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Syria (Syrian Recipes)

World Cuisine Recipes

   Damascenes are tremendously proud of their local food and are not big consumers of the food of other cultures - Chinese or Mexican, for example. You'll likely start with an array of mezze (appetizers) which could include hummus (chick pea dip), baba ganoush (eggplant and yoghurt dip) - often freshly made and delicious, a variety of zaytuun - green olives, black olives, olives with tomato or hot sauce and always with pits. The next course will likely be salads - traditional salad offerings include taboulleh - a popular parsley, radish, tomato and lemon juice salad or fatoosh which has lettuce, tomatoes, lemon juice and chopped up flatbread seasoned with sumac and lemon juice. The main course is grilled skewers of chicken or lamb - beef is available, but not popular - in the form of kabobs. Kefte kabob is ground meat formed into balls or chunks with seasonings.
Lentils and Rice (Mujadarra)
Servings: 8
4 medium yellow onions, peeled
3 tbs. olive oil
1 cup lentils
3½ cups cold water
1 cup long-grain rice
2 tsp. salt
Cooking Instructions:
Dice 3 of the onions. Heat a large frying pan and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the diced onions. Saute until quite brown and set aside. In a 4-quart covered pot place the lentils and water. Bring to a boil, covered, and then turn down to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes. Add the cooked onion to the lentils, along with the rice and salt. Cover and simmer 20 minutes until rice and lentils are soft. If a bit of water remains unabsorbed, remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes and it will soak in. Slice the remaining onion into rings. Heat the frying pan again and saute the rings in the remaining olive oil. To serve, top the lentils with the sauteed onion rings. Accompany with plain yogurt and a lemony green salad, with tomato wedges on the side.
Arabian Bean Salad (Ful Madammas)
Servings: 4
1 cup dried ful, small-size bean, rinsed and drained
8 cups water
1 medium ripe tomato, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 cup peeled and thinly sliced yellow onion
½ cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Cooking Instructions:
Place the beans (ful) in a medium pot and add 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and let stand 1 hour, covered. Drain. Return the ful to the pot and add 4 cups of fresh water. Bring to a boil, covered, and reduce to a simmer. Cook 15 minutes or until the beans are tender. Drain. Mix the beans with the tomato, garlic, parsley, and onion. Prepare the dressing and toss with the vegetables. Chill before serving.
Hummus bi Tahina (Chickpea and Sesame Dip)
Servings: 4-6
125 g (4 oz) chickpeas, soaked for a few hours
Juice of 2 lemons
3 tbsp. tahina
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. paprika
A few sprigs of parsley, finely chopped
Cooking Instructions:
Drain the chickpeas and simmer in fresh water for about an hour or until tender. Reserve the cooking water. Process the chickpeas in a blender (or food processor) with the lemon juice, tahina, garlic, salt and enough of the cooking liquid to obtain a soft creamy consistency. Serve on a flat plate, garnished with a dribble of olive oil, a dusting of paprika (this is usually done in the shape of a cross) and a little parsley. Serve with warm pita bread for dipping
Baba Ghannouj (Eggplant Dip)
Servings: 5
1 large round eggplant (aubergine)
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
60 milliliters (3 oz., 4 tbsp.) tahina
60 milliliters (2 oz., 4 tbsp.) lemon juice
Salt, red pepper
Olive oil
Chopped parsley
Slices of red bell pepper to garnish
Cooking Instructions:
Cook the eggplant in a hot oven or on a fork over the flame of a gas stove. When it is well cooked through and the skin is blackened, douse with cold water, peel and chop into small pieces. Mash two or three cloves of garlic to a paste with about the same volume of salt. Add eggplant, mash to a smooth consistency, and blend the tahina and lemon juice to make the Arab version of this dish; omit the tahina for the Turkish version. Serve in a bowl with little olive oil on top and garnish chopped parsley, red pepper slices and a dusting of red pepper.
Syrian Style Labneh (Spiced Yogurt Cheese)

1 quart thick Greek-style yogurt or 1.5 quart thinner natural yogurt
1.5 t ground cumin
1.5 t. dried spearmint
1/2 t. Aleppo pepper or chili flakes
1.5 t. sea salt
Olive oil
Cooking Instructions:
Put a large colander in a bowl. Line the colander with a double layer of cheesecloth. Pour in the yogurt, and tie the cheesecloth into a ball. For bonus points, tie cheesecloth around a wooden spoon or something you can hang over the colander rim so it is suspended. That will help it drain faster, using its own weight. Put the whole apparatus in the refrigerator overnight. Make sure there is enough room in the bowl to catch the liquid, we don't want a mess in your fridge. Remove the yogurt from the cheesecloth into a clean bowl. It should be firm enough to form somewhat decent balls at this point. If not, drain it more. Mix in the cumin, spearmint, pepper and sea salt. To serve, fill a shallow bowl with about 1/8" of olive oil. Grease your hands and form balls a bit smaller than a golf ball. Arrange in the dish, and garnish with roughly chopped parsley or cilantro.
Salatat Bathinjan (Eggplant Appetizer)

