HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


*September 2010 COTM: tNBoEF - Fish, Poultry, and Seafood & Meat Dishes

Our cookbooks for September 2010 are THE NEW BOOK OF MIDDLE EASTERN FOOD
ARABESQUE: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey, and Lebanon by Claudia Roden.

Please use this thread to discuss recipes from the chapters Fish, Poultry, and Seafood & Meat Dishes from THE NEW BOOK OF MIDDLE EASTERN FOOD

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Is there any way to link up with the past COTM discussions of Arabesque? Or did I somehow miss that (very possible, insanity prevails around here).

    2 Replies
    1. re: LulusMom

      Arabesque has its own threads. They are the same ones we used the first time we cooked from the book. Look in the COTM announcement post.

      1. re: beetlebug

        Thanks bb, my fault for not reading the COTM post! I just didn't see any arabesque post and figured somehow they'd be added in with these. My bad.

    2. Meatballs in tomato sauce, p275 in my edition

      This is a Moroccan version of an everyday Middle Eastern dish, according to Roden. We liked it very much indeed.

      I made a half recipe using ground lamb, which you mix with finely chopped onion (I used shallot), parsley, coriander (didn't have any), cinnamon, cumin and ground ginger. You knead it all together and then form the meatballs and drop them in a sauce made with tomatoes, hot peppers, parsley, cumin, cinnamon and cayenne. Add water to cover and simmer for 20 minutes or so until the meatballs are tender and the sauce is thickened.

      We served with brown basmati rice and thought this delicious, with a nice level of spice (although I halved the recipe I kept the spice levels the same). Mr gg raved, but then after 4 days of hospital food anything would have tasted good! Next time I would mix it all in the food processor, as it says a few pages earlier in the introduction to the minced meat dishes. I didn't read that until I was halfway through making the dish!

      3 Replies
      1. re: greedygirl

        First of all, glad to hear that Mr. GG is home from the hospital.

        Second, in rereading some of the posts from the Arabesque month, I've noticed that a lot of the reports suggest doubling the spices. I plan to do so in most of the things I make, since I tend to like this spicy. Has anyone else who has cooked more from these books noticed that this might be necessary?

        1. re: LulusMom

          I think it might be true with this book too. I made kibbeh (stuffed fried one) and the spice level was really low.

          1. re: cpw

            Really? I've also made TNBoMEF's kibbeh and don't remember it being low in spice count.

      2. Djaj fil Forn (Roast Chicken with Lemon and Garlic), Pg. 213
        This from the Poultry chapter...I see no other place to put it.

        Roast chicken is on a regular rotation in our house for its easy prep and delicious finish. This recipe is no exception. I usually don't put oil on the skin, but I followed the recipe exactly and the result was full of flavor, juicy, and yes, crispy skin.

        We used a 3 1/2 lb organic free range chicken from the farm, EVOO, lemon juice, S & P, and 4 cloves of crushed garlic. The oil, juice, garlic, s & p are mixed together and rubbed all over the chicken. Into a preheated 350F oven it goes breast side down in the roasting pan. I used a v-rack as I usually do. Half-way through roasting the chicken is turned breast side up. In all the chicken cooked for 1 1/2 hours.

        I served it on a grilled slice of freshly made country bread with a mixed green salad along side. Scrumptious! BTW: This is an Egyptian recipe.

        18 Replies
        1. re: Gio

          Gio, that recipe caught my eye also, but there was no way I was going to turn the oven on for 1.5 hours. So, from the same page, last night it was:

          Chicken Sofrito (Pg. 213)

          This recipe is essentially for braising a whole chicken stove-top in a liquid made from vegetable oil, lemon juice, water, turmeric, cracked cardomom pods, salt and white pepper. Roden calls for 1/2 to 1 lemon for the juice. I only had a half in the fridge so used that, but I wish I had used more. Also, I used 3 very large, bone-in and skin-on breasts.

          Roden also says that this may be served hot or as part of a cold buffet or family meal. I served it hot, and was somewhat disappointed as it was a bit bland. Couldn't taste the cardamom at all. However, the meat was "soft and tender" as promised. But, before posting this, I tried a bite of it cold, and guess what? Much improved! Quite delicious, actually. But I still can't taste the cardomom....it is also, sufficiently lemony tasting when cold.

          1. re: clamscasino

            I have the Sofrito on my list too, Clams. Wonder what happened with the cardamon. I like that flavor. Our kitchen is cool so having the oven on wasn't an issue.

            1. re: Gio

              Hmmm, well maybe I didn't "crack" the pods enough. Or maybe the problem was that I used white cardomom, as that's all I have. I haven't had the book long enough to read the introduction, so perhaps some other color cardamom should be used?

              1. re: clamscasino

                From what I've read white cardamon pods are bleached but I don't know it that impairs their flavor. Both black (aka brown) and green cardamon pods are available and it's best to buy the whole pods because ground cardamom loses flavor rapidly. In India the whole pods are fried before being added to a dish. I really can't remember what the recipe said about prepping the pods for the Sofrito. though.

