There is so much more to Middle Eastern food than the beloved Shawarmas and falafel. If you are a lover of Middles eastern food or a lover of good food in general, the start of the year might be just the right time to expand your repertoire of Middle Eastern dishes. Here are 8 to look out for.
Originally from Yemen, Mandi is a mix of rice and meat and spices cooked underground. The beef can be swapped out for chicken or lamb. If you aren’t able to cook this dish traditionally, you can oven roast the meat or cook it in your regular stew pot.
This Greek made cake is a celebratory one. It is served on new years’ and can be identified by the zesty flavour of oranges. Don’t gobble it up too quickly, a lucky coin hidden in the cake is part of the tradition. It is said to bring blessings to whoever finds it.
Sweet, flaky and crispy, baklava is the perfect dessert or tea snack. It is hard to pick out what part of the recipe makes baklava so delicious. It could be the phyllo dough, the syrup or honey, the cinammon or the blend of pistachio, walnut and pecans.
Turkish delights are famous world over. The sweet jelly like confectionaries have fruits, nuts and come in a range of flavours. There’s something for the lover of rosewater, lemon or bergamot and so much more. The pretty colors don’t hurt either.
Yet one more way to eat hummus is with Kawarma. Kawarma is made from chopped lamb typically mixed with hummus. Pre refrigeration days, the pieces of lamb were preserved in fat and cooked when needed. Today, you’re more likely to have your Hummus Kawarma made with fresh lamb. The dish is also garnished with spices and herbs.
This is a dish that feeds the eyes first. The rich red colour is bound to stimulate the taste buds. But be warned, part of that colour comes from red peppers which means that the dip is spicy. In addition to the peppers, spices and olive oil, walnuts are added to make the thick paste that goes well with pita bread or can work as a spread on a sandwich.
Mansaf is a Middle Eastern dish made with rice, tender lamb and jameed (a thick yogurt from sheep or goat milk). The dish is then topped with almonds. This delicious combination is popular at large gatherings and you are likely to find Mansaf served at weddings and funerals. It is also considered the National dish of Jordan.
What’s not to love about cheese fatayer? It has cheese, it can have meat, it can have chicken and it can have spinach! There is a lot one can do to make cheese fatayer their own; use different cheeses, use a mix of cheeses or add spices and herbs to create a recipe that suits your tastes.