Sunday, January 1, 2012

Middle Eastern Magic

There is no denying that some of the finest foods are from the Middle East and the Levant. The food in this region is diverse and yet there is a unifying thread that runs from as far west as Morocco to the eastern shores of Oman!Some commonly used ingredients that one can get easily enough now in India are Olive oil, Olives, parsley, apricots, dates. Bulghur wheat for tabouleh is widely available. Mint, honey, sesame seeds, chickpeas are generally handy in most kitchens. Healthy choices, colorful, flavored with herbs instead of being over-powered by masalas and easy to make! All these reasons make Mediterranean options a great hit in our home.Succulent skewered meats, dips, a variety of salads and that oh-so-comforting pita bread! Hmm.. If you remove the myriad dips you have removed the essence of the cuisine. Hummus, baba ghanouj, labneh, the smoky aubergine-walnut dip from Turkey called muhammara, toum from Lebenon! The list is endless. Get yourself a good food processor and some basic ingredients like sesame seeds, olive oil, and some sumac and you could be the king ( or the queen ) of dips.
I love Med desserts too. Baklavas are a tad bit rich but delicious. The ones that are easier and less calorific are the oft-made yakh dar behest, basboosa, mamool, aysh al saraya.

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