Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dawood Baasha -Meatballs & Pine nuts in tomato sauce (thanks Fedai!)

  • 1lb. basic kofta mixture (ground beef, parsley,mixed spices,onions,salt,pepper)
  • 1 cup pine nuts ( i use a handful)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 medium tomatoes (peeled) ...I use crushed less expensive and taste great!
  • 2 tabl. tomoato paste blended w/1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp. mixed spices
  • salt & pepper
  • juice of half a lemon
  1. mould kafta into small balls size of half an egg
  2. in a saucepan lighty brown pine nuts in oil, remove set aside
  3. fry onions in same pan until golden brown, remove and set aside.
  4. brown meatballs set aside.
  5. place peeled tomatoes and paste blended w/water in pan and bring to boil.
  6. add spices, salt, pepper, lemon juice, onions and meatballs.
  7. simmer 20 minutes.
  8. add more water is needed. add pine nuts before serving.
  9. serve w/rice pilaf



Sunday, September 23, 2007

Grilled Chicken Breasts (thanks Amal!)

Hi Rasha,

This is a quick and easy dish, and good for dieting. My version of grilled chicken breast.
  1. Take chicken breast fillets pieces and marinade in lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, greek yougart, salt and black pepper. You can substitue lemon zest for parsely if you want.
  2. Grill in oven for around 20 min. Half way through cooking, drain out the water that comes from the marinade, leaving a little to stay moist and leave to cook for another 5-10 min.
  3. Serve with rice or bread and salad.



Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sala6a - Arabic Salad

I've always hated the heavy salads with the thick dressing that they use in America. Salads in the arab world are much lighter and simpler. Because the dressing isn't heavy, you can actually taste the vegatables!

For the salad:
  • plum tomatoes sliced
  • cucumbers, sliced or diced - use the skinny type
  • chopped parsley
  • romaine lettuce or any other lettuce that isn't bitter - chopped
  • mint leaves
  • Other ingredients you might want to add are: carrots, bell peppers, radishes (use the small type)

For the dressing:

  • lemon or lime juice - use the thin skinned variety
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Garlic (optional)
  1. Wash vegetables and chop. Make sure vegetables are super-dry after you wash them.
  2. wisk dressing ingredients together and pour over vegetables


  • For Fattoush, cut pita bread into pieces, fry in olive oil until hard (alternatively you can just toast the pita bread pieces). Add to vegetables. Add sumac to the dressing ingredients.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Liver, Bahraini Style (Thanks Amal!)

Take around maybe
  • 300gms of liver chopped
  • 1 chopped red onion
  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic
  • black lemon or lime grounded (only found in arabic or maybe iranian shops)
  • khaleeji spice mix (ibzar),
  • black pepper
  • 1 potato (optional)
  • sunflower oil
  • salt.
  1. Peel and dice the potato into small pieces and par boil until slightly soft.
  2. Fry the onions and garlic in oil until soft
  3. Add spice mix, black pepper, grounded lemon. Let the spices infuse with the onions.
  4. Add the potatoes, liver and salt and mix on a high heat.
  5. Then lower heat and cover for a minute. Be careful not to over cook the liver as it will become hard.
  6. Serve with green salad, spring onions and pitta bread.

Lamb Chops with Rosemary - My Cousin Amal's Recipe

Hi Rasha ,

This my version of lamb chops with rosemary.

  • Take a few sprigs of rosemary, remove the leaves, put in blender until coarse powder.
  • Take black peppercorns and crush coarsely.
  • Mix peper with rosemary and olive oil to a paste consistency. Then rub on the lamb chops and marinade for 30 mins or more (optional). Sprinkle with sea salt and then grill in oven for 20 to 30 minutes. Serve with roast potatoes.

