Old School Middle Eastern Recipes with Some Modern Day Twists

Tag: rice

Mulukhiyah

Mulukhiyah

The following guest blog post was written by no other than the hubs, Auddie, (or All Day, Auddie -if you recall). I think he did a pretty good job – maybe even good enough to quit his day job?? Just kidding! This recipe is delish […]

Vegetarian Makloobi

Vegetarian Makloobi

Happy Easter and new beginnings to you all. We hope everyone is staying positive and well during these times. As you may be able to tell, some of us at Three Teas Kitchen have been spending our time at home cooking away. We hope you’ve […]

Fasoolia Kuthra (Green Bean Stew)

Fasoolia Kuthra (Green Bean Stew)

There is nothing better on an early spring day than coming home to a dinner of Fasoolia Kuthra. Consisting mostly of green beans and tomato broth, it is a light, yet warm and comforting stew perfect for an evening when the sun is setting around dinnertime (and not before 5pm) , but there is still a chill in the air.

Given its easy to make nature, it was often on Nana and Mom’s list of options for dinner. I have to admit, it wasn’t my first choice of “timin and marakah” (rice and stew) dishes as a kid. I would have much rather gone with Basalia or Ras Asfour. But it’s funny how your palate changes throughout your life. Now, it is one of my favorites as it is not quite as heavy as some of the others. I just feel better eating it.

This dish is the perfect one to end our “Medley of Marakah.” We hope you’ve enjoyed this series and hope you will love kicking of your spring with Fasoolia Kuthra.

Fasoolya Khuthra (Green bean stew)

Green beans are braised in a tomato based sauce and served over rice. Delicious!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6oz can tomato paste
  • 12oz bag cut frozen green beans
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped small to med sized
  • 1/2 lb ground beef can be substituted for ground turkey
  • 1/4 tsp Iraqi baharat or all spice if you don't have baharat on hand
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions

  • in a medium sized saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat for 2 minutes
  • add chopped onion and sautee for 1-2 minutes until you see onion starting to get shiny/translucent
  • add ground beef and 1/2 tsp of salt. break up the meat with wooden spoon while browning the meat.
  • once meat is brown mix in tomato paste
  • use tomato paste can to add 4.5 cans of water, bahar, pepper and 1/2 tsp of salt to the pot and stir
  • bring to a boil, then add frozen green beans
  • cover the saucepan and bring to boil on high heat
  • once it boils reduce heat to simmer for 10-15 minutes
  • add additional salt or pepper to taste and serve over rice

Notes

Three Teas Tips:
You may substitute the ground beef for ground turkey if you would prefer it a bit lighter. 
Make this dish vegetarian/vegan, by removing the ground meat and instead adding a can of drained white beans with the green beans for a hearty, protein and fiber packed meal!
Fasoolia Baytha (White Bean Stew)

Fasoolia Baytha (White Bean Stew)

White beans braised in a tomato based sauce is Fasoolia Baytha. Fasoolia means “bean” and baytha means “white” in Arabic. Thus, this is a white bean stew. This dish could not get any simpler. You can use canned or dried beans for this recipe, whichever […]

Akil Majnoon (Braised Vegetable Stew)

Akil Majnoon (Braised Vegetable Stew)

Cauliflower, eggplant and cabbage braised in a tomato based sauce is the basis of Akil Majnoon. The warm spices of bahar, make this such a cozy winter meal. Naturally vegan, it is just as much considered comfort food like Basalia and Bamia and is recipe […]

Rice with Hikaka

Rice with Hikaka

Rice with hikaka is a staple in our house. But, what is hikaka (pronounced hick-ka-ka in Arabic) you may ask? Hikaka is the delicious, crispy rice that forms at the bottom of a pot of cooked rice. When ready to serve the pot is flipped upside down revealing a beautiful golden cake with a perfectly crispy out layer and fluffy interior of rice. What’s not to love?

The basic premise of making hikaka is that by adding extra cooking fat (olive oil in the recipe below) the bottom layer of the rice gets fried, while the rest of the rice gets steamed. Hikaka can be made on any type of rice. Below is the concept of how to make it with white basmati rice, which is the most common rice to eat with different Arabic Stews/sauces (known as Marakah), such as basalia and ras asfour.

Persian rice often has hikaka, which they call it tahdig. Tahdig translates to “the bottom of the pot.” Very fitting, no? The best food is always at the bottom of the pot, rice included. It is no wonder that the Persian cookbook by Naz Deravian, “Bottom of the Pot” was given such a name.