                ETA: In the book Ms Roden states we can use either whole or ground cardamon, and white, brown or green. Now _I'm_ confused.

          2. re: Gio

            Gio: We are having a much needed Indian summer here (after a lousy August). A couple of people are coming for lunch tomorrow to visit the patient - do you think this would work on the Weber (I'm thinking I'd probably spatchcock the chicken)?

            1. re: greedygirl

              Hi GG.. actually, I Do think it would work. After all, those ingredients are applicable to almost any method of cooking. Perhaps marinate the chicken for a bit...??

              Hope the recuperation is going along well.

              1. re: Gio

                Thanks Gio. Recuperation is going fine and leg has stopped doing its impression of a lava lamp. Prognosis is excellent - I am getting fed up of nursing duties though!

            2. re: Gio

              You are right. This thread should include Poultry, but I can't edit the original. Guess I missed a chapter. So sorry...

              1. re: smtucker

                We've edited the title for you to include poultry. Happy cooking!

                1. re: The Chowhound Team

                  @smtucker: no apologies necessary...I just tucked the report between the seafood and meat chapters where it appears in the book.
                  @TCT: Many thanks!

              2. re: Gio

                Well this recipe doesn't appear to be in my book, strangely. However, there is one for grilled chicken using a similar marinade so I'm going to try that. I will report back anon.

                1. re: greedygirl

                  That's odd, isn't it? Why wouldn't that recipe be in your book? Different edition?

                  1. re: Gio

                    Must be, I guess. Mine is a Penguin one.

                    1. re: greedygirl

                      greedygirl, is yours the New Book, or just the Book of Middle Eastern Food? I know Roden re-edited, added and subtracted for TNB (according to her introduction). But if you have TNB, it seems odd there would be such an omission in the UK edition.

                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                        It's the New Book of Middle Eastern Food. Have checked again, and this recipe is does not seem to be in my edition.

                2. re: Gio

                  I made the Djaj fil Forn (Roast Chicken with Lemon and Garlic), Pg. 213 last night. I'm very devoted to Barbara Kafka's high heat method for roasting chicken but always open to finding a better/different way. This was really simple to prepare, flavors was great, meat was very flavorful and moist throughout. So, all in all a success. That said, I missed the crackling skin of the high-heat method, so i might combine the two next time (lemon garlic rub/high heat cooking) and see how that goes. It's funny, garlic, lemon, salt & pepper is pretty standard chicken seasoning, but somehow knowing that it's an Egyptian standard made it feel more exotic. I served it with Israeli couscous and a Greek salad. Tasty meal.

                  1. re: balabanian

                    Djaj fil Forn Variation #2, pg 213

                    I made the basic recipe a couple of weeks ago and was very impressed with it's ease of preparation and delicious results. Sunday afternoon found me busy making home-made chili sauce to can so an easy peasy dinner was in order. I did variation #2 which just calls for adding 2 teaspoons of cumin to the original rub/marinade. We enjoyed it very much. The Chowpup garnished her serving with the warm chili sauce and declared it delicious!

                  2. re: Gio

                    Djaj fil Forn (Roast Chicken with Lemon and Garlic), page 213

                    My turn to make this easy roast chicken. I roasted a 5 pound chicken with a half a lemon in the cavity. I almost forgot to flip it so it ended up a bit splotchy. Still tasted good though - lemony, garlicky, and juicy.

                  3. Meatballs with Eggplant Sauce pg 263

                    Yesterday a client brought 1 lb of eggplants from her garden to a meeting. These eggplant were of the long, skinny, Japanese variety. I gave my DH a choice of four options from the tNBoEF and this is what he chose.

                    First step is to roast the eggplant. I used the broiler method which took almost no time at all. You then chop and mash the eggplant into a colander to drain. [My favorite Greek cookbook always removes the seed pods, but Roden doesn't mention this. I did, however remove the really large and mature ones.]

                    I bought a leg of lamb and ground the 1 1/2 lbs required and mixed as directed. Since she doesn't specify how much salt, I did a small tester patty. I ended up using about 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt. I cooked the meatballs, and then began the sauce in the same pan even though she specifies two pans.

                    The sauce required my first adjustment. The recipe calls for 2 lbs of eggplant. I had 1, so I reduced all the ingredients by half, maybe. I used a small onion from a local farm, and my ripest tomato from my own garden which was pretty large. I think calling this a sauce is a bit of a misnomer. You cook everything until there is no more liquid, and then added the cooked meatballs to simmer. So I would consider this a ragu.

                    The meatballs really need to sauce to be complete. The meatballs are only flavored with cumin, allspice, salt and pepper, while the sauce has onions, garlic, tomato and eggplant. The flavor is really subtle, and after the initial "mouth surprise" we both really enjoyed this dish. The ragu could easily be served without the meatballs and would make a fabulous vegetarian/vegan entree.

