Mujaddara Ingredients (4 servings)

2.5 cups Pinto beans
2 medium onions, finely minced
1 cup Burghul (cracked wheat)
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/3 cup of frying oil (coconut oil, canola…)
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Preparation Method

  1. Soak the pinto beans in water overnight.
  2. On the day of, boil the beans in a deep cooking pot for 5-10 minutes, discard their water, replenish with 4 cups of fresh warm water (water has to be warm so beans don’t shrink) and bring to a boil again on a gentle heat.
  3. Meanwhile, in a deep fryin pan, fry the minced onions in 1/3 cup of frying oil for about 15-20 minutes or until they are caramelized and crunchy. Once they reach that stage, discard the cooking oil and carefully pour 2 cups of water from the boiling pinto beans into the frying pan and let the onions boil in water for about 10-15 minutes until the water turns deeply caramelized in color.
  4. Pour the onions and their boiling water in the pot where the beans are boiling, and let them all boil for 15-20 more minutes on medium heat.
  5. Add the 1/4 cup of olive oil.
  6. Add the burghul (without washing it, but be careful for any debris) to the cooking pot, with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and let it all boil for another 10-15 more minutes. The end result should be a stew with little water.
  7. Serve hot or cold, with a side of plain Greek yogurt and veggies (green/raw onions, red radish…etc) and pita bread (optional).
Source: Mama’s Lebanese Kitchen.

Hearty Lebanese Whole Grains Stew – Makhlouta Recipe


Some traditional Lebanese stews tend to have the simplest of ingredients yet the loveliest of flavors, as well as loads of vitamins and fibers. “Makhlouta” falls within this category. A literal English translation of the Arabic word Makhlouta is  “mixed”, probably referring to the mix of 5 or 6 types of whole grains that go in it.



Long ago, before the invasion of Monsanto and its genetically adulterated grains into our food chain, Lebanese farmers used to  pick locally grown organic beans and grains to make Makhlouta.

The version we’re familiar with is made with the following grains: whole wheat, lentils, rice, pinto beans, chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and Burghol (cracked wheat). If for some reason you can’t find whole wheat in mainstream supermarkets, you could substitute with barley.

The base flavoring for this stew, just like in many other Lebanese stews, comes from fried onions. The more onions, the better.

Note: In the original recipe, the onions are fried in Olive oil, and then dumped with their oil into the cooking pot. However we adopted a slightly healthier way of doing it. We first fry the onions in Coconut oil (or an oil that has high heat tolerance), then strain them as much as possible before adding them to the pot.  We’ve been trying to steer away from using Canola and other “vegetable” oils for frying at home and instead substituting with Coconut oil due to its health benefits, and most importantly high tolerance for heat. Canola and many other oils that have low heat tolerance will oxydize during frying and turn bad for health.

Makhlouta is a traditional Lebanese stew made from at least 5 types of whole grains.

Makhlouta Ingredients (5 servings)

