Recipe – It is Vegetarian, It is Vegan And It is Middle Eastern

It is not a typical life hack but I guess this post can be a great help for the people planning party this weekend and thinking what to serve. So here I am with a Recipe to help you!! Middle Eastern cuisine is quite a diverse one. Honestly many expats just like me are completely unaware of the dishes and its name… No seriously…. common guys!! I am from Mumbai, grown up eating Vada Pavs, Frankies and all the junk food you can think off. A few years ago when I moved to Dubai, I was introduced to  Lebanese cuisine, at first, I just could not understand how am I suppose to eat this? But apparently I learned, developed a taste for it and now I am Game!!

Being a vegetarian, there are not many options to try in Middle Eastern cuisine, but what little I know there is some vegetarian alternative to choose from such as Falafel, hummus, Manakish, sambousek and few more. I have had or rather tried almost every restaurant to see what kind of common ingredients do they use, and those are Olive, sesame, sumac (Middle eastern spice), mint & Parsley.

Now because this cuisine is not readily available in India, here is my very first recipe of some very commonly available vegetarian ingredients which are flexible, super easy, and no mess at all. It is a fantastic weekend brunch party idea & you will definitely impress your guests with this. It is vegetarian, it is vegan & it is healthy.  I know some of you are gonna love this.

Caution this is going to be a very long Post, as I have tried to note all the recipes in one; Just for your convenience. So let’s Start;

Kuboos Bread

(Commonly known as Pita, is patent Middle eastern bread. It is Soft, Fluffy and very tasty)

Ingredients you will need;

  • 3 cups of Wheat flour,
  • ½ teaspoon of Dry active yeast,
  • 1.25 cups of water,
  • Pinch of salt,
  • Pinch of sugar,
  • 2 tablespoon of olive oil.

Material

  • Measuring cup,
  • Big Bowl or any big vessel,
  • Wooden spatula,
  • Vessel to warm the water.

Preparation:

  • In a vessel warm some water, make sure you warm and not hot, warm where you can dip your finger easily. Pour half of the water in a cup with a pinch of sugar and yeast, stir them to dissolve and let is rest for 15 mins or until you see the froth/ferments)
  • Next, in a big bowl or any big vessel, add Wheat flour, a pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon olive oil and rest of the warm water, and the mix is well, at this point the consistency of the dough must be very rough, big crumbly lumps.
  • Add the yeast mixture and knead the dough until soft and smooth. At this point, if you feel the consistency is too sticky or so, just some more flour to obtain that smooth texture.
  • Grease the dough with a tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Cover the Bowl/vessel, with a cling wrap or slightly dumped cloth and the set, is aside for 2 hours or until the dough is double in size.

Procedure:

  • Once the Dough is double the size, take is out on a clean platform, dusted with little flour and inflate the dough and knead it again.
  • You should get around 12 pieces of bread, 9 inches each once rolled.
  • Roll each dough ball almost ½ an inch or less but not more.

How to bake it:

There are two ways:

Oven

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius, crease the backing tray well with olive oil or any oil or can spread baking sheet on the grill directly. Place the bread carefully in the oven and wait until they rise and become golden brown.

Non-stick Pan or Tava:

We are experts in it, aren’t we?
Place the tava on your burner, make sure it is hot enough, Place the bread carefully. Let is rise on the tava by itself.
Stack one on one serve it hot with hummus or use is as a sandwich by tearing it in between, eat it anyway you want. I just love it!!

CAUTION:-

Do not overheat the water, it will kill the bacteria in the yeast, and the dough won’t rise.
If the consistency of the dough is not right, add dry flour spoon by spoon to avoid any trouble.
Make sure there is no air passing through covered bowl or the dough will become too dry.
Do not put the bread on burner directly, this is not ROTI!!

