Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What's in a middle eastern kitchen pantry?

Are you into Middle Eastern cooking yet? Then you'll probably need to stock up on those nine middle eastern pantry stables.

middle eastern spices

1- Tahini

Also known as "hardah" here in the Arabic Gulf area. This thick, earthy sesame paste is used in sauces, especially with Shawarma , hummus and baba ghanoush. Or simply enjoyed as a dip with dates. It is also the main component of a famous Kuwaiti sweet Rahash.


2- Saffron

You probably guessed this one. The most expensive spice in the world is a stable here in Kuwait and the other Arab gulf countries. It's the main flavoring in almost every traditional dessert. Also used with rice, stews and even tea. The proper way to use this delicate spice is to grind it with a little bit of sugar then to soak it with a bit of hot water.  


3- Za'atar

Native to the Levant countries, this popular middle eastern herb mix is made from a blend of dried earthy herbs such as oregano, thyme and basil, plus sesame, sumac and salt. There are probably hundreds of kinds and recipes all based on the main components but with different ratios. But the best za'atar still comes from Palestine and Jordan. The common way to eat za'atar is to mix it with olive oil as a spread or a dip.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Carrot, barberry and pine nuts rice topping

I wrote the basmati rice recipe a few months ago with the intention that I would follow it with this topping post. But due to many circumstances ( pregnancy, Ramadan and Eid, back to school preparation) it got pushed further and further down the list.


Now with the kids back to school and the house is in order for the first time in three months, I am  back to routine. Also,  I finally designated a small place in our house to be my "studio" for food photography which I am finding makes taking pictures a lot easier and quicker.