                    I didn't add all the of the meatballs to the ragu since it was just two of us. We consumed 1/4 of the meatballs to a 1/2 recipe of ragu which we thought was a perfect balance of meat to vegetable. Each meatball was just less than a tablespoon and the recipe yielded 33 meatballs.

                    Served over Plain Bulgar Pilaf page 367.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: smtucker

                      Meatballs with Eggplant Sauce pg 263

                      I really, really liked this. I had a ton of eggplants and tomatoes and more on the way so I thought I better use some up. I debated between this, the meatballs in tomato sauce or the lamb stew with eggplant sauce and went with this because I could use up more vegetables and had ground lamb in the freezer.

                      Taking into account smtucker's observations, I made some tweaks. I used more than the two lbs of eggplants (maybe 2 1/2 - 3 lbs) and also used two large tomatoes to balance the eggplant. I also find with many recipes, for vegetables, the serves 4, will serve the two of us. Also, I only had 1 lb of ground lamb so I only used one egg (v. 2) but kept the spice level the same.

                      This was delicious. The eggplant sauce had so much flavor in it. It was thick but the meatballs became ensconced in the sauce itself. I also used the same skillet that I fried the meatballs for the sauce. There were all these lovely brown bits that I couldn't bare to waste. So, when I fried the onions, I scraped all those bits up. It made the sauce incredibly flavorful.

                      With my 1 lb of ground lamb, I got about 32 meatballs. Before cooking, they were a little smaller than a tablespoon. They shrunk up to teaspoon size.

                      I served this over tomato bulgar and beets with yogurt.

                    2. Grilled chicken, p228

                      Marinate chicken in the juice of 1 lemon, half an onion, chopped and crushed to release the juices, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, EVOO and S&P.

                      I spatchcocked my chicken and left it in the marinade for a couple of hours before cooking on my Weber BBQ. It was really good and four of us polished off the whole lot - not a scrap left!

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: greedygirl

                        Curiouser and curiouser. This grilled chicken recipe does not appear in the US-published Knopf edition. Seems like it and the roast chicken with lemon and garlic Gio reported above. Other than the cooking method, the differences seem to be the onion and more lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon vs. a half) in this version.

                        The edition I have is from 2000, and the info on the copyright page says: "Originally published in Great Britain in 1968 by Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd., London, and in 1972 in slightly different form in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. A previous revised edition was published in Great Britain by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd., in London, in 1985."

                        I'm now assuming you have the 1985 Viking/Penguin one, GG; perhaps she revised further before publishing the 2000 Knopf edition.

                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                          FWIW: I have the 2000 edition published by Alfred A. Knopf. I have he same edition as Caitlin complete with the paragraph she quoted.

                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                            This is the edition that I am using as well if that matters.

                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                              greedygirl reported in the dessert thread about the famous orange and almond cake (same as was popularized by Nigella Lawson), which is not in the Knopf 2000 edition, so Roden really did more revision between the two.

                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                Oh no! I'm distressed by the idea that she subtracted between the two editions...


                              2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                Yep, it's the 1985 Penguin one I have. Strange that there should be differences in the UK and US editions.

                            2. Kofta bel Sabanekh wal Hummus (Meatballs with Spinach and Chickpeas), Variation #1, Pg. 266,
                              2000 Edition

                              Although I used all the seasonings and adhered to the directions I substituted minced turkey, kale leaves, and cannellini beans for the meats called for, the spinach, and the chickpeas. Nevertheless the resulting dish was outstanding. We loved it.

                              Minced meat and grated onion are kneaded into a fine paste with S & P added. This is then rolled into smallish meatballs and fried in a little vegetable oil till they're brown but not quite cooked through. These are removed to paper towels. The leaves of the greens are cooked with butter and a little water, covered, till wilted . Because the kale leaves were larger then spinach I sliced them a la chiffonade. Next, the beans are added an along with S & P and the whole is cooked, covered, for about 5 minutes. This part of the recipe is Egyptian. The variation is Turkish: yogurt with crushed garlic, S & P , dried crushed mint with paprika sprinkled over which is used to "smother" the greens and meat. I chose to put the meatballs with a bit of the greens into a small fresh pita and drizzle the yogurt over. Th greens and beans were served along side. I had some leftover Casik so served that as well... with corn on the cob from the CSA. (12 ears this week...!) Dessert was an nice cinnamony apple cake which hit just the right sweet note.

                              P.S.: A bit of housekeeping is in order. The Asian book is still showing as COTM.

