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MelissaH

Oozie, a rice dish

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When we were visiting in Tucson over Thanksgiving, my sister suggested that we eat at a Middle Eastern restaurant one night. We gladly said yes, since we don't have any of those in my town. (And this one had a belly dancer, to boot!) We asked my sister what was particularly good, and she and her boyfriend both immediately said, "The oozie." So that's what I got.

Oozie turned out to be a rice dish, nicely seasoned, with small pieces of meat, onions, and pine nuts. I got mine with chicken, but it was also on the menu with lamb or beef. And it was wonderful! Since returning home, I've been trying to find a recipe for oozie, without success.

Does this sound at all familiar? Is there another name or spelling for this dish that I should be looking for?

MelissaH


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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The name is not familiar to me, but the dish itself sounds a bit like Hashwa, which is a Lebanese rice and meat dish that is served on its own or used as stuffing for stuffed vegetables and kubbeh.

Foodman and ChefCrash both provide recipes in the link above.

Do you know what type of Middle Eastern restaurant this was? That might give me a better clue.


Edited by Swisskaese (log)

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I like a puzzle, so I googled for Middle Eastern restaurants in Tuscon, and I think I found the right one: Casablanca. They have an item on their menu described as

"JORDANIAN DISHES

Oozie. $11.95

Cooked according to our family traditions with rice, onions, pine nuts and your choice of chicken or beef and served with house salad or a side of laban (yogurt, cucumber, garlic)

For lamb add $3.00"

I haven't been able to find anything more, however. "Oozie" is a difficult term to google. :unsure:

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Depending on what part of the Middle East you're in Ouzi, has different preparations, but it is always a very festive dish.

In Saudi Arabia, ouzi is a whole baby lamb, stuffed with rice and meat, and served over more rice. Click.

In Lebanon the preparation is a bit more modest, usually a roast leg of lamb served over a rice dish made with ground lamb and nuts. There's a recipe for this in Claudia Roden's "Arabesque."

There are also chicken and fish versions of ouzi, but in general ouzi is thought of as a lamb-rice-spices-nuts dish.

This recipe looks good and approachable.


Edited by M. Lucia (log)

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M. Lucia, thanks for explaining that. I am going to have to make that. It sounds delicious.

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"Oozie" is a difficult term to google. :unsure:

Yes, it is. I discovered that too, along the way. :raz:

In Lebanon the preparation is a bit more modest, usually a roast leg of lamb served over a rice dish made with ground lamb and nuts. There's a recipe for this in Claudia Roden's "Arabesque."

Ooh, I think our library has a copy of this book. I'll have to check it out. This restaurant (might have been Casablanca, might have been somewhere else) didn't think a roast leg of lamb was a necessary accompaniment, but the yogurt side was quite nice.

There are also chicken and fish versions of ouzi, but in general ouzi is thought of as a lamb-rice-spices-nuts dish.

This recipe looks good and approachable.

This looks close to what I remember eating. I'll have to give this a shot, I think. Thanks a bunch, M. Lucia!

MelissaH


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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the Jordanian version of Oozie or Ouzy is a slightly different one from the Lebanese version. it is actually a variation of the national dish of Jordan which is known as Mansaf, for people who are averse to Ewes milk, in which the meat is cooked for mansaf.

The preparation starts with large pieces of lamb or mutton.(about fist sized pieces, cut on the bone) These are browned in oil or ghee with chopped onion and then covered in water and simmered until the meat is almost falling off the bone, approx 2-3 hours. Traditional seasonings include cinnamon, cardamom, cumin and allspice.

the meat is taken out of the water just before it is completely done, and browned in a hot oven for 20-30 mins. this step is optional but gives the meat added texture and flavor.

the rice is then cooked in the meat stock so it absorbs a lot of the flavor.

Traditionally, the dish is presented with the rice in a substantial mound in a large dish, with the pieces of meat arrayed on top. the whole dish is then covered in a large piece of very thin flatbread known as shrak. shrak is made on a curved metal griddle, and is paper thin. the shrak is dipped in warm ghee which gives it a golden color. the whole thing is then browned under a hot broiler for a minute or two to allow the bread to brown and crisp a bit and toasted pine nuts are sprinkled on top.

for home use, the recipe can be adapted with smaller pieces of lamb which would cook faster, shoulder is ideal, but leg pieces will also work well, and the shrak presentation can be skipped all together.

i hope this is sufficiently descriptive, the seasoning is pretty much up tou your taste and preference, but some mixture of the four basics of Jordanian cuisine (cardamom, cumin, cinnamon and allspice) will give you good results (in addition to S&P of course)

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maher,

This sounds delightful. I'll have to give it a try at some point. I've also successfully taken out Arabesque from the campus library, and found the ouzi (sp) recipe within. If not now, then definitely in January!

All the recipes I'm finding seem to require cooking the rice in some kind of flavorful liquid. How much would I lose if I used leftover rice? I have lots of that in my fridge today.

MelissaH


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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you can always use leftover rice MelissaH, if you do, either moisten it with a little of the meat broth when you reheat it, or sprinkle a little cinnamon and allspice on it when you assemble the final dish and that will give you a hint of the spices and flavors.

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Thanks for posting the link, Ce'nedra.

Alas, small lambs are not easy to come by in these parts, so I won't be trying this recipe verbatim. But I could certainly see adapting it to work with what I do find here.

MelissaH


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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C,

Lamb parts that are gelatinous and have some fat. You need to appreciate the taste of lamb fat, collagen, connective tissue and meat on the bone. Just transfer the Chinese appreciation for pork cuts to lamb and it will seem intuitive!

Front and hind shanks of NZ & Australian lamb, breast that is not excessively fatty, lamb shoulder, forequarter, neck, ribs, tongue.

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