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Know a good Middle Eastern Dish?

Looking to try a Middle Eastern dish for my Blog Wichita Falls Foodie at wichitafallsfoodie.com. If I use your recipe I will give you full credit! Thank for your time :)

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  1. Paneer

    1 gallon whole milk
    1 quart good quality buttermilk
    1 cup oil (Canola works well)

    In a large (bigger the better) pot, bring the milk to a boil over medium heat.
    When the milk begins to boil (it'll happen quickly and milk expands when it boils so watch carefully so it doesn't boil all over the stove top) begin to stir while adding the buttermilk in a slow steady stream. Stir continuously while the fat separates from the water into a curd.
    Strain through cheese cloth in a colander or similar vessel and allow it to drain off as much liquid as possible, (an hour is usually enough time) then pour the remaining liquids into another container for later use.
    Collect the curds and drop them into your food processor. Pulse the food processor for a few minutes until the curds are smooth and can be formed into a ball in your hands. You can add a little of the reserved liquid from the previous step if it's too dry.
    Knead the mixture until it's nice and smooth, the form it into a ball (much the same as mozzarella) then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Allow to rest in refrigerator at least twenty four hours.
    To prepare the final dish, pour oil into a heavy skillet (I like cast iron) over mediuim heat and cut the cheese into 1 inch square pieces. Fry these in the hot oil until they are lightly brown. Drain and pat with paper towels; serve. Goooood stuff ...

    1 Reply
    1. re: todao

      Ian't paneer more south asian than eastern Mediterranean?

      How about imam bayildi? Lots of recipes out there for this mezze item. We do a low fat version - the slices of aubergine are poached in passata or similar and then allowed to cool together, rather than fried. Separately, onion, pine nuts, sultanas and chopped tomato are fried and allowed to cool - this then tops the aubergine slices.

    2. Muhammara is one of my favorites. You need to find pomegranate syrup/molasses (Whole Foods may have it), but it's otherwise a breeze. There are two major kinds: with roasted red bell pepper and with tomato paste instead. I like both kinds. There are many recipes for each. Here's an easy one I've made:

      http://www.theperfectpantry.com/2008/...

      1. Mujadarra - easy, versatile, and acceptable to Middle-American palates.
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7444...

        2 Replies
        1. re: greygarious

          Another classic. There are two main variations of this -- with rice or with bulgur. I like it with bulgur better, because the bulgur is less assertive, which allows the caramelized onions and a good olive oil to shine more. But this is only true if you do a good job with the onions and use a good olive oil. It's also good with a nice basmati rice.

          Whatever you do, use LOTS of olive oil and slowly caramelized onions. Otherwise it will taste like some over-grainy dish dreamt up by weirdo vegans.

          1. re: sushigirlie

            One of my favorites, too--so easy and comforting and always a hit with those trying it for the first time. I'd had the recipe for years before I tried it, because it looked too simple to be anything special. Now I'm eager to try it with bulgar.

        2. What sort of dish are you seeking? Starter? Main? Bread? Just wondering as I have a few really excellent Middle East cookbooks.

          1. Fesenjan: chicken and ground walnuts and pomegranate molasses in a stew. What's not to like?

            5 Replies
            1. re: Joebob

              Fesenjan is delicious but can go horribly wrong and isn't exactly the easiest thing to make. My favorite dish in the whole world (being Iranian) is Mirza Ghasemi - its an eggplant dish that can be served as an entree, hot and over rice, or as an appetizer/dip - cold or hot, with pita bread. Its relatively easy to make and gets better over time (so you can make it the night before and it will be heavenly the next night!).

