Marqat Al Bamiyah Al Iraqiyah

The most famous Iraqi vegetable stew made with fresh lamb and vegetables. Traditionally potatoes are not added to the stew however I love them in mine. This stew is served with rice, fresh bread and salad. 1 kilogram fresh okra 3/4 kilogram lamb cubes 1 white or lamb bullion (I use white Maggi) 2 potatoes, cubed 3 garlic cloves, sliced 4 tablespoons tomato paste 1/4 cup lemon juice 3 tomatoes, diced 1 tablespoon Khaleeji baharat 4 tablespoons oil salt and pepper to taste 1. Wash the meat, trimming any excess fat. In a 4-quart saucepan on high heat add meat covering with water. Add bullion cube. Allow to come to a full boil then reduce to low. Cook until meat is fully cooked 15-20 minutes. Reserve broth. 2. Meanwhile, wash the okra, trim the small steams without opening the okra from the base. In a saute pan on medium heat add oil, onions and garlic. Cook until tender. 3. Add meat and okra with about 1/2 cup broth. Cover until okra has fully cooked. Shake pan from time to time so food does not stick. Add potatoes, lemon juice, tomatoes, Khaleeji baharat, salt and pepper. Add remaining stock and tomato mix, mix well. 4. Cover and allow to simmer until sauce has thickened. Place into a shallow serving platter. Yields: 6-8 servings

Machbous Al Ribyan

Another beautiful Arabic dish showcasing shrimp. This colorful dish has fresh seafood and vegetables combined with just the perfect spices. Be careful when cooking shrimp to not overcook it as it gets tough and also make sure you do not lift the lid when cooking the rice since the steam is what fully cooks it. If you have any leftover shrimp stock just pour into a glass jar and store in the fridge you will certainly use it again and nothing compares to fresh shrimp stock. 1 kilogram cleaned shrimp sufficient water to cover shrimp (allow 1-3/4 for every cup of rice) 2 dried limes 1 garlic clove, sliced 1 cinnamon stick 5 cloves 4 cardamom pods, bruised 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric pinch of Khaleeji Baharat salt to taste topping: 1 large onion, chopped 2 garlic cloves 1/2 teaspoon salt juice of 1/2 lemon 1/2 tablespoons Khaleeji Baharat 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger 3 tablespoons oil 1 green chili, stem removed and cut lengthwise 1 large tomato, finely chopped 1/2 cup fresh coriander a pinch of ground cardamom 3 cups basmati rice, cleaned washed and strained pinch saffron threads soaked in 1/4 cup rose water toasted pine nuts for garnishing 1. In a 4-quart saucepan on high heat add shrimp and cover with water. Add dried limes, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom pods, turmeric and pinch of Khaleeji baharat. Allow to boil for 1 minute, add salt and simmer for 1 minute. Strain saving the stock. Sit shrimp aside. Meanwhile, In a small bowl add rosewater and saffron. Allow to soak. 2. In a saute pan on medium heat add oil, onion, garlic and chili. Cook until onion is tender. Add salt, Khaleeji baharat, ginger, tomato, coriander and cardamom. Mix well and add lemon juice. Allow to cook for 5 minutes until tender. 3. Add rice into pan stirring with mixture gently cooking. Add enough shrimp stock to cook rice (1-3/4 cup per cup of rice used). Cover bring to a full boil then reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer 15-20 minutes until rice is fully cooked. 4. Add shrimp into cooked rice and mix. Sprinkle rose/saffron water on top of mixture. Place into a serving platter. Garnish top with pine nuts, tomatoes, lemon and cilantro. Serve this meal with Salata Hara. Yields: 6-8 servings

