Good news for Ya Salam Cooking

I have a few good things to share that is happening with Ya Salam Cooking that I am proud of. I have had this blog for three years now and have put a lot of time and hard work into running it. I love sharing my love of food and finding exotic recipes and spices to share with my readers. I love all of the fantastic friends I have made through this site and all of the kinds emails I receive daily. SaudiLife which describes it self as Saudis first portal reached out to me a few weeks ago asking if I would write a column for the paper. They were very kind telling me I can write weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. I am the only food writer that have brought on board so they will be giving me my own page and column. I even get the liberty of naming it. It will be great to share my love of food with a larger audience. I will let you know when I publish my first article.
I also just got an email telling me that I was nominated as one of the 2010 Top African Middle East Cuisine Blog's. These are some of the kind words the email said "As a website dedicated to help those consider a career in cooking, we only provide the best information available. Whether it's a resource to teach you a new cuisine style, or one that provides new ideas to your current specialty, we feel that it's necessary for those seeking to obtain this information. This is why we've featured your blog, as it is one of the best to teach our readers." I have been honored to receive many of the awards fellow bloggers have sent me and while they are not as of now up I do have them and yes I plan on showcasing them when I have more time. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to send me one. I appreciate it greatly. Nothing means more to a blogger then recognition in the field they blog.


In Palestine and Jordan, musakhan is a favorite dish. The dish is simple to make, and the ingredients needed are easily obtainable, thus assuring the dish's popularity. Another reason Musakhan retains its popularity is due to the wide imports and productivity of the ingredients used in the dish. The ingredients used, such as olive oil and sumac are widely grown and produced near by. The ingredients are also used in other Arabian dishes.

Musakhan is a dish that one typically eats with one's hands. It is usually presented with the chicken on top of the loaf, and could be served with soup. The term 'musakhan' literally means "something that is heated."

4-6 chicken breast, boneless and skinless
1/2 tablespoon sumac
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
juice of 1 lemon
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons water
2 large pita breads

1. In a 8x8 inch pan add juice of 1 lemon, sumac, cinnamon, salt, pepper. Add chicken breast, cover and marinate in refrigerator for at least two hours.

2. In a small pan on medium heat add olive oil and onions. Allow to cook until tender. Pre-heat oven to 350F. In a roasting pan add water. Place chicken into pan, cover chicken with onions and remaining mixture from chicken pan. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.

3. On a baking sheet place pita bread side by side. Sit chicken on top with onion and pour some chicken stock all over pitas. Place into oven until pita is warm and crispy.

Yields: 4-6 servings

Stuffed n' Baked Apples

4 medium Granny Smith apples 1/2 cup raisins 2 tablespoons brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 4 tablespoons butter 1/3 cup apple juice 1. Preheat oven to 400F. Core apples leaving a wide center, peel skin away from top. Sit aside. In a small bowl add raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter. Mix well. 2. Sit apples in a small baking dish. Pour apple juice into baking dish. Stuff apples tightly with sugar mixture. Bake for 45 minutes. Yields: 4 servings


This is another recipe one of my readers were wanting to make. This bread also called tamees is a Saudi favorite for sure. Tamees is extremely cheap here you can buy one large tamees for 1 riyal (25 cents) and it is freshly baked. The usual things people eat with tamees are kiri cheese, honey or foul. My son and I always tend to eat the soft edges and leave the crispy centers for my husband. Because of the cheap price and easy access this is not something I would typically make but all of the people who have had the pleasure of this treat and now are not living in Saudi just really want to know how to make it. I have been working hard to try to perfect the recipe and make as much as a replica of the tamees bread at home as I can and I have to admit this is pretty much perfect. Tamees is cooked inside of a brick oven stove on open fire for a short time so to get heat like you need you will cook the homemade version on broil. Be careful when adding the water. You always want to add water a bit at a time so you do not water your recipe down. Exact water recipes for dough are hard to get seeing how things like climates effect it all. 2 cups all purpose flour 1/2 tablespoons yeast 1 teaspoon sugar 3 tablespoons sunflower oil+more for hands 1 teaspoon salt 1/2-2/3 cups water 1. In a small bowl add yeast, sugar and 4 tablespoons of very warm water. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes until frothy. 2. In a large bowl add flour, salt, oil and yeast mixture. Carefully add water a small amout at a time until you get a dough like consistency. Add a small amount of oil onto hands and carefully rib outside of dough (do not work in). Place back into bowl, cover with a towel and sit in a warm place for 1 hour. 3. Turn oven on broil allowing oven to get hot. Meanwhile, roll down leaving about 1/4 inch thick in a large round (about 10 inches). Poke holes all over the top of the dough with a fork. Carefully place dough onto a baking stone. 4. Watch dough until top turns dark brown. Carefully flip bread and cook other side until lightly golden. Yields: 1 (10-12 inch) round

