Sesame Cookies/Barazek

Sesame Cookies – Barazek Sesame Cookies – Barazek These irresistible little cookies are Ramadan favorites throughout the Middle East—but they are also gobbled up throughout the year. Ingredients – 1 c. sesame seeds – 2 tbsp. honey – ¾ c. sugar – ¾ c. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened – 2½ c. flour – ½ tsp. baking powder – Dash salt – ½ to ¾ c. water or milk – 2 tbsp. pistachios, chopped Instructions Step 1:Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets. Step 2: Place sesame seeds…

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Chicken in Walnut and Pomegranate Sauce/ Khoresht Fesenjan

Chicken in Walnut and Pomegranate Sauce/ Khoresht Fesenjan This rich entrée is often served by Iranian cooks for holidays and other special occasions. Fesenjan can also be made with turkey or other poultry. Ingredients –        3 to 4 tbsp. butter –        4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 to 1½ lb.) –        2 medium onions, minced –        2 c. walnuts, chopped finely or ground coarsely in a food processor –        ½ c. pomegranate molasses or syrup * –        1½ c. water; ½ tsp. cinnamon –        ½ tsp. ground cardamom; ½ tsp.…

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Lamb in Yogurt Sauce/Mansaf

Lamb in Yogurt Sauce/Mansaf Mansaf is considered the national dish of Jordan, and it is often served for festive occasions of all sorts, including weddings and important holidays such as Eid al-Fitr. In Jordan the yogurt sauce is usually made with dried goat-milk yogurt or whey that has been cooked with water, but plain yogurt will work as well. Ingredients –        1 lb. lean lamb, cut into bite-sized chunks* –        1 onion, chopped –        ¾ tsp. salt –        ¼ tsp. pepper –        1½ c. medium or long-grain rice –        ¼…

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Potato Latkes

Potato Latkes These crispy little pancakes are an old favorite for Hanukkah meals.They can be served as an appetizer, side dish, or even main course. Ingredients –        4 baking potatoes, scrubbed thoroughly and peeled –        1 small onion, peeled –        1 egg, beaten –        ½ tsp. salt –        ¼ tsp. black pepper –        2½ tbsp. flour –        Vegetable oil for frying –        Applesauce, powdered sugar, or  sour cream and chopped parsley for topping (optional). Instructions 1. Shred potatoes with a grater. Use your hands to squeeze as much liquid out…

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Red Lentil Soup/Shourbet Adas

Red Lentil Soup/Shourbet Adas This flavorful soup is a long-standing Ramadan tradition, often used to break the day’s fast in countries throughout the Middle East. Some cooks like to add cubed lamb, but this vegetarian version is just as common. Ingredients –        2 tbsp. olive oil –        1 large onion, chopped –        1 c. red lentils, rinsed well and drained –        6 c. water –        ½ tsp. cinnamon –        1 tsp. salt –        ½ tsp. black pepper –        2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped *This simple shourbet has dozens of variations.…

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Semolina Cake/Basboosa

Semolina Cake/Basboosa This sweet, dense cake is an Egyptian specialty. It is popular at Ramadan but is also enjoyed yearround. If you have trouble finding semolina flour, you can substitute Cream of Wheat®. Ingredients Cake: –        Butter for greasing a pan, plus ½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted flour for dusting. –        ½ c. sugar –        1¼c. semolina flour –        1 tsp. baking powder –        ½ c. almonds, slivered, plus 1 to 2 tbsp. halved almonds –        2/3 c. plain nonfat yogurt Syrup: –        1 c. water –        2…

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Persian Nut Pastry

Persian Nut Pastry This simple dish is easy to make and delightful to eat. Ingredients –        1 lb. fresh, pitted dates –        ½ c. (1 stick) butter –        ¾ c. all-purpose flour –        1 tsp. ground cardamom or 2 tsp. cinnamon –        ¼ c. powdered sugar for sprinkling. Instructions 1. Divide dates among 6 individual dessert bowls. 2. Place butter in a small saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk, 2 to 3 minutes, or until flour is golden brown but not…

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Persian Nut Pastry/Baghlava

Persian Nut Pastry/Baghlava Baghlava is one of the most common Middle Eastern desserts, and it is found on menus from Turkey to Egypt. However, recipes do vary slightly from country to country.This one is a traditional Persian (Iranian) version of the sweet. Other recipes replace the cardamom with cinnamon and use one layer of nuts—usually walnuts or pistachios—in place of the two different layers called for here. Ingredients Pastry: –        1 c. ground almonds –        ¾ c. sugar –        1 tsp. ground cardamom –        1 c. ground pistachios, plus 1½…

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Stuffed Vegetables/Mahshi

Stuffed Vegetables/Mahshi Like so many Middle Eastern dishes, stuffed vegetables are popular across the region, but recipes vary from cook to cook and country to country. For variations, try substituting cooked lentils or beans, or tofu for the meat. Ingredients –        2 eggplants or 4 zuchinni, tomatoes, bell peppers, or onions* –        ¾ c. uncooked rice; 1 tbsp. olive oil –        1/3 lb. lean ground lamb or beef; 1 large onion, chopped –        1 clove garlic, minced; 1/3  c. pine nuts (optional) –        8-oz. can crushed tomatoes; ½ tsp. cinnamon…

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Upside-Down Lamb and Eggplant/ Maqluba

Upside-Down Lamb and Eggplant/ Maqluba The way this dish is served, flipped over onto a serving platter, gives it its name—maqluba means “upside-down” in Arabic—the main language of the Middle East.Although most versions of the recipe call for the eggplant to be fried, broiling it reduces the fat, and it still tastes great. Ingredients –        2 large eggplants; salt for sprinkling, plus ½ tsp. –        1 c. rice; 3 c. water –        3 to 4 tbsp. olive oil for brushing; 2 tbsp. olive oil –        ¼ c. pine nuts –       …

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