Category Archives: Middle Eastern
This was a delicious dish. My husband and I used to order a chicken dish made with pomegranates at an Afghani restaurant years ago. The placed closed down a while ago and I have not eaten that delicious dish for a long time.
I have had pomegranate glaze in my pantry for a long time. I had bought it a couple of years ago from Trader Joes (they had it briefly and don’t anymore). I did some extensive research on the internet and came up with my own version. The two main flavors are the walnuts and the pomegranate glaze. I marinated the chicken in ginger and garlic. In the meantime I made a gravy with onion, and lots of aromatic spices including cinnamon.
The dish has a very distinct taste- really delicious. Serve the chicken with some aromatic basmati rice or freshly made rotis.
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I just made this and decided to post it right away. Usually I make a dish, write the recipe and schedule the post. It is kind of a long process. Sometimes, I like the dish so much that I decide to post it right way.
As most of you know, I have been eating GG crackers for breakfast and snack on a daily basis. For those who have tried these crackers- you know how dry they are. You definitely need something on top to make them delectable.
The other day, I was listening to Joan Hamburg on WOR and she was interviewing some dietician who spoke about a low fat hummus she made with yogurt. A light bulb turned on in my head as I heard the interview. I had been spreading a bit of it everyday on my crackers and thought about the fat in a usual tub of hummus. I decided to make my own.
I experimented last week with one batch- it was good but not post worthy. I made the second batch today and it is super delicious.
I roasted some jalapenos (took the seeds out first) and garlic. I added non-fat Greek yogurt, lemon juice and a bit of tahini and olive oil to get the flavor but not too much of the fat. The result was really good. I had some with my crackers today and it was delicious and healthy since I am getting more protein than usual as the yogurt as tons of it.
Definitely make this and keep in your fridge- although it won’t last for too long….
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This dish takes the mundane chicken dinner to a whole new level. We had our usual Friday get together with Sia’s friend, her sisters and their Mom. It started off as a pizza party and as far as the kids are concerned, that is what we should serve every week. Most times I don’t feel like ordering pizza and would rather cook something at home.
So when the day came, I decided to make a chicken dish- something different (I usually say that in my mind- I really do). I was either watching or reading something- I can’t remember, but Moroccan chicken came up. That was it- I couldn’t think of anything else. I bought the chicken and – everything else was in the house. Couscous comes to mind when I think Moroccan food. Instead of making a salad on the side, I decided to make a spinach and cilantro sauce and cooked the couscous in it. The colors were amazing- the orangish red chicken against the light green couscous was beautiful. The taste wasn’t so shabby either.
We all enjoyed the chicken with the couscous and some red wine- yes I am drinking wine- just on the weekends for now and Friday is part of the weekend. I do plan to incorporate wine back into the week but since I am doing a cleanse, I feel I should detox and stay away from it for a while. I digress- the evening was very enjoyable and delicious!
- 2 tablespoons white whole-wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1½ pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large white onion, sliced thin
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon schug (hot red pepper mix)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 (16 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ cup golden raisins
- 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/3 cup slivered almonds
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
Toss the flour and salt with the chicken in a bag to coat. Heat a non-stick skillet with the olive oil and brown the chicken on both sides, about 4 minutes each. Transfer to a plate.
Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes on medium heat. Add cinnamon, ginger, cumin, schug and salt. Add the tomato, honey, raisins, chickpeas and chicken. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until the chicken is tender. Sprinkle the almonds and cilantro. Serve with couscous.
Spinach Cilantro Couscous
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 green onion
Blend the spinach, cilantro, garlic and onion with some water until a smooth paste is formed. Keep aside.
- 1 cup whole wheat couscous
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup spinach paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Heat a medium sized saucepan and add the oil. Add the spinach paste and saute for a minutes on medium high heat. Add the chicken broth and salt. Bring to a boil and add the couscous and place the lid and turn the heat off. Fluff the couscous in 5 minutes once it is cooked.
I think this recipe came about while I was reading some magazine and drooling over a chef in the mid-west cooking eastern-european food. He was making meatballs and serving them in pita bread like bread topped with a tzatziki sauce like concoction. I love tzatziki sauce- creamy, garlicky and cool tasting.
While I was in college, I would go help out at my family’s deli. We would serve delicious gyros with the tzatziki sauce. My Mom would make it with sour cream and grated cucumbers. I remember eating the sauce with fries- aah, the good old days when I could eat anything I wanted and not worry about gaining weight. All of these memories prompted me to make the sauce with the meatballs I had already concocted in my mind. I made my sauce with zero fat greek yogurt. It has all the creaminess and texture without the fat. Adding some fresh mint made it delicious.
While I was putting the ingredients together for the meatballs, I thought of falafels which are the middle-eastern meatless balls made out of a chickpea mixture. I decided to add some chickpeas in mine. It reminded me of shami kebabs – which are Indian kebabs made out of lamb and chickpeas. This ended up being a multi-cultural meal.
I served the meatballs in pita breads topped with the creamy tzatziki sauce. I also had store-bought hummus which I thinned out by adding some lemon juice. I needed some color for garnish- so took some tomatoes from my backyard and let them sit in some salt and minced garlic. It was all very delicious- especially with the oven fries on the side. I opened a Malbec Rose with the meal and all was good!
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Sometimes I get into a rut and make the same chicken dishes time and time again. I had chicken thighs in the fridge and I wanted to make a different preparation for a change. Nothing was coming to mind until I was flipping through a William Sonoma catalog. They were featuring a tagine and had a recipe for a chicken cooked in the contraption. I noticed the recipe included olives and apricots- I had both in the fridge- so I started cooking.
I sprinkled salt and pepper on chicken thighs- my favorite part of the chicken. Thighs are great to use in such dishes- they can be cooked for a long time and not get tough on you, plus they have great flavor. I made a simple spice mix with cinnamon and coated the chicken. I then browned the pieces and sauteed them with garlic and onions. I decided to add some grated carrots- to add some veggies- no one was able to detect anything healthy!
The olives and apricots really gave the chicken an incredible flavor and texture. I love the two ingredients together… The sweetness and chewiness of the apricots complimented the saltiness of the olives really well. I went to a few local stores to find preserved lemons (often used in Moroccan dishes) but was not able to. The olives I had were marinated with lemons- so that is what I used. It worked really well but I am sure using the actual preserved lemons would have been delicous too.
The dish was yum- I made cumin couscous with it. My daughter until recently didn’t care of couscous, but once I told her it is pasta in another form- she was a little more receptive. I made a green salad with our dinner and opened a bottle of red wine. Delicious!