Bayedh Al Qetah

The name literally means Qetah eggs. Qetah is a delicacy game bird. The name of the Bedouin style stuffed pastries is derived from the close resemblance of the desserts shape, size and color to that of the Qetah eggs. This very old Bedouin dessert is about to be forgotten as time passes but one taste of this amazing little pastry and it will quickly become a family favorite. If you all knew how good these were you would rush to make them now. This goes perfect along side a cup of Gulf coffee or tea. 2 cups all purpose flour 1/2 cup melted butter 1/2 cup milk 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom powdered sugar sunflower oil for frying Filling: 1/3 cup walnuts ground a pinch of saffron soaked in 1 tablespoon orange blossom water 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom 1. In a large mixing bowl add flour and cardamom. Make a well in center of flour and add butter. Mix well, add milk a bit at a time until dough consistency is obtained. Cover and sit aside to rest for 15 minutes. 2. In a small bowl add walnuts, saffron and orange blossom water, cinnamon and cardamom, mix well. 3. In a 9-inch skillet add 1 cup of oil on medium heat allowing oil to get hot. Meanwhile, make balls with dough the size of a walnut. Take each ball and make into a bowl in your hand filling with about a teaspoon of the nut mixture. Close and seal, rolling into a ball. When finished fry balls in two batches. 4. Place balls on paper towels allowing grease to drain. Meanwhile, add powdered sugar into a bag, place pastries into bag and shake until fully covered with sugar. Place onto a platter and serve. Yields: 30 pastries

Beyaz Peynirli Makarna

This is one of my favorite pastas to make for myself because its good, filling and quick. You can easily use your favorite pasta and get a bit creative as to what you add to it. This dish usually does not contain tomatoes however I love them and they go just perfect. 2 servings pasta (I used spinach Tagliatella, cooked per package directions 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 cup feta, crumbled 2 tablespoons dried parsley 1 tomato, diced salt to taste 1. In a medium serving bowl add feta, salt, olive oil, tomato and feta. Add pasta and toss. Servings: 2

Blueberry Muffins

Growing up blueberry muffins was a staple breakfast food in our home and while shopping this week I saw some fresh, luscious blueberry's and thought of this recipe. My son and I had a lot of fun making these for brunch and even decided to make them actual BLUEberry muffins as you see. I took a handful of blueberries and crushed them in the mix so the batter would turn blue. My son really loved that! 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 cups fresh blueberries 1 1/4 cups sugar 2 large eggs 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1/2 cup milk 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously butter a standard 12-cup muffin pan and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Working over the bowl, toss blueberries in a fine sieve with about 1 1/2 teaspoons flour mixture to lightly coat; set aside the flour mixture and the blueberries. 2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a handheld mixer, beat butter and 1 cup sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. Mix in vanilla. 3. With the mixer on low speed, add reserved flour mixture, beating until just combined. Add milk, beating until just combined. Do not overmix. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the blueberries. Divide batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. If desired, in a small bowl, mix together remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Sprinkle sugar mixture on top of muffin batter. 4. Bake, rotating pan halfway though, until muffins are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of one muffin comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn muffins on their sides in their cups, and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. Yields: 1 dozen Adapted from Martha Stewart Baking Handbook

Sweet Bites

My son and I made these little bites when we had a sweet craving. I wanted to make doughnut holes but thought I would try something a bit different. The batter is almost like a thick cake batter so the outcome is soft and fluffy. Even after a few days they will not harden. You can roll them in powdered sugar, coconut or whatever your favorite flavors may be. I found using two small teaspoons was the best for acquiring the shape and retrieving them from the pan. The oil will make the batter not stick to the spoons. 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/3 cup sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 egg 1/2 cup milk 4 tablespoons butter, melted Oil for deep frying bowl of white sugar and cinnamon mixed to roll in after you cook and drain grease. 1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In a small bowl, combine the egg, milk and butter. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. 2. In a 9-inch skillet on medium heat add enough oil to fry. Drop dough by heaping teaspoonfuls, five or six at a time, into oil. Fry until browned, about 1-2 minutes, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Roll warm balls in sugar/cinnamon mix. Yields: 2 dozen