                              1. Chicken with Plums - p 215
                                This was a great weeknight meal made with what I had in the house - given plums are in season here in CT.
                                I used chicken drumsticks since that's what I had rather than boneless chicken pieces but I adjusted the cooking slightly - you're supposed to cook at a very low heat in olive oil and butter - I needed to speed up the cooking (got home late from work) and had the bone in. So I seared the chicken in olive oil and then added a little chicken broth to finish the cooking. The rest of the recipe I followed pretty much to the letter - added plums and garlic to the chicken after it was cooked. The sauce of plum jam (we have a great jam from a farmers mkt in VT), vinegar, garlic and chili pepper (I used aleppo pepper) was a good contrast to the chicken. This one's a keeper!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: ctbrit

                                  This sounds realy tasty, ctbrit. Was the finished dish sweet & sour? I love that.

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    Yes & not too sweet - but that's probably partly down to the quality of the jam - but then I love plum jam !

                                2. Pan-Cooked Fish Fillet with Chermoula Sauce p.187
                                  Chermoula sauce is made with cilantro, garlic, cumin, garlic, chili pepper, olive oil and lemon. Half of this is used to marinade the fish (we used cod) for 20 minutes. Cook fish in skillet and serve with the remaining sauce. After making the chermoula, I was very excited about the fragrant and flavorful sauce. After tasting the completed dish, I was not as enamored by it. I liked it ok, but wasn't convinced that cod was the best fish for the sauce. Perhaps a stronger tasting fish or another protein would work better. I should also note that I was unable to find cod with the skin on. This might have impacted the final dish too. Does anyone have previous experience with chermoula that could recommend another fish or protein to try with it?

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: BigSal

                                    I just picked the book up from the library the day before yesterday and have barely had a chance to even skim it. But one thing I did read was her comment that there are as many different chermoula sauces as there households that make it. It may not have been your fish; it may have been the sauce.

                                    I had always made "wet" chermoulas before, but in the book "Spice," Anna Sortun has a dry charmoula (yes, different spelling) that has become a staple in my house. I use it as a rub for grilling or roasting fish and I've used it with mahimahi, tuna, salmon, cod--I can't even remember the whole list. Especially when I'm on a healthy eating kick, as I am now, I'll use this rub on grilled fish at least once, sometimes twice, a week.

                                    This doesn't really answer your question. It sort of turns it in a different direction. But try this. You won't be disappointed.

                                    Mix together:

                                    2 teaspoons ground turmeric
                                    1 tablespoon ground white pepper
                                    1 tablespoon ground ginger
                                    2 tablespoons ground cumin
                                    1 tablespoon sea salt
                                    2 tablespoons sweet paprika

                                    I rub the fish with about a teaspoon of oil on each side, sprinkle it with a hefty pinch of this charmoula mix, rub it into the fish, and broil it. Try it. I really think you'll like it.

                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      Hey, a non-cilantro charmoula -- now that I might like!

                                      1. re: JoanN

                                        Joan, I used your/Anna's charmoula mix in lamb burgers tonight -- OMG good!!! A hefty dose of charmoula plus some Worcestershire sauce was all I used, and they were fantastic. The ginger, in particular, gave a wonderful note.

                                        I use it last night on some yellowtail, but wasn't crazy about the results. Probably more due to the fish and our taste preferences than the charmoula, but I do think I'll be using the mix more with lamb, chicken, and possibly pork.

                                        1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                          Thanks so much for reporting back. I had intended to try it on meat, but hadn't yet gotten around to doing so. Those lamb burgers sound right up my alley.

                                          Interesting that you didn't care for it on the yellowtail. I wonder if perhaps it needs a heartier fish. I've been using it mostly on mahimahi and tuna, both fish that can hold their own against imposing flavors.

                                        2. re: JoanN

                                          Thanks for posting this. Is there a specific kind of ish that you think goes particularly well with this?I plan to give it a try.

                                          1. re: BigSal

                                            As I say, I've been using it mostly on mahimahi and tuna (because I had a bagful of each from Costco). Was surprised to hear Karen say she didn't think it worked well with yellowtail. Based on that, I'd say go for a sturdier, heartier, more flavorful fish. I'll bet it would be great with swordfish

                                            1. re: JoanN

                                              It was really the yellowtail itself that I was unhappy with, though I didn't think the charmoula did it any favors. Maybe it's just me. I can definitely imagine the charmoula going well with mahimahi.

                                          2. re: JoanN

                                            Another triumph for Joan's Charmoula! First I sauteed a large red onion. Then I browned boneless pork chops that had been liberally covered with Joan's Charmoula, Next I added some liquid (I used leftover whey from making ricotta, but I'm sure any broth would do) and some chopped preserved lemon, brought it back to a simmer, topped with beet greens, and simmered for 10-20 minutes, or until the pork was just done. Removed the pork, vigorously simmered the sauce to reduce it a bit. Served over simple couscous. It Was Divine!

                                            Thank you, Joan! I'm officially in love with this spice mix.

                                            1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                              That sounds just terrific, Karen. You've really taken this seasoning and made it your own. So much fun to read about.

