I have been neglecting the blog recently. Too many things happening and too many deadlines but today I decided to prepare for you one of my favourite dips, the Iranian answer to baba ghannuge where grilled aubergines are mixed with caramelised onions and garlic and instead of tahini, kashk or dried buttermilk that provides both creaminess and tartness. A very interesting ingredients which you can buy in Persian shops either dried or already reconstituted in jars. I used the latter. And instead of drizzling the dip with olive oil, Persians use the much more luxurious saffron water as garnish together with a little of the caramelised onions and chopped walnuts which you can toast lightly to enhance their flavour.
I am just back from Doha where I had a few days of intensive eating, although not camel this time! However, because I was in the region and because my hotel was packed with Saudi families, having crossed the border to celebrate Eid in Qatar, I thought I would post a Saudi recipe for camel kabab which is actually the best way to eat camel unless you are having the hump. The good news is that you can now get camel meat in the UK from either Exotic Meats or Kezie Foods. You can of course skip the camel meat and make the kabab with lamb or beef but you won’t have a fun talking point over your meal. The traditional recipe calls for millet flakes but I use millet grains because it makes for a prettier presentation as you can see in the picture above. The grains also give the meatballs a nicer texture. So there you go, a recipe for meatballs with a difference. Hope you enjoy them!
I wonder how many of you will be partying tomorrow night. I for one will be having a quiet evening with my lovely friends in their house by the sea, snapping the sun as it sets and going to bed long before midnight. But for those of you who are in a party mood, here is a very unusual Saudi dip made with mulukhiyah (the leaves of the Corchorus species that are commonly known as jew’s mallow) for you to share with your family and/or friends. It takes longer to prepare than a simple dip like hommus or baba ghannuge but it is also a lot more complex and it is a special night after all, at least for some. Hope you enjoy it and wishing you all a prosperous and healthy 2013!
I wrote my Lebanese cookbook 20 years ago and when I did, I wanted to include a recipe for muhammara except that my mother didn’t have one. I then found a recipe in Ibrahim Mouzannar’s book but it was not like the muhammara I knew and loved — I think he suggests using burghul instead of breadcrumbs. A few months later, I found a good version at a Lebanese shop on Kensington High Street — long gone now — but they wouldn’t part with their recipe! As a result, I never included one in my book. But I kept looking until I finally found three good recipes, the one I give below, a classic Aleppine version which is posted later today on Design Sponge in their ‘In the Kitchen with’ section and a third one which was published in Food & Wine magazine a few years ago and which I had learned from Mohamed Antabli, chef/owner of Al-Waha. The one below is made with grilled peppers and the one on Design Sponge with pepper paste — I bring mine back from Aleppo or Gaziantep but you can find decent commercial pastes in Turkish shops. I sometimes bake mastic-flavoured crackers to serve with my dips and I also give a recipe for them here.