Old School Middle Eastern Recipes with Some Modern Day Twists

Tag: rice

Mujadara

Mujadara

Mujadara is definitely a comfort food. Who would have thought the words comfort food and vegan could enter the same sentence, but mujadara achieves this mighty feat. Lentils and rice are simmered together, and then and have bits of caramelized onions throughout…and a lil’ garnish […]

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 had some time to explore our posts and indulge, too! I, for one, am finding it difficult to have time for cooking while my husband and I try to work and care for all three of my kids at home. But I’m so glad that the weather is getting nicer now so we can start grilling out while the kids are playing in the yard – killing many birds with one stone. Vegetarian Makloobi is one of my absolute favorites and one of the first dishes I think of when the grill comes out. Red rice on its own is so delicious, but layer in some seasoned grilled veggies and you’ve got yourself a fantastic, tasty and comforting dish. It’s perfect for a BBQ either as a main dish for your vegetarian guests or a side dish. Either way, it is sure to be a showstopper. (and yes, I’m hopeful that there are many BBQs with friends and family this summer). Be well everyone and enjoy!

Vegetarian Makloobi

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 large green bell pepper
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp bahar (all spice)

Instructions
 

  • Make Iraqi Red Rice according to recipe, except:
    1) use 1 cup of water (instead of 1¾ cup)
    2) use 1 tbsp of salt (instead of 1½ tbsp)

Cut and Grill Vegetables

  • Peel 1 large eggplant and slice horizontally into 1/2" thick slices. (slices should be circular)
  • Cut 1 large green bell pepper, 1 large red bell pepper first into 1" wide strips then cut each strip in half.
  • Peel and cut 1 large yellow onion into quarters. Pull apart the layers.
  • Toss all cut vegetables in 1.5 tbsp of EVOO and 1/2 tbsp of salt
  • Grill or bake vegetables (around 400°F) for 8-10 minutes or until soft

Assemble and cook

  • Use remaining 1/2 tbsp of olive oil to coat bottom of 3.5 quart saucepan/pot/dutch oven
  • Take about 1/2 of the grilled vegetables and layer them to line the bottom of pot
  • Then take 1/2 of your red rice and it to the pot on top of the grilled vegetable layer. Sprinkle 1 tsp of bahar over the rice layer.
  • Layer on remaining half grilled vegetables
  • Layer on remaining half of red rice
  • pour 3/4 cup of water onto the top of last rice layer and cover pot
  • cook on low heat for 30 minutes

Notes

The vegetables used in the recipe are our favorites.  However, you can add or remove any vegetables you would like for this dish.   Zucchini and Mushrooms are also popular to use.
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 […]

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 #3 in the “Medley of Marakah.”

Akil in Arabic means calm/sane, and majnoon means crazy/insane. So basically the dish translates to “sane insane.” No matter how many vegetables you throw into this dish, it still comes out tasty. See?… “sane, insane.” Sometimes the Arabic translations of things can be a stretch, especially sayings, but there is some humor and charm to it. Lol, check these out. Another example of funny translations is the dish Ras Asfour, which means “bird’s head” because of the resemblance of the meatballs to the shape of a birds head, NOT because there is any form of bird in the dish.

For such a complicated name, Akil Majnoon is the opposite. It is low fuss. Basically you chop up all these vegetables, leave it on the on the stove on low heat to braise a bit, then eat with rice. The slow braise allows the vegetables to soften, deepen their flavor and release their natural sweetness. Simple and delish. Sane and insane.

Akil Majnoon

Cauliflower, eggplant and cabbage are braised in a tomato based sauce that is peppered with the warm spices of bahar. Eaten with rice, it is such a cozy and easy meal.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 50 mins
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped (~2 cups)
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into rough florets (~8 cups)*
  • 1 eggplant, pealed and cubed (~2 cups)*
  • ½ green cabbage, core removed and sliced (~4 cups)*
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 15 ounces canned diced tomatoes, plain or fire roasted
  • 5 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp bahar, more or less to taste
  • 3 tsp salt, more or less to taste
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • cups water

Instructions
 

  • Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large pot.
  • Once the oil starts to glisten, add onions and cook until onions become almost translucent, ~5 minuets.
  • Add cauliflower, cabbage, eggplant, salt, bahar, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Mix until evenly coated. Cook for about 10 minutes to sear ingredients.
  • Add tomato sauce and water to pot. Allow sauce to bubble for a few minutes, then reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook for ~1 – 1.5 hours, the longer you cook it, the more tender it will get.
  • Serve with rice and enjoy!

Notes

*Feel free to add more or less of each vegetable depending on your preference. You can add other vegetables if you prefer as well. Adjust the cooking liquid to the amount of volume in your pot. There should be enough liquid to allow the vegetables to simmer in, rather than fully submerged in. Keep in mind, there will be additional liquid release from the vegetables as they braise. 
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 […]

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.

The Iraqi style of cooking rice is to fully immerse the rice in the flavored broth. In red rice, we use a mix of water, tomato sauce, and chicken broth. Then, we cook the rice in the mixture, so each scoop is a mouthful of savory tomato goodness. Contrary to Persian rice, the Iraqi saffron (yellow) rice is made similarly to red rice. The entire pot of rice turns yellow compared Persian where the saffron flavored rice mainly resides on the top of the rice.

Our Nana Badriya would make her own version of red rice by adding some eggplant and other vegetables to the pot. We are sticking to the basic recipe now but can’t wait to share our Nana’s version of red rice soon!

Iraqi Red Rice

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course dinner
Cuisine Middle Eastern, Rice

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp salt

Instructions
 

  • Wash rice by placing in a strainer and rinsing for 15 seconds
  • In a separate bowl, mix tomato sauce, tomato paste, and 1/2 cup of water
  • Sprinkle 1 tbsp of olive oil at the bottom of a heavy-bottomed pot. Place washed rice in the pot and add tomato sauce mix, chicken broth, water, salt, and 2 tbsp of olive oil. Stir all ingredients together
  • Cook rice on medium/high heat. Once boiling, cover the pot and reduce heat to simmer. Leave pot covered for 30 minutes and stir. Cover pot again and leave on low heat until most liquid has evaporated (about 10-15 more minutes). Rice is ready to serve
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 […]