A quick and easy flatbread made on the grill gets topped with za'atar, and plenty of it!
'middle eastern' on Serious Eats
There are lots of tabbouleh recipes in the world, but many give instructions that can lead to a sopping wet salad with bulgur that's too hard to eat. This one uses pre-salting steps to remove excess moisture from the tomatoes and parsley, then uses the water drained from the tomatoes to soak the bulgur until tender and flavorful. A hint of spices adds complexity and depth.
Za'atar, a Middle Eastern spice mixture most often made with sumac (a tart spice), sesame seeds, thyme, and oregano, gets a new starring role as a flavor for homemade popcorn. Best of all, it's incredibly easy: just sprinkle store-bought za-atar on the freshly popped corn and you're all set.
Ful mudammas, stewed fava beans, is a staple dish all over the Levant. Some versions are mild mannered and comforting. This one, loaded with olive oil, lemon, garlic, cumin, and a kick of chili powder, is anything but. Serve it as a bean stew or mash up the beans and use it as a high octane dip.
Hummus is fine, but the real power legume of the Middle East is the fava bean. Ful mudammas is the Egyptian breakfast dish of favas stewed with tahini and seasoned with garlic, cumin, and lemon. This creamy, comforting version is much like what you'll find around the streets of Cairo.
Rich, smoky, and creamy, our recipe for baba ganoush uses the salad spinner to concentrate flavor and a slow emulsion method for the ultimate in dippable texture.
This version of maqluba is a showstopper: a tall, golden savory cake filled to bursting with tender vegetables and crowned with yielding rounds of tomatoes.
Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's cafe, Ottolenghi, serves a multitude of grain-based salads. Many are rice, barley, or couscous-based. This version in their recently re-released cookbook, however, stood out for its inclusion of mograbiah, a Middle Eastern semolina pasta much like Israeli couscous or Sardinian fregola.
Kofte Kebabs are traditionally made with lamb, however, ground beef or pork can be substituted. Harissa is a Tunisian spice pasted made from piri-piri peppers. If you can't find it, any fresh chili sauce will do, such as sambal oelek.
Lamb shanks braised with dried fruit and a blend of Middle Eastern spices, tagine-style.
Scallion Scrambled Eggs with Cumin, an Iranian-inspired meal from Faye Levy's Feast from the Middle East comes together in about 15 minutes, chopping included, and is a nice twist on standard scrambled eggs. Health-wise, it's far from a low-fat dish, but that's okay. Healthy food need not be low-fat food, especially when it's packed with protein and produce like this.
Think of these little pastries as drier, neater versions of baklava that you can hold in your hands without the services of a wet-nap. And since they call for puff pastry instead of phyllo dough, they come together in a fraction of the time without all the hassle of painting melted butter on tissue-thin sheets of pastry.
Tired of the usual homemade dips in your rotation? Add Muhammara to the mix. I was recently introduced to this Middle Eastern puree of roasted red peppers, walnuts, and pomegranate molasses. If you're extra ambitious, roast the red peppers instead of using the jarred kind.
Labne is a Lebanese cow's milk cream cheese made from yogurt. It's less tart than American cream cheeses but it's ridiculously unctuous. While delicious with sumac all on its own, I wanted to add some texture and nutty sweetness with...
Carrots may sound like an odd dessert ingredient, but they're certainly not just health food. They're starchy and sweet, and when cooked down slowly with milk, practically become candy on their own. Consider them an alternative sweetener, like honey, but with an even more complex sweetness. In a dessert, carrots can build a mild but flavorful base for more intense ingredients to play. Our result is something of a hybrid between Indian and Middle Eastern halvah.
Learn more about za'atar here » Za'atar is a great last-minute seasoning on all sorts of starchy foods, such as rice. I like to make a pilaf using za'atar in two stages: First, it's toasted with the rice in olive...
Note: Michael Natkin of the vegetarian blog Herbivoracious drops by every Wednesday to share a delicious recipe to expand our vegetarian repertoire. [Photograph: Michael Natkin] If you just looked at the picture and didn't read the title, you probably just...
[Photograph: Joshua Bousel] There's nothing I miss more from my time in Israel than shawarma. I'm not exaggerating—I had shawarma in a pita or laffa almost everyday during my six months there. Like my previous experience making tacos al pastor,...
The cake's virtue is its simplicity: it's sort of like cornbread, only made with semolina. What really makes it shine, though, is that it's topped while still hot with a sweet glaze which oozes into every little nook and cranny of the porous cake. Finished off with a sprinkling of almonds on top, it makes the perfect complement to a strong Turkish coffee.