Herbed Lentil and Bulghur Salad

I found this recipe the other day via SparkPeople.com.  I am trying to get my family and I to eat more healthier foods so now I am on the look out for recipes that I know everyone in the family will eat.

I made this two days ago and it was so good.  It is like a tabbouli salad but with more fresh herbs, and the addition of brown lentils, a little more veggies, and some walnuts.  My husband and I really liked the salad…the kiddos…well three out of four ate it and liked it.  I will definitely make it again.

Here’s the recipe:

Herbed Lentil and Bulghur Salad (makes 4 to 8 servings)

Ingredients:

1 cup of brown lentils

2 cups of water (for cooking the lentils)

1 cup of bulghur

2 cups of boiling water (for soaking the bulghur)

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, finely minced

3 tablespoons of fresh mint, chopped

3 tablespoons of fresh dill, chopped

3 -4 green onions, chopped

1 small red bell pepper, chopped

1 small green bell pepper, chopped

1 stalk of celery, chopped

1/4 cup roasted walnuts, roughly chopped (or if you prefer roasted pine nuts or roasted slivers of almonds)

1/4 cup sliced kalamata olives or sliced pimento olives

1/4 cup of lite feta cheese , used to top the salad with

chopped tomatoes for topping

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Wash and rinse the brown lentils.  Add to a pot  with the 2 cups of water.  Partially cover and cook for 20 minutes.  Drain and place into a large bowl.

While the lentils are cooking, soak the bulghur wheat in a bowl with the 2 cups of boiling water.  When the lentils are done cooking drain and remove as much of the water from the bulghur and then add to the lentils.

In a small frying pan, heat the olive oil and add the minced garlic.  Cook for just a couple of seconds and then add to the lentils and bulghur.

Add the remaining ingredients, except for the feta cheese and tomato, and then add salt and pepper to taste.  I really don’t think it needs additional salt because of the olives.  The tomatoes and feta will be used to top the salad when you serve it.  Just put about a tablespoon of the feta cheese on top of the salad and as much as the chopped tomatoes as you want.

Yummm, this is just soooo good!  I am going to make some more for lunch today!  Oh, and I want to add that this would go really well with some grilled chicken breast.

Enjoy!

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How to Cook Camel Meat…

Hello all,

I have only had camel meat three times in my life, twice was at a bedouin family’s wedding in Al Ain and the other was at a party at my sister-in-law’s house.  To me it tastes just like lamb…but it isn’t fatty like lamb meat.  The way that the camel meat was cooked when we had it at the wedding was quite delicious and hard to forget the succulent taste and the tenderness of the meat.

The best camel meat to use for cooking is from the younger camel because the older the more tougher.

Well, to tell you the truth I have not cooked camel meat at my home but for the purpose of this post I will use lamb meat which is the same method used for cooking camel meat.  The way that I am cooking this meat is the same way the meat (lamb, chicken, camel) is prepared when making it for special occasions (wedding parties and Eid).

This is just a basic recipe.  You can adjust the seasonings and add others to your liking later on.  Okay, on to the recipe…

Fried lamb layered over Lentil Hashwa and Yellow Rice

Ingredients:

2 kg, or more, of camel meat best if it is a whole piece like a roast or cut into big chunks like in the picture above

1 tablespoon tumeric powder

2 dried black lemons (loomi)

1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns

8 pods of green cardamon, crushed

1 teaspoon of whole cloves

1 large piece of cinnamon bark

3 bay leaves

1/4 cup of salt (to be added towards the end for flavoring)

oil for frying

Directions:

In a large pot, add about 2 tablespoons of corn oil.  Heat it up and lightly brown the meat to seal in the juices.

After the meat has that nice golden color add the tumeric, dried lemons, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, cardamon, and bay leaves.  Add enough water to cover the meat.  Bring it to a rolling boil, lower the fire/heat so that it simmers, and cover the pot.

Cook it this way for about 1 hour and then add the salt.  Keep simmering until the meat becomes tender.  Take the meat out of the pot and set in a colander to drain.  At this point, you can save the stock to prepare some rice.

You will now need to lightly fry the meat.  So add enough oil to a wok or deep-sided frying pan, heat it up and carefully add the meat.  Be careful because it is going to splutter.  You just want to lightly fry the meat until it gets a nice golden color.  Remove it from the oil and let it drain on a plate lined with paper towels.

