Tag Archives: Arabic

Arabic-Style Belly Dancing Chicken

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As mentioned in the “About” section of my blog, I am of Middle Eastern descent on my mother’s side. I enjoy the richness and the intense flavors of their cuisine. I love experimenting with food in my kitchen. Recently, I created this dish, made with Middle Eastern couscous, chicken thighs and some aromatic spices indigenous to the region. It is so delectable, it makes me want to do the belly dancing. Put on your apron, grab a glass of wine (if you drink) and follow me in Gina’s kitchen.

Serves: 6-8 as a main meal – Level of difficulty: Medium

Ingredients:
12 chicken thighs skinless, bone-in
Olive oil – Follow recipe
2 tbsp. sumac + more
2 tsp. 7 spices *
1 tsp. salt
Black pepper to taste
1 small red onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 cups Middle Eastern couscous
32 oz. lower sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup chickpeas, drained
1/2 red bell pepper cut in julienne
Flat leave parsley for garnish
16 oz. Greek 2% yogurt, sumac, olive oil to taste

Preparation:

1) Season the chicken with 3 tbsp. olive oil, sumac, 7 spices, salt and black pepper.  Let it marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes.

2) In a large Dutch pan, on medium-high to high heat,  cover the bottom of the pan with olive oil.  Sear the chicken,3 minutes on each side.  Be careful, as there will be some splattering.  Set aside. Do a second batch, and repeat. Set aside.
3) In the same pan, saute’ the onions for 2 minutes, garlic, 1 minute, add the tomato paste and stir until it caramelizes, another 2 minutes or so. Stir well.
4) Add the couscous, continue stirring for 1-2 minutes.  Add the chicken broth.  Layer all the chicken thighs on top, add chickpeas, bell peppers.
5) Bring to a boil. Lower the flame to med-low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. It should come out nice and moist.  Garnish with parsley.
6) in a serving bowl, place the yogurt, sprinkle with sumac and olive oil to taste. Serve with the meal.

Arabic-Style Belly Dancing Chicken
Arabic-Style Belly Dancing Chicken

 

7 Spices
7 Spices
Couscous
Couscous

 

Greek yogurt, Sumac, olive oil
Greek yogurt, Sumac, olive oil

Cook’s notes:
1) The 7Spices contain, coriander, allspice, cloves, nutmeg and other spices as indicated on label.
2) The sumac and 7Spices can be found at Middle-Eastern/Arabic specialty stores.

I hope you have enjoyed this recipe, and will attempt to make this delightful dish.

Recipe developed and created by: Foodiewinelover
Photos taken by Gina Martino Zarcadoolas for Foodiewinelover

Gina Zarcadoolas
My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles
WSET-Level 2 Certified Wine Connoisseur
Culinary Aficionado & Lover of Global Cuisines

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Arayes, A Delicious Middle Eastern Meat-Stuffed Pita

Prepping for Arayes
prepping for Arayes
Ground Sirloin
Ground sirloin
Arayes with side of hummus
Arayes with side of hummus

Arayes are a very popular street food in the Levant region, and a crowd pleaser. They are easy to make, and  very tasty.  The word Ara’yes in Arabic is the plural word for Arous, meaning bride.

If you are a meat lover, and looking for something quick and satisfying, look no further. I’ve got the perfect dish for you, it’s called Arayes.  It’s a meat-stuffed pita dish that can be made on a week night, if you are pressed for time.

Serves 6-8 with a side dish, based on your appetite
Level of difficulty: Easy This recipe can easily be divided in half.

Ingredients:

  • 4 lb ground beef sirloin *
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup flat-leave parsley, chopped
  • 6 garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice  *
  • 1/4 tsp. coriander *
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg *
  • 1-2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • Pita Bread *
  • Lemon, juiced 


    Preparation:

    1) In a large frying pan, over medium-high heat, heat up olive oil. Saute the onions for 3 minutes. Add garlic, sauté an additional 2 minutes. Add meat, salt, pepper, allspice, coriander, nutmeg.  Pan fry for about 10 minutes on high, depending on what material you’re using. Be careful not to burn the bottom, stir occasionally. It will render some liquid, but will dry up.2) Add tomato paste, and more oil if necessary. Keep stirring, add fresh parsley. Adjust seasoning to your taste. Remove.

    3) In the meanwhile, warm up pita bread in the broiler, but you can also grill them for a more authentic version. Stuff the pita bread with meat,  garnish with parsley, and sprinkle lemon juice on top.  Hummus.Tabbouleh, or Fattoush Salad make wonderful side dishes for this lovely meal. The choice is yours! Visit the links to get the recipes.

Cook’s notes:

1)Traditionally, lamb meat is used in this dish, but ground beef or ground turkey work well also.

2) You can substitute the coriander, nutmeg and allspice for a spice called 7 Spices. It can be  found in Middle Eastern specialty stores.

3) Buy large pita bread and cut in half or use the small ones.

Have fun in your kitchen!

Gina,  Foodiewinelover 

My Food, Wine & Travel Lifestyles 

 

Baba Ganouj, Eggplant Dip

Eggplant

Eggplant

You say Baba Ganoush, Baba Ghanoush, Baba Ganouch, I say Baba Ganouj or Baba Ghanouj.  In my opinion, they all may be right depending on what region of the world you’re from. Baba Ganouj is a typical Middle Eastern dip made with eggplant. I learned how to make it from my Arabic Mom. If you love eggplant like I do, you will enjoy this recipe. It’s simple, healthy and yummy. Ideally, it is better to char the eggplant on an open flame for more intense flavors, however, today I will share with you the roasted version, and a quick story to go with it. Many years ago, (when I was in my twenties) I was roasting an eggplant, then, I heard a loud explosion. I looked in the oven, and the eggplant had splattered all over the oven. I realized, I needed to pierce some holes in the eggplant to let the air out. Who knew? LOL! It was scary and funny at the same time. I learned my lesson since that experience.

Serves: 4-6 as an appetizer

Level of difficulty: Easy – Medium

Ingredients:

  •  1 large eggplant, roasted
  •  1 lemon, juiced
  •  2 -3 garlic cloves, chopped
  •  1 handful of flat leave parsley, chopped
  •  Salt and Pepper to taste
  •  Extra Virgin Olive Oil, generous amount + more to drizzle
  •  2 tbsp. Tahini (Sesame paste) found in some grocery or specialty stores. Highly recommended

Preparation:

1) IMPORTANT! Pierce holes in the eggplant with a fork or knife, to avoid it from exploding in your oven. Drizzle some oil on a tray, and roast the eggplant in a 400 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until soft on the inside.

2) Remove from the oven, scoop out the eggplant pulp with a spoon, leaving the skin.  Put it in a medium-sized bowl,  and use a masher to break it down until the desired texture. I don’t like it too creamy, but that’s a personal preference. Add lemon, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper and Tahini. Mix well. Drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil, and serve with Pita chips.

Tip #1) When choosing eggplant, make sure they are firm, with no bruises. After you buy them, I recommend that you use them within a couple of days. I can’t begin to tell you how many times, I had to throw eggplant away, because they got buried in the vegetable bin section of the fridge. You will notice the brown spots all over. Some eggplants can be bitter, luckily for me, that was never an issue. I hear some people are allergic to eggplant, please be aware of that.

Tips #2) If you buy the Tahini in a jar, after sitting for a while, you will notice the oil will surface to the top, make sure you stir it well before using it.

Happy New Month! Bon Appetit from My Kitchen to Yours,

Gina