Tag Archives: middle eastern recipe

Carrots and Leeks with Sesame Paste

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This is a nice veggie side dish for the summer months that has a cole slaw type flavor. The tahini gives it a nice nutty flavor, and the carrots have a real natural sweetness that makes this a great dish to eat on a warm day. This uses a unique spice mixture called Atraf-tib, which I created using this website as a basis of what the mix should be: http://dream-designs.net/roxalana/?cat=155

The idea of the spice mixture is use what you have. I used bay leaves, nutmeg, mace, cardamom, cloves, ginger and long pepper. What I ended up doing was mixing 4 parts of ginger powder to 1 part of all the other dry ingredients. This gave me a sweeter spice. I blended all dry ingredients into a food mill and really ground down this mixture. You can play with the different ingredients that are listed on the site, adding lavender, rose, and other items. I was fairly light handed on using this in the dish as well. It’s a unique flavoring that gives the dish a very floral freshness. If you don’t want to add this, you do not have to either. The dish stands on its own.

This is on page 66: “Get some carrots, the white part of leeks, sesame butter [tahini], wine vinegar and atraf-tib. Slice the carrots and boil them. Take the [green] tops of the leeks and boil them separately, then drain them and soften them in sesame oil. Put the tahina in a dish, sprinkle it with boiling water, and mix it by hand so that the sesame oil can express itself; then add little vinegar, honey, and some atraf-tib. Put the drained carrots and leeks in a serving dish and add the tahini. You must do [this] in such a way that the quantity of carrots and leeks suits that of the condiments.

Carrots and Leeks with Sesame Paste

½ lbs. Leeks, cleaned, washed, thinly sliced
½ lbs. Carrots, skinned and sliced thinly
1/8 tsp Atraf-tib
1 tbsp. tahina
1/3 cup honey
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
Salt for the boiling water

Clean and slice vegetables, cutting them so the slices are uniform, both vegetables should have the same sized pieces. Put together two cook pans, adding water and some salt (around a tbsp.) to both, and bring to boil. In one boiling pot, add the cut carrots and blanch them. In the other pot, add the leeks to blanch. You want to try to keep a bit of a bite on the vegetables. Make sure when you pull the vegetables out of the water that they go immediately into an ice bath to stop them overcooking. Drain vegetables and add all ingredients into a mixing bowl and combine. Serves 6.

Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World by Lilia Zaouali (ISBN: 978-0-520-26174-7) was used for this redaction. Recipes from the book with the donation of K, for Kanz (the original Kanz al-Fawaid fi tanwi al-mawaid which was “The Treasure of Useful Advice for the Composition of a Varied Table”) were used.

Kanz: The Period Eggplant Dip

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Another from Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World by Lilia Zaouali (ISBN: 978-0-520-26174-7). Recipes from the book with the donation of K, for Kanz (the original Kanz al-Fawaid fi tanwi al-mawaid which was “The Treasure of Useful Advice for the Composition of a Varied Table”) were used.

Middle Eastern/Egyptian recipes have numerous examples of vegetable focused dishes. This is a good thing, especially when cooking for vegetarians and those people that wish to eat healthier over all. I’ve noticed over the years that many feasts and luncheons served within the Society for Creative Anachronism are very meat heavy. Perhaps there is pressure to create beef and chicken type dishes that are more accessible to the membership that isn’t too “scary” (i.e. different than what most people are used to). I do admit to having at least two somewhat familiar dishes when I am cooking for the non-adventurous eaters within my Barony and Kingdom, but I always try to throw some sort of culinary curve ball, and I’ve found vegetable dishes to be a great item to have people at least try with normally fairly good results.

Here is a great vegetable side dish that works well as a sauce or a dip. It is fairly similar to the modern baba ghannouj (which has tahini). This was on page 66: “Cut the eggplant into small pieces; put them in a jar for cooking [dast] together with whole cleaned onion. Add some sesame oil and oil of good quality and a little water. Reduce over a slow fire. When the ingredients are cooked, put them through a sieve and combine with a very small clove of garlic, yogurt, and chopped parsley.

Puree of Eggplant with Yogurt

1 large eggplant, peeled and diced
½ brown onion, chopped
¼ cup water
1 small clove of garlic, minced into a paste
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. olive oil
½ cup plain yogurt (I used Greek style0
½ cup chopped parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

Sauté diced eggplant and onions into a large cook pot using both oils and water. Reduce over a low fire until it is fully cooked and softened. Place in blender mixture until smooth and pureed.   Use cheese cloth and drain the eggplant onion mixture on it, removing as much of the water as possible. Place in bowl and mix thoroughly garlic, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6.

Kanz: Fava Bean in Sour Sauce with Hazelnuts

Here is another recipe in my series of Egyptian recipes that I found in Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World by Lilia Zaouali (ISBN: 978-0-520-26174-7). The recipes were tagged K, for Kanz (the original Kanz al-Fawaid fi tanwi al-mawaid which was “The Treasure of Useful Advice for the Composition of a Varied Table”).