Garlic Sauce

I get tons of emails from my loyal readers asking me for recipes, etc. I am going to try to make my next recipes the ones you all have requested. A few days ago I got an email asking for the recipe of the white sauce we use on sharwarmas. The sauce happens to be called garlic sauce and well its pretty easy. So for anyone who loves garlic sauce on your sharwarma this ones for you. 6 peeled garlic cloves 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup lemon juice 1/2 cup sunflower oil 1 tablespoon mayonnaise 1. In a small bowl add garlic and salt, pound to a smooth paste. In a separate bowl add lemon juice and oil. Add this gradually to the garlic , blending thoroughly. Add mayonnaise, mix. Yields: 5 servings

Chicken Makhtoum

The cream base sauce for this chicken is simply perfect in every way that most Gulf recipes seem to be. You can use any chicken pieces that you like for this and I would imagine that any seafood such as fish or shrimp would be simple divine with this sauce as well. 1 whole chicken, cut up 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 small onion, diced 1 cup yogurt 2 tomatoes, quartered 1 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons tomato paste 1 tablespoon Arabic spice mix 1. In a food processor add onion, yogurt, tomatoes, salt, tomato paste and Arabic spice mix. Mix until well blended. 2. In a 9-inch saute-pan on medium-high heat add olive oil. Add chicken pieces allow to cook until half way done on both side. Reduce heat to medium and pour yogurt mixture over chicken into pan. Allow to cook for 10 minutes then reduce heat to low. Cook until chicken is no longer pink and less sauce is remaining in the pan. Approximately 15-20 minutes. Serve with rice and pour yogurt mixture on top of chicken. Yields: 4 servings

Roasted Turkey

I sure wish I had a better picture to show off my prize Turkey I made for Eid this year but this is the best I could get with my hungry family. I was blessed to be able to cook for my in laws this year. It was the first time they had tried turkey and they all love it. The turkey looks delicious none the less and do not let my ugly ole' roasting pan fool you because it has quite a heartwarming background. That turkey pan belonged to my great-grandmother Clara Jolley who unfortunately is no longer with us. Since then this pan has been passed down generation to generation and I am blessed to have it now until one day I pass it to my daughter. So see its not so ugly after all is it? This was the best turkey I have ever made or ate. It was savory and moist on the inside and crispy and tasteful on the outside. Just like any good turkey should be. 1 turkey (21 pounds) 1 stick butter 4 tablespoons dried onion flakes 4 tablespoons dried parsley 2 teaspoons salt 3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning 1/4 cup water 6 tablespoons honey 1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a large roasting pan line bottom with foil. Place turkey breast side up. Separate skin from meat and stuff butter in between. Pour water on top of turkey. 2. In a small bowl add onion flakes, parsley, salt and Cajun seasoning, mix well. And Sprinkle all over Turkey. Place foil on top of turkey, covering turkey only. Baste turkey every so often with juices. 3. Allow to cook for 3 hours and 15 minutes. Remove turkey from oven, remove foil from top and brush turkey with honey. Place back into the oven with no foil and cook for a remaining 30 minutes. Yields: 10-15 servings