1/2 cup of Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1/2 cup of Pinto beans
1/2 cup of wheat grains *
1/4 cup of lentils
1/4 cup of rice
1/4 cup of Burghul (cracked wheat)
1 large potato head cut in small pieces
2 large onions finely minced
3 table spoons of Coconut Oil (or other oils) for frying **
2 table spoons of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Preparation Method
  1. Soak the wheat, pinto beans and garbanzo beans in separate water containers overnight. Make sure to have a lot of water in the containers since the grains may triple or even quadruple in size. The following day right before cooking, empty the water and rinse the beans a bit.
  2. When ready to cook, first add the wheat to a cooking pot with 12 cups of water, and let it boil for 20 minutes on low heat
  3. Then add the garbanzo beans and let the pot boil for another 20 minutes on low heat.
  4. Then add the pinto beans and let the pot boil for another 20 minutes. The reason we add the beans sequentially is because wheat takes the longest time to cook, followed by garbanzo beans and followed by pinto beans. But time may vary and may need to be increased if the beans are older. The beans/grains are cooked when the loose their crunchiness and turn soft that you can smash them with your fingers.
  5. While the beans are boiling, mince the onions and fry them in 3-4 table spoons of coconut oil** (or other vegetable oils) for about 20-30 minutes or until they turn medium brown (don’t burn them) while stirring every now and then.
  6. Peel then chop the potato head into small cubes of about 1/2 inch.
  7. Rinse the rice and lentils then strain them.
  8. After the pinto beans have boiled for 20 minutes, add the rice, lentils, onions, chopped potatoes, olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, mix well, and let simmer for 30 minutes while stirring occasionally.
Serving and Tips
  • Serve hot
  • A well done stew should have its beans and grains soft, and having lost their crunchiness.
  • Cooking time may not always be fully relevant because if the grains are old, they will take longer to cook and you may need to add another 30-45 minutes to simmering.
  • If you use a pressure cooker, you will need less cooking time
  • If the water level in the stew goes down a lot (absorbed by grains) feel free to add 2-3 more cups while boiling.
  • You can store the leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days, and when reheating add a bit of water as needed.
  • * Wheat grains: we had difficulty finding it in mainstream supermarkets, we ended up buying it from an Arab-owned Middle Eastern grocery store
  • ** Coconut Oil: For frying, try to use coconut oil or other oils (sesame …etc) that have high tolerance for heat.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 90-120 minutes
Diet type: Vegetarian
Number of servings (yield): 5
Culinary tradition: Middle Eastern

Source: Mama’s Lebanese Kitchen.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Traditional Falafel Recipe

Traditional Falafel

Learn how to make falafel, a delicious Middle Eastern recipe for crispy, fried chickpeas balls are one of the best vegan foods

Preparation time 40 m
Cooking time 40 m
Recipe category Brunch
Recipe yield 4
Recipe cuisine Middle Eastern

INGREDIENTS

Chickpea 500 g dried, soaked in water for 24 hours
Garlic 1 clove
Onion ¼
Coriander 2,5 g, ground
Cumin 2,5 g, ground
Parsley 1 g, chopped
Salt 5 gr
Lemon juice 5 ml
Black pepper 2,5 g
Oil As needed, for frying

PREPARATION

Once the chickpeas have finished soaking, mash them in a bowl together with the spices until they are well-mixed, but not a purée.

If necessary, add a bit of water and adjust the salt, pepper and lemon according to taste.

Shape into balls, about the size and shape of a slightly flattened walnut, then let them rest in the refrigerator for a half hour.

Fry them in boiling oil for about five minutes, turning them, until they form a golden crust.

Serve with tahini (sesame sauce), hummus, or yogurt.

Broad bean, feta and toasted sesame hummus recipe

 Broad bean, feta and toasted sesame hummus

INGREDIENTS

31/4 cups (500g) frozen broad beans, blanched, refreshed, peeled
2 tbs tahini
400g can cannellini beans
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Juice of 11/2 lemons
200g feta
2 tbs sesame seeds, toasted
FlFlowering garlic shoots (from Asian grocers) and grissini, to serve

METHOD

1. Place broad beans, tahini, cannellini beans, garlic and lemon juice in a food processor and whiz until smooth. Add feta and whiz until smooth and combined. Season.
2. Spread hummus onto a serving plate and scatter with sesame seeds and garlic shoots. Serve with grissini to dip in.

Baked chickpea and lemon falafel with tahini dressing recipe

Baked chickpea and lemon falafel with tahini dressing

Take your taste-buds on a journey with these authentic baked chickpea and lemon falafel balls.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 x 400g cans chickpeas, rinsed, drained
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbs olive oil, plus extra to brush
1/3 cup (90g) tahini
1 tablespoon honey
120g rocket or baby spinach leaves
500g punnet mixed heirloom tomatoes, halved

METHOD

1. To make falafel, whiz cumin, coriander, garlic, flour, bicarbonate of soda, lemon zest, chickpeas, parsley and half the onion in a food processor to a coarse paste.

