Old School Middle Eastern Recipes with Some Modern Day Twists

Tag: vegan

Moroccan Roasted Vegetable Salad

Moroccan Roasted Vegetable Salad

Hello! It’s been a sec here at Three Teas Kitchen since we have last posted – but that does not mean we haven’t been eating well, this Moroccan Roasted Vegetable Salad included! This salad is a lovely medley of fresh summer produce and warm Moroccan […]

Vegan Pistachio Orange Tahini Cookies

Vegan Pistachio Orange Tahini Cookies

Pistachio, orange, tahini: that’s a nice amount of flavor in one cookie! On top of that, it’s vegan! But there’s a secret ingredient that makes this cookie extra creamy and flavored: halva, a flaky tahini dessert. I’m a sucker for any sesame confection. I love […]

Hummus Bi Ajeen

Hummus Bi Ajeen

I know. When you read the title of this recipe “Hummus Bi Ajeen” it may leave some confusion. Let me explain. Hummus in Arabic means chickpea. So, when we refer to anything with chickpeas we call it hummus, even though it may not have tahini etc., of the well known “hummus” dip. I get it, mind blown! And, “bi ajeen” translates to “with bread.” There you have it this dish is “chickpeas with bread.”

These chickpeas are blended with fresh peppers, tomato, onion and other spices to create a delicious paste that is baked on the bread. This is a vegan rift on one of the most viewed recipes on Three Teas Kitchen, Lahm Bi Ajeen (which translated in English to “meat with bread”). These days, COVID era 2020, we are relying on our pantry a little more. And, the humble chickpea is really making its mark – it’s literally is a blank canvas to take on any flavor profile. Also, it is nice to have a naturally vegan option to this beloved dish.

So with no further ado, give this lovely dish a try. Hummus Bi Ajeen a great snack, appetizer, or meal. Pure and simple, this dish makes my family really happy.

Hummus Bi Ajeen

Similar to lahm bi ajeen, this spiced chickpea and vegetable blend is pressed into dough like a thin crust pizza. The ratio of chickpeas to vegetables is 1:1, creating a hearty, yet light duo – and its naturally vegan! It's the perfect appetizer, meal or snack!
Servings 25 pieces*

Ingredients
  

  • cans of chickpeas (standard sized of each can is 15.5oz), strained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup finely chopped tomato
  • ¼ cup finely chopped green pepper
  • cup finely chopped red pepper
  • ½ cup finely chopped parsley
  • cups finely chopped yellow onion
  • ½ tbsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • ½ tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • La Banderita flour tortillas*

Instructions
 

  • Finely chop or place individually into food processor the red pepper, green pepper, parsley, onion.
  • Mash chickpeas with a potato masher or pulse a few times in the food processor until broken down.
  • Individually drain the red pepper, green pepper, onion through a sieve to remove any excess water from these vegetables.
    Hummus Bi Ajeen, chopped vegetables
  • Mix together the chickpeas, red pepper, green pepper, parsley, onion, tomato paste, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, pomegranate molasses and lemon.
  • Pre-heat oven to 400F.
  • Place 1/4 cup of the meat mixture onto the flour tortilla. Spread meat mixture out until a very thin layer covers the entire tortilla.**
  • Place in oven for about 10-13 minutes (depending in the size of your tortilla and oven), rotating the tray mid way through to cook evenly. It is fully cooked once the topping appears a slight shade darker and the edges of the bread are slightly tanned, but not crisp. 
  • Enjoy as a whole pie or rolled up like a soft taco.***

Notes

Three Teas Tips:
*La Banderita flour tortillas can be found at any major grocery store. We like these tortillas best for this recipe as they stay chewy and don’t dry out in the oven. They come in all sizes. Most packages come with 10-20 tortillas. If using mini tortillas (the smallest of the variety) this recipe will make 40 pieces. If using a standard tortilla size (medium size), this will make about 25 pieces. If you prefer another brand or tortilla, I recommend a using a thicker tortilla. Of course, you can make your own dough if that is something you prefer too!
Hummus Bi Ajeen
**Use whatever amount of filling covers a thin layer on the entire tortilla, leaving just the tiniest border in the edges. For example, if using mini tortillas, a couple tablespoons may be enough. 
***These store well in the freezer for up until a few months. Once cooked allow to cool, then place a parchment between each piece. Reheat in the oven or microwave until just warmed.
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 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 life and is a right of passage to embracing the winter season. Mmmk?

The dressing has tahini blended with fresh citrus, standing up nicely to the leafy kale and bulger base. It also has pops of flavor from spiced pistachios and fresh mint. There you have it, your basic tabouleh/kale salad has been winterized.

