Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tsi2iyeh bi samneh

I haven't posted in a while because i just started school and because i am a little stressed AND because i am re-organizing the whole apartment and throwing away (giving away) as much as possible. Ok so now back to the recipe. So as some of you have noticed i usually have some random memory about every type of food and this one is once again Oussama. When we first got married Oussama use to make tsi2iyeh bi samneh for us on the weekends...and it just was not good. After about the first 6 months i got the courage to tell him he needs to stop with the thick laban tsi2iyeh...turns out he was making it up and didn't really know what he was doing. This is how i make tsi2iyeh bi samneh which we eat almost every weekend (either this the tsi2iyeh bi zayt or fool). By the way i haven't made this or eaten it since i first got married and then this Ramadan i decided to make it and then i reconnected myself with it.

Ok so I think that this is a MUST for really good (anything) hummus. Buy the dried chickpeas and soak them overnight with a little baking soda. This is what the chickpea looks like dry and after it soaked over night. Once it is cooked it gets even bigger.

Dry chickpeas and the chickpeas soaking. So once they have soaked you rinse them with water and bring them to a boil (add a little baking soda once more). Once the chickpeas have boiled lower the heat and let them simmer for about an hour. Feel free to use canned chickpeas if you don't have time...i just really love the softness of after you boil them and you cant get that from canned chickpeas... but the taste is the exact same.
In a deep bowl cut up 2 pita breads, you can add more or less bread depending on what you like. If i am not serving anything else with the fatteh then i say 1 pita bread per person (unless you get the big ones then it obviously would be less)
I smash my garlic and then i add chickpeas and smash them as well. I do this because the chickpeas are hot so they cook the raw garlic taste without actually cooking the garlic.
Either in a bowl or in a blender mix yogurt, lemon juice (unless you have sour yogurt, the arabic brands are usually sour), tahini, salt, garlic, a few chickpeas (or if you have some msabaha) and the chickpea broth, enough to make it watery like milk.
Mix most of the chickpeas with the bread and then pour over the yogurt mixture.
Sprinkle with paprika and more chickpeas
Cook Samneh and toast the pine nuts. Make sure the oil is hot because it needs to make a crackling sound once it hits the yogurt. (funny story, once i was at my parents house and my dad was finishing up the tsi2iyeh and he said to Oussama and me, "listen this is the best sound in the world" and then he poured the samneh over the tsi2iyeh and.....nothing happened...isn't my dad the cutest?!?)
In Laith's words TAH DAH. Serve with arabic pickles (cucumber ones and the pink ones)

Written Recipe:

1 cup of dried and soaked and boiled chickpeas (or a can)
1/2 of lemon
3 tablespoons of tahini sauce
1 tablespoon of msabaha (hummus)
2 small cloves of garlic
1 cup of yogurt (any kind, low fat, full fat or fat free)
as much chickpea broth as needed
2 pita bread ripped into small pieces
1 tablespoon of samneh (clarified butter)
as many pine nuts as desired

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Spaghetti Carbonara ( Halal version)

So i follow this chef on youtube, his name is Chef John and his website in So the other day he made a dish called spaghetti carbonara and i know I've heard of the name and i wondered why i never ate this before...then i remembered i don't eat pork and this ALWAYS has pork in it. Well I decided that because it is such a fast and easy dish i was going to try and make it halal because it is just not fair that i cant try a dish because it has piggy fat in it. Although i don't know what the dish is suppose to taste like i do know that this was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good (enough O's? was really good people). Please try this, it literally takes the amount of time that it takes pasta to boil (8 to 10 minutes). Here is how i made Spaghetti carbonara.

First boil the pasta in UNsalted water.
In a bowl mix together the egg, Parmesan cheese and black pepper.
In a pan (this is where halal comes in) saute 2 garlic cloves cut into slices and 5 strips of turkey bacon cut into strips. I added just a tiny tiny bit of oil because turkey bacon doesn't have as much fat as real Italian bacon and without it it would stick to the pan. Once the bacon is cooked and crispy i drain all the fat and set it to the side.
side note: the real carbonara doesn't have garlic but it tastes good with it.
So when i am ready to make my pasta i put some of the bacon garlic mixture in a pan.
I add about 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the hot pan and then i add the noodles.
OFF THE HEAT (very important otherwise the eggs will scramble) pour in the egg mixture and stir with a wooden spoon. The egg and cheese should form a creamy sauce, don't cook it for too long or it will become dry.
Serve it by sprinkling some more turkey bacon, shaved Parmesan cheese and some more black pepper...the black pepper makes the dish.

