Tag Archives: Mmmm

Kefta and Arayes

The other night I was in the kitchen making Arayes.  My kiddos kept on coming into the kitchen wondering what I was making and when I told them they were totally surprised that I knew how to make it.  They all asked me why I didn’t make them before (it has been well over 8 years?…Wow a really long time!)  and I told them that I totally forgot about it until I got a request via Facebook for the recipe.

This makes a really nice light lunch and dinner when served with a soup and some hummus and grape leaves.  You must really serve this along with hummus so don’t forget!  On to the recipe…I hope that you like it!

Arayes (A-ra-yes)

Ingredients for Kefta: 

(adapted from Kofta Kebabs http://allrecipes.com/recipe/kofta-kebabs/Detail.aspx)

 ½ kg (1 pound) ground lamb or ground chicken

1 small onion, chopped

2-4 cloves garlic, chopped (up to you how much you like)

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (you can use up to ½ cup)

1 tablespoon ground coriander

½ tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

*-*-*-*-*-*

½ cup of corn oil

12  fresh pieces of small (6 inch diameter) pita bread (the thin kind)

Make sure that the pita bread you use is fresh because if it isn’t it will be quite difficult to separate into halves.

Directions:

Place all of the kefta ingredients in a food processor and mix until smooth.  Set aside.

 Open up each of the pita bread so that it forms two halves.

 Take about ¼ cup (maybe a little less) of the kefta mixture and thinly spread it on one side of a pita half.  Place other half of the pita on top and press down so that it sticks together.  Set aside.

 

Note:  you need to spread the kefta thinly so that it will cook evenly and quickly.  If you spread it on thickly it might be undercooked when the bread has turned a golden brown.

Do this with the remaining kefta mixture and pita bread.

Once you are finished with all the pita bread, you can either lightly pan fry the Arayes or you can grill them.

If you are pan frying, you will need to cook on very low heat.  If you are grilling the Arayes, then you will need to place the grill on the highest level from the coals.  I much prefer grilling them because you will get that nice smoked flavor.

Lightly brush the Arayes on each side with the corn oil and place on either the frying pan or the grill.  When I cooked them this time I didn’t brush the outside of the pita with oil.  I had just added a teaspoon of oil to the pan and pan fried them that way.

 Cook until the bottom side is a nice golden brown color.  Flip it over and cook the other side the same way.

Once done place them either in a hotpot or on a large platter covered with a clean kitchen towel to keep warm.

Serve with Laban Up, hummus, stuffed grape leaves, and a nice soup.

Enjoy!

Serves 5-6

Print the recipe here.

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!

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.

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!