Special Chow Mein

What an amazing meal this dish is and you can cook it right in the comfort of your own home without running out for take out. And at least when you make it you know what goes into it and that being nothing but the best. Since our Malaysian vacation I have really been trying my hand at Asian cooking and I have been collecting the specialty ingredients as I go. You can find these products at many local grocery stores but if not try an Asian market. Special Chow Mein is a very popular Chinese dish and I hope your family enjoys it. 3 tablespoons sunflower oil 2 garlic cloves, sliced 2 eggs, beat 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, chopped 2 boneless chicken breast, cubed 16 uncooked jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined 1 cup bean sprouts 1 pound egg noodles, cooked per package directions 2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 tablespoon shrimp paste 1 tablespoon oyster sauce 1 tablespoon sesame oil 2 scallions, finely diced to garnish 1/4 cup fresh cilantro to garnish 1. In a saute pan on medium heat add 1 tablespoon sunflower oil, garlic and ginger. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink. Add shrimp and cook until light pink. Sit mixture aside. In the same pan add 1 tablespoon sunflower oil and eggs. Spread eggs thinly all over pan and then cut up into scrambled eggs, cooking until done. Sit aside with meat mixture. 2. Add the last tablespoon of sunflower oil, shrimp paste and bean sprouts. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the noodles and toss to mix. Season with oyster sauce and soy sauce. Return the meat and egg mixture back into the pan on top of the noodles. Add sesame oil and toss to combine. Garnish top with scallions and cilantro. Yields: 4-6 servings

Red Tea

Red Tea has a smooth and mature taste combining Earl Gray and plain black tea. The combination with saffron makes this a special occasion drink. My husband usually comes home eats dinner and shortly goes to bed so my son and I always have a late night snack together. Tonight we had some scrumptious Saudi Tea Cakes along with a hot chocolate for son and a cup of this red tea for me. I love these little moments we have. 2 cups hot water 1 Earl Gray tea bag 1 black tea bag pinch of saffron sugar for taste 1. Add tea bags into water with saffron, sit for 5 minutes. Add sugar to taste and serve. Yields: 2 cups

Rich Chocolate Bundt Cake

This is the most decadent and moist cake you will ever try. Each bite is so rich and scrumptious that to even try to add any sort of topping would me an insult. When making this cake it is very important to follow the directions exactly. Trust me when I say that you will think its rather thin and has to much water in it but that is the secret to this amazing cake. Also I added a pan of water on the bottom rack as always when baking for extra moisture. Dry Ingredients: 2 cups granulated sugar 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon salt Liquid Ingredients: 2 large eggs 1 cup whole milk 1/2 cup vegetable oil 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 cup boiling water 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt or tube pan. 2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl of an electric mixer. Add the liquid ingredients (except for the boiling water), and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. 3. Stir in boiling water. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 50-55 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in cake comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert cake onto wire rack and let cool completely. Yields: 1 cake Adapted from: Diana's Desserts

Aloo Masoor Dal

This meal can hold its on as a main course with the blend of potatoes and lentils. This slow simmered traditional curry is a favorite in many vegetarian homes but even us meat eaters absolutely enjoy this beautiful dish. You really have to try my vegetable samosas to go along with it. By the way maybe you all have saw that I have been updating my pictures on the site. I have a lot of recipes so it will take awhile. I have also been adding a recipe index on the site at the top of the blog. It will make looking for your favorite recipe a lot easier. I hope to have it all done within the month since Ramadan is coming up and thats the sites busiest season. If you like or have tried any of the recipes please leave me a comment so I know what works for you. Plus it really makes my day. 1/2 cup red lentils, washed until clear and picked for stones 1 chicken bullion cube 1-1/4 cup water 2 tablespoons sunflower oil 2 teaspoons cumin seeds 1 small onion, finely chopped 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger 2 green chili's, stems removed 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed 1 teaspoon sea salt 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro juice of 1 small lime 1. In a 1-quart sauce pan add 1 cup water, chicken bullion cube and lentils. Bring to a full boil then reduce to low-medium. Allow to cook for 5 minutes. Cover and cook on low for 10 minutes. With a hand blender puree lentils, sit aside. 2. In a 9-inch skillet on medium heat add oil, onion, ginger and chili's. Cook until onion is tender and add cumin seeds, coriander, salt and turmeric. Mix well. Add potatoes and 1/4 cup water. Bring to full boil cover and reduce to low-medium. Allow to cook until potatoes are tender about 15 minutes. 3. Add cilantro then add lentil mixture over potatoes, mix well. Reduce heat to low, cover and allow to simmer for 5 minutes then add lime juice on top, mix and serve. Yields: 4 servings

