Monthly Archives: November 2011

Arabic White Rice

One of the hardest things for me to get down when I started cooking was the correct way to cook rice. Growing up we never ate rice with our meals and the only time I ever remember having it was for dessert which was served with milk and sugar and not that often. However, when you marry an Arab you better learn how to cook rice because most meals that do not involve rice do not equal much of a meal and I have become quiet fond of the dish myself. You can really do a lot with rice I have found out over the years. This recipe is the simple white plain rice you will find served on most tables. Arabs always add a cube of Maggi in their rice dishes and well most other dishes as well. Vinegar is really great when cooking rice because it keeps the rice from being sticky and makes it fluff to perfection. This is one the two recipes for basic rice that I always use, enjoy.

7 cups water
4 white rice seasoning cubes (you can use 7 cups of chicken broth to replace cubes and water)
1 tablespoon white vinegar
3 cups basmati rice
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1. In a 4-quart saucepan add water, bouillon cubes and vinegar, bring to boil.

2. Add the rice and cook for 10 minutes or until the rice is almost tender. Drain in a strainer. Heat half the quantity of butter in a large saucepan, add turmeric and cook for 2-3 minutes.

3. Add the cooked rice and spread the rest of butter on top of rice without stirring.
Cover and cook on low heat for at least 30 minutes or until rice is cooked. Fluff up the rice using a wooden fork in order to become yellow and white mixed colors.

Yields: 5-6 servings

Farm Biscuits

Biscuits are certainly a Southern staple that you will find being made in every Southerner’s home. In the South we only bake buttermilk biscuits and you will find them on tables throughout the day served for breakfast with white gravy, always accompanying dishes such as fried chicken and of course we make dessert out of them as well by spreading honey and butter on top. Biscuits are the one recipe that I just could not do without, I always make them. Biscuits are certainly one of those recipes that require practice. If you over mix you will get a flat and hard biscuit in the end. I barely mix my ingredients together in the bowl when I dump it out on the board. Kneading is also a big mistake; do not be tempted to do it. Just mix, dump, flip, roll and cut very quickly for a perfect biscuit.

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon shortening
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1/2 cup melted butter

1. Pre-heat oven to 500F. In a mixing bowl sift flour, baking powder and salt. Add shortening, mix in until mixture looks crumbles. Add baking soda and buttermilk. Quickly combine together being careful to not over mix.

2. Place dough on a floured surface or a non-stick baking mat. Roll dough 1/4 inch thick and cut 2 inch circles. Dip biscuits into melted butter, covering all of biscuit. Place on a baking sheet and bake until golden approximately 10 minutes.

Yields: 8

Batata bil Laham

I have always been a meat and potato type of girl so if any recipe has a combination of the two I am in heaven. This recipe takes a bit of time and I have found it’s easier to pull up a chair at the table and work. I usually have a bit of the meat mixture left so I add a small amount of egg and breadcrumb’s and make kofta out of the remaining mix. These golden dumplings are perfect served with white rice.

5 potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
1 pound ground lamb
1 onion
2 eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons coriander
1 cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1-1/2 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoons turmeric
oil for frying

1. In a small food processor add onion and coriander, pulse until chopped. In a medium sized bowl add onion mixture, turmeric, 1 teaspoon salt, curry powder and turmeric. Add lamb, mix and sit aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl add potatoes, remaining salt and sunflower oil. Make the potatoes mixture into a dough like consistency. Take a small ball the size of a large egg. Make a bowl with the potatoes mixture and stuff 1 heaping teaspoon full of lamb mixture inside and shape ball into a ball covering lamb. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

3. Add eggs in a small bowl and breadcrumbs in another small bowl. Add enough oil to fry into a saute pan on medium heat, allow to get hot. Dip potatoes into egg mixture and then roll in breadcrumbs. Fry on each side until golden and lamb is well done.  About 10-15 minutes.

Yields: 18

Khaliyyat Al-Nahl

My family absolutely adores this golden bread filled with cheese and covered with sugar syrup. This is bread that you will find served in many Saudi and other Arab homes. These superb rolls have a slight sweet taste and are filled with cream cheese; we use Kiri then topped with sugar syrup or honey. You can even sprinkle black sesame seeds on the bread before baking for another great flavor.

1 cup + 2/3 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons warm water
1/2 cup warm milk
1 egg
1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon yeast
dash of salt
oil
cream cheese
egg white

1. In a small bowl add yeast, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and water, stir. Allow to sit for 5 minutes until frothy.

2. In a large mixing bowl add flour, sugar, butter, yeast mixture, salt. Add egg and milk a bit at a time until a dough consistency has formed. Form a ball, oil hands and apply all around dough ball not working into. Place into bowl, cover with a towel and place in a warm place for at least an hour.

3. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Meanwhile, ball dough into small balls the size of a large egg. Shape into a bowl and stuff with a heaping teaspoonful of cream cheese. Form back into a ball. Place balls in a greased pie tin touching one another. Cover with a towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

4. In a small bowl mix egg white with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush on top of bread. Place bread into oven and cook until golden, 25 minutes. Drizzle sugar syrup or honey on top of bread.

Yields: 8-9