Old School Middle Eastern Recipes with Some Modern Day Twists

Tag: vegan

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 […]

Citrus Tahini Kale Salad

Citrus Tahini Kale Salad

With the holidays being over I am craving a kale salad in a major way. I mean we went from summer, to 2 seconds of fall, to a baked goods manifesto over the holidays, and now here we are. This salad is currently giving me […]

Einjarada

Einjarada

Einjarada, meaning “the eye of the grasshopper” in Arabic, gets its name from the main ingredient that gives this salad its distinctive flavor – dill seed, which resembles (you guessed it) a grasshopper’s eye. But the question remains – who made this salad best? Was it Jido/Papa or Tata/Mama? The answer to this question varies depending on which of the five Tarazi boys you ask. Recently, my Baba (#3 of 5) and Uncle Ned (#2 of 5) joined me in my kitchen along with my Uncle Eddie (#5 of 5) via video chat to settle this epic battle.

Tata’s Einjarada. The picture above is Jido William’s Einjarada.

While both of my paternal grandparents have been gone from this life for some time now, attempting to recreate each of their versions of this flavorful salad with my Dad and uncles brought me back to the many times in my childhood when we would spend time in my grandparent’s home and kitchen. I can still vividly remember my Jido with a big smile on his face greeting us at the door each time we arrived and before we had a chance to even ring the doorbell. And then there was my Tata always cooking away in the kitchen pretending not to listen as my Dad and uncles told me, my sisters and cousins crazy stories of all the trouble they got into as children. It was a very energetic, loud and absolutely wonderful time that made me completely nostalgic and a little sad as we were recreating these dishes the other day. As time has gone on, The Tarazi clan has grown up and moved around the country making the moments we are all together few and far between. But I guess that’s the main reason we started this blog in the first place – to keep these memories alive for generations to come while creating some new ones of our own along the way.

So I want to especially thank my Dad, Uncle Ned and Uncle Eddie for helping me relive those treasured moments through cooking and food. It was a short time together, but one I will truly treasure and pass along.

And now back to the moment you all have been waiting for, the winner of the battle of best Einjarada goes to (drum roll please) …… BOTH Jido and Tata. We tasted each separately and then ended up combining elements of both for the very best! Recipe of this combo is below and variations between the two versions are in the notes.

It’s a salad with quite a punch and best enjoyed with some grilled pita. Happy eating and reliving of your own childhood memories.

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Einjarada

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Course: Salad

Ingredients

  • 8 tbsp Dill Seed (whole)
  • 2 Green bell peppers chopped
  • 6 green onion chopped
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 6 persian cucumbers (or 3 pickle cucumbers)
  • 4 roma tomatoes medium
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup lemon juice (about 4 fresh squeezed lemons)
  • 7 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalepeno pepper
  • tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup whole parsley leaves for garnish
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • red pepper paste (optional to taste)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Instructions

The Dressing:

  • With a mortar and pestle, grind 4 tbsp of dill seed until fully ground, add 1 tbsp of red pepper flakes and continue to grind until mixed. Add 7 cloves of fresh garlic, sea salt, chopped jalepeno pepper (remove seeds) and continue to grind until fully incorporated and ground to small bits.
  • In a separate bowl, emulsify olive oil and lemon juice (with immersion blender or speedy whisk), then whisk in the spice mixture from the mortar and pestle until fully mixed.

The Salad:

  • Chop green peppers, yellow onion, tomatoes, and cucumber to similar sizes. Finely chop green onion (discard 1/8 from top and 1/8 from bottom). Combine all chopped veggies in a bowl.
  • To the bowl of veggies, add garlic powder and 4 tbsp of whole dill seed. Mix.
  • Add the dressing to the salad and mix thoroughly.
  • Mix feta cheese in lightly.
  • Garnish with parsley before serving.

