Chicken Masala

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast cubed 3 tablespoons masala mix (recipe below) 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 onion, diced 3 garlic cloves, diced 1/2 cup of water 1. In a large pan or wok add oil and onions, cook until golden on medium. Add chicken, garlic, garam mix, and water. Mix well. After five minutes reduce heat to low and cook for fifth teen minutes covered. Serve with white basmati rice Garam Masala spice mix: 1 tbs of each: chili powder, coriander, turmeric, cumin, dried ginger, fenugreek, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and curry leaves. Mix well and store. Yields: 4 servings

Moroccan Chicken Soup

This beautiful bright colored souped is perfect for those chilly days to not only warm your but to warm the soul with its exotic flavors. This is my go to soup when anyone is feeling under the weather. The mix of chicken and spices will soon clear up any sickness. Be careful with the harissa using it to your taste as it is very hot. 5 cups chicken stock 2 tablespoons olive oil 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed 1 medium onion, chopped 1 tablespoon ground cumin 1 tablespoon ground ginger 2 teaspoons harissa or paprika Salt and pepper to taste 2 medium zucchinis, peeled and sliced 1/2 cup couscous 1 (16 ounce) can of chickpeas 1. In an 8-inch skillet on medium heat sauté onions with olive oil until golden. Next, in a stock pan add chicken stock, chicken, onions, cumin, ginger, harissa, or paprika, salt and pepper, zucchinis, couscous and chickpeas. Bring to boil then cover pot and reduce to low for forty-five minutes.

Shrimp Curry

Shrimp curry is a just one of those mouth watering dishes that will leave you saying 'wow, did I really make this"? A blend of beautiful spices makes this curry linger on in your mind for days to come. 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1 large onion, chopped 2 tablespoon of curry powder 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste 1 teaspoon ground coriander 2/3 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric 1 large tomato, finely chopped 1 teaspoon ground red chili pepper 2(32 ounces)pounds medium peeled shrimp 1/4 cup water 1 teaspoon garam masala cilantro, fresh (garnish) 1. In a 4 quart saucepan over medium heat add vegetable oil and onion; saute until golden. Add curry powder, ginger garlic paste, coriander and salt. Cook and stir for 1 minute. 2. Add salt, turmeric, tomato, chili powder ,garam masala, shrimp and water, cook for 7 to 8 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve rice. Yields: 6 servings

Zucchini lasagna

This lasagna is my all time favorite. I have always loved lasagna anyway (well ok only my Mother’s) but when I came across this recipe when I was searching for new recipes to try in Ramadan. I was not even sure how this would turn out but upon my husband and myself tasting this all I can say is we were blown away by the many flavors. This is lasagna is even better then the one my Mother always made. The fun thing about this dish is that you can add any of your favorite vegetables in it not only zucchinis. I have made it with portabellas and eggplants. I have even added all three. Also, when making this I always make two and just freeze the other one for those days when I do not have the time to cook. However, when I am in the process of baking the frozen one I do cook for an hour but half way in between I make a mixture of butter, garlic, and Italian seasoning. I then pour this all over the top of the lasagna. This gives it a nice refreshing taste and I promise no one will ever even know you were not slaving in the kitchen all day.

1 lb (16 oz) package of non cook lasagna noodles
1 pound (16 oz) ground beef, turkey, or lamb
1 onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning
4 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Romano cheese
1 (16 oz) jar of pasta sauce (your choice)
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 medium zucchinis, sliced

1.In a 9 inch skillet, brown the ground meat over medium heat. Add onion, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Cook, drain, and set aside.
2.In a large bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, Romano cheese, sauce and the seasoned ground meat. Mix until well blended.
3.Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
4.Add a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Add a layer of noodles lengthwise and a few noodles in the opposite direction. Pour in a generous layer of ricotta mixture on top of noodles. Add another layer of noodles lengthwise. Spread on 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Line up the zucchini slices on top of the mozzarella cheese. Add another thin layer of ricotta cheese. Add the last layer of noodles lengthwise. Top the noodles with the remaining sauce, add the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.
5.Bake in a preheated oven for one hour. If Mozzarella cheese becomes too browned, loosely cover with a piece of foil.

Yields: 8 servings

French Coconut Pie

YUM! I love this pie. One of my grand-mothers friends would always make this pie for our special occasion's and then she started always making it especially for me when I would be around bc she knew how much I loved it. Its very easy to make and spectacular to taste. 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter melted 2 eggs, beaten 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 3/4 cup sugar 1 (3 1/2–ounce) can shredded sweetened coconut (about 1 cup) 1 cup milk 1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine melted butter, eggs, flour, sugar, coconut, and milk. Pour into pie shell. Bake until firm, about 45 to 60 minutes.