Chinese Chicken Noodle Soup

This soup is a very common and traditional recipe throughout China. When my family and I were visiting Malaysia, we were introduced to many Chinese spices and dishes. Malaysia is a melting pot filled with several cultures so tourists have the opportunity to learn about many Asian cultures. This dish was very popular among all the Asian cultures and a dish you would see on most restaurant menus. You will easily get yourself addicted to this easy and filling meal, which satisfies any food lover’s palate. 4 chicken breast, skinless and boneless 3 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked 4 cups cabbage 2 scallions 12 ounces dried eggs noodles 4 cups chicken broth 2 tablespoons sunflower oil 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon brown sugar 2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 teaspoon rice vinegar 1. Thinly slice chicken into strips. Squeeze the mushrooms dry and discard any hard parts. Thinly slice the mushroom caps, cabbage and scallion. Keep all ingredients separate. 2. In a 4-quart saucepan add 4 cups of chicken broth and bring to a full boil. Add egg noodles and turn heat off. Allow to sit in hot broth. Sit aside. 3. In a 9-inch skillet on medium-high heat add sunflower oil, chicken and scallions. Allow to cook mixing well for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add cabbage and cover with a lid allowing cabbage and chicken to completely cook, about 10 minutes. 4. Add mushrooms and stir-fry for 1 minute. In a small bowl add salt, brown sugar, soy sauce and rice vinegar; mix well. Pour sauce over chicken mixture and combine. Reduce heat to low. 5. In a large bowl, add noodles and broth. Carefully pour chicken mixture atop noodles. Serve. Yields: 6 servings

Peking Shrimp Stir-fry

I prefer to serve this Chinese classic with hot Canton noodles but any noodles or rice will work as a great side for this stir-fry. Most grocers carry frozen stir-fry vegetables but if not any will do that suit your taste. 12 ounces shrimp, cleaned 2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 tablespoon rice vinegar 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 teaspoon brown sugar 2 tablespoons sunflower oil 3 garlic cloves, smashed 1 tablespoon grated ginger 2 tablespoons oyster sauce 1 bag frozen stir-fry vegetables cooked noodles, to serve 1. In a small bowl add soy sauce, rice vinegar, cornstarch and brown sugar, mix well. Add shrimp and marinate for 20 minutes. 2. In a saute pan on medium heat add oil. Add garlic, ginger and vegetables. Allow to fully cook about 10 minutes. Add oyster sauce. 3. Add shrimp with marinade. Cook until shrimp turns pink and serve. Yields: 4-6 servings

New Orleans Chicken Pasta

I do not think I have ever met a pasta that I do not like. This is a recipe full of smooth and sharp flavors that give you that down home Cajun feeling with every bite. I tried to create an easy at home pasta that you can make with all things on hand. Try to pick up a Cajun spice blend next time your out if you do not already have some. You can not go wrong serving garlic bread and a simple salad with this fulfilling meal. 4 chicken breast, boneless skinless and diced 250 grams farfalle pasta 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning 2 tablespoons butter 2 scallions, sliced 2 cups milk 1 tablespoon corn starch 1 small tomato, diced 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon dried basil 3 cloves garlic, smashed 1. Boil pasta according to package directions. In a medium sized bowl add chicken and Cajun spice, mix well and refrigerated until needed. 2, In a 9-inch skillet on medium-high heat add butter and chicken. Cook until golden and chicken is no longer pink. Make a well in the middle of the chicken. Reduce heat to medium. Add scallions, tomato, salt, basil and garlic. Saute for 1-2 minutes. 3. In a measuring cup add milk and cornstarch, mix well. Carefully pour milk into pan over chicken. Raise to a full boil continuously stirring. Reduce heat to medium and stir until sauce has thickened. Serve sauce over pasta. Yields: 4 servings *I have been getting a lot of emails wondering how to make Canjun Seasoning at home so here is a recipe like the one that I use. Cajun Seasoning: 4 teaspoons salt 1 tablespoon chili powder 1 teaspoon ground allspice 1/2 tablespoon white pepper 2 tablespoons garlic powder 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1 tablespoon cumin 3 teaspoons ground cardamom 1 tablespoon brown sugar 1/4 cup oregano 1/4 cup thyme 3 tablespoons basil 1. In a small bowl mix all spices together. Store in a glass jar and seal lid tightly. Store in a cool and dark place.