Sweet and Sour Chicken

Unlike many sweet and sour dishes you get in the west where the mix is to sweet this is the original Canton recipe. This Chinese dish goes perfect along side any rice dish. I like to use a mixture of green and yellow bell peppers when making this dish. 4 chicken breast, boneless and skinless 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground Szechuan peppercorn 1 tablespoon Chinese rice vinegar 1/4 cup flour 1 egg, beaten sunflower oil, for frying Sauce: 1 teaspoon sunflower oil 1 garlic clove, finely chopped 1 scallion, sliced 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1 tablespoon soy sauce 2 tablespoons brown sugar 2 tablespoons rice vinegar 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1/2 cup water 1. Cut chicken into bite sized cubes and place in a shallow dish. Add salt, peppercorns and 1 tablespoon rice vinegar. Marinate for at least 20 minutes. 2. In a 9-inch skillet on medium heat add oil to fry chicken pieces. Pour half of flour into chicken and dust well. Add egg coating chicken then dust with remaining flour. Careful place chicken into oil frying into golden and chicken is no longer pink. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel to drain. 3. To make the sauce heat the oil in a clean saute pan. Add garlic, scallion and peppers. Stir-fry for 30 seconds the add soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, tomato paste and water. Bring to a boil then add chicken pieces. Heat through and stir to mix. Yields: 4 servings

Patates Koftesi

I love having these potato koftas for a snack or side but then again I love anything that has potatoes anyway. These little beauties are filled with fresh herbs and feta which really makes them what they are. 2 medium white potatoes, boiled, peeled and grated 1 small onion, sliced 1 garlic clove, chopped 1 pinch black pepper 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled 1 egg white 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped 1 teaspoon salt 1 pinch black pepper 1 egg yolk + 1 egg, lightly beaten 1/2 cup flour 1/2 cup sunflower oil 1. In a 9-inch skillet add the onion with a few drops of olive oil. Then add the garlic and saute for a few minutes, but be careful not to burn the garlic. 2. Place the onion and garlic mix and the other ingredients in a large bowl. Mix them with your hands. Pour the oil into a large frying pan and heat it up. Meanwhile, take a ball of the potato mixture, and give it a long, slightly flat shape. 3. First roll it in the flour, then soak in the egg mixture. Repeat for the remaining potato mixture and fry all the pates on both sides until golden brown. Place them on the paper towel to soak up the extra oil. Yields: 4 servings

BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

I have been craving comfort food the past few days so I thought I would go back to my Southern roots with this delicious sandwich. Back home in my small Tennessee town we have a small BBQ pit and I would visit it quiet often to get this sandwich with fries and a coke. I sure miss Southern food sometimes. This hearty meal will please the men in your life. MARINADE: 3 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar 1 teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon chili powder 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1 pound (about 2 portions) skinless, boneless chicken breasts Cooking spray SAUCE: 2 teaspoons vegetable oil 1/2 cup finely chopped onion 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar 1 teaspoon chili powder 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 1 cup ketchup 2 tablespoons cider vinegar Salt and pepper, to taste FOR SANDWICH: 4 sandwich rolls or 8 mini slider buns (or halved dinner rolls), toasted lightly Dill pickle chips 1. Combine the oil and spices for the marinade in a large bowl. Add chicken to the bowl and rub spice mixture evenly over chicken. Marinade for at least 30 minutes, or overnight in the refrigerator. When ready, heat grill to medium-high heat. Cover and grill chicken for 15 minutes, or until a thermometer registers 180°, turning occasionally. Let stand for 5 minutes. Place chicken on a cutting board and shred with 2 forks. 2. To prepare sauce, heat canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook for 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in brown sugar and all spices; cook 30 seconds. Stir in ketchup and vinegar; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in shredded chicken. Cook 2 minutes, or until thoroughly heated. 3. Place desired amount of chicken mixture on bottom halves of sandwich rolls and a few tablespoons of sauce. Top each serving with 2 pickle chips and top roll half. Yields: 6-8 servings

Vanilla Ice-cream with Strawberry Chunks

This easy recipe does not require an ice-cream maker so anyone can make it. The best thing about homemade ice-cream is you know exactly what goes into it and you do not have to worry about added preservatives and all that 'other' stuff. You can easily turn this recipe into any ice-cream that you or your family may like. If you happen to run out of cream like I did you can easily substitute the rest with regular whole milk and a 1/4 teaspoon Arabic mastic crushed. 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk 2 cups heavy cream 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/2 cup strawberries, diced 1. In a large steel bowl add cream. With a hand mixer beat on high until peaks are formed, 5 minutes. In a medium sized bowl add condensed milk. vanilla and strawberries, mix well. 2. Carefully fold strawberry mixture into cream until well combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place into freezer. For the next 3 hours (3-4 times) take bowl from freezer and mix well. Leave in freezer over night. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving to soften. Yields: 6 servings

