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Middle Eastern Celery Dishes

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As posted in the Chinese cookbook thread: http://forums.egullet.org/topic/148273-chinese-cookbooks/

When I think of the Middle East, I never think of celery - I wonder if that's artistic licence, or if celery is really popular in the Arabian Peninsula? 



That's a good question.  I don't recall celery in any of the Middle Eastern dishes I've eaten, nor do I recall seeing it in the souks in Egypt.  I'm no authority on the topic (I'm hoping Hassouni or FoodMan will pop in), so I checked with several of my Middle Eastern cookbooks, including my Egyptian cookbooks.  No mention of celery in salads that I could see.  There IS an Arabic word for celery, so it isn't a complete unknown.  Still, I'm inclined to think this recipe writer has made use of artistic license.

Perhaps a separate topic will attract some knowledge about authentic recipes with celery?

Not that I'm an expert on this subject, but here are some recipes I've come across online over the years. Placing the recipes under just one country or people might be completely wrong, but it's meant as a nudge into the somewhat geographical direction and not meant as a definitive in any way.

I've skipped the ones that just use a bit of the leaves, so this is mainly about stalk and root type and not always as the main attraction either.



- http://turmericsaffron.blogspot.nl/2009/05/celery-stew-khoresh-karafs.html

- http://persiankitchen.wordpress.com/2009/01/15/khoresht-karafs-persian-celery-stew/

- Vegetarian version: http://mypersiankitchen.com/vegetarian-khoresht-karafs/
- With artichokes: http://www.hungrynomad.net/2011/10/26/khoresht-kangar-karafs-artichoke-and-celery-stew/

- Pickle: Torshi

- Yoghurt with celery: Borani e Karafs


- Shorba Yavron

- Pickled veg: Tsarska Turshiya

- Mashawa: Black and mung bean soup

- Chickpea&Chicken stew: Chelo Nachodo


- Ginger Infused Strawberry & Celery Chilled Soup (Scroll all the way down or the recipe)



- Kabsah: http://arabicfood.blogspot.nl/2006/10/kabsah-or-saudi-arabian-rice-and-meat.html



- Celery Musakka: http://en.aleppofood.com/recipe/musakka-celery-musakka/



- Zeytinyağlı Kereviz : http://ozlemsturkishtable.com/2011/11/celeriac-with-winter-vegetables-cooked-in-olive-oil-zeytinyagli-kereviz/

- Yoğurtlu Kereviz Salatası: http://almostturkish.blogspot.nl/2008/12/celery-root-salad-with-yogurt-yourtlu.html
- Portakalli Kereviz: http://www.turkishfoodandrecipes.com/2011/12/celery-root-with-orange-portakalli.html

- Kereviz Kökü: http://mediterraneanturkishfoodpassion.blogspot.nl/2010/01/celery-root-kereviz-koku.html

- http://www.azcookbook.com/2011/05/19/chicken-salad-with-celery/

- Etli Kereviz: http://www.yemek-tarifi.info/english/recipe.php?recipeid=336
- Terbiyeli Kereviz: http://www.yemek-tarifi.info/english/recipe.php?recipeid=177

- Spiced celeriac with lemon and celeriac soup: http://seasonalcookinturkey.blogspot.nl/2011/02/two-more-celeriac-recipes.html
- Taze Kereviz, Rezene Salatası/Fresh Celery Stalks, Fennel Salad: http://www.mytravelingjoys.com/2012/08/taze-kereviz-rezene-salatasfresh-celery.html

- Etli Kereviz Dolmas: http://www.mytravelingjoys.com/2014/01/making-turkish-etli-kereviz-dolmas-meat.html

- Hindi Etli Kereviz Yemegi: http://turkishkitchensecrets.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/root-celeriac-cooked-with-turkey-hindi-etli-kereviz-yemegi/



- Green Hamousta Kubbeh



- Red lentil and squash soup: Shorabit Jarjir


- Latkes: http://food.lizsteinberg.com/2010/12/01/latkes-with-leek-celery-and-baharat/
- Sour spearmint sauce with meatballs (or soup): Hamud
- Poike: Galilean Beef Stew
- Stewed celery
- Burekas Stuffed with Celery, Fennel and Potato


- Harira soup

Any comments, suggestions and/or more/better recipes are obviously more than welcome :wink:


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That's very interesting! I really hadn't tuned in to the wide variety of celery uses in those cultures; it makes me wonder why I didn't notice it in Egypt.

Thanks for posting those links. There's enough there to keep me busy exploring celery in more depth, and not necessarily relegating it to a bit player.

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It depends a lot on the country. In Iranian and Turkish cooking it's used a lot, but I don't really remember celery making much of an appearance growing up eating lots of Iraqi food, or in the countless times I've been to Lebanon. It exists of course, but it never struck me as common.

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LoL @ Celery


1- Celery seed was found in Egypt burried with the Pharaos.


2- Celery is split in four parts:

- Seeds

- Root

- Stalks

- Leaves


3- Celery was never ever used in cooking until very recently in the Middle East - Iran or Turkey

The very early usage was seeds based for medicinal purposes.


4- The only country known to use Celery post 19th century is not surprisingly Egypt.

It is called in Egypt and the Arab world as Karafs.

The way it is used in Egypt was only the leaves which were chopped and added to a lentils based soup.

The root and stalks were fed to the cattle as chewy and leafy.

The seed was used for old medicinal preparations.


5- Growing Celery as it is known today required in past times some extra attention and hence was not popular with farmers.


6- All the recipes posted are new inventions and there is no authentic or old Celery based dish in the mentioned countries.


7- The first and only time I came across a Celery used dish was the Egyptian Lentils soup when I was very young and a Celery stalk in a Bloody Mary many years later followed by a nice Bolognese sauce with pasta


I hope this helps.



P.S. I hope your next post is not going to ask about Fennel which is in a similar situation as Celery.

Edited by Nicolai (log)

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This conversation started because of a Chinese Cookbook (see first post) that included celery as an ingredient in an "Arabic" salad. I guess we still have to wonder, as Nakji did, whether it was artistic license on the part of the author, or whether the use of celery in the Middle East has grown in recent years. So far the firsthand knowledge suggests that it isn't as traditional as a dish chosen to be "representative" would imply. Judging by the links CeeCee listed, perhaps it's becoming more common now - a new tradition in the making?

Going to Nicolai's point about the use of celery in Egypt: I'm none too sure it would have registered on me that I was eating celery leaves, if the stalks were omitted.

New traditions or old, I'm looking forward to trying some of those recipes.

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I hope this helps.


Mission accomplished, so yes and thank you!

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