This recipe in particular is great for warm weather since this is very much a cold vegetable dish. It’s also a great vegan dish. It was found on page 66 under cold appetizers. Some of the comments on this: you can use all fava beans and not bother with broad beans, or all broad beans. I did this mostly for color and texture difference. Also, the atraf-tib is a mixture of fairly “flowery” herbs and spices which is made up of lavender, betel, bay leaves, nutmeg, mace, cardamom, cloves, rosebuds, beech-nuts, ginger and long pepper. It is also safe to say that you should use what you have available. Not all of these are easily available. What I ended up using was bay leaves, nutmeg, mace, cardamom, cloves, giner and long pepper. I used 4 parts of ginger, to one part of all the other ingredients, but you may want to change these up. You also don’t need to make it if you’d prefer.

Fava Bean in Sour Sauce with Hazelnuts

1 can Fava Beans
1 can Broad Beans
¼ tsp saffron threads
¼ tsp dry ground coriander
¼ atraf-tib (spice mixture)
½ cup roasted hazelnuts
2 tbs fresh parsley leaves
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbs red wine vinegar
4 tbs fresh mint leaves
2 tbs tahini
1 tbs salt

Drain beans and place in large mixing bowl. In Cuisinart, place the rest of the ingredients (not the beans) in and grind that all into a smooth consistency (can be left chunky depending on your preferences). Pour mixture over beans and combine everything so that the beans are well covered. Feeds about 6.

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Kanz: Puree of Chickpea with Cinnamon and Ginger

More from Medieval Cuisine of the Islamic World by Lilia Zaouali (ISBN: 978-0-520-26174-7). I looked over all the recipes with the donation of K, for Kanz (the original Kanz al-Fawaid fi tanwi al-mawaid which was “The Treasure of Useful Advice for the Composition of a Varied Table”).
This one is a delicious vegan recipe. I always have problems finding tasty, vegetarian friendly, dish that can be served easily at events. This one is super easy to make and it’s zippy. It is close to a hummus, but missing some ingredients.

It was found on page 65: “Cook the chickpeas in water, and then mash them in a mortar to make a puree. Push the puree through a sieve for wheat, unless it is already fine enough, in which case this step is not necessary. Mix it then with wine vinegar, the pulp of pickled lemons, and cinnamon, pepper, ginger, parsley of the best quality, mint, and rue that all have been chopped and placed on the surface of the serving dish [zubdiyya]. Finally, pour over [this mixture] a generous amount of oil of good quality.”

Puree of Chickpea with Cinnamon and Ginger

15oz (1 can) Chickpeas
1 tbs red wine vinegar
¼ cup of chopped pickled lemons (you can substitute chopped fresh lemons)
1 tbs ground cinnamon
1/2 tbs ground ginger
1 tsp ground long pepper
1 tbs chopped fresh parsley (plus extra for garnish)
1 tbs chopped fresh mint (plus extra for garnish)
½ tsp ground rue
Drizzle of Olive Oil

Add all ingredients excluding the olive oil and extra garnish herbs into a blender and grind together until smooth. Sprinkle garnish across the serving plate and add puree to the dish. Add a drizzle of olive oil across the puree and serve. Serves about 6.

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Preserved lemons

Months ago I did some preserved lemons and I was so behind with other projects (getting ready for the West Coast Culinary Symposium among other things), that I was remiss in actually updating my blog with the recipe for my lemons. This is a very simple recipe and living in a region where citrus is in abundance, that this is a great way to use them up.

When I made mine, I couldn’t find my juicer attachment for any of my kitchenaids, so I did everything by hand. After juicing about 15 lemons, my hands were done with me, though my skin was lemony fresh.

I used this recipe over here, but ended up adjusting it a bit.

How to Make Preserved Lemons


8-10 lemons, scrubbed very clean
1/2 cup kosher salt, more if needed (I ended up using far more)
Extra fresh squeezed lemon juice, if needed (I needed a lot)
Sterilized quart canning jar

1. Place about 2 Tbs of salt in the bottom of jar.
2. Trim each lemon off all stems and cut 1/4 inch off the tip of each lemon. Cut each lemon as if you were going to cut them in half lengthwize, starting from the tip, but do not cut all the way. Keep the lemon attached at the base. Make another cut in a similar manner, so now the lemon is quartered, but again, attached at the base.
3. Open the lemons up like you are opening up a flower, still keeping the base attached and sprinkle in salt. The salt should cover all of the inside and the outside of the lemon.
4. Pack the lemons in the jar and really press them down. As you add lemons, pack them down (crush) so that juice comes out of them. You will want to fill the jar with lemons and ultimately there needs to be lemon enough lemon juice to cover these lemons. I ended up juicing about 12 more lemons to cover the 10 lemons I had, but it all depends on how much liquid you get from your lemons.
5. Top with a couple of tablespoons of salt.
6. Seal the jar and let sit in a cool room for a week. Turn the jar upside down every day or so. Put in refrigerator and let sit, again turning upside down every few days for at least 3 weeks, until lemon rinds soften.
7. To use, remove a lemon from the jar and rinse thoroughly in water to remove salt, discarding seeds before using. You can discard the pulp before using or use. You can can the peels and store in the refrigerator for up to six months.

Options: you can add other spices to this like cloves, coriander seeds, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf. These preserved lemons are a great condiment, a great addition for rice, meat dishes, and salads. When you need to liven up a dish, these are really great. It’s also a nice gift if you put in a nice jar.