Take care


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Lentil Soup

Lentil soup is a ramadhan staple. There are many versions of this soup throughout the arab world, but my mothers version, which is the egyptian style is my favorite. Don't omit the cumin. Lentils have the tendancy to be really heavy on the stomach (yinfa'7 il ba6in as we say in Bahrain) and the cumin helps prevent that from happening

  • 1 cup of split shelled yellow lentils (it is essential to use the split shelled type)
  • 1/4 cup of rice (this is my mothers secret addition. It makes the soup much smoother)
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Boil lentils and rice in salted water until both are soft. Add cumin. The amount of water you want to boil it in depends on how thick you want the soup to be. I suggest using around 2/3 of a pot of water and adding more water if you later feel the soup is too thick
  2. Meanwhile, fry the chopped onions in butter until soft and golden
  3. Add onions to lentils and rice mixture
  4. Blend in blender and season with salt and pepper. Add more water if you feel that its too thick
  5. Pour soup back in pot and heat again for another 5 minutes stirring consistently


The proportions of the ingredients is really up to you. For a richer hummus, add more tahina. For a ligher more lemony hummus add more lemon. I don't like a lot of tahina in my hummus

  • 1 cans of chickpeas (drained and washed in water)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of tahina
  • salt taste
  • juice of 2 medium lemons
  • Olive oil and paprika to garish
  1. Blend chickpeas, garlic, tahina, salt and lemon juice together in blender
  2. garnish with olive oil and paprika

Dajaj fel furin - Chicken in the oven

This is one of the easiest recipes I know.

  • Chicken pieces - enough to to fit in a baking dish
  • Olive oil
  • tumeric - enough to rub chicken with
  • 2 large onions sliced
  • 2 large potatoes sliced
  • olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 375 farenheit
  2. Rub chicken with tumeric (make sure you go under the skin if the chicken has skin). salt, pepper and lemon juice. Brush with olive oil
  3. Brush baking dish with olive oil.
  4. Assemble onion slices, potato slices and chicken in baking dish
  5. cover with foil
  6. Bake in the oven for around 45 minutes. If chicken becomes dry, brush with more olive oil and cook for another 5 minutes

Dajaj fe ga3ateh - Chicken at the bottom

Another easy traditional Bahraini recipe. You can substitute the chicken for meat or even fish (use the meaty kind.. I've never made it with fish though so I wouldn't know how to adjust the recipe)

  • 1 pound chicken pieces (breast, legs, wings, whatever you want)
  • 2 large onion sliced into thin strips
  • 1 1/2 cups of basmati rice (soak rice in water until ready to use)
  • Ibzaar - Khaliji spice mix (see my maragat bamia post)
  • Cinnamon stick and 3-4 party open caramoms
  1. Half cook rice using straining method - basically you just fill the pot with water and salt, add rice (rice has to be MUCH less than water) and cook until rice starts floating (thats when you know its half cooked but taste rice to make sure). When your done strain rice.
  2. In the meantime, heat oil in a saucepan/pot. Rub chicken pieces with spices and add to pot (note: if pieces are large then cut slits in chicken and rub spices inside and under skin if the skin is on).
  3. Add onions.
  4. Fry until onions are soft
  5. Add rice and add a little water over rice
  6. Cover and reduce heat to medium - cook for around 45 minutes. Note: put a paper towel between cover and pot so that it absorbs the extra water

Ba7-7ari - Meat with rice

This is a traditional Bahraini dish that is quite easy to make. Ba7ari comes from the root word Ba7ar which means sea. I'm not sure why its called this so if you have any idea please let me know!

  • 3 large tomatoes or 6 small tomatoes diced - I prefer using italian plum tomatoes
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of ibzaar - khaleeji spice mix (see my maragat bamia post)
  • 1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons of garlic
  • 2 dried limes
  • 1 pound of stewing meat (lamb or beef but lamb is preferable) Meat can be with bones or boneless
  • 1 and cup of basmati rice (soak rice in water to remove extra starch until ready to cook)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Fry tomatoes, onions and garlic in a frying/sautee pan until garlic and onions become very soft
  2. Heat oil in a seperate saucepan/pot. Rub meat with spices. Fry meat until browned.
  3. Add tomato mixture to meat
  4. Add water, dried limes and salt to taste
  5. Bring to a boil.
  6. Simmer covered on low until meat is done
  7. Remove water so that only 3 cups of water is left
  8. Add rice.
  9. Simmer covered until rice is done

Sabzi gormah- Greens and Meat Stew

This dish is Iranian in origin but it's popular in Bahrain, the gulf and Iraq. Sabzi simply means greens in farsi. I use the same technique that I used to make bamia.

