I didnt know anything about arabic food till I met our friends, Aby and Jessy who had grown up in the Middle East. They would get all nostalgic about the food they missed and how nonauthentic the Arab foods in America were.They are as passionate about food as we are, if only more. We have whipped up some pretty amazing meals together. Recently, we got together on a weekend and decided to give Arabic food a try and they came to our house fully loaded.. …Arabic groceries and an Arabic cookbook. All the recipes we followed are from the book. The groceries were purchased from a store in Brooklyn.
The meat has to be marinated overnight and so there is some prep work involved. Our friends were the chefs and me and Satish basically acted as sous-chefs . I was introduced to a new world of cookingmethods, ingredients and recipes.
The menu which was very simple included
Leham shawarma (marinated spiced lamb) recipe follows
Kafta kebabs (lamb kebabs) as shown below
Tabouleh or parsley salad
Ful Madamas or Fava bean dish as shown below
Recipe for lamb shawarma
2 1/2 lbs lamb (should have a good amount of fat) 1 orange sliced into thin rounds 1 lemon sliced into thin rounds 1 tbsp yogurt 2 tsps white vinegar 1 tsp ground allspice (preferably middle eastern/indian allspice) 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds 1 tsp salt 1 tsp black pepper (less if you like it less spicy) 2 tsps of corn oil
To assemble Thinly sliced onion Tabouleh (Parsley) Pickled turnips (made in a mix of salt vinegar and beet juice) Tahini spread (recipe follows) Pita bread Method Cut the filet into 1/4 inch thick slices and then the slices into 1/2 inch
wide pieces. Combine the orange slices, lemon slices, yogurt, vinegar, allspice,nutmeg,
cardamom,salt and pepper in a baking dish and stiretogether. Crush the
lemon and orange with a fork to release juices. Add the lamb, cover
the dish and marinate overnight, turning over once (if you can do it).
Before cooking,remove the slices from the marinade and squeeze out excess
liquid,and pound the meat with hands. Place slices in a roasting pan and
drizzle with corn oil
Place the oven on broil (high) and place the rack close to the broiling
element (electric) or flames (gas).
Some ovens top shelf might be really close to the heating source so
please make sure that when you place the lamb slices in a roasting pan,
the pan should have some room on the top. Or sometimes flare ups might
be too common. The heat should be close enough that a good amount of searing should
occur but not too close that there is too much flare. I kept it on
the second rack just below the broil source..
Turn the slices twice during the time. About 20 mins approx should be
good. The meat should have a good amount of sear on it but at the
same time there should be some unseared portions as well. On a pita bread, split it halfway (or open the pocket ) and spread the
tahini. Put in the lamb,then the tabouleh, onions and the pickled
turnips as shown below.
Recipe for Tahini spread (Garlic Sauce Spread)
3 small cloves garlic, mashed 1 cup sesame paste (tahini) 3/4 cup lemon juice Red pepper flakes, to taste Salt, to taste Fresh parsley for garnish Whisk the garlic and sesame paste together in a small bowl, Add lemon juice , whisking until the mix turns into a firm white paste. Gradually add upto 2/3 cup cold water, whisking until the sauce has a smooth consistency. Season with pepper flakes and salt. Garnish with parsley
Recipe source The Arab Table by May Bsisu
Recipe painstakingly rewritten by Aby and Jessy