The weather has been amazing in Riyadh this past week and I wanted to take advantage of it so we were going to go out for some fresh air and then my husband suggested we go eat at Benihana an American Japanese restaurant we have here and one of my long time favorite places. Back home my family and friends would eat there quite a bit and I could just never see myself tiring of the Japanese Fusion dishes they have.
We had never been to the Riyadh location because most things here are just not up to par as in they usually do not even taste or have anything on the menu the same. I am so impressed tonight and was mad at myself for not trying it out earlier. The place is super clean and the staff is really awesome. Every family gets a private room with a chef that comes in and prepares the meal for you. On our way Talal was crying because he did not want to eat there but I just knew he would love it once we got there and he saw what all they did. He ended up loving it like I knew he would and he adored the show and even ended up ordered filet mignon and rice. We all had such a great time and the chef (Steven) was great at his job. The food was really good but so much luckily I I will be able to have a nice lunch tomorrow.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium tomatoes, diced (or half some baby tomatoes about 5)
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 small white onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1. In a 9-inch non-stick skillet on medium heat, add olive oil, onions and garlic. Heat until onions are tender. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper and cumin. Mix well, cook until thickens about 1 minute. Break 4 eggs over the mixture, cover and let cook on medium heat until eggs are cooked, about 5 minutes. Gently, slide shakshuka onto a plate or mix up with a spatula.
2. Serve with warm pita bread.
Yields: 2 servings
*updated from 12/21/08
Since I have started this site I get so many emails asking me why I do not have any recipes for grape leaves. I mean it is one of the biggest Arabic recipes out there after all. There are a lot of versions of grape leaves and this is one of the Saudi ways to make them. The other contains ground beef and I will try to get it up here sometime in the future. If you’re not exactly sure how to roll or arrange these in the pan then you should check out YouTube and you will have it in no time.
1/2 kg. Grape leaves
2 cups small grain rice (Egyptian)
4 white onions, minced
1/2 tablespoon lemon salt
1/2 bunch mint, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil plus 1/2 cup olive oil
1 large tomato, chopped
4 cups water
1/2 tablespoon salt
3 tomatoes, quartered for garnish
1. Wash rice and drain in strainer.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add rice, onion, mint, parsley, chopped tomato, lemon salt, salt and 1/4 cup olive oil, mix.
3. Wash grape leaves and in a large saucepan with boiling water boil for 2 minutes. Spread grape leaves keeping the rough side up and stuff with an 1/2 tablespoon of the mix. Bend both edges of the leaves to the inside and roll in a finger shape, repeat until all are stuffed.
4. Spread two layers of grape leaves in the bottom of the pan, arrange some on top, pour 1/2 cup of olive oil and 1 cup of water and cover the top with a plate so the leaves do not move.
5. Cook on low heat add a water a bit at a time until done. Allow to cool then arrange on a plate and garnish.
If you’re looking looking for a quick soup to whip up then this is your recipe. Maybe you don’t feel well or just cold but we all know both circumstances call for chicken soup and fast. This is simple Arabic version is thickened with semolina with a touch of cardamom, both incredibly perfect. I used some leftover chicken I had in the fridge, Tazaj anyone?
4 cups of chicken stock
1/3 cup of fine semolina flour
1/2 teaspoon of cardamom
1 cup of cooked chicken, shredded
1 small onion, chopped fine
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Place the chicken stock in a saucepan. Add the onion and let it simmer for a few minutes. Place the semolina in a small bowl and add 1/3 cup of water, stirring the mixture with a spoon until smooth.
2. Add the semolina and cardamom to the soup, stirring for a few minutes till the semolina is soft. Add the chicken pieces, salt and pepper. Serve.
Yields: 2 servings
Adapted from Taste of Beruit