French Chicken

What a remarkable dish this turned out to be. The French always know how to make a good chicken and vegetable dish so that is what my eyes were on as I was thinking of what to prepare today. In the end I had decided to just take what I loved from a few French classic recipes and make one of my own. And one that was relatively healthier by using the oven. This bright and pleasant dish was one of the best I have had in a long time. I served a side of plain pasta and it was beyond perfect seeing how you could pour the sauce over the pasta. Everything went hand in hand together. I am sure you all can tell quiet a difference in my pictures from the past week. I finally invested in a professional Canon eso 550D. As you all know this is going on my fourth year of having Ya Salam Cooking so its really something that I have needed for quiet awhile. When I first started this blog I had no idea how to blog little on take pictures. Nothing compares to a quality SLR and I feel just complete with it now. I have always been a photographer at heart just with a crappy camera :P 4 chicken breast, boneless and skinless 1 large tomato, finely diced 3/4 cup water 1 chicken bullion cube 3 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon brown sugar 1 tablespoon white vinegar 1/4 teaspoon chili powder 3 garlic cloves, diced 2 teaspoons salt 1 onion, chopped 1/4 cup chopped parsley 2 teaspoons dried thyme 2 teaspoons dried oregano 2 tablespoons tomato paste 2 potatoes, quartered 2 carrots, sliced 1. Pre-heat oven 350F. In a roasting pan add water, butter, chicken bullion and tomato paste, mix. Add tomato, brown sugar, vinegar, chili powder, garlic, salt, onion, parsley, thyme, oregano, potatoes and carrots. 2. Cut each chicken breast in half and place into roasting pan. Combine mixture well. Place lid on pan and place into oven. Cook for 1 hour. Yields: 2-3 servings

French Toast


French toast is a such a great and easy dish that the entire family can appreciate. You can really do so much with it like add pancake syrup, powdered sugar, fruit or honey. I have even saw some delicious stuffed versions which I plan to try one day.

4 eggs
12 slices white bread, sliced diagonally
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 cup milk
powdered sugar for topping
butter or sunflower oil for frying

1. In a medium sized bowl add eggs, vanilla, white sugar and milk, carefully beat.

2. In a 9-inch skillet on medium head add 2 tablespoons of oil/butter. Allow pan to become very hot. Carefully dip each piece of bread into egg mixture and place into pan. Cooking until each side is lightly golden.

3. Place onto a serving plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Yields: 3 servings

Mdardara


The first time I had the pleasure of trying this dish was at my mother in laws. She had made it and asked me to try it. I took one bite and then found myself in love with this new dish. I love the fried onions on top they really bring this dish together. I like to keep the oil I use when frying onions in a separate jar for later usage. The oil really taste amazing when you cook other recipes with it.

2 cups brown lentils, rinsed
5-1/4 cups water
1 chicken or vegetable bullion cube
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed
salt, to taste
1/2 cup sunflower oil
2 onions, peeled and thinly sliced

1. In a 4-quart pan on high add water, bullion and lentils. Bring to a full boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Allow to cook for 30 minutes.

2. Add the rice and salt to the lentils. Bring to a full boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Allow to cook for 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile in a 9-inch skillet on medium heat add oil. Add onions slices cooking until golden. Place onions on plate and sit aside.

4. In a servings platter add mdardara and sprinkle fried onions on top.

Yields: 6-8 servings

Tuna Kofta

This is such an easy meal or snack to make. These decadent little balls go perfect with just about anything like rice, pasta, pita bread or fries like we do. Tuna is a not only a Najd classic to cook with but also Southern Saudis. You will even find tuna kabsa in those areas of Saudi. Tuna is extremely cheap and sure makes some great meals so go ahead and try it see how you impress your family and yourself. 2 large cans of tuna in water 2 eggs 2 slices of sandwich bread 1 tablespoon Arabic spice mix 1/2 tablespoon dried minced onion 3 garlic cloves, diced 1/4 cup flour 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper sunflower oil for frying 1. In a 9-inch skillet on medium heat add enough oil to fry kofta (about 1 cup). 2. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl add tuna, eggs, Arabic spice mix, onion, garlic, flour, salt and pepper. Shred bread between fingers and add into bowl. Combine mixture with hands until well mixed. 3. Shape kofta the size of golf balls and careful add into the hot oil. Cook on both sides until lightly golden. Drain on a paper towel and serve. Yields: 4 servings

Namoura with Yogurt

One Arabic dessert I could never tire of would be the ever so popular namoura. This cake is extremely easy to make and requires very little ingredients so even the kitchen newbie will get it perfect anytime. After moving to Saudi I was taught that tahine is a better choice in coating the pans than the usual butter and oil many people use. Tahine is by far the Arabs choice when baking sweets. 1-3/4 cups yogurt 2 cups semolina 1/2 cup sugar 2 tablespoons rose water 2 teaspoons baking powder 4 tablespoons tahine slivered almonds to garnish Sugar syrup for topping 1. In a large bowl add yogurt, semolina, sugar, rose water and baking powder. Mix well. In an 8x8 dish add tahine. Brush all over the bottom and sides of pan. Carefully pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Cut into squares or lozenges then press an almond into the middle of each piece. Leave aside to rest for at least one hour. 2. Pre-heat oven to 375F and allow to bake 30-40 minutes or until cake is golden. Remove from the oven and carefully pour syrup on top and all to soak for at least 2o minutes. Yields: 10 servings