Finjan Erfeh Tea

Finjan erfeh is served to guests who have come to see a newborn baby. 6 cups water 1 1/2 tablespoon anise seeds 3 sticks cinamon 2 cloves, whole 2 pieces ginger root walnuts for garnishment sugar as needed for taste Bring water, anise seeds, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon to a boil, then allow to steep on low in a teapot or pan for 10-15 minutes. Strain, and pour into cups. Sugar can be added for taste once poured. with walnuts if desired.

Anise Tea

Anise tea is very popular in the Middle east. It is sometimes used medicinally to sooth a stomachache or to relieve gas. 3 cups boiling water 2 teaspoons whole anise seeds, or 2 teaspoons dried anise leaves 2 tea bags 1. Boil 1-1/2 cups water with anise seeds. In another pot, boil 1-1/2 cups water. Add tea bags. Steep both for 10 minutes. Strain anise water into pot with tea. Pour into serving cups. Add lemon and honey if desired.

Cheese Kunafa

Kunafa is traditionally eaten during Ramadan. A good cheese Kunafa is about as hard to find as a needle in a haystack but this recipe is it; you will never bother with anymore. An easy trick to browning your Kunafa is to sit the cake pan on the oven eye for a few seconds to lightly brown after it is taken from the oven. In addition, it is a good idea to shred some of that pastry with your hands unless you want huge strings that are not easy to work with. You can even cut it into small pieces if you have the time. For the syrup: 1-1/2 cups sugar 1-1/4 cup water 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 tablespoon orange blossom water or rose water 1. On low heat, add sugar, water, lemon juice and flavored water. Stir until thick. Allow to cool in refrigerator. Cheese filling: 1 pound mozzarella 1/2 pound ricotta 2 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons orange blossom water or rose water 1. In a food processor add mozzarella, ricotta, sugar and flavored water, mix well. Set aside. Pastry: 1 pound of defrosted Kataifi (knafi) 2 sticks of unsalted butter, melted Pistachios to garnish 1. Place kataifi in a large bowl with butter, mix and untangle strings with hands. In a 10-11 inch pie pan, place half of pastry in the bottom. Add cheese filling, pressing down with hand, add remaining of pastry strings. Bake in a 325 F over for 45 minutes. 2. 2. After pastry has baked, place the pan on the stove eye for a few seconds to make top brown and not pale. With a butter knife, go around kunafa, place plate on top and flip. Decorate with nuts. I grind mine in a processor. You can get creative now. I add the sugar syrup before and after. However, I sit most of it on the table and let people decide how much they want. Yields: 8 servings Adapted from Arabsque

Patates Musakka

I can not believe this is the first dish that I ever was taught how to cook several years ago. That is how easy it is. I used to make it all the time because it was all that I could cook. Not only is it easy but no one will know how easy it was, that is how good it taste. And its all in one pot, can it get any better? 6 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced 3/4 inches thick 1 lb (16 oz) ground beef 1 onion, diced 3 garlic cloves, chopped 1 tomato, chopped 1 tablespoon butter 4 tablespoons olive oil 2 cups water 1/2 teaspoon pepper salt to taste 1 teaspoon parsley 1. In a saute pan on medium heat place the potatoes. Add in order, ground beef, onion, garlic, tomato, butter, olive oil, water, salt, pepper and parsley. Cook for 20 minutes on medium-low heat, adding water if needed. Yields: 6 servings

Baharat Mixes

This is a list of the ingredients each spice mix contains. You must mix or grind them together and store in a cool dark place. A glass container is best and use as needed.

Arabic Baharat(Arabic spice mix):
2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
6-1/2 teaspoons paprika
4-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Turkish Baharat:
2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground mint
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
pinch of ground cinnamon

Levant Baharat:
1/4 cup black peppercorns
1/4 cup allspice berries

Syrian Baharat:
2 teaspoons allspice
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoons cloves

Tunisian Baharat:
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried rose petals
1 teaspoon black pepper

Gulf aka Khaleeji Baharat:
1 tablespoon red pepper
1-1/2 teaspoon cumin
1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoon ground (dried/black lime or lemon)
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon kholengan

Chinese Five-Spice
2 tablespoons ground star anise
2-1/2 teaspoons ground fennel seeds
1-1/2 teaspoon ground cassia
1/2 teaspoon ground Sichuan or black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2/3 cup toasted white sesame seeds
1/3 cup toasted coriander seeds
2-1/2 tablespoons toasted ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon toasted black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup roasted and peeled pistachios
1/4 cup roasted and peeled hazelnuts

Saudi Champagne

Yields: 4 glasses per bottle

Sea Salt/Lime Dates

When I first saw this recipe, I was eager to try it but not sure, how it would go over. I then realized how a date is not truly a date until warmed. Warming softens the skin making it more of a mouth experiment. This sweet, salty and sour treat will get great reviews from your entire guest. 12 dates pitted almonds (you can use whole but I use sliced) sea salt lime juice 1. slit sides of dates and stuff with almonds enough so you can still close the dates back up, then heat olive oil in pan, warm dates then just add on a plate, sprinkle with sea salt and lime juice. You can add toothpicks in each if you would like. Yields: 4 servings