                                            2. re: JoanN


                                              I has been over two years since you posted this response, but I finally tried the charmoula mixture with mahi mahi tonight and it was delicious! Finally, a spice mixture that works on fish for me. It did not overwhelm the fish- just complemented it. Thank you.

                                          3. Lamb Stew With Creamy Eggplant Sauce - Hunkar Begendi p.244

                                            Since there was an autumnal twinge in the Massachusetts air today, I decided to make a stew. Unfortunately this isn't one I will be rushing to repeat. It was OK, just nothing special. The stew itself has just onion, garlic, lamb and tomatoes plus seasoning. The eggplant sauce is a white sauce mixed with the mashed flesh from roasted eggplants with some kasseri cheese. Rather bland. Like smtucker's eggplant sauce, Roden doesn't mention the seed pods in the eggplants. Miine had large and dark pods so I removed as much of them as I could as she talks about retaining the white of the eggplant, which wasn't going to be the case if I left the seeds in.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: JaneEYB

                                              Thanks for taking one for the team. I took advantage of the cool morning to roast eggplants and beets. I almost chose this recipe to make but had ground lamb and not a piece of lamb. So, I ma de meatballs instead. The meatballs with eggplant sauce was delicious.

                                              1. re: beetlebug

                                                I made a Greek lamb kebab marinade (p. 237 under the heading "Other Popular Marinades") which my husband loved. He said it was the best kebab he'd ever tasted (!!). Very simple: blend in food processor 2 onions, 2 tomatoes, 2/3 cup EVOO. juice of one lemon, 2 tsps rigani (wild marjoram) - I didn't have any wild and so used tame marjoram. I also added a large clove of garlic. I'd bought some lamb shoulder chops and cut them into pieces. Let them marinate for a couple of hours, threaded them onto skewers and grilled them.

                                                I served them with some faro pilaf using the recipe for Bulgar Pilaf with Raisins and Pine Nuts on p. 368. I added some sauteed onions to the faro before adding chicken broth. The pine nuts are fried in butter and added, along with the raisins (I used golden ones) after the faro/bulgur is cooked. Quite nice.

                                              2. re: JaneEYB

                                                I was disappointed with this dish, too. Every once in awhile she throws a recipe at you that is just plain confusing---not in the cooking, but in how it's actually supposed to be presented and eaten. This one is a perfect example. We really enjoyed the simple lamb stew, and I might make that again on its own. However, the eggplant cream sauce was fairly bland and a little odd on its own merits, and just didn't seem to make any sense with the stew. Putting a moist stew on a bed of a separate sauce just didn't work for us.

                                                1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                                                  I had a hunkar beyendi in a restaurant in Turkey recently. In their interpretation, the lamb (actually it was beef because they'd run out of lamb!) was simply grilled and placed on top of the aubergine sauce which I think worked well.

                                              3. Morg Tu Por (Chicken Stuffed with Dried Fruits), Pg. 225, 2000 Edition

                                                Wow! Was this delicious. The stuffing was a little sweet for me but the chicken was full of flavor. DH couldn't stop raving. There's quite a bit of stuffing left over and I think I'll add a savory gratin topping to use as a side dish later in the week.

                                                One half pound each of dried plums and apricots, 2 chopped apples and 1/3 cup raisins (golden) with a chopped onion are sautéed in butter. S & P and ground cinnamon are added. This is stuffed into a 3 1/2 lb. chicken that has been oiled then roasted at 325F for 1 1/2 hours, breast side down at first then flipped for the last 40 minutes. The low temperature worried me especially as we were adding hot fruit into a cold chicken so we preheated the oven for a few minutes beyond what we usually do and boosted the temperature to 350F. That worked fine. The left over stuffing is put into another baking dish, covered with foil and roasted during the last 40 minutes.

                                                There's a variation suggestion for adding chopped walnuts which I would have used but for my no-nuts restriction. This was wonderful and I'll definitely be making it again. I think that stuffing, with cranberries added perhaps, would be fantastic with roast turkey, in fact she says she doubles the stuffing for turkey! This is a Persian dish.

                                                The serving suggestion was rice but I made the mashed carrots and potatoes on pg. 89 and the fried zucchini on pg. 288. Really great dinner.

                                                1. Bamia Matbookha, Okra and Meat Stew, pg 248

                                                  I was looking for recipes with okra, and I couldn't resist trying this recipe, which Roden calls a "much-loved dish of Egypt." I loved it, and my husband enjoyed having lamb stew to mask the taste of okra (not his favorite). My okra were a mixture of small and large, so I sliced the large ones and left the small ones whole. If I were making it again, I'd probably choose to slice all the okra just to distrubute the flavor better amongst bites. We ate it over basmati rice. It was perfect for this weekend when the nights had just a bit of chill.