Lets take a moment to talk about citrus. At this time of year, it is on point! There are so many varieties out there. I love cara cara oranges because of their slightly pinkish color and they have a little more sweetness and tang than traditional naval oranges. Blood oranges are stunning for their ruby color and notes of berry. And, tangerines, are delicious for their strong, tart flavor. One of my favorite ways to really elevate citrus is to supreme it! No I am not talking about the hip fashion line. Supreming is a technique where you are essentially removing the rind of the citrus and cutting into slices. It allows the beautiful bejeweled colors of the citrus to shine through.

How to supreme citrus:

1. First trim the end of the citrus. This allows you to see where the rind meets the flesh.

2. Next, gently wedge your knife between the rind and flesh and cut off the peel.

3. Once fully pealed, slice the citrus into pieces of desired width. Now you have bejeweled citrus!

If there is any bit of winter blues, hit this salad up. Its loaded with vitamin C, bright colors, and will fill you up from head to toe 😉

Citrus Tahini Kale Salad

This kale salad is a touch of brightness to the winter season! It has creamy tahini blended with fresh citrus and pops of flavor from spiced pistachios and fresh mint. It comes together quickly and is a stunning addition to your table.
Prep Time 30 mins
Bulger Prep 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course dinner, lunch, Salad

Ingredients
  

Citrus Tahini Dressing

  • ½ cup tahini
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • cup tangerine or any orange variety juice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp water

Kale Salad

  • 8 cups chopped kale, any variety works
  • 4-5 of any citrus, I used cara cara and blood oranges in this picture, supreme cut*
  • red onion, few thin slices, (optional)
  • ½ lemon
  • 5-6 mint leaves, coarsely chopped or torn

Spiced Pistachios

  • ½ cup raw unsalted pistachios (if you have salted on hand, just reduce the salt)
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • pinch of ground red pepper, (optional)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp honey

Bulger

  • 1 cup medium grain bulger
  • 1 cup water
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375F.

Bulger

  • Mix bulger, water, lemon juice and salt in a bowl and allow to sit at room temperature for an hour or so, mixing occasionally. Once liquid is absorbed fluff with a fork. **

Citrus Tahini Dressing

  • Whisk together tahini, lemon juice, tangerine (or other citrus juice), garlic and water until combined.

Spiced Pistachios

  • Place parchment paper on a baking sheet. Mix cumin, coriander, cardamom, salt and ground red pepper (if using) together in a small bowl. Place pistachios on baking sheet and drizzle honey on top and give a quick toss. Sprinkle spice mixture and give another quick toss. Bake for about 7 minutes, mixing pistachios midway. Once out of the oven, add a light sprinkle of salt and mix.
  • This makes a decent amount of spiced pistachios. You can decide to use all or save some for snaking later. Either way is delicious!

Kale Salad Assembly

  • Pour tahini dressing on to kale and toss for about a minute.
  • Add red onion (if using) and bulger to kale and toss to combine. Add juice of half a lemon.
  • Plate salad and scatter supremed citrus, spiced pistachios and torn mint.
  • This salad stores well for up to 2-3 days in your fridge. Enjoy!

Notes

*What is a supreme cut? Supreming is a technique where you are essentially removing the rind of the citrus and cutting into slices. It allows the beautiful bejeweled colors of the citrus to shine through. To do so, first trim the end of the citrus. This allows you to see where the rind meets the flesh. Next, gently wedge your knife between the rind and flesh and cut off the peel. Once fully pealed, slice the citrus into slices of desired width. Now you have bejeweled citrus!
** Bulger is softened by absorbing the liquid it rests in. I prefer this method for salads, rather than cooking, as it allows the grain to maintain more of a bite. After it has soaked for an hour, spoon into salad. If there is any additional liquid, leave it in the bowl. The bulger will continue to soften as it sits in the salad. 
Keyword bulger, cirtus, kale, salad, tahini, winter salad
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 […]

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 are almost gone. Grape leaves, onions and mini sweet peppers are stuffed with a spiced rice/chickpea/walnut blend and cooked in a tart savory sauce, and typically enjoyed cold or at room temperature. Technically speaking – the squishy interior is the perfect combination of savory flavors, spice, texture and tartness.

I have been rolling grape leaves since I can remember. Whenever my mom, grandma or my aunts would make grape leaves, word would spread, and we would just show up at each others houses to help roll. The most recent occurrence was on July 3rd, in preparation for the 4th of July BBQ (and Jido’s Birthday!). Because, why would you not have grape leaves at a 4th of July BBQ?

This brings me to some childhood memories. During grade school and high school, there would be times when friends would call to hang out, but I had family things – like rolling grape leaves or helping make Arabic cookies (Kakat’ Mahlab) – and would just say I had a family party. It was a party though – drinking chai, telling stories, laughing – and would often go to the late parts of the night. I would not trade these memories for the world! I often tell people I grew up in the kitchen, and this is what I mean. Learning by osmosis.