Lamb Stew

In this dish you simmer the lamb in beef broth for several hours which will allow the meat to be as soft as butter in the stew. If you do not have beef broth on hand you can use water and beef bullion cubes, I will recommend Maggi. We serve this dish with rice and bread so that you can spoon the thick stew over the rice. 1 pound lamb stew cubes 1 tablespoon sunflower oil 4 cups beef broth 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice 1 large carrot, peeled and slices 1 onion, diced 2 potatoes, peeled and diced 3 celery stalks, sliced 4 garlic cloves, smashed 1 tablespoon Arabic spice mix salt and pepper to taste 1. In an 8-quart saucepan on medium heat add oil, onion, garlic, Arabic spice mix and lamb. Cook until onions are tender and lamb is slightly brown on all side, about 5-8 minutes. Add beef broth and bring to a full boil. Cover and lower to simmer. Allow to simmer for 3 hours. 2. Add tomatoes with juice, carrot, potatoes, celery and salt and pepper, mix well. Bring to a full boil them lower to low-medium and cover. Allow to cook an additional hour. Serve with rice an fresh bread. Yields: 4 servings

Orange Chicken

Orange Chicken is a exquisite summer favorite. You can cook this on the grill or oven top. I prefer to use freshly squeezed orange juice when making this Asian treat. An array of thin freshly sliced oranges gives this dish a burst of color. Serve with white rice. 6 chicken breast, skinless 1/2 cup orange juice 3 tablespoons honey 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon sesame seeds 3 tablespoons olive oil orange slices for serving 1. In a medium mixing bowl add orange juice, honey, soy sauce and ginger, mix well. In am 8x8 inch dish add chicken breast and pour orange sauce on top, cover. Place in refrigerator and allow to marinate at least 4 hours. 2. On medium heat in a saute pan add oil. Carefully place chicken, sprinkle sesame seeds and allow to cook until no longer pink. Approximately 8-10 minutes on each side. Serve with orange slices. Yields: 3-4 servings

Haleeb Bil Hail

Haleeb Bil Hail means milk with cardamom. While growing up my mother in law used to serve this drink to my husband before school. Its a great drink for kids that do not like milk and for anyone else who just loves an exotic drink. I love to have this drink just as much as coffee or tea, its that good. To bruise a cardamom you just carefully press it until it opens. I do this with cardamom pods before I add them to anything. You can also adjust the sugar to your taste as well. I always discard the spices before adding to the cups. The spices in the above picture were for the picture alone. 2 cups milk 2 tablespoons sugar 2 cinnamon sticks 6 green cardamom pods, bruised 1. In a 1-quart pan on medium heat add milk, sugar, cinnamon sticks and cardamom. Stir constantly until milk is hot not allowing milk to stick to pan bottom. Carefully pour into glasses and serve. Yields: 2 servings

Batatas Mashi

The delightful mix of potatoes and meat will leave your palate filled with pure pleasure. This is a popular recipe throughout the Middle East and Europe. If you can not find a tool made especially for coring vegetables an apple corer will work just as well. I always take the leftover meat mixture and use it to make Hashwa which is equally as good all on its own. 1 pound ground lamb 10 medium potatoes 1/2 tablespoon Arabic Baharat spice 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce 1 cup water 1/4 cup pine nuts 1 small onion, diced salt and pepper to taste 1. In a 9-inch skillet on medium heat add lamb and onions. Cook until no longer pink, drain fat. Add meat back into pan with baharat, tomato paste, salt and pepper and pine nuts. Mix well and cook until pine nuts are golden. Wash and peel potatoes. Carefully core out the middle, set aside. 2. With a small spoon carefully fill the potatoes with the meat mixture. Using the bottom handle of the corer tightly stuff the meat mixture until at the top. In a saute pan on medium heat add tomato sauce and water. Carefully place potatoes into the pan and cover. Raise heat to full boil then reduce to low-medium. Cook for 1 hour, carefully switching side half way through. Yields: 4 servings