                                                  1. I've been cooking from the book but haven't gotten around to posting - so here's a summary of two dishes I made for two separate meals

                                                    Chicken with Spiced Yogurt p 221
                                                    Since I've been finding some of the dishes less flavorful that I'd like I decided to focus on those with some significant spicing.
                                                    You make a sauce with greek yogurt, cardamom and grated fresh ginger - I halved the yogurt (only 2 people eating) but kept the spice level basically the same. This sits 'infusing' while you cook the chicken. For the chicken (pieces) you fry an onion, then add the chicken, brown it, add a cup of water (I used low sodium broth since I had some open and wanted to use it up). Then cook over a low heat - she suggests 20 mins for dark meat but the thighs I had took more like 30-40 mins. You remove the pan from the heat and stir in the yogurt. Then sprinkle with toasted almonds.
                                                    It was very tasty with the cardamom and fresh ginger flavors coming through and different to anything I've made before. The yogurt separated a little (I used low fat) and I made the mistake of not chopping the almonds well so there were too many crunchy pieces in the sauce. It also wasn't very hot - the yogurt cooled it down somewhat despite being a room temperature. Overall a success not sure if I'll make it again.

                                                    Fish in a Hot Saffron and Ginger Tomato Sauce - p186
                                                    This was another weekday meal
                                                    Instead of a whole fish I used Salmon steaks.
                                                    You fry garlic and a chili for a minute, add chopped tomatoes (i didn't bother peeling and it worked fine), sugar, S&P, grated fresh ginger and saffron and simmer for 10 minutes (I didn't have Saffron so added a little sumac - I know the flavor profile is totally different but I figured it'd work and it did). Then place the fish on top of the sauce and simmer until done. I had to add a little broth - my tomatoes didn't seem to be that juicy.
                                                    The result was a great midweek meal, that I'll make again, I think it would work OK with canned toms. It didn't take to long, only took the one pan and had a lot of flavor. I served it with steamed kale and boiled fingerlings - there was enough flavor in the sauce.

                                                    14 Replies
                                                    1. re: ctbrit

                                                      Tonight I made Claudia Roden's version of Chicken with Preserved Lemon and Olives (Djaj Mqualli), p. 218

                                                      Years ago, I'd made this dish using a Paula Wolfert recipe.and wanted to try out Roden's. It used to be a go-to dish for dinner parties.

                                                      I changed the prep of the chicken because I only had parts and am not a big fan of poached chicken without browning first. Instead, I browned the breasts and thighs and then proceeded with the recipe. The chicken is cooked with garlic, onion, saffron, ginger and cinnamon. At the end, chopped preserved lemons (I have some I made a while ago - they last for ages and are a great addition) and green and pale brown olives are added. I served it with plain white rice.

                                                      This is just delicious. She calls for only the peel of the lemons, but I always chop up the meat as well.

                                                      1. re: oakjoan

                                                        THat does sound fantastic. How did it compare to Wolfert's?


                                                      2. re: ctbrit

                                                        Fish in a Hot Saffron and Ginger Tomato Sauce (page186)

                                                        I flipped through the book when I first brought it home from the library and nothing jumped out at me. Then I skimmed the reports and didn't see anything there either until I saw your report, ctbrit, on this recipe. Sounded right up my alley, and next day was farmer’s market day so I knew I could count on great Jersey tomatoes and fresh-off-the-boat fish.

                                                        I bought Pollack fillets, a fish I really know only as a “junk” fish—used to make surimi, frozen fish sticks, and fish and chips. But it looked really good, I knew it was in the cod family, the price was good, and I decided to give it a try.

                                                        I did skin the tomatoes; it’s easy enough to do. And I usually seed them as well, but after ctbrit’s comment about the sauce being dry, I decided not to. Glad I didn’t; it was easy to control the amount of liquid by controlling the simmer. Haven’t read the book carefully enough to know what’s being called for when the ingredient list says “1 chili pepper,” but I used a Thai chili with its seeds. Overkill for company, but not for me.

                                                        It was terrific. The fish, the recipe. This could easily go into rotation and is definitely getting photocopied before the book gets returned.

                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                          Could you possibly post amounts and an idea of the technique? I have som frozen tilapia (yawn) and some nice homemade Jersey tomato sauce to use up. It'd be great if you would.

                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                            ctbrit was pretty detailed on the technique above, which was why I didn't bother. I'd only add that fillets need to cook in the sauce for 3 to 6 minutes depending on thickness. I turned mine, although the recipe doesn't say to do so with fillets.

                                                            Here's the list of ingredients as it is in the book:

                                                            2 whole fish (about 3/4 pound each) or about 1 pound fillets
                                                            3 cloves garlic, chopped
                                                            1 chili pepper, finely chopped
                                                            2-3 tablespoons evoo
                                                            1 pound ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
                                                            1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
                                                            1/4 tsp crushed saffron threads
                                                            1-1/4 inches fresh gingerroot, grated to crushed in a garlic press to extract the juice

                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                              Thanks vv much, and sorry, didn't remember the previous post.

