Old School Middle Eastern Recipes with Some Modern Day Twists

Month: November 2019

Rustic Cranberry Cornmeal Cake

Rustic Cranberry Cornmeal Cake

This cake is a perfect addition to the holiday season. It has such a luscious texture, and has delicious pockets of tart cranberries scattered throughout. What really takes it over the top, though, is the caramelization of sugar, butter, cinnamon, cardamom and clove lining the […]

Vegan Pumpkin Pie with Oat Pecan Crust

Vegan Pumpkin Pie with Oat Pecan Crust

Our Nana always hosted wonderful Thanksgiving parties at her house. I remember her always running around the kitchen, making traditional Thanksgiving dishes, and, of course, I couldn’t wait to dive into her homemade apple pie. She is one of the greats at party hosting. Our […]

Samak Masgouf (Grilled Fish)

Samak Masgouf (Grilled Fish)

Friends, Thanksgiving is near. In honor of this American feast, we are posting what we consider the “Turkey” of an Iraqi Feast, Samak Masgouf, or grilled fish. Some say that Samak Masgouf is the national dish of Iraq. For us, it has always been the show-stopper at a large family gathering. All eyes flock to it and mouths instantly water as it is presented at the center of the table . Traditionally, the fish is cooked whole over an open fire and served whole. However, for us modern cooks, a large filet of fish baked in the oven, makes this an easy, yet striking dish for any dinner party. This light flaky fish, paired with tangy, spiced sauce is best enjoyed over a bed of rice.

Samak Masgouf over a bed of brown rice

It is a complete meal that leaves you feeling warm and satisfied, yet light enough that you will still have room for dessert. It’s perfect for your next holiday party! Happy Turkey Day All (or should we say Happy Samak Masgouf Day)!

Samak Masgouf

A light flaky white fish is cooked in a delicious tangy spiced sauce. It pairs perfectly with a bed of rice.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Arabic
Keyword: baharat, fish, tamarind

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs fresh fish filet (Cod), butterflied skinless and boneless
  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 tsp All spice (Bahar)
  • 2.5 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp dried lime (Noomi Basra)
  • Fresh squeezed juice from 1/2 of a lemon
  • 3 oz tomato paste
  • 1-2 roma tomatoes sliced for decoration
  • 1 yellow onion medium sized, sliced for decoration
  • 1/3 cup coarsley chopped Italian parsley for garnish
  • 1.5 tbsp garlic minced or crushed
  • 1/2 tbsp salt for sauce/paste
  • 1 tsp salt for seasoning fish
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp tamarind concentrate

Instructions

  • Line baking sheet with foil and lightly sprinkle 1 tbsp of oil over foil. Place butterflied fish fillet on lined baking sheet and pat dry with paper towel.
  • Sprinkle 1 tsp of salt over fish filet to lightly season
  • In a bowl, combine tomato paste, curry powder, bahar (allspice), water, garlic, 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1/2 tbsp of salt, lemon juice, tamarind concentrate, dried lime to form a paste
  • Spread paste over fish filet then top with sliced roma tomato and sliced yellow onion (see picture).
  • Bake in 425 degree oven for 25 minutes (place on bottom rack first and move to top rack after about 15 minutes of baking).
  • Broil for 2-3 minutes until onion and tomato have some blackened marks on them.
  • Remove from oven and garnish with italian parsley before serving.