1 large eggplant, peeled and thickly sliced
8 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 medium hot pepper, finely chopped
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Cooking Instructions:
Sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt. Place in a strainer or colander, top with a weight, and allow to drain for 45 minutes. Heat the oil in a frying pan, then add the eggplant slices and fry on both sides until they are golden brown. Remove the eggplant slices, dice them, then set aside in a bowl. Mash the garlic cloves with salt. Add to the diced eggplant along with the hot pepper and lemon juice. Chill slightly and serve.
Aleppo Lentil Soup (Syria and Lebanon)
1 cup split red lentils, washed
6 cup water
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup lemon juice
Salt, to taste
2 tbl olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, leaves only
1 tsp cumin
1 pch cayenne pepper
Cooking Instructions:
Place the lentils in a pot with 5 cups of the water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for approximately 5 minutes. In the meantime, mix the flour with the remaining water to make a smooth paste. Add to the lentils. Stir in the lemon juice and salt and continue stirring over a high heat until the soup mixture returns to a boil. Lower the heat; then cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring once in a while. While the mixture is cooking, heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the garlic and the coriander and fry until the garlic is golden brown. Stir this mixture into the soup. Simmer for a few minutes, then add the cumin and cayenne pepper. Stir and serve hot.
Baked Eggplant (Syrian Origin)
Servings: 4-6
1 med Sized eggplant
1/2 lb Ground beef
5 tbl Butter or margarine
1/2 cup Minced onion
1/4 cup Chopped green pepper
2 cup Cooked rice
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/2 cup Bread crumbs
Cooking Instructions:
Peel eggplant and cut into cubes. cook in boiling salted water until tender (about 15-20 minutes). Drain, Mash eggplant. Brown ground beef in 3 tablespoons butter. Add minced onion and chopped pepper, cook until vegetables are tneder. stir in mashed eggplant, cooked rice, salt and pepper. Spoon into a 10 x 6 x 2 inch baking dish. saute bread crumbs in remining 2 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle over eggplant mixture. Bake in moderate oven (375 deg. F.) for about 20 minutes.

