It’s been almost a year since I posted a recipe on this blog, during which I got engaged, then married – much sooner than was initially planned! -, and moved to Turkey to pursue a masters degree in Turkish Studies. It’s been a hectic but rewarding chapter of my life, and I’ve really missed posting new recipes throughout.
I finally decided to make the commitment to try and update the blog regularly again, even if the interval between posts is longer than I would like. I’ve received comments and feedback from family, friends, and readers, who have both asked for more recipes, and have given me useful suggestions on how to improve my posts!
To start off, I’m sharing a very simple recipe for mtabbal (sometimes spelled mutabbal), a creamy roasted eggplant dip that makes a great appetizer or a side to grilled meat dishes. A lot of non-Arabic speakers might be familiar with the term Baba ghannouj, which is basically very similar. I hope you enjoy it!
Poke a few holes with a fork into two whole eggplants and roast in oven until the skins start to blacken. Peel them, discard skins, then mash up the insides in a bowl.
Add a spoonful of crushed garlic, some chopped parsley, three spoonfuls of tahini paste, the juice of two lemons, a bit of cold water, olive oil, and salt to taste. Mix well until all incorporated. Mix in some diced tomatoes if desired.
(If you don’t want to turn on your oven, you can roast the eggplants over a gas stove by placing the eggplant directly on the burner, and turning it every few minutes until cooked through.)
I thought I would post a few simple salad recipes today. They are refreshing, and a great complement to any meal.
Palestinian Cucumber-Mint Yogurt Salad
2 cucumbers, chopped finely or grated
1 tub of plain yogurt
3-4 cloves of garlic, mashed
1-2 heaping tablespoons of dried mint
salt to taste
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl except for the mint. Then, put the mint between your palms and rub your hands together briskly over the bowl, letting the mint fall in. This releases the oils in it and makes sure it gets ground up finely.
Turkish Carrot Yogurt Salad
5 large carrots, grated
4-5 cloves of garlic, crushed (you can also use garlic salt instead, but I prefer fresh garlic)
3-4 tablespoons of vegetable oil for sauteeing
aprox 2 tubs of plain yogurt
salt to taste
In a frying pan, heat the oil. Add the crushed garlic and sautee it until just golden.
Then, add the carrots to the frying pan and sautee them until they get tender and turn a dark orange color. Take them off the fire and let them cool off.
In a mixing bowl, empty the tubs of yogurt. Add the carrots, scooping all the oil out of the pan into the yogurt. Add salt to taste.
Fasulya b Zeit, or Turkish Green Bean Salad
aprox 1 kilo of fresh green beans, washed, with the ends taken off, and cut in half
1 large tomato, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
aprox 1/3 cup of olive oil, more if you want
salt to taste
pinch of sugar
In a cooking pot or wok, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped onion and sautee until tender. Then add the green beans.
Sautee the green beans gently for a couple minutes, then add the chopped tomato.
Stir, then add water to the pot, until just a few centimeters below the level of the beans. Add salt to taste and a sprinkle of sugar. Cover the pot and let the beans cook on a low flame. Keep covered. Check every fifteen minutes if they need more water. The dish is ready when the beans are tender. Serve chilled (although my Arab relatives preferred to eat this dish hot, with a squeeze of lemon juice, using bread to scoop up the beans!).