Notes

*If you would prefer a spicier enjarada, add some red pepper paste.
* For Jido’s version remove feta cheese and yellow onion.
*For Tata’s version remove cucumber.
Middle Eastern Salad

Middle Eastern Salad

This salad comes together quickly and is so refreshing and flavorful.The freshness comes from the mix of parsley, mint, lemon, cucumber and tomato. This is a common side salad that greets many Middle Eastern tables and can pair with about any dish, such as kabob, […]

Vegetarian Stuffed Grape Leaves

Vegetarian Stuffed Grape Leaves

Vegetarian stuffed grape leaves, dolma, warak enab or yalanji -whatever you want to call it – are one of the best things to grace any gathering. When the dish is noticed, conversations are paused, eyebrows raise, crowds gather, and suddenly the 80 pieces you made […]

Baba Ganoush

Baba Ganoush

It hard to come by a Middle Eastern mezze spread that does not include Baba Ganoush. This is a good thing because it truly is one of the best dips out there. The combination of grilled eggplant, tahini, garlic, and lemon create flavors that burst in your mouth and get you thinking “what the heck is in this dip?!”

The trick to making great Baba Ganoush is grilling the eggplant, providing its’ trademark smokey taste. It is also helpful to sieve the grilled eggplant through a mesh strainer to remove any additional liquid and concentrate the eggplant flavor.

For the number of times I have eaten Baba Ganoush, I have a newfound appreciation for it now that I make it myself. When I first started making Baba Ganoush I tried to roasting and broiling the eggplant in the oven rather than grilling it. While it still makes a tasty eggplant dip, it lacks that signature smokey flavor, and taste like a completely different dip.

I think back to all the times I had my Nana’s or Mom’s Baba Ganoush and am impressed that every time the dip was effortlessly spot on. Interestingly enough, I don’t recall ever seeing them grill the eggplant, and assumed they were able to create this flavor profile in the oven. WRONG. When I asked my mom recently she said, “of course we grilled the eggplant.” Well I guess the term “ignorance is bliss” does not apply here, and I am so happy to now be in the know!

Baba Ganoush

A smokey, silky, Middle Eastern eggplant dip with a punch of flavor.
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: dip, eggplant, tahini, vegan
Servings: 12 people

Ingredients

  • 3 medium sized eggplants
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 3/4 tsp salt, more or less to taste
  • 3 medium lemons, juiced

Instructions

  • Coat each eggplant with olive oil to avoid sticking to grill.*
  • Puncture the skin of each eggplant a few times. Each puncture should be roughly 1". This will prevent it from bursting when on the grill.
  • Heat grill to medium-high heat.
  • Place eggplants on grill. Rotate about every 10 minutes until equally charred on all sides. This should take about 30 minutes.
  • Remove eggplant from grill and cover in foil for about 15 minuets to help concentrate the smokey flavor from the grill.
  • Open from foil and cut eggplants in half lengthwise. Allow to cool enough so that you can handle it with you hands.
  • Once cooled, scoop out flesh of eggplant with a spoon and place in a metal sieve. Make sure to remove any residual bits of skin from flesh. Press down on sieve to remove excess liquid and to further concentrate the eggplant flavor.
  • Place eggplant into mixing bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher.
  • Add tahini, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and salt to eggplant and whisk with fork until smooth. Adjust salt to preferred taste.
  • Place in fridge to fully cool.
  • When ready to serve, decorate with olives, olive oil, parsley and/or paprika. Serve with pita bread, pita chips, crackers or vegetable crudités.

Notes

*Some people prefer to use an oven rather than the grill and use liquid smoke to create the smokey flavor. If you prefer to do that (although the grill is ideal!), roast the eggplant in a  400F degree oven for about 40 minutes. Follow steps 1-2 and then 6-11. Add a teaspoon or so of liquid smoke to the eggplant mixture when mixing. Adjust to taste. 
Lentil Soup (Shorbat Adas)

Lentil Soup (Shorbat Adas)

Whenever I’d watch my mom make lentil soup, I was always impressed with how quickly she was able to get it on the table for dinner. Within 30 minutes, a mound of dried, red lentils would turn into the creamiest bowl of soup. The creaminess […]