Falafel and jalapeno hummus

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In the Middle East we love falafel and hummus! I mean- what is not to love?! There are so many recipe out there, that one can get easily confused what exactly is an authentic falafel. But instead of arguing what is authentic and what isn`t you can just enjoy this recipe! To me this is as closer as you can get to the restaurant falafel in Dubai. To make it even more exciting I made this jalapeno hummus that is too good to be true.

I made two versions of the falafel- one baked for my toddler and another one fried for us. Without a doubt the fried is much better and crispier.

NOTE: Before I go to the recipe I want to point few things that I crucial  for the success of the falafals. First and foremost do not attempt of making this with canned chickpeas. It just won`t work and chances are you will get flat and mushy pancakes instead. Trust me I tried it before and that`s what I got. Instead of the canned use dry chickpeas instead. And here is the moment that put me off, because the dry one need to soak in water overnight. Thanks to a quick internet research I found an easy way to skip that and cut your time to only 1 hour. How I made it. check the notes below:

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups soaked chickpeas ( do not try this recipe with canned one)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh coriander, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • salt and pepper to taste

PREPARATION: 

  1. Soak your chickpeas in water overnight. If you are inpatient like me then just put the chickpeas into a a pot or dutch oven, cover with 4 cm water and boil for 5 minutes. Keep it covered for another 50-60 minutes. It is now ready to use!
  2. In a food processor, combine the soaked and drained chickpeas, onion, parsley, coriander, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Process until smooth.
  3. Using your hands, scoop out about 2 tablespoons of the mixture at a time. Shape the falafel into small patties.
  4. Place each falafel in hot oil and fry until golden.

 

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For the hummus I have to admit my blender let me down a bit and I just couldn`t reach the extra smoothness of hummus as we know it. However the taste was just perfect even with the little chunks in it 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups soaked chickpeas or canned if you want (then use about 2 cans)
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 2 jalapenos stems removed
  • 2 lemons juiced
  • 2-4  tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic cloves
  • 6 tbsp tahini
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup water to blend easily (this is optional and may vary!)
PREPARATION:
  1. In a food processor , blend all of the coriander, jalapeno, garlic, olive oil, tahini and lemon juice to a puree. Add the  salt and the chickpeas   and continue to blend until this is a smooth paste .
  2. If it gets too thick add water to thin. Season to taste.

Quiche with Emmental and fresh zaatar

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Zaatar is well known Arabic herb. It is sort of thyme, very fragrant and versatile. It is widely used in Bulgaria as well, there it is called “chubrica” and we use it dried as a condiment to almost everything we cook.

I saw this recipe from my Instagram friend Petites Choses . I have to tell you I started looking for fresh zaatar in every shop I go. Well I finally found it and the result is delicious.

Ingredients:

1 pack ready rolled puff pastry
4 eggs
200 ml single cream
100-150 gr Emmental, grated
250 gr white cheese feta type. I used Bulgarian cows milk mature cheese
1 small bunch fresh thyme (zaatar)
salt and pepper

Preparation:

Preheat the oven at 180 C.
Beat the eggs until they become fluffy. Add the cream. Crumble the white cheese  with a fork and add it to the mix. Add the thyme and Emmental. Season with salt and pepper. Mix everything.
Line a pie plate with the dough, let the extra pieces over hang the plate.
Place the mixture on the dough, fold any excess dough onto the center of the plate on top of the egg mixture.
Bake it in the oven for 30 minutes or until the top becomes golden/ brown

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Arabic chicken shawarma

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I was so driven to present you this recipe today that I had to make everything perfect. Cooking and taking photos for the blog makes me look ridiculous sometimes. Since the duration of the day in Dubai is now longer and I can actually take some really good photos with the natural light  I am trying to get the most of it. Things can go out of control though!

We now eat dinner very early – since I cook early and we want to eat the food hot and steamy. I also do grocery hunting -trust me it is- in order to get this specific things I want for my recipes. I probably know every item in the supermarkets in 20 km radius from home. Even the heavy traffic doesn`t stop me! I found myself driving around the other day just to find the right pickles and pepper. This of course is very confidential and my family should stay away from this information 😀

But now let`s concentrate on the recipe. Arabic shawarma is well known street food. Its made of grilled chicken or other meat (no pork due to religious reasons), pickles, garlic sauce, tomatoes and chips. Of course variations can be endless. You can add lettuce,  skip the tomatoes or make it spicy by adding hot chili.  Get creative and fill your tummy with this Arabic sandwich.

Ingredients (for 4-5 small shawarmas)

– 2 chicken breasts

– Arabic flat bread

– pickles

– 2 tomatoes

– 2 potatoes

– salt and pepper to taste

For garlic paste:

– 1 head of garlic

– 1/2 cup oil

– juice from 1/2 lemon

– 1 tsp salt

Preparation:

1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 mins.