That’s it!  This is then layered over rice such as Yellow Rice and Lentil Hashwa (recipe for the Hashwa is upcoming!).

Kabsa Rice

My husband has been craving Kabsah all this month.  I have made it at least 4 times this month!

This rice dish is so easy to make and is so flavorful.  I am giving you a basic recipe (which can be easily doubled or tripled!) but it can easily be jazzed up with the addition of 1 cup of frozen green peas.  I like to serve this rice with lamb (recipe will follow…I promise).

Kabsah Rice

Ingredients:

1 cup of uncooked basmati rice (rinsing and soaking just like in this post)

1 tablespoon of corn oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

4 cloves

2 small pieces of cinnamon bark

1 teaspoon black pepper powder

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon caradamon powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 1/2 cups of water or stock

Directions:

In a medium-sized pot, heat the corn oil and add the onion, cloves, and cinnamon bark.  Saute until the onion becomes golden.

Add the garlic, all the spices, and tomato paste.  Mix well and then add the water/stock.  Let boil a couple of minutes.

Drain the uncooked rice and add it to the stock.  Gently stir.  (Note:  at this point you can add that 1 cup of frozen green peas if you wish to jazz up your rice a little bit).

Let the rice boil until there is hardly any liquid left that you can see from the top of the pot.

Cover and turn the fire/heat to very, very low.  And cook for 15 minutes.

Remove the cover and let the steam dissipate and then re-cover the pot.

Rice is ready after 15 minutes.

The rice is now ready to serve!  I suggest that you turn your pot upside down onto a big platter.  My reasoning is that if you should scoop the rice directly out from the pot you will break the grains of rice and it will look mushy.  So this is what I do…

Turn pot upside down onto a platter.

Turn pot of rice over onto a platter and  separate it out with a fork or gently fluff it out with a serving spoon…Look!  No mushy rice!

Not a clear pictures…but you get the idea!

Enjoy!

My Coming Back Post

Hello Everybody,

It sure has been quite a while since my last post…so many things just happened within this past year and half (gosh! that sure is a long time).  I have to be honest and tell all of y’all that I just didn’t have it in me to write anything up.

My father passed away just right after my last post and that sure did depress me for quite a while.  I was in a definite funk.  I just didn’t have the heart to be blogging about anything.

I was still cooking (of course) and taking pictures…I have a whole slew of them…I saved them all and now just have to write ’em up…

…Anyway, my Daddy kept popping up in my head and telling me (plus I always thinking anyways) he didn’t like quitters and that was basically what I was doing here…right?  Well, I am no quitter…just a procrastinator (I am thinking).

So looooong story short.  I am gonna start posting again, especially now since Ramadan is just around the corner.

Thank you to all who are subscribed to my blog and who have encouraged me to come back and start posting!

Get Ready!

Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

It was a bit chilly and breezy early this morning and the weather outside was just so beautiful with a brilliant blue, cloudless sky.  It was a perfect day so I was immediately in the mood for some homemade bread.  

Some people are intimidated by the thought of making bread.  It is not hard whatsoever!  I find it so very peaceful and relaxing and the end results are homemade goodness created lovingly by you…just imagine your home filled with the aroma of freshly baked bread and the compliments you will received for all your “hard” work!

When I first saw the delicious-looking pictures for these dinner rolls I knew I just had to make them.  I have been wanting to make these for quite a while now and have just got around to baking them today.  The original recipe for this is from the “For the Love of Cooking” blog.  But Pam’s recipe for whole wheat dinner rolls was meant for a bread machine and since I don’t have one I had to experiment.

The results?  A perfectly (good for you) luscious, soft, melt-in-your mouth bread that you will want to make every day.  It’s so easy!

For starters you will need:

1/2 cup of warm water

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon yeast

In a medium sized bowl, add these three ingredients and mix.  Store in a nice warm place while it grows to double (or triple) its size.  This will take about 15-20 minutes.

While you are waiting for the yeast to activate, gather these ingredients:

1/2 cup warm milk

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 egg warmed to room temperature

Mix these three ingredients in a large bowl.

In another bowl you will need the following ingredients:

2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cup whole meal flour (or whole wheat)

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Mix these three ingredients together.

By now, the yeast will have doubled in size.  Add the yeast mixture to the bowl with the milk, egg, and butter.  Stir well.

Now add the flour mix to the bowl with the wet ingredients.  Mix well to form a dough ball.  If the dough ball is a little dry , you might need to add some more milk at this point.  Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you get a nice workable dough ball.