Chicken Kabsa

Kabsa is the main traditional dish of Saudi Arabia. While the ingredients may be long, this recipe is anything but hard. Each spice used in this recipe is a popular Middle Eastern spice so the combining spices make this dish about as authentic as you can get. If your in a rush you can substitute the spices for 1 tablespoon of Arabic Spice mix as well. I always cook chicken with the skin on as it gives your food a more natural chicken taste as well as fat. I personally do not eat it but I would suggest cooking with it on before you remove it. Every home has their own style, this is mine and I hope you enjoy.

And might I add this is the recipe that started it all and why I started my own cooking blog. My husband wanted kabsa which I had never made and all of the online versions were not right or difficult to follow. I wanted a site that had the food I like yet with easy to follow recipes.

1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 cup of basmati rice, washed and rinsed
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 tomato, diced
2 green chili's, stems removed and slit lengthwise
2 bay leaves
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
6 green cardamom pods, whole
5 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 black limes
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cardamom, ground
1 (8 ounce) can of tomato sauce
4 boiled eggs (optional)
Pine nuts and raisins (optional)

1. In a 4-quart stockpot on medium-high heat add onions, garlic and. Allow onions to turn golden. Add bay leaves, cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon sticks, black limes, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, ginger and ground cardamom. Blend well and allow to sauté for 30 seconds.

2. Add tomato sauce, tomato, chili's and chicken bouillon. Mix well until sauce thickens, reduce heat to low-medium. Add chicken allow to sauté for a 1 minute. Rotate chicken so that it gets all of the flavors. Add water until chicken is completely covered. Bring to a full boil then reduce to low. Cook for 35 minutes covered.

5. After the chicken has cooked reserve broth for rice. In a 2-quart saucepan, add rice and enough sauce from the chicken just so that the rice is covered. Bring to a boil then immediately turn heat to low and cook covered for eight to ten minutes. Meanwhile, why the rice is cooking turn oven on high broil. Add chicken to a roasting pan and broil for five minutes or until golden.

8. Add cooked rice to a serving platter with chicken arranged on top. Garnish plate with hard-boiled eggs, pine nuts, and raisins.

Yields: 4 servings

Gahwa and Chai

One of the most popular things through out the world is the fabulous coffee and tea. All over the world everyone seems to have their own way to make it. Growing up I always remember smelling coffee brewing at the first break of day in my house. I never seemed to like it much until one day when I was going off to college a family member bought me a coffee pot (American style drip). On one of those many nights that I was up late studying and tired I heard this very coffee pot taunting me, telling me I needed to drink from it. I did and all I can say was that begun my addiction to caffeine for the rest of my life! Now the American drip hardly does it for me and I love a strong Turkish coffee or even the spice infused cup of Saudi coffee. Here are some great coffees that we love in my home! Arabic coffee: 1 cup (8 oz) water 1 tablespoon lightly roasted coffee 1 tablespoon crushed cardamom 4-5 saffron threads (opt) 1/2 teaspoon rose water *The ground coffee is added with the cardamom and saffron to boiling water for 3 minutes. The rose water is added and then the coffee is served in small rounded cups without handles. Note: the coffee of some regions has 1/4 tsp ground ginger or a little cinnamon added with the boiling water. OR 2 glasses of water 2 tablespoons Arabic coffee beans, roasted and ground 1 teaspoon powdered Cardamom 5 pieces of cloves *Boil the water, coffee, 1/2 spoon of cardamom and cloves together for 20 minutes Put 1/2 spoon of cardamom in the thermos with a little bit of saffron Then, pour the coffee into the thermos Now Turkish coffee is a bit more difficult (but well worth it) to make so here is a link with the pictures of how to help you out. Also, I love to drink tea but just like coffee I like my tea strong so nothing does it for me but black tea. I have to staple teas that are always in my home. One is Kuwaiti style and the other Yemeni. Please remember when steeping black tea never do so over 5 minutes or your tea will be ruined also always use cold water before boiling to get the best cup of tea! Leaves are also better then any cheap bag tea. Yemeni tea: Lipton yellow label or any other black tea is good, green cardamom pods Add cardamoms to water and boil then steep tea The only difference in the Kuwaiti tea is that you use saffron threads instead of cardamoms. I love to use yannun black tea leaves mixed with saffron threads; it produces the best cup of tea as far as I am concerned. I buy all of my teas minus the yellow label which you can get at the Arabic market from this website. If you notice you will see a tea steeper when you go to that site, well I have that and it’s GREAT! All you do is add your leaves and water and then pour it in your cups and you do not have to worry about any mess what so ever.