Kibbeh Casserole

My initial plan was to make rice and potato kibbeh then that shifted and I wanted to try to make the same great taste a bit healthier without all that added oil. So I turned the popular recipe into an oven baked casserole with all the same great flavors only with less fat. If you do not have almond slices or ground almond on hand then you can use bread crumbs for the topping. I personally added the crushed almonds on top because Arabs love nuts within they’re food so it really gives this dish an extra punch. The astonishing fact about casseroles if that you can take several dishes and make it into one. I mean just look at this one it has potatoes, rice and veal. 2 cups basmati rice, washed 3 cups water 2 cubes white or chicken bouillon 3 garlic cloves, diced 2 medium potatoes, boiled and peeled 2 tablespoons sunflower oil 1 onion, chopped 1/2 kg ground veal 1 tablespoon curry powder 1 beef bouillon, crumbled 3 tablespoons pine seeds, toasted 3/4 cups ground almonds 1/4 cup melted butter 1. In a 4-quart saucepan on high heat place rice, water and white or chicken bouillon. Stir constantly until boiling then cover and cook over a low heat until rice is cooked. Remove and set aside to cool slightly. Mash the potato and the rice until puree then cover and set aside. 2. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Meanwhile, heat oil in a saute pan, add onion and garlic and cook until tender. Add veal and cook until golden brown. Add curry powder, beef bouillon cubes and pine seeds and stir until well combined. Remove pot from heat and leave to cool. 3. In a large mixing bowl add rice mixture and veal, mix until well combined. Grease a casserole pan then carefully add mixture, pressing down. Sprinkle almonds on top then drizzle butter all over casserole. Bake for 30 minutes. Yields: 12 servings

Nutella Pizza

YAY World Nutella day is finally here. Thanks to Ms Adventures in Italy, Bleeding Espresso, and World Nutella Day for creating and hosing this event. The possibilities were endless with this one I mean what can you not do with Nutella? After months of brainstorming I simply wanted to make something that my family and I would enjoy. What is better than a dessert pizza? I mean it is lip-smacking, attractive and all ages love it oh yea and it has NUTELLA. It was actually pretty simple to make as well. I made thin crust dough and I sliced the dough into pieces allowing everyone to add whatever toppings they wanted. I have a very small family so that was more practical than using an entire jar of Nutella. And hey why your at it go ahead and make yourself nutella crazy with a cup of my hot nutella. dough: 2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast 1/4 teaspoon sugar 3/4 cup warm water 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt topping: 400 gram jar Nutella 1/4 cup powdered sugar 1/4 cup sliced almonds 1. Pre-heat oven to 450F. In a small bowl add yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup of the warm water. Sit aside for 5-10 minutes until frothy. 2. In a large mixing bowl add flour, salt and yeast mixture. Add water a little at a time until a dough consistency forms. Knead for 2 minutes. 3. Working from the edges to the center, press dough into a 12" circle. Place dough on a lightly greased pizza pan and stretch dough to edges. 4. Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden. Sit aside and allow to slightly cool for 5 minutes. 5. With a pastry brush carefully brush nutella on top of crust. With a sifter dust powdered sugar on top of nutella then sprinkle with almonds. Yields: 12 servings

Pan-Fried Asparagus

Growing up I had never tried asparagus actually I never had tried most things. Coming from a small town means that the food selections are also small. A vegetable like asparagus just would never make it back home, its way to ‘fancy’ for Southern folks. However, it was always something that I wanted to try seeing how I love all green vegetables plus I heard it was the perfect pairing with salmon and well you all know I love my salmon. I made this easy recipe with butter and garlic a few more things I love and what an enjoyable dish it turned out to be. I absolutely adore asparagus now. 1/4 cup butter 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 teaspoon coarse salt 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 pound fresh asparagus spears, trimmed 1. Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cook garlic in butter for a minute, but do not brown. Add asparagus, and cook for 10 minutes, turning asparagus to ensure even cooking. Yields: 4 servings Adapted from Allrecipes