Moroccan Style Roast Lamb

In this oven roasted variation of Moroccan M'choui the meat is cooked in a very hot oven then finished in a cooler oven so that its so tender it will fall from the bones. What can I say about this except that it will be one of the best lamb recipes that you ever make. The high temperature at the beginning burns the butter which is significant for this recipe. The end results will be the best lamb you have ever tasted. I added some vegetables into my roasting pot for the last 45 minutes. The vegetables mixed with juice are delectable. I also opted for a boneless leg of lamb with the fat already removed. 1 leg of lamb, 3-3-1/2 pounds 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon paprika 4 dashes of Tabasco sauce (optional) salt and pepper to taste 1. Pre-heat oven to 435F. Trim the lamb of excess fat and make several diagonal cuts in the meat. In a small bowl add the butter, garlic, cumin and paprika, mix well. Fill the slits with the mixture and rub the remaining around the lamb. 2. Place the meat into a large roasting pan and cook for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350F and cook for 2 hours. Baste the meat every 30 minutes while cooking. Yields: 6 servings

Bread and Butter Custard

This dessert is a delicious family favorite in the Caribbean. I used a cardamom infused evaporated milk for a richer flavor but unfortunately thats hard to find unless your in the Middle East. You can always just add a dash of cardamom to the recipe. You can even add other dried fruits to this savory dish. 6 slices white bread, crust removed 6 tablespoons butter 170 grams evaporated milk 3/4 cup milk 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground 1/2 cup sugar 2 eggs 1/2 cup raisins 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg powdered sugar for top 1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter an 8x8 baking dish. Cube slices of bread then add into dish. Add butter slices all over top of bread. In a medium sized mixing bowl add evaporated milk, milk, cinnamon, sugar, eggs and nutmeg, mix well. Carefully pour on top of bread into baking pan.Sprinkle raisins on top. Allow to sit for 30 minutes in refrigerator. Place into oven and bake for 35 minutes. Yields: 4 servings

Fried Fish and Hush Puppies

Back home in Tennessee my grandparents would have a big fish fry every summer and all of our family and friends would come. My grandfather and all his friends would fish all year and save it all for the fish fry. I have so many fond memories of fishing with my grandfather, cooking with him and eating. I lost him several years ago to cancer but my sweet grandmother is still alive and she gave me the recipe they always used for all those years. We always used catfish back home but unfortunately they do not have it here so I opted for red snapper. I was so happy tonight at dinner eating some memories as I like to say. I hope you enjoy these very special recipes of mine. Hush Puppies: 1 cup cornmeal 1/2 cup flour 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1 garlic clove, smashed 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup green peppers, finely diced 1 egg, beaten 1/2 cup buttermilk 1. In a large mixing bowl add cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, garlic, green peppers and egg, mix well. Gradually add buttermilk until a stiff dough has formed. 2. In a 1-quart saucepan add oil on medium heat. Form dough into golf ball size balls and carefully drop into oil. Cook until golden and drain on paper towels. Fish: 4 red snapper fillets 1 cup cornmeal 1 egg 1 teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme oil for frying 2. In a small bowl add egg, in another bowl add cornmeal, paprika, salt and thyme, mix well. In a saute pan on medium heat add oil for frying. Coat each fillet in egg and then cover with cornmeal mixture. Carefully place into hot oil and cook until golden. Approximately 2-3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towel. Serve with lemon wedges. Yields: 4 servings

Grilled Sardines with Chermoula

Sardines are very popular all over Northern Africa. These delicious fish smothered in Chermoula will be a hit for sure. Sardines hold tons of tiny bones so be sure to have the fishmonger get them out for you before you take them home. 10 large sardines, gutted, boned with heads removed 1 lemon, quartered Chermoula: 2 garlic cloves 1 teaspoon sea salt a fresh bunch of cilantro 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon paprika 5 tablespoons olive oil juice of 1 lemon 1. In a food processor add garlic, sea salt, cilantro, cumin, paprika, olive oil and lemon juice. Mix well. Set aside. 2. Heat grill and spray with oil. Carefully place sardines on hot grill. Cook 3 minutes on each side brushing with chermoula sauce. Place on serving platter with lemon pieces. Yields: 4 servings

Southern Fried Cabbage

I grew up on fried cabbage and it is such a comfort food for me. This is one of the best side dishes and it goes along side practically anything. The bacon is really a must in this dish. I usually stir once to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan but you should never open the cover other then that one stir so your cabbage can cook. 2 slices turkey bacon, cut in half salt and pepper, to taste 1 head cabbage, cored and sliced 1 pinch sugar 1. In a 4-quart saucepan on low heat add bacon, salt, pepper and oil. Cook for 5 minutes. Add cabbage and sugar, mix well. Cover and allow to simmer until cabbage is cooked about 20 minutes. Yields: 6 servings