                                                          2. re: JoanN

                                                            Just realized how awful that photo is, but you can't add a photo in edit so I'm adding one here. The focus might not be any better, but at least the color is closer to accurate.

                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                              Joan N
                                                              Glad that it worked out for you too
                                                              Seems like a good recipe to make with the 'less popular' fish since there's so much flavor in the sauce

                                                          3. re: ctbrit

                                                            That chicken with yogurt is another one of her dishes that I just didn't "get" when finished. Interesting flavor combinations, but what is it? The completed dish has a *lot* of fairly thin liquid, with chicken and chopped nuts swimming around looking lost, and there are no recommendations for pairing with bread, rice, etc. If I make it again, I think I'll at least halve the yogurt and try to coat the chicken with spiced yogurt instead of drowning it. Also, be warned that this dish desperately calls out for some cilantro or other appropriate and colorful garnish. As written, the recipe leaves you with brown chicken and brown nuts in a bath of tan yogurt.

                                                            1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                                                              I think that some of the dishes for which recipes are given are things you have to have grown up with really to love. (After all, macaroni and cheese isn't exactly terribly attractive on the plate or very appealing to those for whom it wasn't a staple.) The Turks I work with get in food for lunch that for the large part looks like a dog's dinner (and doesn't taste that good to me either), but they love it and praise its authenticity. This is not in any way whatsoever to deprecate Turkish food, one of the world's finest, but these particular homestyle dishes are not attractive to one not raised in the culture.

                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                Dishes bathed in yoghurt are pretty common in Turkey and I quite like them - partly because the yoghurt is always exceptionally good and often homemade. I'm particularly fond of a pasta in yoghurt dish which we always have on a boat trip we like to make. On paper it sounds horrid, but it's actually really nice as part of a buffet.

                                                              2. re: eight_inch_pestle

                                                                This sounds an awful lot like a dish I made (and did NOT care for) from Arabesque on Sunday. I've loved pretty much everything else, but this was just blah, and a mess to look at. It was pita bread with broth and vinegar, then torn up chicken pieces, then the yogurt (which had a bit of mint and garlic in it, but even though I'd added extra was still very bland) and some toasted pine nuts. So I hear you - I didn't "get" mine either.

                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                  The yogurtlu dishes like this that I've had in Turkish restaurants also have a tomato sauce, which certainly adds more flavor.

                                                            2. Circassian Chicken, from the original (not 'New') Book of Middle Eastern Food, p. 185

                                                              The flavors in this dish were delicate, yet satisfying. You poach a chicken with a couple of onions and stalks of celery (I used skinned thighs & drumsticks). Remove the chicken and keep warm. Strain the broth.

                                                              Using 2 cups of the broth, make a sauce with 1 cup of nuts, ground, and 1 c bread crumbs. She says walnuts are traditional, but other nuts can be used, so I took the easy way out and used some TJ almond meal, about 1/3 c to 1 c of broth. My bread crumbs were whole wheat instead of white. You could speed up the meal prep by making the nut sauce with some already made chicken broth while the chicken is cooking.

                                                              Lastly, you mix 1 tsp paprika with 2 tbsp oil (I used sweet paprika and sunflower oil). It basically suspends the paprika grains in the oil.

                                                              Serve the chicken with rice (I used kamut) and the nut sauce, and drizzle with the paprika oil. She suggests serving it cold, but we ate it warm.

                                                              As I say, we quite enjoyed this even though the flavors weren't very assertive. But I'd be inclined to add more spices and herbs if I made it again. Doing a quick web search, I see that most modern recipes do call for more flavorings, like adding allspice, parsley, or bay leaves to the poaching liquid, adding onion to the walnut sauce, or making the paprika oil with warmed walnut oil. So tell me, did Ms. Rodan gussy up her old, simple recipe in the new book?

                                                              Also, I'm terribly intrigued by the recipe for Ferique that follows Circassian Chicken in my book. Do you have it too? It's basically chicken poached with wheat berries, whole eggs, and a calf's foot, for 3-4 hours! No seasoning other than 2 tsp of turmeric, salt, and pepper.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                                                Circassian Chicken is on p. 104 of the New Book. Looks as if the sauce proportions are a bit different, but it may be a larger-yield recipe. This one calls for 2 cups walnuts, minced or ground, 2 slices bread, optional garlic, and 2 tsp. paprika (but only 2 tsp). This is for 4 breast halves and 4 wings (and she says serves 8). No Ferique.

                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                  I made Circassian chicken once from a recipe in the NYT and it had 40 cloves of garlic in it!!! I love garlic, but that much (blanched, not raw) was absolutely revolting, fishy/metallic. What was I thinking? The mild version sounds good.

                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                    Interesting that she changed the recipe from one whole chicken to just breasts and wings (especially since I went the opposite direction with thighs & legs), but that still isn't much flavoring compared to other recipes.