2. Fry the chips

3. Cut the pickles and tomatoes

4. Blend the ingredients for the garlic paste until smooth and creamy. Note: This might take 5 to 10 minutes blending.

5. Assembly each shawarma by spreading garlic paste on a flat bread and adding, chicken, pickles, chips and tomatoes. Goes great with hummus!

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Tabouleh with walnuts

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As you might noticed the previous recipes dedicated to the Arabic cuisine and the month of Ramadan are mostly heavy and very rich. This is why I decided to post a recipe for tabouleh. This mezze (starter in Arabic) is super fresh and full of vitamins.

And here I also decided to have my twist to the recipe which will make your life easier. Instead of the traditional bulgur wheat which needs to soak in water for at least a day I substituted it with walnuts. They give texture and extra flavor.

Serve tabouleh right after you make it so the veggies will be crunchy and fresh. Don`t be stingy on the olive oil and lemon juice as you will like to dip your bread into the zesty sauce.

Ingredients:

– 2 bunches of fresh parsley finely chopped

– 3 small tomatoes finely chopped

– 3 small cucumbers or 1 normal cucumber finely chopped

–  juice of 2 lemons

– 1/2 cup walnuts finely chopped

– 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses

– 1 tsp fig molasses

– olive oil

– salt

Preparation:

Mix all the veggies and season well to your taste. NOTE: The key to good  tabouleh is to have all the ingredients really finely chopped. Serve with flat Arabic bread.

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Muhammara and rosemary roasted chicken

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Arabic muhammara is another traditional mezze. It`s made of blended bread crumbs, roasted peppers and walnuts. As the ingredients suggest it is very rich dip. Usually is prepared very spicy and some recipes have tomato puree in it.

My recipe includes also fig molasses in which I recently felt in love. It taste heavenly and gives the salads and dips slightly sweet and vinegary taste. If you don`t live in Dubai I am sure you can find such molasses in any Arabic store. Just check the ingredients as you don`t want to get a product full of added sugar and corn syrup in it.

Together with muhammara I quickly grilled chicken breasts with very simple seasoning of rosemary and salt. There is nothing special in it but it goes really well in combination with the rich muhammara.

Ingredients:

– 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs – I made mine at home as I had leftover stale bread. If you also want to utilize it- just cut the bread into chunks and blend it for few seconds.

– 1 cup walnuts- finely chopped

– 2 roasted peppers

– 1 clove garlic

– 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

– juice of 1/2 lemon

– 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses

-1 tbsp fig molasses

– 1/2 tsp cumin

– 1 tsp chili flakes – or more if you fancy hot and spicy

– salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

1. Peel the roasted peppers

2. Mix all ingredients together and blend well.

3. Serve with extra olive oil and Arabic flat bread

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Roasted red pepper hummus

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In the light of my Ramadan recipes I can`t skip the all time favorite hummus. This time with a healthy twist. Adding roasted pepper gives the hummus smokey flavor and makes it a  great starter. The key for good hummus is to have fresh ingredients. Hummus must have smooth texture and zesty notes. I made mine for no time and ate it with flat bread and green salad.

Hummus is healthy and vegan as well!

Tip: Don`t skip the generous amount of good quality olive oil to top your hummus as this gives extra flavor and it`s great to dip your bread in.

Ingredients:

– 1 can chickpea

– 2 red pepper

– 2 clove garlic

– 2 tbsp tahini

– juice from 2 lemons

– olive oil

– salt

– cumin (to taste)

Preparation:

1. Roast the pepper and remove the skin. Cut into big chunks

2. Mix all the ingredients and blend together until smooth.

3. Serve the hummus with extra olive oil

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Kunefe with rose water and pistachio

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Kunefe is a traditional dessert for Turkey and the surrounding Arabic countries. It can be pronounced in many different ways (unāfah, künefe, kadaïfikataïfi, knafeh, Kunafeh, knafeh, or kunafah) but always taste delicious and it`s a great treat for the Ramadan table.  The dessert itself is a cheese pastry soaked in sweet sugar-based syrup.

The best is to eat the dessert right after is ready so you can feel the delicious melted cheese layer in between. If you make big quantity you can always preheat it for a minute in the microwave.

Ingredients:

For Syrup:

– 2 cups white sugar

– 1 1/2 cups water

– 1/2 cup rose water

– 1 stick cinnamon

For Kunefe:

– 2 packages vermicelli/kadaif
– 200 g unsalted cheese
– 200 g melted butter

For Decoration:

– 2-3 tbsp finely ground pistachios

Preparation:

1. Mix the syrup ingredients  and put on the stove. Let it boil and remove from heat. Let it cool.

2. Shred the kadaif in a food processor or chop it up with a sharp knife

3. Mix the shredded pastry with the melted butter

4. Place half the pastry on a 20 cm baking tray.

5. Cover with a layer of cheese and then finish with another layer of pastry.

6. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and bake for 30-40 minutes.

7. Take it out form the oven and pour the sugar syrup.

8. Serve hot and decorated with pistachios

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