The Second recipe on this list is:

Hummus

(Is a famous middle eastern food dip/ spread, which can also be used as a healthy alternative to any cheese spread, butter etc.,)

Ingredients

  • 2 Cans of Chickpeas (or if you want to do it at home then, soak the chickpeas overnight, boil them until soft and let it cool, do not through the water away)
  • 2 tablespoon of Tahini (It is simple, ½ cup of slightly roast some white sesame seeds just make sure the color doesn’t change, transfer in a mixture jar, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, salt to taste, 1 clove of garlic (optional), 2- 3 tablespoon of olive oil, blend well. Serve it with some garnished chopped parsley.)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoon of Lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, (avoid if JAIN)
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped Parsley
  • Chopped Mint leaves
  • Cayenne pepper powder or red chili powder.

How to make it:

In a mixer or food processor ( I had used Nutri-bullet for this), Put chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, 2 ½ tablespoons of olive oil, garlic, salt, and blend it well, keep adding the leftover water from the can or the one from boiled chickpeas, Blend until smooth in texture. Garnish with some mint leaves, parsley leaves, cayenne/ chili powder and the remaining olive oil. It is that simple!!

Serve with the hot Kaboos you made. YUMMMMMY!!!

The third on the list is a very interesting one,

It is not like the usual salad you have had before, this one is a little different, It is:

Fattoush

(everyone has a different way to make it, but this one is MINE!!)

Ingredients

  • 200 to 300 grams of Lettuce (iceberg and roman)
  • 1 Capsicum
  • 1 big white onion (Avoid If, Jain)
  • 2 Pink Baby Radish (Avoid if, Jain) If you can find these avoid but do not use the white ones as they are quite strong in taste)
  • 1 cup Baby spinach leaves
  • 3 Cucumber
  • 2 Tomatoes (remove the seeds and the pulp)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoon of Lemon Juice
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoon of Sumac (This is a Middle eastern spice which may not be available in India, instead you can use 1 large tablespoon of powdered pomegranate seeds)
  • Chopped parsley leaves
  • Chopped Mint Leaves
  • One tablespoon olive oil.

How to make it:

In a mixing bowl, add roughly cut Lettuce, Capsicum, Onion, Radish, Spinach leaves, Cucumber, Tomatoes, Parsley, Mint, toss them well. In another mixing bowl, add olive oil, lemon juice, pomegranate seeds/ Sumac powder, salt, and mix well. Add the liquid mixture to your salad bowl at the time of serving, toss well, and serve fresh.

The Last but not the least is:

Falafel

(Deep fried dumplings, made out of Chickpeas. It can be served as a sole starter or as a side dish as well)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of dry chickpeas, (soak them for 8 hours or overnight) do not use the canned ones,
  • 1 small onion (Avoid If, Jain)
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic (Avoid If, Jain)
  • Handful of freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 ½ tablespoon of flour
  • 2 tablespoon of cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder or chili powder
  • ¼ of black pepper powder
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon slightly roasted sesame seeds.
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable oil to fry

(honestly, I don’t use measurements, I just eyeball everything)

How to make it:

Step 1. Drain the chickpeas and rinse well, add all the ingredients in a food processor except oil and flour. The consistency at this point should be grainy and crumbly.

Step 2. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the flour and  Mix well.

Step 3. Now make small balls from the mixture and fry!! That’s it!!

Serve hot with Tahini sauce.

Now comes the fun part. EATING!! This is how I like it!!

Falafel Sandwich

(Like vada pav in Mumbai, Falafel sandwich is a life saver here. It is a wrap of all the above recipe in one, it tastes good and moreover, it is healthy.)

How to make it:

Cut the bread in half, fill the stuffing of Tahini sauce, Hummus paste, Fattoush & Falafel. Take a bit, sit back, relax and ENJOY!!

I know this seems to look like a lot of work to do, but trust me guys this is simpler than you think!! It is trouble-free and easy to make and you can create your own version too, but do share it with me as would love to try your innovation.

Please Note all the images used above doesn’t belong to me and are used only for the blog purpose.

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