{small batch} Waffles

My son loves waffles everyday at anytime however having only one child I hate to make a large batch of waffles. With this easy recipe you can make enough fresh hot waffles just for one or two people easily. 1 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking powder pinch baking soda 2-1/2 tablespoons sugar 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 1 cup buttermilk 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1 egg, beaten 1 tablespoon sunflower oil or butter 1. In a large mixing bowl add flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and cardamom, combine together. Add buttermilk, vanilla, egg and oil. Mix well. 2. Pour 1/4 mixture into hot waffle iron, cooking until done. Yields: 4 waffles

Steak Fries

I love fries but who does'nt? They are the one go to snack that you can always rely on again and again because they never let you down. They taste great and are easy to make. 2 large potatoes 2 tablespoons spice and herbs seasoning 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 garlic clove, minced 1. Wash, peel and cut potatoes into wedges. Place potato wedges on a paper towel and pat dry. In a large bowl,toss the potatoes with seasoning blend,olive oil and garlic. 2. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange potatoes in single layer on baking sheet.Bake at 425F for 20 minutes. Turn potatoes and bake an additional 15 minutes until browned and tender. Yields: 3 servings

Fatout Bread

This soft and rich bread aims to please and when you open it you will be lured by its many layers. This is perfect along side any meal or just as a snack with your favorite dip at any time of the day. 3 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 cup sunflower oil 1 cup water + 2 tablespoons warm water 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon yeast pinch of sugar 1-1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds 1. In a small bowl add 2 tablespoons of warm water, yeast and sugar. Lightly stir and allow to sit for 5 minutes until bubbles appear. In the meantime, in a large bowl add flour and oil, combine. 2. Add yeast, salt and a bit of the 1/2 cup water until you have a smooth dough consistency. Knead dough. Divide into 6 equal portions. Oil your hands and rub on the outside of dough, do not work into dough. 3. Place on a plastic plate (do not place on glass or anything cool) then cover with a towel and sit in a warm place allowing to rise for one hour. 4. Pre-heat oven to 400 F. With a rolling pin roll into a 4-inch circle. Sprinkle tops with sesame seeds. Place on a baking sheet or pizza stone two at a time. Cook until golden, approximately 15-20 minutes. Yields: 8 pieces

Shrimp Kabsa

Another Najdi (old Riyadh) recipe is this delicious shrimp kabsa. The reason you will evaporate any left water and then bake in the oven is because this dish should not be moist. This kabsa is a complete meal in one. 1 pound shrimp, cleaned 2 cups rice 2 onions, diced 1 tablespoon Gulf Baharat Mix 4 tablespoons sunflower oil 3 tomatoes, chopped 1 tablespoon tomato paste 2-1/2 cups water 2 green chili's 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted 1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. In an oven proof saute pan add oil, onions and garlic. Cook until onion is tender. Add shrimp, chili's, tomato paste, tomatoes and Arabic spice mix, cook for 3 minutes. 2. Add rice on top of shrimp mixture and carefully pour water on top. Bring to full boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15-20 minutes until rice is done. If any water remains in the pan bring to a full boil uncovered allowing water to evaporate. 3. Place pan into oven for 15 minutes. Place into serving platter and garnish with pine nuts. Yields: 4 servings

Date Balls

Want a easy to make, easy to clean up yet big taste sweet? If so then these date balls are perfect for you. Try to use the soft and sweet dates if you can get them. You can easily use fresh or dried coconut in this recipe. And if you can not find tea biscuits where you live then vanilla wafers will work just as well. 2-1/2 cups dates, pitted 10 tea biscuits, ground by hands 1/2 cup shredded coconut 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 3 tablespoons sesame seeds 1 teaspoon ground cardamom 1. In a medium sized bowl add dates, tea biscuits, coconut, sesame seeds and cardamom, mix well until a sticky date dough is made. In a 9-inch skillet on medium heat melt butter. Add date dough pieces at time, flipping to heat thoroughly. Cook aproxamitly 5 minutes. 2. Carefully make mixture into balls the size of golf balls (I use plastic gloves). Yields: 1 dozen


This Najdi recipe is amazingly good. The soft lamb with a pepper taste is perfect along side any meal or just alone with fresh bread. The traditional way of serving this old Saudi dish is on a round woven mat. The family sits around the mat on the floor eating with the right hand. Make sure to cube the meat into very small pieces. 1 kilogram lamb, cubed 1 onion, diced 1/4 cup flour 1 green bell pepper, finely diced 1 red bell pepper, finely diced 1/4 cup sunflower oil 2 cups tomato juice 1 teaspoon pepper 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon kholengan 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped 1 cup water 2 garlic cloves, smashed 1. In a saute pan on medium heat add oil, onion and meat. Brown meat on all sides then add garlic, cilantro, peppers, salt, pepper, cumin, flour and galanqa. Cook for 5 minutes. Add tomato juice and allow to boil until evaporated hen add water cooking on low until meat is well done. Approximately 30 minutes. Yields: 6 servings