  • 1 1/2 pound of chopped spinich (I usually use the 16 oz frozen packages) - basically make sure that the spinich is one and a half times or at least double the rest of the greens
  • 1/3 pound of chopped flat leaf parsley (you can use the dry kind if you wish)
  • 1/3 pound of chopped coriander (again you can use the dry kind)
  • 1/3 pound of chopped dill (again, can you the dry kind)
  • 1 pound of stewing meat (beef or lamb but preferably lamb). Can be with bones or boneless
  • 1 can of kidney beans or black eyed peas drained (can use an equal amount of the dry kind if you wish - prepare it accordingly)
  • 2 dried limes - if you can't find any use the juice of one lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of ibzaar - khaleeji spice mix (see my maragat bamia post)
  • Oil
  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan/pot. Fry meat with spices until brown.
  2. Lower heat. Add greens. Sautee until the color of the spinich changes from bright green to a mousy green.
  3. Add water (up to 2/3 of the of the pot).
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add dry limes
  6. Cover pot.  Cook on medium for around 45 minutes and then 10 minutes on low if using lamb.  Cook on low for around an hour if using beef.  Meat is ready when tender.
  7. Serve with basmati rice

Maragat Bamia - Okra Stew with Lamb

Versions of this recipe are found throughout the Middle East. My mother's version is especially good and really easy to make. You can use this recipe as a base for making all types of middle eastern stews. The basic technique is to fry the meat in spices (this is an important step that many people skip as it seals the flavor of the spices), fry vegetables and onions in a seperate pan. Add water to the meat and then add the vegetables.
  • 1 large sized onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of minced garlic (optional)
  • Juice of one lemon or alternatively 2 dried limes
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 3 large tomatoes or 6 small tomatoes, diced (I prefer Italian plum tomatoes as they have the most flavor)
  • 1 pound of okra (I usually use the 16 oz frozen packages you find in grocery stores. The best okra to use is the small egyptian variety)
  • 1 pound of stewing lamb or beef - lamb is preferable. In Bahrain we usually use goat meat but that's difficult to find in the US
  • 2 teaspoons of ibzaar (khaliji spice mix - see below)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying - I usually use olive oil unless I'm deep frying something, then I use canola oil
  1. Rub meat with ibzaar mixture
  2. Heat oil in a medium sized saucepan or pot. Add meat with spices. Add some salt to meat. Fry until brown. 
  3. Heat oil in seperate sautee/frying pan. Add tomatoes, onions, okra and garlic. Fry until onions are soft and slightly golden and until okra starts to slightly change color. It is best to add the garlic at the end of the frying process as garlic burns easily
  4. Add above mixture to meat.
  5. Add water (make sure that meat is completely covered by at least 1 inch)
  6. Add tomato paste, lemon (or dried limes) and salt to taste
  7. Bring to boil.  Cover pot and reduce heat to medium if using lamb (leave it on medium for around 45 min and then low for maybe 10 to 15 min) and to low if using beef.  
  8. Serve with Basmati rice

Important note - Khaleeji Spice Mix:

Most of my recipes call for ibzar, a khaleeji spice mix. There are many variations of this mix as each cook has her own secret recipe. I use my grandmothers, which she gives me each year when I come back home to Bahrain. I unfortunately don't know the exact combination that she uses but you can make your own by mixing the following:

ground black pepper (felfel aswad)
ground coriander (tabel/kuzbara)
ground cumin (cammoon)
tumeric power (kurkum)[important for removing the smell of meat)
ground or whole cloves (mismar)
For the best tasting ibzar, buy the spices whole and grind them at home

Ramadhan started a week ago. A combination of homesickness, hunger and longing for my mothers cooking prompted me to start this blog. Here you'll find recipes that my mother taught me throughout my years in college as well as recipes I've gathered from elsewhere. A lot of the recipes are Bahraini because that's where I'm from but you'll also find recipes from Il-Sham (Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, and Jordan), Egypt, Iraq, Iran and the rest of the Middle East. I've never written recipes before and I generally cook by taste, so if the instructions are too vague or you feel that the quantities arn't right, please let me know! Also, I'd love to post any recipes you have, so email me if your willing to share!