So, gather up your people, any age is perfect. Put some tea on the stove and start rolling like there is no tomorrow!

Vegetarian Stuffed Grape Leaves (Yalanji)

A spiced rice blend, stuffed in peppers/grape leaves/onions and cooked in a delicious tart and savory sauce. This dish is enjoyed cold and is perfect for mezze or a main dish.
Servings 80 pieces

Ingredients
  

  • 1 jar of grape leaves, 16 ounces*
  • 4 onions, kept whole (they will be stuffed)**
  • 15 sweet mini peppers
  • 4 onions chopped
  • 1 cup white basmati rice
  • 1 can chickpeas (15.5 ounce can)
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 2 bunches parsley, stems removed and chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts, crushed
  • 4 medium sized lemons, juiced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ~2 cups water
  • baharat, to taste***
  • salt, to taste
  • cayenne pepper, to taste

Instructions
 

Filling

  • In a medium sized pot, saute the onion with 2 tbsp olive oil until it becomes translucent, about 5 minutes
  • To the same pot add rice, chickpeas, crushed walnuts and 1 cup water. Bring liquid to a broil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the rice is almost fully cooked (al dente). Remove from heat.
  • Add baharat, salt, cayenne pepper, parsley, and tomato paste to the rice mixture.

Assembly

  • Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the bottom of a large wide pot.
  • For the onions**:
    Cut away any roots and remove the first layers of the onion. Then slice the onion down one side, almost to the heart.
    In a pot, cover onion with water and simmer on medium -low heat, ~10 minutes, until onions are pliable and each onion petal/layer is able to be removed from each other. Drain and set aside to cool.
  • Once cooled, separate the petals of the onion, one by one. Stuff each petal with ~ 1-2 tbsp of filling and wrap the petal to close.
  • Place stuffed onions at bottom of pot.
  • To stuff mini peppers:
    Slice top of pepper ¾ the way around, see picture. (Keeping the top of the pepper attached will allow the stuffing to remain in the pepper when cooked.)Then, gently core out the seeds within the pepper. Add ~1-2 tbsp of filling until it reaches the top of the pepper.
  • To stuff grape leaves:
    Remove the grape leaves from the jar. Briefly rinse leaves with water, strain off water.
    Gently unroll/unfold leaves and lay flat on a clean surface. The smooth side of the grape leaves should be the side touching the surface, the rougher side will have the filling. If there is a stem on the leaf, use a knife to cut around it to fully remove the stem. If the leaf is large, cut vertically in half, as shown in picture. (The vertical edge will now be the base of the newly sized grape leaf.)
  • Place 1 tsp to 1 tbsp (depending on the size of the leaf) of the stuffing in a log shape toward the bottom of the leaf, near where the stem would attach. Roll the grape leaves by first folding the bottom up, then the right and left sides in then rolling upwards toward the top (see photo), until fully rolled. Do not roll very tightly as the rice will expand when the grape leaves with cooking. Continue to fill and roll each grape leaf this way.
  • Place rolled grape leaves, seam side down, on top of the onions in the pot. Then place the stuffed peppers. Once complete, all the stuffed vegetables and grape leaf rolls will be layered on top of each other. If there are extra unfilled grape leaves(stems removed), place as the last layer on top of the grape leaf rolls.

Cooking

  • Mix lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, olive oil and water in a bowl.
  • Add to the liquid mixture to the pot. The liquid should fill the pot and just cover the grape leaf rolls, if not add a little more water.
  • Put a plate over the grape leaves to create a weight on all the vegetables. Cover pot with lid.
  • Bring liquid in the pot to a boil, then reduce to on med-low temperature for about 1.5 hours. Most of the liquid will be absorbed when cooking is complete.
  • Once cooked, allow to slightly cool, then remove the stuffed grape leaves and vegetables to a serving plate one by one.
  • This dish is meant to be eaten cold or at room temperature. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Notes

* We use the Orlando brand of grape leaves.
** Video tutorial on how to core and peal onions for stuffing is on our Instagram page @threeteaskicthen. It is saved in our stories. 
*** The  baharat, salt and cayenne are to taste. For baharat, a generous sprinkle over the rice mixture is good. If you want it more spiced add more baharat. For salt, a light sprinkle over the entire rice mixture is enough salt, but add more or less to your preference. Cayenne is optional, generally a pinch or two should do to provide a subtle heat to the grape leaf rolls. 
Baharat is a Middle Eastern spice blend. It includes a combination of cardamom, allspice, cumin and many more ingredients. Each household has their own twist on the spice mix, but you can also find it in Middle Eastern grocery stores or my Whole Foods also has it on shelves! 
Baba Ganoush

Baba Ganoush

A smokey, silky, Middle Eastern eggplant dip with a punch of flavor.