On your counter top or table top, spread a little flour so that you can knead the dough.  This is the fun part.  Hopefully you have a window where you will be kneading the dough so you can sing and watch what’s going on outside. 

Knead the dough for at least 15 minutes.  If you don’t know it, you are incorporating air into the dough helping it to expand and rise…and yeast just loves to be massaged 

Now you will have to add your dough ball (which will be nice and smooth from all that massaging kneading) to a big bowl.  Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the bowl and smooth it all over.  Add the dough ball and just turn it once to oil the other side.  Cover with cling fling and a clean dish towel and set it out in a nice warm place.  I set mine outside.  Leave it to rise until it has doubled in bulk (about 1 1/2 hours).

Punch the dough down.  Butter a 9×13 inch glass baking dish (don’t use oil…the dough will just suck it up).  Divide the dough into 15 smaller pieces and place into the baking dish.  Brush each roll with melted butter.

Cover and let rise about an hour until it has doubled in size.

Bake in a 375F oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  You can brush each finished roll again with melted butter  and serve hot.  Enjoy!

If you should find you have any leftovers, these keep well in the fridge and can be heated up in the microwave for a few seconds.  They will still be as delicious!

Vegetable Rice Pilaf

This is a delicious and fairly simple rice dish that is seasoned with a medley of Indian spices…mixed and cooked in a broth flavored with coconut milk.

I have made this with the Chicken Makhtoum recipe from yesterday and the flavors from both dishes blend together beautifully.  Of course, it will also go well with a nice, thick gravy-like  lamb stew or with baked chicken.

For this recipe you will need:

4 tablespoons corn oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, diced into small pieces

2 fresh green chilies, chopped (I choose to de-seed the chilies to lessen the heat)

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3 cups of hot water

1/4 cup of coconut powder

2 Maggi chicken stock cubes

1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 cloves, whole

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

2 cups of basmati rice

In a large bowl, add coconut powder and slowly add a bit of the hot water and mix into a smooth paste.  Add the remaining hot water and mix well.  Add the Maggi stock cubes and the spices except for the cloves and mustard seeds.

Stir together and let sit for about 2 minutes until the stock cubes melt.  Stir again.

In a medium pot, heat the 4 tablespoons of corn oil.  When hot add the onions and carrots and sautee until the onion has softened.

Add the cloves, mustard seeds, green chilies, and garlic.

Stir well and then add the coconut milk mixture.

Bring to a boil.  Once it starts boiling, add the basmati rice.  Stir gently a couple of times.  Bring back to a boil.  Cover and reduce the flame to very low.  Cook for 17 minutes.

When done, gently fluff the rice with a fork and serve hot.  Enjoy!

 

 

Chicken Makhtoum

My friend Noor over at Ya Salaam Cooking has a wonderful collection of tasty recipes available, MashaAllah.

A few weeks ago I tried her recipe for Chicken Makhtoum and let me tell you it is delicious!  I have cooked it at least twice already and my DH just loves the taste of it and this is what I am making for lunch today.

I double this recipe (it doubles very easily) whenever I make it because of my big family, MashaAllah.  I have made a few tweaks here in my version…I sauteed the tomatoes and added frozen garden peas for a little bit of color and also decreased the amount of tomato paste because my DH is not too keen about tomato paste.

I served this delicious chicken dish with Indian Vegetable Rice (recipe to follow in the next post).

Chicken Makhtoum (adapted from Ya Salaam Cooking)

2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped

1 tablespoon corn oil

1/2 cup onion, diced

1 cup of yogurt

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon Arabic spice mix

2 tablespoons corn oil

700 gram  whole chicken, cut up into 4 pieces

1 cup of frozen garden peas

In a medium frying pan, saute the chopped tomatoes in 1 tablespoon of corn oil until mushy.

In a blender, add the sauteed tomatoes, onions, yogurt, salt, Arabian spice mix, and tomato paste and blend until smooth.

In a large pot, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of corn oil and once it is hot add the chicken pieces and fry until golden brown.

Add the yogurt mix.  Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes and reduce the heat to low.

Add the frozen garden peas, gently stir in and then cover and let cook for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink.

Serve with basmati rice or nice and hot parathas.  Enjoy!

And Noor is right, this recipe would be really delicious if you substituted lamb or shrimp for the chicken.

Grilled Hamra with Hashwa

Today’s “Fish of the Day” is Hamra.  In English this fish is also known as Red Snapper.

