Archive for the ‘Greek/Middle Eastern’ Category

Lawang: Afghan braised chicken in turmeric & yogurt sauce

May 8, 2013 7 comments

Chicken Lawang

I really like Middle Eastern food though my experience is quite limited. Sure, hummus, falafel, chicken rice cart, Ali Baba (South SF) and Kabul Afghan Cuisine (San Carlos & Burlingame) are familiar to me but I imagine this is similar to Americans who are familiar with “Chinese” food. You know, chow mien and General Tso’s chicken. I have the Jerusalem cookbook, but I want to learn more, eat more and cook more. At some point, I want to make a field trip to Little Kabul in Fremont, too. Turkey has also been high on the destination list for a while, but the timing hasn’t worked out quite yet.

In search of a recipe for my favorite Afghan eggplant and lamb dish, I found a recipe for lawang, an Afghan dish of braised chicken in a turmeric and yogurt sauce. Joel almost always orders the lawang when we go to Kabul Afghan Cuisine and since we had Greek yogurt (it is now a permanent fixture in our fridge and a permanent substitute for sour cream unless we have guests) and extra chicken legs I didn’t use for the chicken adobo I figured this would be the perfect time to try the recipe. It is so easy and delicious–just takes a bit of patience as the onions and chicken slowly simmer into a velvety sauce. Don’t stir the yogurt in until you are ready to eat it–otherwise the yogurt will curdle. It’ll still taste good but it’ll look a little gross (I learned this when reheating later). Read more…

Categories: food, Greek/Middle Eastern, meat Tags: ,

Spiced Chickpeas & Fresh Vegetable Salad

March 29, 2013 2 comments

Vegetable & Spiced Chickpea Salad

I love the mixture of cold crunchy vegetables and warm toasty chickpeas. I like this salad because it tastes fresh and is very flexible. For example, I don’t like raw onions, so I excluded them.   Read more…

Open Kibbeh Pie

March 28, 2013 1 comment

Open Kibbeh Pie

I got the Jerusalem cookbook several months ago while wandering around my neighborhood bookstore, Omnivore. I picked it up, not because I had read a feature on the two chefs in Food & Wine magazine, but because the book’s cover was pretty. It has a silky gloss (similar to that of Barbara Kingsolver’s books 15 years ago) that’s uncommon for a cookbook and it was padded. Seriously, pick it up. Touch it!

Though I try not to buy cookbooks (too heavy to move and the internet usually has what I’m looking for), there were so many recipes I wanted to try! Of course, it has taken me several months to finally make something, but the purchase was definitely worth it and you’ll likely see more recipes soon.

This open kibbeh was probably the main reason I picked up Jerusalem. Almost 10 years ago, I worked for a start-up that provided lunch every Wednesday. Hands down, the popular favorite was food from Ali Baba. It was through those lunches that I was introduced to Middle Eastern food and kibbeh, delicious football-shaped fried balls of bulghur wheat stuffed with lamb, spices and pine nuts. I don’t know the correct way to eat them, but I always smeared them with tahini or hummus and chased it down with some tabbouleh. Read more…

Categories: food, Greek/Middle Eastern Tags:

Beef & Eggplant Stew w/Couscous

October 30, 2011 2 comments

Beef & Eggplant over cous cous

There’s an Afghan restaurant near my office that has a beef and eggplant dish that I just can’t get enough of. Since eggplants are plentiful at the farmer’s market, I thought I would try to make something similar. Though the Afghan version and the original recipe both use stew meat, I opted for ground beef because I wanted a smoother texture. I love the smooshiness of the eggplant, the saltiness of the feta and the bitterness of the parsley.

I served the stew over whole wheat couscous cooked with beef broth and chopped green olives and parsley. Because I was traveling for work, I put half in the freezer for another time. I think I will make some sort of pastitsio-like dish (baked pasta). Read more…

Categories: food, Greek/Middle Eastern Tags:

Spicy Parsley Hummus (from dried chickpeas)

July 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Spicy Cilantro Hummus

I read somewhere that the best hummus is made from dried chickpeas (not canned) and I now have to agree. We’ve made hummus before from canned chickpeas and though it was good, it was never great.

This batch originated from dried chickpeas (from Berkeley Bowl) and I have to admit it isn’t much harder…you just have to remember to soak the chickpeas overnight. Or maybe my new 9-cup processor just makes it easier to make a big batch of hummus than in my mini food processor, when everything would inevitably overflow. Whatever it is, we’ve found our hummus mojo.

Since Joel likes spicy hummus, we threw in a serrano pepper which wasn’t spicy enough…so we added chili pepper powder and chili pepper flakes to bring up the heat. I also had parsley leftover from the pasta puttanesca and added two fistfuls of that to the food processor. Read more…

Moussaka, Take Two

May 1, 2011 2 comments


Its been a little hectic around here. Though I’ve been cooking, I haven’t had as much time to post. A few weeks ago, I was really craving moussaka and none of the Greek restaurants on the peninsula (where I work) could scratch that itch. San Francisco only has a handful of Greek restaurants, none of them convenient to where we live (Chicago, I miss you!), so I took matters into my own hands.

The last time I made moussaka, it turned out a little drier than I had hoped. This time around, I worked off of this recipe from Simply Recipes. I sliced and roasted the eggplant rather than dredge, batter & bake which resulted in moist & mushy eggplant (which I wanted). I liked the flavor of the meat sauce from the last moussaka better but liked the moistness of this meat sauce because I added a 14 oz can of crushed tomatoes to everything. My bechamel was a bit runny but that was better than last time’s thick glue. I had some sort of greek sheep’s milk cheese from Berkeley Bowl and didn’t get a chance to shred it (the grater was in the dishwasher) so it looks a little chunky on top. This recipe also calls for boiled sliced potatoes, which made things a little TOO squishy for my tastes. I would go back to the fried potato coins from last time for a little more texture and a much better taste.

So all in all, I would use the meat sauce (adding a 14 oz can of tomatoes) and potato instructions from Emeril’s recipe and the bechamel and eggplant instructions from Simply Recipes. I put everything in my Le Creuset casserole dish and it was the perfect size for all the layers! Last time, I used a 9×11 pyrex, which was a little too shallow and I didn’t get all the layers I wanted down…had to handle overflow in a loaf pan.

Moussaka also freezes well. I put some in a tupperware and when I want to eat it, I just heat it up in the microwave.



Categories: Greek/Middle Eastern Tags: , ,

Lamb & Potato Pies

December 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Lamb & Potato Pie

I went to a Middle Eastern grocery on the Peninsula to look for some tarama to make taramasalata. Though I didn’t quite find what I was looking for, I did pick up some pre-made dough perfect for meat pies (I think its intended for spanakopita). I had been craving meat pies; I was remembering the snack-sized meat pie from Hoosier Mama Pie Company that I had at the Green City Market on my last morning in Chicago.

I sauteed:

  • 1/4 lb. ground lamb
  • small cooked potato (diced)
  • 1/3 white onion (diced)
  • handful chopped castelvetrano olives
  • dash of cinnamon
  • salt & pepper to taste

When adding the filling, I sprinkled some feta on top. Fresh meat pies hot out of the oven–yum! I have more wrappers in the fridge to make more of these super simple (though not light) pies.

Lamb & Potato PieMeat mixture

Lamb & Potato Pie

Lamb & Potato Pie

Lamb & Potato Pie