Notes

You can use any white fish you would like.   We prefer Cod because it has  a mild, light, buttery flavor , but is thick enough to withhold the weight of the sauce.   Others have preferred “tougher” white fish like catfish, carpe or whitefish.
Vegan Pumpkin Scones

Vegan Pumpkin Scones

Thanksgiving is coming up, and pumpkin season is at its peak! I hope you had a chance to try our original pumpkin scone recipe, but for those who have seen The Game Changers or are seeking a plant-based diet, this is a great alternative! Check […]

Fall Hummus Bowl

Fall Hummus Bowl

Guys, this is GOOD. I suggest you make it soon. Caramelized roasted acorn squash is layered onto hummus and topped off with a cilantro cream sauce and roasted crispy red onions. Slather it on some toast, and you’ll forget avocado toast even existed. Ya, I […]

Tina’s Tepsi

Tina’s Tepsi

This dish is my version of comfort food. Baharat spiced meat is wrapped in tender roasted eggplant and topped off with roasted peppers, tomatoes, onions and a spiced tomato sauce. It pairs perfectly with a plate of steamy fresh basmati rice.

My mom makes this dish often, as it is requested frequently in our family. Being the smart mama that she is, she always doubles the recipe below. One tray to eat that day, and one tray to freeze and eat later. Growing up, that later was often when she may be out of town for work. It was a treat to have such a gourmet meal even when she was away, although Baba’s potato chips were also graciously welcomed 🙂

Once, my husband Auddie (of the famous article, Auddie’s Old Fashioned), knew this was my favorite dish and made it for me as a surprise. By using the recipe below, he made it exactly like my mom’s. This dish was then coined as “Tina’s Tepsi” because it is my favorite, and because it kinda has a nice ring to it. Tepsi will always be absolute comfort food for me. I am so happy to share the recipe with you all!

Tina’s Tepsi

Baharat spiced meat is wrapped in tender roasted eggplant and topped off with roasted peppers, tomatoes, onions and a spiced tomato sauce. It pairs perfectly with a plate of steamy fresh basmati rice.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time1 hr 20 mins
Total Time2 hrs 20 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ground meat (85/15)
  • 2 eggplants
  • 2 peppers, any variety of colors work
  • 1 large onion
  • 6 ounces tomato paste (1 small can)
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • olive oil
  • 3 tbsp baharat 
  • ~1 tbsp salt
  • 2 large tomatoes

Instructions

  • Preheat over to 450F.
  • Mix meat, 2½ Tbsp. bahar and ½ Tbsp. salt in a bowl with your hands. Shape meat into an oval, football like shape.
  • Prep all the vegetables. Chop peppers into rings, and then large pieces once you reach the seed cavity. Chop onion into rings and tomatoes into large slices.
  • Line 2 sheet pans with foil, grease (slightly generously) with oil.
  • Peel eggplant and cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch strips. These strips should be slightly thick, as this will help with removal of eggplant from sheet pan and with rolling meat into the strips later. Place eggplant strips on greased pan and brush each strip lightly with oil and then sprinkle with salt.
  • Bake eggplant for about 20 minutes, until strips are lightly golden.
  • While the eggplant cooks, cook meat patties. Heat a pan to medium-high heat and drizzle a little of olive oil on the bottom. Once the oil glistens, place meat patties in and cook until lightly browned on all sides. Avoid overcrowding your pan, and cook in batches. Place meat patties on a paper towel lined plate once done to drain off excess oil.
  • Once eggplant is removed from the oven, reduce oven temperature to 400F. Once the eggplant is slightly cooled, take an eggplant strip, place a meat patty on one edge and roll until the patty is fully rolled up by the eggplant (see pic).
  • To make the sauce, combine tomato paste, water, 1½ tsp. salt, ½ Tbsp. bahar and garlic into a bowl and whisk until combined.
  • Pour half the sauce onto the bottom of a large baking pyrex or casserole dish. Place meat/eggplant rolls into pan. On top of each roll, place first a tomato, then onion, then pepper. It's ok if they do not all sit evenly.
  • Cover pan with foil. Bake for 60 minutes covered, then 15 minutes uncovered, then 5 minutes on high broil. Enjoy!
Baharat

Baharat

It’s the spice of life! Well, maybe not exactly, but it is the spice that I most associate with my mom’s kitchen. Baharat is a blend of multiple warm and aromatic spices – cinnamon, cardamom, all spice, black pepper, nutmeg and cloves. You can add […]