2. Using 2 tablespoonfuls mixture for each falafel, form into 12 walnut-sized balls.

3. Cover and chill for 30 minutes to firm up.

4. Preheat the oven to 200C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

5. Place falafel on the baking tray. Press the tops to flatten slightly, then brush with extra oil. Bake, turning halfway through, for 25 minutes or until golden.

6. Remove and set aside to cool slightly.

7. Meanwhile, to make the tahini dressing, whisk oil, tahini, honey, lemon juice and 2 tbs water together in a bowl. Season and set aside until ready to serve.

8. Combine rocket, tomato and remaining onion on a platter. Top with cooled falafel and serve with the tahini dressing.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Meatballs with couscous recipe

Meatballs with couscous

0:15 Prep | 0:20 Cook | 4 Servings | Capable cooks 

Super Food Ideas

Ingredients

500g lean lamb mince
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 large apple, grated
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
olive oil cooking spray
1 1/2 cups Massel chicken style liquid stock
1 1/2 cups couscous
1 lemon, rind finely grated
60g marinated red capsicum, chopped
2/3 cup low-fat yoghurt, to serve

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

Combine mince, egg, breadcrumbs, apple, oregano, half the parsley, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix well.

Shape tablespoonfuls of mince mixture into balls. Arrange in a single layer on baking trays. Spray with oil. Bake for 20 minutes, swapping trays halfway through, or until meatballs are just cooked through.

Meanwhile, bring stock to the boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat. Stir in couscous. Cover. Set aside for 5 minutes or until stock has been absorbed. Use a fork to separate grains. Stir through rind and remaining parsley. Serve meatballs with couscous, capsicum and yoghurt.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

How To Make Zaatar Spice Mix

Zaatar – a popular and flavorful spice blend from the Middle East

Zaatar (or Za’atar) is a blend of different herbs commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine. Adding a small amount of Zaatar adds a unique dimension to dishes, and can turn a very simple dish to an interesting one. It is believed that Zaatar helps improve immunity and enhances mental function, making it a popular choice in households with children. Many parents make sure that kids consume zaatar before leaving for exams in the morning, to help them remain extra alert during the examination. It is also known for it’s anti-oxidant properties.

Zaatar is made with sumac, dried thyme, marjoram, roasted sesame seeds, oregano and salt. The ratio may differ from country to country, and household to household, depending on availability of quality ingredients, taste preferences, and prices. Popular zaatar blends available in the UAE are Palestinian and Syrian. You may be find blends from other countries too – and the only way to really find out what works for you is to buy a little bit of each and try them out. And remember it the next time you go shopping!

The main ingredient in zaatar is sumac which gives a tartness in the blend. Some varieties also have cumin, coriander, and fennel. In India – sumac is available in bigger metropolitan cities, and can also be ordered via Amazon. There is no good substitute for sumac but if you don’t have it then you may try using dried lemon zest.

If you are making your own spice mix then try to choose the freshest ingredients and then mix it in small quantities as fresh zaatar tastes significantly better. As a rule – do not buy this spice blend in bulk packaging. If you are making the blend at home – remember that the blend is coarse in texture and the sesame seeds are just pounded and added afterwards. Do not grind it in a fine powder.

Zaatar Spice Mix

Prep Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

1/4 cup Sumac
2 tbsp Thyme
1.5 tbsp sesame seeds /til
2 tbsp marjoram
2 tbsp Oregano
1 tsp Salt / Namak

Servings: 4

Instructions

  1. Slightly roast the sesame seeds.
  2. Mix everything and coarsely crush in the mixer or just pound in a mortar and pestle. Using a mortar and pestle is preferred.
  3. Store in a glass jar and close it tightly and keep it in a cool place.

Source: Maayeka

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