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Posts Tagged ‘Syrian’

Chilli and Garlic Kebab - Kabab Khashkhash

We’ve had The Aleppo Cookbook for ages and for some reason haven’t cooked too much out of it. It’s really dense with recipes and not so many photos – not that photos are essential, but they’re definitely helpful when flicking for inspiration. Anyhow, we took this book out a few weeks ago, determined to cook something, and chose these little kebabs for the barbecue. They were stunning! We served with spicy roast potatoes and salad but they would also be great as a starter with some sort of yoghurty dip.

Wine Suggestion: we love how these go so well with a good Tempranillo, a grape that flatters lamb and with a deft touch in the winery gives wonderful, complementary spices that work superbly with the warm spices of the Levant. For a bit of sophisticated elegance we had a glass of the Cantos de Valpiedra Rioja which is silky, smooth and refined.

Chilli and garlic kebab – Kabab Khashkhash – makes 10 skewers

  • 450g lamb mince
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1-2 hot red chillies, seeds removed and chopped
  • 15g finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tsp Aleppo pepper or paprika (do try and find Aleppo pepper)
  • 1 tbsp Aleppo spice mix or seven-spice powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp salt, or to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well – hands are good for this. Transfer to a clean surface and knead for 30 seconds as you would bread dough.

Moisten your hands with water, then divide the meat into 10 prune-sized portions and form into balls.

Insert a wide, flat metal skewer through the middle of each meatball; then form the meat around the skewer to a length of about 14cm (similar to the picture above). Suspend the finished kebab over a deep baking dish resting the skewers on the sides.

Preheat a barbecue (preferably charcoal)and grill the kebabs until cooked how you like them.

(Original recipe from The Aleppo Cookbook by Marlene Matar, Head of Zeus, 2017.)

Chilli and Garlic Kebab

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Fish in Tahini (Samak bi Tahina)

There is a recipe for fish in tahini sauce in almost every Middle Eastern cookbook, and for good reason. The caramelised onions really complement the slightly sour tahini sauce. Serve with rice and salad.

Wine Suggestion: Not having had tahini with fish before we weren’t sure what to open, so went with our classic standby for seafood – Muscadet. The Domaine de la Chauviniere worked a treat and we would highly recommend this as a match.

Fish in Tahini (Samak bi Tahina) – serves 2

For the fish:

  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground Aleppo pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 fillets of white fish

For the sauce:

  • 80ml tahini
  • 50ml lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • salt, to taste
  • 80ml water

For the topping:

  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • a handful of coriander, chopped
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • a handful of toasted pine nuts

Mix the spices and oil and rub over the fish, then leave to marinate in the fridge for half an hour.

Caramelise the onions by frying them over a very low heat until soft and browned – about half an hour.

Make the tahini sauce by mixing the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt and water in a pan. Don’t worry if it curdles just keep stirring vigorously until it becomes smooth. Warm the sauce over a very low heat.

Heat a splash of oil in a large frying pan and fry the marinated fish for a few minutes on each side, then remove from the heat and place in a warm dish.

Fry the garlic and coriander in a pan with a little oil for a minute.

Pour the warm tahini sauce over the fish, then sprinkle over the onions, followed by the coriander, garlic and pine nuts. Serve with bulgar wheat or rice and a salad or vegetables if you like.

(Original recipe from Syria: Recipes from Home by Itab Azzam and Dina Mousawi, Trapeze, 2017.)

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Syrian Spiced Fish

This Syrian fish dish is bursting with delicious herbs and spices. We loved it! Really great with spinach & sumac and spicy potatoes. One of the best meals we’ve had in ages!

Wine Suggestion: Our choice tonight was the Rustenberg Five Soldiers Chardonnay which had power and complexity but also elegance and a beautiful, supple balance so it finished light and persistent. An excellent wine well worth seeking out and a great match for this dish.

Spiced Fish (Samaka Harra) – serves 2

  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 red chillies, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 40g walnuts chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra
  • 2 whole fish e.g. sea bream or snapper (we used bass)
  • a bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped, including stems
  • 1 lemon, plus ½ a lemon, sliced

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Mix the garlic, chillies, cumin, walnuts and 2 tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper.

Stuff the fish with the mixture, keeping 2 tbsp aside for later, then add a handful of coriander, saving some to garnish.

Squeeze the lemon over both fish, then drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Marinate in the fridge for a good half hour.

Put the fish into a large oven tray with the reserved stuffing sprinkled over the top and some lemon slices, then bake for 30 minutes.

(Original recipe from Syria: Recipes from Home by Itab Azzam and Dina Mousawi, Trapeze, 2017.)

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Spinach with Sumac

This simple Syrian side dish has fantastic flavour. We ate it with some spiced fish but it would complement many things. Also great on its own with some plain yoghurt and flatbreads.

Spinach with Sumac (Spanekh wa Sumac) – serves 4

  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • oil, for frying
  • 350g baby spinach
  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • a squeeze of lemon

Fry the onion over a very low heat for 20-30 minutes or until softened and almost caramelised. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Remove from the heat, sprinkle with the sumac, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

(Original recipe from Syria: Recipes from Home by Itab Azzam & Dina Mousawi, Trapeze 2017.)

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Spicy Syrian Potatoes

These spicy Syrian potatoes are really delicious and we’re going to be cooking them with lots of dishes. A great alternative to roast potatoes.

Spicy Syrian Potatoes (Batata Harra) – serves 4

  • 4 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-2 cm cubes
  • olive oil, for roasting
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • a bunch of coriander, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Aleppo pepper

Heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Roast the potatoes with olive oil and salt for about 30 minutes or until nicely browned.

Meanwhile, quickly fry the garlic, chillies and half the coriander. When the potatoes are ready, mix the fried ingredients with the potatoes, ground Aleppo pepper and the rest of the coriander.

(Original recipe from Syria: Recipes from Home by Itab Azzam and Dina Mousawi, Trapeze, 2017.)

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