Written Recipe:

1 pound of spaghetti noodles (1 box)
1/2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
5 strips of turkey bacon cut into small strips
4 garlic cloves sliced
2 large eggs
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano (plus more for serving)
Fresh ground black pepper

Homemade Granola Bars

So the other day i asked Oussama to pick up some snacks to pack in Laith's lunch....and what do you know he brought home trail mix...the biggest problem with this is Laith isn't allowed to bring any kind of nuts to school. I was like what are we going to do with these? So i figured i would just make granola bars and he could have them as a snack. This is how i made my granola bars

So these are the packs of trail mix Oussama brought home they had almonds, coconut, banana chips, cranberries, raisins, yogurt chips, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds
First i toasted granola (quick cook oats) and fine unsweetened coconut in a pan, if you find it easier you can do it in the oven.
Then in a saucepan melt together brown sugar, butter, vanilla and honey
I added flax seeds but if you don't like them you can use wheat germ or rice krispies.
Add in trail mix or whatever you decide you want in your granola bars (i just thought of a pina colada granola bar made with coconut and pineapples pieces...i told u i love coconut...ohh or you can make a date and walnut one for like Eid....or you can add yogurt chips and dried strawberries and then drizzle with chocolate)
So then add in the melted and well mixed mixture.
I used baking dates because i wanted my granola really soft but next time i will probably just use chopped up dates. Remember most of this is optional (except for the granola, flax see or something similar and the melted mixture)

Mix it all together
Pat it in a greased pan or in a pan with parchment paper and then cook it in the over. Let it cool at least 4 hours before cutting so that it can bind together.
Served with milk....mmm...if you don't like dates then you wouldn't LOVE mine and you could easily delete them but i love dates, it kept the granola bars really soft.
Cut and cover.

Written Recipe:


  • 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • Trail mix or any mix of dried fruit and nuts (1 1/2 cups of dried fruit and 1 cup of nuts)
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup whole flax seeds
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup date paste

Bake at 325 for about 30 minutes depending on the thickness of the granola.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sparkling Lemonade Arab Style ليمونادا غازية

Well if you haven't noticed yet....I am a bit obsessed with everything that reminds me of Syria. This is a lemonade that i drank at the amazing restaurants in Syria last time i went. I changed it a little because Oussama isn't a huge fan of mint.

Start off by squeezing the juice of 2 lemons (about 2/3 cup) and place it in a container. If you want you can make more of this mixture and keep it in the fridge for whenever you feel like having a refreshing drink.

To the lemon juice i add about 1/2 cup of atar (arabic simple syrup with rose water and orange blossom water, ingredients and directions can be found on my Hrissa post) Of course this measurement is approximate because it depends on how sweet you like your drink and how sour the lemons were (i don't like mine too sweet so this is a good amount to start with)
Now if we wanted to make this the real lemonade and mint i would take my mixture of lemon juice and syrup and blend it in the blender with a bunch of picked mint leaves and then strain the chunks of mint) Fill a glass about half way with the concentrated lemon juice.
Slowly pour Perrier (or any sparkling water or plain water) over the lemon juice and ice and serve!! I garnished my cup with julienne slices of mint leaves, its pretty and yummy and refreshing. MMMMMMMMMM

Written Recipe:
Juice of 2 lemons or 2/3 cups
1/2 cup of Arabic simple syrup
Perrier water
mint leaves

Riz oo Bazalyah ma3 Jazarرز بالبزالية مع جزر

This is a really quick, easy, delicious and healthy dish. Riz oo bazalyah ma3 jazar literally translates to rice and peas with carrots. Every time i think of this dish i remember Ranya O. and Nour A. because Ranya use to make it when she invited us over because it was one of Nour's favorite dishes (although from what i remember she likes potato in it too and Ranya use to make it that way for her). I think i love food and cooking so much is because it reminds me of all the good memories i have. Here is how to make Riz oo bazalyah ma3 jazar

I start off by cutting baby carrots into 4 and i use a frozen bag of peas. I saute them in a little oil just to cook them a little.
Next i add in about a tablespoon or so of tomato paste (you can use fresh tomatoes if you want, just puree them in your blender) Mix the tomato paste until it kind of sticks to the side of the pan and he flavor intensifies, about 2 or 3 minutes.
Next add in your lamb cubes that were boiled ahead of times along with the broth from when the meat was boiled (i had made pot roast the night before so i use the extra meat i had instead of boiling new meat) Add enough broth so that all the peas and carrots are covered. C
Cook for about 30 minutes (uncovered so it can thicken) or until the carrots are soft. Serve with vermicelli rice and a sprinkle of black pepper. The Mixture should be somewhat thick because of the tomato paste, you don't want it too watery but it shouldn't be thick either.