Mhemmer is a spicy potato omelet from Morocco that has Spanish roots. The word mhemmer literally means cooked until red meaning the golden look you get from cooking things hence the way this omelet looks when it comes out of the oven. This is great for brunch or just an afternoon snack. If you do not have an iron skillet use any pan that is oven proof. When I make this dish I use one egg per potato. 4 medium potatoes, boiled and peeled 4 eggs 1 teaspoon sea salt 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon paprika 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped 1 tablespoon olive oil 1. In a 10-inch iron skillet add olive oil and place on low heat on oven top. In a large mixing bowl add potatoes, eggs, salt, turmeric, cumin, paprika, coriander and parsley. Mix well smashing potatoes so they are not thick yet not all the way mashed. Pour mixture into hot skillet. Cover and cook cook for 12 minutes. 2. Place oven on broil and carefully place skillet under it until the top is golden approximately 5 minutes. Remove from heat, place on plate and cut into serving slices. Yields: 8 servings

Chicken Fattah

Chicken fattah is a recipe that you will find all over the Middle East. This is the Lebanese version and my favorite. The flavors really combine well together and the drizzled butter in my opinion is a must in this dish so do not dare skip it. 4 chicken breast, boneless and skinless 1 bay leaf 1-1/2 cups basmati rice, washed and drained 1-1/2 cup chicken broth 5 tablespoons butter 1-1/2 cup yogurt 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1/4 teaspoon paprika 1 large pita bread, toasted salt, to taste 1. In a 4-quart saucepan on medium heat add chicken, bay leaf and cover with water. Cook for 30 minuntes until meat is no longer pink. Shred chicken and set aside. In a saute pan om medium-high heat add 3 tablespoons butter and rice, mix well and fry rice for 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring heat to high when boiling cover and reduce heat to low. Cook 15 minutes until rice is done. 2. Pre-heat oven to 350F. In a heat proof serving dish layer chicken and rice until finished. Sprinkle paprika on top of chicken and rice. Tear pita bread and cover the top of the chicken and rice. In a small bowl add yogurt and garlic, mix well. Pour yogurt mixture all over the top. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle on top of yogurt. Place dish in the oven for 10 minutes and serve. Yields: 6 servings

Apple Streusel Pie

I thought I would try something different with this apple pie and give a traditional recipe a graham crust with streusel topping. The graham crust compliments apple pie amazingly well and will defiantly be something that I use from now on. The streusel topping melts into the apple pie as it bakes giving so much more flavor. 1 (6 oz or 170 grams) Graham crust filling: 4 large apples (2 granny smith and 2 romas) 1/2 cup sugar 2 tablespoons all purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon allspice 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg streusel toppings: 1/2 cup all purpose flour 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 5 tablespoons unsalted butter 1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Filling: 2. Peel and thinly slice apples. In a large bowl add apple slices, sugar, flour, allspice and nutmeg. Combine well. Carefully add filling into crust. Topping: 3. In a food processor add butter, brown sugar, cinnamon flour. Pulse until well blended. Add topping all over the top of the apples. Place pie on a cookie sheet and bake for 55 minutes. Yields: 1 pie

Food in Riyadh

Who does not love food? I love having good food at good restaurants. Here are some succulent food pictures from around Riyadh at some pretty fabulous places (to me anyway). If your ever here in Riyadh drop by and I promise you will not be sorry. This is a list of my top three. Diamond Restaurant location: Tayliha right next to Second Cup cuisine: Asian Fusion thoughts: You walk in and you feel like you traveled out of Saudi Arabia. The decor is amazing with top if the line service. The food was so delicious and they have great sushi. Do not even bother taking small kids. Al Bohasialy location: Down the road from Tamimi before on the right before you take the turn towards Riyadh Galleria cuisine: Turkish thoughts: You can smell the food before you walk in and it draws you in immediately. This is a very nice place. The staff is beyond helpful and caters to your every need. The food is very traditional. All kids are welcome here as your in your own private room. Al Nafoura Seafood location: Osama bin Zaed Street cuisine: Middle eastern specialty thoughts: This has to be one of the best places I have ever ate at. I have never saw a setup quite like this. This place is pricey but well worth it. You are waited on hand and foot with a smile and offered several courses. You also have your own private room. You get everything from crepes, caviar to seafood beyond comprehension.