Middle Eastern cuisine is influenced significantly by the Arab Muslim culture. Simple and fresh ingredients are used, respecting health as foreseen by the Koran, which states: “Nourish yourself with what the earth produces that is good and healthy.” (Quran 2: 168).
One of the most famous traditions of Middle Eastern cuisine is Lebanese cuisine, extremely varied and refined, with significant influences from the Muslim Arab culture, for which lamb and dried fruit (pine nuts and raisins) are used a lot.
Syrian cuisine has an ancient tradition, but it is also influenced by Ottoman and French gastronomy, resulting in various tastes and colors. You may not know it, but many Middle Eastern recipes are quick and straightforward, with readily available ingredients.
1. The Falafel
Falafels are balls that you make with dried chickpeas soaked for a long time and then dried thoroughly. Also, blend them with parsley, garlic, coriander, and onion. Spices and sesame are added.
Afterward, meatballs are formed, which must be fried in hot oil. The best solution is to serve them with a salad and a sauce such as tzatziki or hummus.
The real taboulé has nothing to do with the already packaged one you can buy at the supermarket. Taboulé is made with chopped parsley, some fresh mint, bulgur, chopped tomatoes, and onion. You make the dressing with lemon juice and olive oil.
3. Courgette Medallions
These courgette medallions are easy to prepare and will allow you to feed the vegetables even to children. Grate courgettes and add garlic, onion, chili, cinnamon, black pepper, coriander, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
Then add some eggs, flour, yeast, mint, and parsley. Shape into flat meatballs and cook them in a pan with a bit of oil.
These meatballs are made with a paste and a filling. The paste consists of bulgur, lean ground beef, onion, a mix of spices (black and white pepper, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger), chili paste, and flour.
The filling contains sheep and/or beef, clarified butter (sold in ethnic food stores), chopped pine and walnuts, and the same spices used for the pasta. Fry the meatballs until golden brown.
5. Chicken Skewers
These chicken skewers are delicious. Marinate the meat with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and spices (chili, cumin, thyme, cinnamon, coriander). You can cook the skewers on the grill or in the oven.
6. Stuffed Grape Leaves: Dolmas
The recipe for stuffed vine leaves is widespread and varies from state to state. When you make this without meat, you can serve the rolls cold; on the contrary, if you make them stuffed with meat, it is better to enjoy them hot. Make the filling with a mixture of boiled rice, tomatoes, onion, parsley, mint, cinnamon, garlic, and pine nuts.
Stuff the vine leaves with this filling and fold in the shape of a cigar. Put them in a pan with a bit of water, oil, two teaspoons of sugar, a little lemon juice, and turmeric. Put in the oven at 120 ° for about two hours, turning the rolls from time to time.
Prepare this raw vegetable salad with tomatoes, cucumber, onions, purslane (it is a plant with small green leaves very rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium). Season and serve with croutons.
Get some pita bread and open it in half without breaking it entirely; put inside a light layer of filling made with tomatoes, onions, minced meat, olive oil, parsley, and mint. Flatten the bread and cook in the oven for about twenty minutes. Don’t forget to turn it halfway through cooking.
Tzatziki is a Middle Eastern meal that they make with goat yogurt, chopped cucumbers, garlic, and onion. Also, add olive oil, mint, and dill.
10. Baba Ganoush Or Mashed Eggplant
You can make this aubergine puree with previously grilled aubergines, then mixed with tahini (sesame cream), garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. To be enjoyed with a loaf of pita bread.