                                                                    Ferique sounds like a great comfort food dish for a cold winter night. I do think I'll try it sometime this winter, although I'm thinking of jettisoning this copy of the book as a whole. Perhaps I should try to get a copy of the new version from the library for comparison, because it seems like the recipes in this old one were simplified for the times. Although at this point, I think I'd turn to Paula Wolfert's books first instead.

                                                                2. The Spicy Shrimp from Morocco (p. 197) is one of my favorite lightning fast dinners with a simple vegetable or salad and mound of rice or---if I have more time---a nice rice pilaf. I tend to add a little freshly ground coriander. I also double the recipe: I don't know who gets full on 1/4 pound of shrimp for an entree, but they sure don't live in this house.

                                                                  1. Chicken with Tomatoes and Honey, p. 219.

                                                                    Been making this for years and just love it. A sure hit for anyone who likes saffron and honey and tomatoes and enjoys pairing sweet and savory.

                                                                    1. Yugurtlu Kebab [page 239]
                                                                      Kofta with Tomato Sauce and Yogurt

                                                                      The weather in Boston is just nasty today. It is pouring rain, the winds are whipping off the ocean and the dampness cuts to the bone. After three straight meals of soup, my husband declared NO FISH SOUP. But since I really didn't want to leave the house, I "shopped" the freezer and found four turkey koftas from Indian Month.

                                                                      If you aren't making the koftas, this recipe is start to finish, 20 minutes tops if you remember to start draining the yogurt a bit earlier and bypass the skinning and seeding of the tomatoes. One pound of tomatoes diced is put in a saucepan with some olive oil, salt and sugar. Meanwhile, I heated the toaster oven to toast the pita and toasted some pine nuts. Since these koftas were made with turkey, I didn't put them under the broiler, but instead cooked them in the sautee pan, once the pine nuts were done, with a bit of oil [no breadcrumbs.]

                                                                      To serve you build a tower starting with the pita, then the hot tomato sauce, room-temp yogurt, sprinkle paprika, drizzle some olive oil [I reduced the amount], topped with the kofta and the pine nuts. This was really delicious! [Yes, that is the sound of surprise.] Such a simple concoction, that is full of flavor.

                                                                      I served with a bit of plain bulgar to catch the extra tomato sauce.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: smtucker

                                                                        If LulusMom is reading along, this is the kind of thing I was talking about in my post above, with the tomato and yogurt...

                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                          I'm here! I think the tomato sauce has to make a huge difference.

                                                                          And btw, smtucker, I'd LOVE some fish soup!

                                                                        2. re: smtucker

                                                                          There's a version of this in Arabesque which I made recently and we also loved it.

                                                                        3. L'Hout Hraimey (Peppery Hot and Garlicky Fish, Pg. 193, 2000 Edition

                                                                          Fantastic dish of spicy white fish (pollock) fillets coated with a sumptious sauce of harissa, a whole head of garlic, cayenne, paprika (sweet Hungarian), a bit of tomato paste, cumin, lemon juice and salt.

                                                                          To start, the garlic is peeled, pureed in a blender then added to a skillet with the tomato paste, veegetable oil (peanut) and the rest of the ingredients. A cup of water is stirred into the mix and the sauce is brought to the boil. Simmer this for about 5 minutes. Carefully add the fish to the skillet and cook over low heat between 3 and 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets. Turn the fillets just once during that time. Add more water if necessary. We didn't have to do that.

                                                                          This was a spicy dish but not too hot. Just enough heat to make the fillets pleasantly piquant. Went very well with Dorie Greenspan's Orange or Lemon Rice Pilaf and her taziziki sauce.

                                                                          1. THE NEW BOOK OF MIDDLE EASTERN FOOD, Tagine T'Faia p. 221

                                                                            Encouraged by a chowhound to post my experience with this recipe, here goes:

                                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/825835 is where I initially inquired about this recipe and was given good advice. I promised to follow the chowhound's advice re liquid, but 'got scared' and didn't.

                                                                            In Roden's recipe she called for putting all the ingredients in at once, including water, bringing to a boil, then simmering for close to an hour.

                                                                            But I put separately the onion and spices on the bottom, cooked until transluscent, then added the chicken.

                                                                            The big decision for me was whether to add water or not. I had intentions of not adding water, but I had about 1/2 cup of chicken broth that I decided to use - this was a lesson for me. Even though there were no vegetables in this recipe to create liquid, I just didn't need that chicken broth/liquid amount.

                                                                            Instead of cooking approximatley 1 hour, we cooked for 3 hours (stovetop - electric).

                                                                            The recipe called for arranging boiled eggs and fried almonds when done. I did not do this. This is basically just great chicken without the added ingredients IMO.

                                                                            Served with rice and "Essential Pepin" COTM haricot verts -my posting at

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Rella

                                                                              Thanks for taking the time to post this. I am thinking about getting a tagine myself, so I may be revisting Roden soon.