              2 large eggplants
              2 medium onions, chopped
              8 cloves garlic, chopped
              2 TBSP butter or vegetable oil (not olive oil)
              1 teaspoon turmeric
              1 teaspoon salt
              1/4 teaspoon pepper
              2 tomatoes (some people peel then by dropping into hot water for a few seconds to loosen skin - but to be honest I don't bother) and then chopped
              3 eggs, lightly beaten
              Roast the eggplant in 400 degree oven until brown on the outside and very soft on the inside (this part you can do however you like. Some people peel and slice it and bake it w/ some vegetable oil. Others peel/slice and then fry it

                1. re: greygarious

                  Oops! Sorry - here is the full recipe:

                  2 large eggplants
                  2 medium onions, chopped
                  8 cloves garlic, chopped
                  2 TBSP butter or vegetable oil (not olive oil)
                  1 teaspoon turmeric
                  1 teaspoon salt
                  1/4 teaspoon pepper
                  2 tomatoes (some people peel then by dropping into hot water for a few seconds to loosen skin - but to be honest I don't bother) and then chopped
                  3 eggs, lightly beaten
                  Roast the eggplant in 400 degree oven until brown on the outside and very soft on the inside (this part you can do however you like. Some people peel and slice it and bake it w/ some vegetable oil. Others peel/slice and then fry it on the stove. I like roasting it b/c its less fuss. Basically just get the eggplant cooked and soft.) Cool and scoop out the insides. Mash the pulp.
                  Sautee the onions in oil/butter 5-7 minutes over medium heat until they start to get translucent. Add the garlic and the turmeric and coat well. Add the eggplant, season with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and stir. Cook for 5-10 minutes over medium heat. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and then pour in. Keep stirring while they cook. Check for salt/pepper one more time. Serve over basmati rice or with pita bread.
                  Noosheh-Joon!

                  1. re: momnivore

                    I love Mirza Ghasemi, but one of my favorite things about it is the smokiness of the eggplant, which I didn't think I could pull off in the oven or by frying. Does your roasting method get any smokiness?

                    I don't think Fessenjan is that hard to do, but it does take a bit of tasting and adjusting pomegranate molasses, sugar, salt to taste. And when well done, it's heavenly. Some recipes on this old thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3724...

                    1. re: rose water

                      I think roasting it does get a little more smokiness. I never really thought about that, I just like doing it that way because its easier :) And I'll be honest, I've never made fessenjan myself - it just seemed really hard to do and I've had it where it tasted awful even when made by people whom I ordinarily consider very good cooks so that's why I thought it would be hard. Maybe I should try it one day. When its done right it is fantastic!

            2. Lamb and vegetable stew is great this time of year since the slow cooking results in a very rich soup with tender meat while filling the house with the incredible scent of cinnamon and allspice, but bamia or loubieh are just as good if you are short on time or are vegetarian. Many families will also gather to celebrate Christmas with more labor intensive dishes like kibbeh or delicate pies made from filo (my favorite is made with spinach, feta and kashkaval cheese).

              1. This has been a favorite of mine for decades, the koosas are squash, use slightly overgrown zuchinis

                http://www.recipesource.com/ethnic/af...

                1. any more requirements? you can make anything from stuffed squash to lentil soup to syrian-style meatballs... well, i can go on forever. if you give us specifics, i can share some recipes!

                  1. If you can get dried lemons (also known as black lemons or limes) they add a fantastic sour earthiness to chicken, lamb or fish dishes. I have an amazing recipe for chicken if dried lemons are available to you.

                    1. Tabbouleh. Make sure you can get fresh mint. Soak 2 cups bulgur wheat in cold water while you chop a huge quantity of parsley, scallions, and mint. Drain the bulgur, pressing it hard in a sieve. Add the chopped stuff and some fresh lemon juice and olive oil and salt. Garnish with sliced tomatoes and cucumbers (some people add them but it makes the tabbouleh too wet if you intend to keep it a day or so). Eat it as a salad or side dish.

                      If you are trying to acquaint the folks of Wichita Falls with Middle Eastern food, you might want to begin with such beloved basics as Tabbouleh, Moussaka, and Baklava. BTW I never heard of Paneer being Middle Eastern. It is routinely served in Chicago's Indian restaurants. Also, just now I consulted half a dozen Middle Eastern and Indian cookbooks and, trust me, it is Indian.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Querencia

                        If you want to make american-style tabouleh, you can use 2 cups of bulgar, but if you want classical lebanese tabouleh, here is a recipe from taste of beirut. Notice that she uses 1/4 cup of bulgar for three bunches of parsley and no cucumbers. There is very little bulgar in lebanese tabouleh. Nothing wrong with putting lots of parsley in your tabouleh, it makes it more similar to a turkish kisir than a tabouleh.

                        http://www.tasteofbeirut.com/2010/10/...