Servings: 4
1 Romaine lettuce, or iceberg lettuce
1 Red pepper, seeded & diced
4 Eggs, hard boiled, peeled cut in wedges
4 Tomatoes, sliced
2 tsp Capers
16 Olives, black
4 slc Whole wheat bread, thinly sliced
2 Garlic cloves
1 tbl Olive oil
For the Dressing:
1 tbl Olive oil
2 tsp White wine vinegar
1 tbl Parsley, fresh chopped
1 tsp Tarragon, dried salt & black pepper
Cooking Instructions:
Toast the whole wheat bread and rub with cut cloves of garlic. Lightly sprinkle with oil. Break into small pieces. Put the dressing ingredients together in a screw-top jar and mix by shaking well. Toss the garlic toast and dressing into the salad.
Ruz Ma Shayreeyeh (Vermicelli Rice)
1 1/4 cup Rice
1/2 cup Fideo vermicelli
2 tbl Butter or olive oil
2 2/3 cup Water or chicken broth
Cooking Instructions:
Tossing the grain in a little butter or oil before adding the liquid helps to keep the kernels from sticking together. When chicken broth or bouillon is used instead of water, you have the original Middle Eastern specialty that inspired the packaged mix known as Rice-A-Roni". Egyptian short-grained rice requires at least 1/2 hour of presoaking. Some cooks rinse it until the water runs relatively clear, soak it for up to 2 hours, and rinse it again several times before cooking. Converted rice is ready to use. Crush the noodles between your hands to break them into pieces about 1/2 to 3/4 inch long. Saute them in the butter or oil over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they are evenly golden brown. Add the rice and stir-fry until the grains are all coated and glistening. Pour on the water or broth, add the salt, and stir. Bring to a boil. When the water level is equal to that of the rice, and little bubbly holes have appeared in the rice, cover and reduce the heat. Simmer until done. The total cooking time is about 25 minutes.
Samaka Harra (Syrian Spiced Fish)
6 lrg garlic cloves peeled
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 fresh red or green long chili peppers seeded
1 sm onion cut into pieces
1 lrg ripe tomato - (9 to 10 oz) peeled, seeded
3 tbl tomato paste
1 tsp freshly-ground cumin seeds
1 whl red snapper - (abt 6 lbs) scaled, gutted, and cleaned, left whole, head and tail on
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Cooking Instructions:
In a mortar, pound the garlic and salt together until mushy. Put the chili peppers and onion in a food processor and chop finely. Add the tomato and process in bursts until it is chopped. Remove to a medium-size bowl and stir in the pounded garlic, tomato paste and cumin. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Rinse the fish and pat dry with paper towels. Score the fish in three places on each side. Lay the fish in a baking pan and coat with the olive oil on both sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover with the chili pepper sauce. Bake the fish until the dorsal fin feels as if it will come off with a tug, about 1 hour, basting with the accumulated olive oil in the baking pan. Sprinkle with the coriander and serve.
Syrian Chicken and Rice
1 1/2 lb Ground beef, sirloin or Roud
1 cup Rice
2 cup Chicken broth
1/2 cup Burgandy wine
1 cup Chicken, cooked, diced
1 1/2 tsp Allspice
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup Pine nuts, toasted or Walnuts, chopped
Cooking Instructions:
Brown beef and drain all fat. Add rice, broth, wine, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Simmer 20 minutes or until rice is done. Add nuts and cooked chicken. Stir and simmer 5 minutes or until chicken is heated. Can be frozen.
Syrian Grilled Breast
1 roaster boneless breast or 1 roaster thin-sliced boneless breast
2 tbl fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbl fresh mint or 1 teaspoon dried
1 sm clove garlic, minced
Salt and ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped pistachios
Cooking Instructions:
Cut breast pieces in half, removing tenderloin pieces. Place pieces, including tenderloin pieces, between sheets of plastic wrap and pound to 1/4" thickness to form cutlets. Or use the already sliced roaster breast and skip the cutting and pounding. In a shallow dish combine lemon juice, olive oil, mint, garlic, salt and pepper. Add chicken to marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or longer, turning occasionally. Grill cutlets 4 to 5 inches above medium-hot coals for 2 to 3 minutes per side until cooked through, brushing often with the marinade. Sprinkle with pistachios before serving.
Syrian Kibbeh
1/2 lb ground lamb
1 med Onion, finely chopped
2 tbl olive oil
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup pine nuts
Bulgur Mix:
2 box (5.5 oz. each) Near East brand Taboule Wheat Salad mix
1 lb ground lamb
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 med Onion, finely chopped
2 1/2 tbl olive oil
Cooking Instructions:
Sautee onion in olive oil until browned. Add ground lamb and seasonings, then fry until all the meat starts to brown. Make sure meat is chopped up fine. Add the pine nuts and reduce heat to warm. Bulgur: Dump the 2 boxes of Taboule into a bowl (do not use the seasoning packs that come with wheat salad mix). Cover Taboule with about an inch of water and let mix settle until water becomes cloudy. Carefully drain out the water and repeat the rinse two more times. After the last rinse, cover Taboule with another inch of water and let set for 15 minutes. Drain Taboule and squeeze out all excess water. Add chopped onion, seasonings, olive oil and meat, then mix thoroughly with hands. A food processor can be used for this process, but your hands will work just as good. Make sure all ingredients are mixed together well.
   Final Preparation: Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a pie pan with olive oil. Using half the bulgur mix, line the pie pan and spread evenly. Add the filing mix and cover with the remaining bulgur. Coat top surface with olive oil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and preheat broiler, then return Kibbeh to oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes and serve.
Syrian Pigeon with Pearl Barley
2 Wood pigeons
50 g Butter
100 g Cooked pearl barley
1 sm Bunc dill, leaves only, chopped
1 Onion, finely sliced
3 Cloves garlic, crushed
1 kg Fresh tomatoes, chopped
4 Peppers, sliced
1 Red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1 Aubergine, cut into 1cm wide strips, salted and rinsed
Cooking Instructions:
Brown the birds in an oven proof casserole large enough to take them reasonably snugly and reserve. Fry the onion and garlic until soft and add the tomatoes, peppers and chilli. When cooked down for five minutes, stuff the birds with a knob of butter and the barley; seasoned with salt and dill. Fry the strips of aubergine gently until browned and add to the pot. Simmer for an hour and serve with bread and salad.
Syrian Seseme Muffins
1 1/2 cup Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1/3 cup White sugar
1/3 cup Brown sugar
1/3 cup Toasted seseme seeds
1 Egg
1 1/4 cup Buttermilk
4 tbl Butter, melted
1 tbl Seseme oil
Cooking Instructions:
Mix dry ingredients with seseme seeds in a bowl. Whisk wet ingredients together. make a well in center of dry ingredients and whisk in wets quickly. Spoon into muffin tins and sprinkle with a bit more seseme seeds. Bake 400 15 to 20 minutes or done. makes 12 to 14.These are a good snack muffin, eat with honey and butter.

World Cuisine Recipes


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