Written Recipe:
3/4 bag of baby carrots or about 2 cup of cut carrots
1 bag of frozen peas
1 cup or .5lbs of boiled lamb cubes (cooked with onion, cloves, cinnamon stick, salt and bay leaf)
1 1/2 tablespoons of tomato paste
salt to taste
1 tablespoon (or so) of oil

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mnazaleh bi aswad منزلة باسود

Mnazaleh bi aswad is a typical syrian dish. I feel like Syrians use alot of the same ingredients over and over except they change they way they are cooked...but all of the dishes have distinct taste..weird i know. I remember the first time i made this, my mom was out and my tehteh (grandmother) had come over for a surprise visit and it was getting close to dinner time. I remember i called my mom and asked what i should do about dinner and she told me to make this, i thought ya how easy could this be. Well this was a flop, i placed everything together and forgot the most important part...frying the eggplant. Oh well my tehteh told me what was wrong and my ego went back into place (keep in mind people i was like 13 a t the time). So i was not the hero that day but i have made up for that day. This is a really quick easy dish that is great because it can be done ahead of time and then whenever you wan to cook it you just pop it in the oven.

First you need to peel and fry eggplants (i think these were Japanese eggplants but you can use the small ones or the really big ones, whatever you have). When i made this dish i cooked the eggplant in the over, i brushed some oil on each side of the eggplants and then cooked them at 350 for about 45 minutes or until cooked (depends on how thick you cut it). I am not a big fan of eggplant so sometimes if i have koosa (Mexican squash) or cauliflower i will fry it and do half half of either one along with the eggplant. I pile the eggplant on top of each other until i have about an inch of an eggplant layer.
Next slice tomatoes (not too thin because they break down when they are cooked) and cover the eggplant with a layer of tomatoes. Salt the tomatoes.
Cook some ground beef and add salt as well as mixed Arabic spice. (drain excess oil because the eggplants have more than enough)
Cover the tomatoes with the ground beef and i add a little chicken broth into the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan with foil and cook at 400 for 30 minutes. (i know the meat got a little dry here because i ran out of foil so i just covered it with a silicone pad..didn't work too well)
Serve with some vermicelli rice.

Written Recipe:
4 medium eggplants peeled and fried
Approx 4 tomatoes (depending on the size of the tomato and the size of the pan)
.5 lbs or 1 cup of ground beef
1/2 teaspoon mixed Arabic spice (or to taste)
1/4 cup of chicken broth

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bamyeh (okra stew) بامية

Bamyeh...every time i think about this i remember when i was engaged. Oussama and i were engaged and he had told me once that he felt like eating home cooking arabic food. I called my mom and we asked her how to make bamyeh and she told us the directions and then we went out and bought all of the ingredients and made it together. It turned out really well actually...i remember i was like so proud and i was shocked at how easy arabic cooking really is. Here is how my mom taught Oussama and me how to make Bamyeh..over the phone.

In a pan cook the bamyeh (size 0 frozen okra) until they are cooked and no longer frozen (because they are frozen there will be water at the bottom of the pan, when the water is gone it means they are cooked) Be careful when stirring bamyeh because if they break, the stew will become slimy. To prevent the bamyeh from sticking to the bottom of the pan i rinsed the bamyeh with water and dry them.
Next i add 1 can of tomato paste (you can use real tomatoes if you like, just blend them up and cook them down, i don't use real tomatoes because i use beef broth to give it more flavor)
Cook the tomato paste until it kind of sticks to the side of the pan, intense tomato flavor at your service
Add in the broth from the lamb cubes that you boiled (I didn't show this step because i have posted it in many other posts and it is always the same routine) The broth should cover the bamyeh. Let this come to a boil and then cook it on low for about 45 minutes. If you don't have time then you want let it boil for like 10 minutes but the longer it cooks the better and more blended the flavor is.
Chop up 1 bunch of cilantro (cleaned and dried of course)
Smash 3 large garlic cloves
This is dibis rimman (concentrated pomegranate juice or pomegranate molasses) I use the Turkish brand sera because it is the most sour i can find. Usually the dibis rimman i find here in America is sweet and that wont work for this dish. If you don't have this or can't find it then feel free to use lemon juice, it tastes just as good but it just isn't the "original" recipe.
Once the bamyeh is done cooking add in the cilantro, dibis rimman and garlic and stir for about 2 minutes. DONE...see how easy that was.
Serve with vermicelli rice
I know i say this alot but this is one of Laiths favorite dishes...I am so proud to have raised a boater when it comes to food. I realized this because every time i think about making non arabic dishes i stop myself because i know he wont eat them.

Written Recipe:
1 cup of Lamb cubes (boiled ad cooked with 3 cloves, 1 onion,1 cinnamon stick and a bay leaf)
1 can of tomato paste
1 bag of frozen size 0 okra (fresh can be used too same exact steps)
2 tablespoons of dibis rimman (pomegranate molasses)
1 bunch of chopped cilantro
3 large garlic cloves smashed
Broth from the boiled lamb cubes
2 to 3 tablespoons of oil (samneh, oil, butter, whatever you want)
Salt to taste (i only salt the broth)