My growing collection of Middle Eastern/North African/Sephardic/Persian recipes. Some are old family recipes, some are adapted from cookbooks, and others I invented All are Kosher, and a few are specifically Sephardic/Mizrachi recipes.
My personal top 3 from this list so far:
1) Aash e Anar (Persian Pomegranate Stew)
2) Rosewater, Saffron and Pistachio Ice Cream
3) Scacchi-- Italian/Sephardic Passover "Lasagna"
These marinated chicken legs come out beautifully glazed and juicy, and look like a lot more work than they really are! I marinated mine for only one hour and they still turned out nicely. Also, you can add sliced and scored potatoes to the baking pan if desired, to soak up some of the juices.
Note: I originally tried this recipe for one serving, so had to estimate the measurements of the marinade and stuffing. The proportions are correct, but the amounts may need adjusting for your personal taste. I also only had dried herbs on hand, but fresh would probably turn out even better!
The rice stuffing is very simple to make and turns out beautifully! If barberries are not available, chopped fresh cranberries or sour cherries are a good substitution. Preparation time does not include marinating time. Adapted from Persian Cooking for a Healthy Kitchen" by Najmieh Batmanglij.
This sweet-sour stew is enjoyed by many Sephardic families during the Passover seder and other festive events. It has a longer cooking time, but requires very minimal work on your part and tastes even better the next day!
Note: Meat+ fruit combinations are fairly common in Middle Eastern cuisine, but can take getting used to if you have not tried it before. If the stew is too sweet for your taste, just add more sliced lemon or lemon juice.
Also, do not brown the chicken before adding the water- the pieces will retain their shape instead of falling apart to create a stew.
Known as Avgolemono in Greece and Aarshe Saak in the Middle East, this tangy velvety soup is a staple at many meals. Aarshe Saak typically has small meatballs in it, while Avgolemono traditionally has rice and no meat. However, there are many regional and personal variations, and this is mine.
This version I came up with has has chicken and spinach/mushrooms to make it more filling. Feel free to omit these ingredients or experiment!
Note: I always "eyeball" quantities when I cook, so these amounts may not be perfectly exact- always adjust quantities to taste :)
This is a dairy version of the cookies my fiance's grandma would prepare for Purim (a Jewish holiday in the spring). The crisp shortbread dough encases a sweet filling made of walnuts and rose water. Easy to make, and delicious! Note: the original recipe is parve and uses oil in place of butter. I have never made cookies without butter or margarine and was scared to try it without knowing the proper proportions. If you know how to do it, please let me know! :)
This tangy soup is low-fat, quick and easy to prepare! It is a copycat-of a-copycat recipe from the soup served at Reza's, a Persian restaurant in Chicago (so called because I have never been to Reza's, but once had someone else's imitation of it!). Sumac powder and dried limes can both be found at Middle Eastern groceries or ethnic stores.
Nan-e Barbari is a popular Persian flatbread. It is often eaten with salty soft cheese such as feta with herbs (sabzi) or jam and a cup of tea for breakfast. It is similar to Armenian matnakash bread. I made this once for my Iranian boyfriend's parents and they approved :)
This is a quick and healthy hybrid of eggplant baba ganoush and hummus, with fava beans and spices! It was made on a whim because I only had one small-ish eggplant and wanted to stretch it into an entire meal. If you like garlic, spicy food and Middle Eastern flavors, give this a try! I love hummus and baba ganoush, but think this hybrid may be even better! *** I invented this recipe, so all ingredients are approximate. Feel free to adjust to taste or experiment.**
Note: Canned and dried fava beans may be found in the ethnic section of a large supermarket, or in Middle Eastern/Mediterranean groceries. This recipe probably works fine with chickpeas, but fava beans gave it a different flavor and smoother texture.
This is one of my favorite recipes! It is a thick Persian stew (or aash) flavored with fresh herbs, tangy pomegranate syrup and tiny meatballs. You may want to prepare the aash a day in advance, it tastes even better the second day, after the flavors have melded. The meatballs may be omitted or substituted with vegetables such as mushrooms.
I STRONGLY discourage substituting pomegranate juice for the paste, I can't imagine the flavor coming out properly. But who knows, it may work- so let me know if it does come out :) Pomegranate paste/molasses can be found at many ethnic groceries, and most Middle Eastern stores. My favorite brand is Cortas.
This deliciously spiced sweet-and sour stew was adapted from "Persian Cooking for a Healthy Kitchen" By Najmieh Batmanglij.
The original recipe calls for firm, unripe peaches and saffron. I had none and substituted nectarines/omitted the saffron and it still came out great.
This was the first time I ever made custard-based ice cream, and it was delicious! The rose water and saffron go great together, without overpowering each other. I doubled the original recipe, since most ice cream machines need at least 4 cups of liquid (also because my family gobbled it up in no time!).
The addition of sliced beets give these turnip pickles a beautiful pink color and distinctive taste. Pickled vegetables are commonly eaten throughout the Middle East, and jars of these pickles frequently decorate the windows or counters of many cafes. Adapted from Claudia Roden's "A Book of Middle Eastern Food".
Georgian cuisine frequently uses walnuts, as in this unique egg salad. A small amount of hot pepper flakes are included in the recipe, but the amount can be increased according to tolerance (make sure not to overpower the flavor of the sauce!). Recipe adapted from "Sephardic Cooking" by Copeland Marks.
NOTE: I haven't tested this recipe yet, but you may want to try blending in the egg yolks along with the walnut sauce, and serve it like devilled eggs.
Popular in Jewish communities throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East, these beautifully marbled rich maroon or brown eggs get their soft texture from the slow cooking process. The addition of onion skins to the liquid are absorbed by the porous shells, which cause the coloration.
Huevos Haminados are traditionally served at the Passover Seders of Calcutta, Turkey, Greece, Morocco and Tunisia and others, with slight regional variations. They can also be slowly cooked overnight in a crockpot for Shabbat. The name reflects the eggs' origin in Medieval Spain.