I will show you in today’s recipe how to prepare Hamra with an easy to make hashwa (stuffing).  Hashwa literally means “stuffing”.  This stuffing recipe is very easy to make and brings a wonderful aroma and flavour to fish.

Grilled Hamra with Hashwa or Grilled Red Snapper with Cilentro and Onion Stuffing

Ingredients:

Hamra (Red Snapper) 1 kg or larger (the fish only needs to be gutted.  Do not scale or trim the fins!)

1 large onion, chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 medium-sized green bell pepper, chopped (optional)

1 bunch of cilentro (kuzbara) chopped

1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1 heaped teaspoon tumeric

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon cumin powder (or Arabian Spice mix)

Since you will be grilling the Hamra the only thing you will need to do to the fish is have it gutted.  Gut the fish from the belly so that you will have a pocket to stuff the hashwa in.

Do not scale it or trim the fins. The reason for this is that you will be placing the whole fish directly onto the grill and having the scales still on the fish will prevent it from sticking to the grill.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix all of the ingredients (from chopped onion to cumin powder).  Note:  that this hashwa can easily be doubled or tripled according to how many fish you will be grilling.

cilentro, onion, garlic, green bell pepper

salt, black pepper, tumeric, ground ginger, cumin powder

Prepared hashwa

Now all you have to do is stuff each hamra with the hashwa as seen in the picture below.

stuffed Hamra waiting to be sewn up

Now you will need a large-eye needle and some cooking twine (I didn’t have any twine so I just used cotton yarn) for sewing up the belly of the fish.

All the Hamra sewn up

A close-up of my needlework!

Sewn up Hamra up close.

Now all you have to do is prepare your grill.  Grilling time will be approximately 1 hour.  Every 30 minutes turn the fish over so it will not char.  Do not turn the fish over before 30 minutes because it will break up over the grill and you don’t want that!

Hamra on the grill with some shrimp.

When the Hamra is finished serve on a platter.  When you get ready to eat it just peel away the skin.  Serve with the hashwa with a squeeze of lemon if you wish.

When I prepare grilled fish with hashwa I serve it with white rice, daqoos is optional, lemon wedges, and fresh greens.

If you so happen to plan a picnic on the beach in the evening all you need is a roaring fire, some lemons and bread from an Iranian bakery (khobuz Irani).

Enjoy!

Red Snapper on FoodistaRed Snapper

Fish of the UAE – Sall

Today’s Fish of the Day is Sall which is part of the Carangidae family of fish.  I think that the English name for this fish is Brownback Trevally (someone let me know if I am wrong.)

MashaAllah my husband brought home this fish and it is huge!  It weighs about 3kg!  I could barely get it to fit in the camera’s frame! 

Sall is part of the Jesh family of fish.  Like the Garfa from yesterday it has small, smooth scales and is easy to clean.  The body of the fish is tall from top to bottom and is silver with a hue of yellow along the head, upper fin, and tail.  If you notice at the tail area, there is a raised ridge of hard scales that run from the tail to the middle of the fish…this is characteristic of fish in the Jesh family.

Since this is a huge fish, it will be scaled and trim of the fins.  Then it will be cut from the top of the fish all the way to the belly and gutted so that it will make a “pocket”.  I will make a hashwa (stuffing) of herbs and spices  and place it into the “pocket”.

The recipe and how I will cook this fish follows in my next post, InshaAllah (Allah willing).

Be sure to come back tomorrow on more Fish of the UAE, InshaAllah.

Spicy Apple Muffins

The weather here in the UAE right now is wonderful.  The air in the mornings are cool and crisp.  I was awake at 4am and wanted to take advantage of this quiet time to make a special treat for my children.

I decided to make some muffins because what better way to wake up to a home filled with the sweet aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg.   (and I love the scent of nutmeg…especially when it is freshly grated!)

Spicy Apple Muffins

2 cups of sifted flour

2.5 teaspoons of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup of sugar

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 egg

1 cup of milk

1/3 cup melted butter

1 large apple (peeled, cored, and shredded)

Preheat your oven to 425F.  Brush muffin tin with some butter.  Add the sifted flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a mixing bowl.  Mix well.

In a small bowl, mix the egg, milk, and butter.  Add this to the dry ingredients and mix just enough until the dry ingredients are moistened.

Fill the muffin cups about 3/4 full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.

This makes 12 moist, delicious muffins!