Chicken Kusar

My Yemeni friend Sophia taught me how to make this delicious dish. You can use lamb, beef or chicken when making it. This is served with rice and the spooned over the rice. This is another great way to get your family to eat vegetables. 1 whole cooked chicken, shredded 3 cups 1 tablespoon sunflower oil 1 chicken bouillon cube 2 large potatoes, cubed 2 carrots, sliced 1 large onion, diced 2 cups okra 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped 3 garlic cloves, smashed 2 green chili's, stems removed and split lengthwise 1 (4 ounce)can of tomato sauce salt and pepper to taste 1 tablespoon Hawayil spice mix 1. In a saute pan on medium heat add 1 tablespoon oil, onions and garlic. Cook until tender. Add hawayil spice mix and cilantro cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute. 2. Add potatoes, carrots, chili's, okra, tomato sauce, water and bouillon cube. Add chicken, salt and pepper. Bring to a full boil then reduce heat to low. Cover and allow to simmer for 45 minutes. Yields: 4 servings

Habek Tea

In Riyadh habek tea is the most common drink to serve. My mother in law first introduced this exotic drink to me. In the summer time you can get fresh habek mint all over and you also dry some for the winter months as well. It actually took me awhile to find out what habek really was. Some people said it was from the basil family while others said thyme. After much searching I discovered it was a type of mint. Habek mint is also known as wild or horse mint. 4 black tea bags 4 cups water 1 bunch of habek mint, cleaned sugar to taste 1. Pour cold water into a tea kettle on high heat cook until boiling. Place habek and tea bags into water and steep for 5 minutes. Yields: 4-6 cups

Herbed Oven Eggs with Greek Pita Bread

These flavor packed eggs are great for breakfast or brunch. Each one is filled with enough to fill you up as well. As you can see from the picture the tomato mixture rises up above the eggs while baking and this is just simply delicious. Greek pita bread has always been my favorite type of pita because of its softness. This easy to make version is cooked on the stove top. You can cook and then place into a bag to use for later as well. It taste great fresh or leftover. Herbed Oven Eggs 2 eggs 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 cup feta cheese 1 scallion, sliced 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped 2 tomatoes, diced 1 garlic clove, smashed 1. In a small bowl add feta, scallion, cilantro and parsley, mix well and sit aside. On medium heat in a 4-inch skillet add oil, tomatoes and garlic, saute until tender. Divide cheese mixture between two individual ramekins then divide tomato mix tire as well. 2. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Break an egg over each mix. Place into oven and cook for 15 minutes. Yields: 2 servings Greek Pita Bread 3 cups flour 1-1/2 teaspoons salt 1 tablespoon sugar 2 teaspoons yeast 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups water, roughly at room temperature 2 tablespoons shortening 1 tablespoon sunflower oil plus more for hands 1. In a small mixing bowl add yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup warm water. Sit aside for at least 5 minutes. In a large mixing bowl add flour, salt and shortening. Mix together well. Add yeast mixture and a bit of water at a time until a soft dough consistency forms. 2. Place dough into a ball and cover outside with oil (do not work into dough). Place in a bowl, cover with a towel and sit in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size. 3. Punch dough down then divide into 5 balls. Allow to rest covered with a damp towel for 15 minutes. In an iron skillet on medium heat add 1 tablespoon oil. Roll each ball into a circle (about 6 inches). Place one at a time into hot skillet and cook until bubbles appear on each side. Keep warm in a kitchen towel. Yields: 8 pitas

Iftar in Saudi

Ramadan Mubarak friends. I hope the first day of fasting was successful for each one of you. Mine was pretty smooth maybe because I ate a nice sahoor and kept myself busy through the day. My family and I went to eat at my favorite place here in Riyadh called Al-Nafoura Seafood. They truly spoil you and I just love that. And the best thing is I had no mess to clean up. As you enter your served dates and Saudi coffee and then you are ushered to your private room were a pot of Saudi coffee and more dates are awaiting you. You then go to this massive buffet with Arabic food, seafood, cavier, sushi, crepes made in front of you, Asian cooked for you. I mean everything you can imagine. Then fresh tea is brought around to each table. Its really nice and I took some pictures for you all to see what Ramadan is like here in Saudi so enjoy.

