I think I'm Turning Lebanese....

Although not as much as these guys

But I have been cooking up a middle eastern desert storm lately

Last Friday I made this seriously labour intensive but very yummy chicken, mint, burghul and yoghurt soup with chili cumin sauce

chicken burghul yoghurt soup.JPG

Recipe from Gourmet Traveller but adapted by me

Chicken Stock
- a chicken carcass, a whole chicken or 2 chicken breasts or whatever
- onions say 2 chop in half skin on, it doesn't matter too much at this point
- celery stalks
- half a head of garlic
- 1 - 2 chilis halved lengthways
- 1 cinamon quill
- 1 - 2 cloves
- 1/2 a lemon
- water

Make stock or you can just get premade chicken stock and a flavour with the lemon, garlic, cinamon and cloves and chili and then poach a couple of breasts in the stock by bringing it up to boil adding the breast, put on a heavy lid, take off the heat and leave the breasts to cook for say 40 mins...
If making stock from scratch remember to start from cold water and wash chicken well to get a nice clear stock.

Once chicken is cooked shred it and put aside. Strain the stock if it is a bit scumy.

Now make the chili sauce
30 gms of dried chilis deseeded and then hydrated in water (be careful and don't touch your eyes or anything when doing this)
Pulse the hydrated chilis with 3 cloves of garlic, 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1 tsp each of ground corriander seed and cumin and a big pinch of salt.

Assemblage of Soup
Pulse/ Blitz 2 tbspns/ big gulp of olive oil, 1 onion, 2 cloves of garlic and 2 tspns of dried mint (or fresh) into a paste
Soak 100 gms of burghul (cracked wheat) in water until soft
Combine 500 gms of plain yoghurt, 1 beaten egg and 1 tbspn of cornflour in a little bowl
Fry onion paste until fragrant 5 mins or so and add stock (around 4 - 5 cups of stock) bring to the boil then simmer
Once simmering add your yoghurt mixture slowly while stirring and let simmer for 10 mins (do not boil)
Add burghul, salt to taste, squeeze of lemon juice and shredded chicken
Garnish with shredded fresh mint and some thinly sliced chili (optional)

Then Abla Amad's lamb shanks with chickpeas and rice

Abla's Shanks.JPG

Recipe - inspired by Abla made tastier by me

Soak 1/2 cup of chickpeas overnight
In a heavey based pot fry lamb shanks until brown on the outside
Add some onion, leek and garlic (1 onion, a leek or more and a good amount of garlic 4 cloves perhaps) and fry until soft
Cover with some chicken stock and add chickpeas, bring to the boil and then simmer on low heat for 1 - 2 hours
Add rice maybe 1 - 2 cups depending on how many people you want to feed, add salt, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1/2 tspn fresh ground pepper and 1/2 tsp of allspice (plus a bit more)
With the lid on continue to simmer until rice is cooked
Stir through some butter (optional)
Serve with yoghurt and the chili sauce you made for the soup

You can add carrots at the onion stage and lentils at the rice stage also

Later on this week I made zucchini fritters from recipe in newly acquired Greg Malouf's Saha book accompanied by babaganoush, tabouleh and humus.


And then I also made some felafels to freeze as quick study dinners. I can give you the recipes if you like

My job would be easier if I could get hold of an Ol'eb Felafeler - a felafel maker in plain English.

I had a look around on the web for one and found this gold felafel maker - for the arab who has everything

Gold O'leb Felafer.jpg

If this is too flashy for your liking you can instead go to the Jerusalem Depot online and pick up a plain stainless steel one, along with a pair of "down with the people" rootsy Biblical Sandals - it all adds to the authenticity you know. Although you probably couldn't wear them when making felafels if you owned the souless monster that is the Felafel Robot, safety factor aside, mass produced felafels and biblical sandals just don't go together .


    ah yum. the best falafels in Cologne are made by a small Chinese lady in a small shop near our old place (quite an achievement in a city filled with lebanese, turkish, iranian and arab emigres)

    i'd love to hear the recipes for the soup and the lambshanks things if poss!
    made your ume hiya-noodles while moving, superb dish for warm days


    i have lebanese cooking ambition big time now, these sound f**kin delicious


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