Times are rough. Everyone is anxious and worried. But that doesn’t mean you have to stop living your life. You can relax by indulging in one of the most therapeutic things to do while in lockdown – cooking.
This is the perfect opportunity to bring out your inner chef. And nothing is better than a delicious home-cooked meal. These dishes are rich beyond comprehension, both in taste and ingredients. Time to go through your pantry and whip up a delicious storm.
5 Middle Eastern lockdown recipes
Here are 5 recipes that you can try during the lockdown.
Persian Cantaloupe Juice
Juices are refreshing, tasty, and healthy. Try this delicious 3 ingredient Persian Cantaloupe Juice. It takes just 5 minutes to make and is a great addition to any meal or alone to refresh yourself.
Time: 5 min prep time. 45 min to set
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar (to taste)
Fresh mint, for serving
Peel cantaloupe, then halve and scoop out and discard seeds.
Cut each half into 2 pieces and coarsely grate into a bowl.
Mix with sugar and 3 1⁄2 cups water, then refrigerate at least 45 minutes. Serve with fresh mint over ice.
Lebanese Rice with Vermicelli
Lebanese rice is a staple side dish that goes great with many other Middle Eastern dishes. This dish is simple to make with just 3 core ingredients. The end result is an explosion of flavors that will leave you coming back for second and third servings.
Time: 5 min prep time. 30 min cooking time
1 1/2 cups rice
1/2 cup vermicelli pasta, broken into small pieces
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups water
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Add the unsalted butter and the vermicelli to a large saute pan or pot with a tight lid.
Brown the noodles on medium-high heat, stirring often.
Once the noodles are brown, add the rice and water to the pot and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low and then simmer for 20 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper, and add in chopped parsley or toasted nuts. Serve warm.
Qashat al-Narjeel (Omani coconut cookies)
Kids love it so do the adults. This thin crumbly coconut cookie is simple, sweet, and tasty. Made from just 3 ingredients, qashat al-narjeel is a delight to eat. It’s a delicious crunchy treat and tastes even better with tea or coffee.
Time: 10 min prep time. 15 min cooking time + 8 hours or overnight to set
1½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup powdered milk
¾ cup sugar
Combine coconut and powdered milk in a bowl; set aside.
Combine sugar and ½ cup water in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and a thermometer reads 220°, about 12 minutes.
Remove from heat and quickly combine dry ingredients until evenly coated.
Transfer to a lightly oiled piece of parchment paper and flatten out slightly; place the second piece of parchment paper on top and roll into a 9″ x 11″ rectangle.
Let set 8 hours or overnight.
Wait for a day and then cut it into bite-sized pieces.
Turkish Cheese Bourekas
Another recipe for the bakers. Bourekas are delicious puff pastries usually used as an appetizer. But you can use it as a snack while watching your favorite shows or have it with tea. The savoury stuffing and the crispy outer covering are an amazing mix of flavour.
Time: 15 min prep time. 30 min cooking time
2 sheets puff pastry
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup grated kashkaval cheese
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg (separate the yolk from the white)
1 tbsp sesame or poppy seeds for topping (optional)
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a mixing bowl, combine feta, kashkaval, ricotta, egg, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of black pepper.
Mix ingredients together till well blended.
On a smooth, clean, lightly floured surface, unfold one of your puff pastry sheets.
Use a rolling pin to roll out the sheet to a square.
Cut the sheet of puff pastry dough into 9 equal-sized squares.
Place 1 tablespoon of the cheese mixture in the center of each square.
Fold the dough squares to make roughly shaped triangles and crimp the edges with the tines of a fork.
Repeat this process till all the puff pastry are filled and folded.
Spray your baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
Place 9 bourekas on each sheet, evenly spaced.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and 2 tsp of cool water.
Use a pastry brush to brush a light layer of the egg wash onto the surface of each boureka.
Sprinkle the bourekas with sesame or poppy seeds, if desired.
Bake the bourekas for about 30 minutes, switching the baking sheets between the upper and lower racks halfway through cooking.
Bake till golden brown and cooked through.
Kuwait’s national dish is a rich rice dish that immediately fills you up. It’s comfort food that pairs well with any kind of meat. It takes some time to cook and needs special spices but it is well worth the effort. Cook it for lunch or for a hearty dinner that’ll leave you wanting more.
Time: 15 min prep time. 105 min cooking time
2 tsp ghee
1.5 kg lamb shoulder
2 roughly chopped onions
1 tsp Baharat
1 tsp turmeric
2 peeled tomatoes
½ tbsp powdered loomi
3 pieces of cassia bark
2 cups of rice
½ cup coriander (chopped)
Water (750 ml)
3 tsp salt (to taste)
6 cardamom pods
Saute the onions in a large pan, over medium heat, until they turn transparent.
Add turmeric and Baharat and cook until the onions and spices are thoroughly mixed.
Coat the lamb pieces with spices, cook until the lamb browns.
Add salt, tomatoes, and other spices.
Cover the pan and simmer for about 15 min.
Add coriander and water to the pan.
Cover the pan and cook over low heat for about 2 hours or until the meat is tender.
Add the rice, bring the pan to the boil. Cook for about 20-25 min over low heat until the rice is cooked.
Serve with green salad and yogurt.
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