Znoud El-Sit

I seriously had to stop myself from eating this entire plate full that is how good they were. The crunchy sweet texture with the light creamy filling is a perfect match for one another. These Lebanese beauties go perfect along side coffee or tea. 1 packet spring roll wrappers, defrosted for 30 minutes 2 (175 grams) cans qashta sunflower oil to fry sugar syrup for topping 1. In a 9-inch skillet on medium heat add oil. Spoon 2 tablespoons qashta along the left side of the wrapper. Fold the top and bottom to where they meet in the middle then carefully roll from the left to the right, seal down. 2. Place the rolls into the hot oil and allow them to cook until lightly golden. Drain on a paper towel and drench in sugar syrup. Yields: 20

Chicken Katsu

Chicken Katsu is a popular Japanese style fried chicken. After you have panko breadcrumbs you will never be able to go back to regular ones. The bread crumbs are also used to coat prawns, fish or meats before frying. Panko creates an airy, crunchy and flaky texture. 4 chicken breast salt and pepper to taste 4 tablespoons all purpose flour 2 eggs, beaten 120 grams panko breadcrumbs sunflower oil for frying 1. Sprinkle each chicken breast with salt and pepper. Lightly coat chicken in flour, then dip into egg. Coat thoroughly with panko breadcrumbs. 2. Heat oil in a 9-inch skillet on medium heat. Fry until no long pink, about 6 minutes on each side. Drain off oil and cut chicken into pieces. Serve with rice and salad. Yields: 4 servings

Egg Foo Yung

Egg Foo Yung is one of the most versatile dishes and I love that about recipes. You can serve this as a side or main dish at any time of the time. In China people make this dish using the leftover rice from the meal of the previous night. One way that I have found that I love is by cooking the rice in chicken stock. It gives it an intense and even somewhat smokey flavor. 3 eggs, beaten pinch of Chinese five spice powder 3 tablespoons sunflower oil 4 scallions, sliced 1 garlic clove, crushed 4 ounces bean sprouts 2 cups cooked white rice 3 tablespoons soy sauce 1 tablespoon sesame oil salt and pepper to taste 1. Season the eggs with salt and pepper to taste. Then beat in the five spice powder. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a saute pan on medium heat. Heat the pan and pour in the eggs. Cook rather like an omelet. 2. Cook the egg until firm, then slide out. Chop the omelet into small strips and set aside. Heat the remaining oil and stir fry the scallions, garlic and bean sprouts for about 2 minutes. Stirring and tossing continuously. 3. Combine the cooked rice ad heat thoroughly, stirring well. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil, then return the egg mixture to the pan and mix well. Yields: 4

Salmon Chow Mein

What a refreshing meal homemade chow mein is. I love this combination with a nice salmon fillet. Make sure that it is fully skinned before using, your fish monger can do this for you. This chow mein is made with ingredients that are usually in every home. Serve this with a fresh green salad. 3 tablespoons sunflower oil 2 garlic cloves, sliced 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, chopped 1 (1 pound) salmon fillet, cubed 1 pound egg noodles, cooked per package directions 2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 tablespoon oyster sauce 1 tablespoon sesame oil salt and pepper to taste 2 scallions, sliced for garnish 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped for garnish 1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a saute pan on medium heat. Add garlic, ginger and salmon. Cook until salmon is thoroughly cooked, about 7 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and sit aside. 2. Heat the rest of the oil in the same pan. Add the noodles, tossing and stirring. Season with soy sauce, oyster sauce, salt and pepper. 3. Return the salmon mixture to the pan. Reheat and mix with the noodles. Stir in sesame oil. Serve garnished with scallions and cilantro. Yields: 4

Tagliatelle with Bolognese Sauce

This dish is so much better then a basic spaghetti but what is not with tagliatelle? The thick sauce with fresh cilantro, basil and scallions adorn all over the top will send you straight to bliss. This pasta along side a crisp colorful salad and fresh garlic bread is the perfect meal to end your day. 3 tablespoons olive oil 12 ounces lean ground beef 1 small onion, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, smashed 1 (14) ounce can chopped tomatoes 1 carrot, finely chopped 1 celery stalk, finely chopped 2 tablespoons tomato paste 2/3 cup meat broth 1/2 cup heavy cream 1 scallion, sliced 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped salt and pepper to taste Parmesan for topping 12 ounces fresh tagliatelle pasta, cooked per package directions 1. In a saute pan on medium heat add oil. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes or until softened. Add beef to the pan with vegetables and cook until meat is no longer pink. 2. Pour in the broth. Stir frequently until it has evaporated, then add cream and cook until that has evaporated, too. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Simmer the sauce uncovered for 45 minutes. 3. Pour sauce on top of cooked tagliatelle and sprinkle with scallions, parsley, basil and Parmesan. Yields: 4 servings