 If you have the time, forming hikaka on rice should not be a question.  It is “the best part” of the rice and has been fought over at many, a Middle-Eastern table.

Rice with Hikaka

Fluffy steam rice held together by a delicious thin layer of crispy fried rice is Rice with Hikaka. It is a treasured staple on many Middle Eastern tables.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked white long grain rice Basmati rice is recommended*
  • 2 tbsp olive oil**
  • tsp salt
  • water see instruction for amount of water to use

Instructions

  • Rinse rice 2-3x with water until water runs clear. This is to remove excess starch on the rice.
  • Heat oil in a medium size pot on medium heat
  • Add rice and salt and stir a few times
  • Add water to the pot so that rice is completely covered and about 1/2 inch of water is sitting above the rice
  • Allow to come to a rapid boil then cover and reduce to a simmer
  • Keep covered and let cook at simmer for 25 minutes
  • Remove cover and let cook for another 15 minutes
  • To serve, flip pot over onto a serving plate. This will reveal a rice cake with golden crust (aka "hikaka"). Enjoy!

Notes

*If you would prefer to use brown basmati rice instead of white, add a little more water  (3/4″ above rice instead of 1/2″) and longer cooking time (keep covered for 30 minutes instead of 25 minutes).    A crust will form, but it will not be quite as golden or crispy as with white rice.
**You can also use butter instead or a mix of butter and olive oil, any combination will render a fabulous hikaka.
Basalia (Pea Stew)

Basalia (Pea Stew)

Welcome to the first of a series of posts entitled “Medley of Marakah.” Marakah (accent on the first syllable) is an Arabic word for a tomato-based stew/sauce and there many different kinds of Marakah. Arguably the most popular Marakah in our family is Basalia and […]

Iraqi Red Rice

Iraqi Red Rice

“What color rice would you like for dinner?” a question frequented by our mom. Options were white, brown, red, and yellow. Besides brown rice, our rice colors are not based on the type of grain, but the broth we used. Always using basmati, of course. […]

Ras Asfour

Ras Asfour

This dish takes the tomato sauce base found in many Middle Eastern dishes to the next level by adding potatoes, spices, and small meatballs. And, of course, it is eaten with rice. The is another dish in our “Medley of Marakah” series.

You may wonder what Ras Asfour means. In Arabic it means “bird’s head.” Not literally bird’s heads, but the small spiced meatballs is thought to resemble the “head of a bird.” For that matter, every meatball dish out there should be called Ras Asfour, no? Any takers?!?!

Ras Asfour’s tomato sauce infused with cardamom elevates the dish. It is a simple recipe yet packed with flavor. There are different variations of this dish, but we provide what we know and love best, our Mom’s and Nana Badriya’s recipe. It is an easy recipe to make for a weeknight meal and can also be prepped in advance. Give this interesting “bird’s head” dish a try for you next home-cooked weeknight dinner!

Ras Asfour

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins

Ingredients

Spiced Meatballs

  • 1.5 lb ground beef (85/15)
  • 3/4 tbsp bahar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium russet potatoes

Sauce

  • 15 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 15 oz water
  • 1 tsp cardamom*
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

Meatballs

  • In a bowl, mix the ground meat, 1/2 tsp salt and bahar until combined
  • Roll the meat mixture in your hand to form ~25 small meatballs
  • To cook, lightly coat a pan with 2 tbsp olive oil. Cook until browned on all sides, it does not need to be fully cooked. Set aside once done (this can be completed a day in advance with meatballs refrigerated, and if doing so, cook through)
  • Peel and cut potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan and grill potatoes until they are lightly browned. Place on a plate and paper towel to allow excess oil to drain from the potatoes. Set aside

Sauce

  • In a medium sized pot, combine 15 oz tomato sauce, cardamom*, and salt. Add 15 oz of water by filling the empty tomato sauce can and pouring into the pot
  • Add meatballs to the sauce and heat over medium for 15 minutes for a soft simmer. Reduce heat if sauce starts to boil
  • Add potatoes. Allow sauce to simmer for 15 more minutes. If needed, add more salt to taste.
  • Enjoy with some rice!

Notes

*Three Teas Tips: You can use ground or whole cardamom. We like to use whole cardamom seeds and crush it with a mortar and pestle. Add more or less to taste.