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Saudi Arabia


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I picked up the sumac, bought chicken thighs instead of whole chicken to cut into quarters, mixed up the marinate and the thighs are "soaking" in the fridge for the next 24 hours or so.

The recipe asks for Syrian bread, to line the bottom of the serving dish for the final stage of baking.

Can I substitue PITA for this bread? What is the purpose of this bread on the bottom? Is it to use as "eating utensil" or to sop up any juices?

Has anyone ever made or tasted musakhan?

What does it taste like? I am assuming it will have a lemony tangy flavour because of the sumac and lemon juice?

BTW, I love the smell of the sumac! Glad I took Pan's advice. It reminds me of the Chinese snack, salted plums. Smelling it made my mouth water, just like the plums did. :wub:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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I picked up the sumac, bought chicken thighs instead of whole chicken to cut into quarters, mixed up the marinate and the thighs are "soaking" in the fridge for the next 24 hours or so.

The recipe asks for Syrian bread, to line the bottom of the serving dish for the final stage of baking.

Can I substitue PITA for this bread? What is the purpose of this bread on the bottom? Is it to use as "eating utensil" or to sop up any juices?

Has anyone ever made or tasted musakhan?

What does it taste like? I am assuming it will have a lemony tangy flavour because of the sumac and lemon juice?

BTW, I love the smell of the sumac! Glad I took Pan's advice. It reminds me of the Chinese snack, salted plums. Smelling it made my mouth water, just like the plums did. :wub:

Dejah, you can definitely use Pita. If you can get thinner bigger rounds, all the better, but any pita will basically work...(again, indian stores seem to carry products that are wquite similar to the real stuff). The bread is used to soak up the juices on the bottom, and to keep the chicken warm on the top (the versions I've had, at least). Bits of chicken are usually tucked into pieces of pita and eaten by hand. (the bottom layer gets a bit soggy, so mostly the top layer is the eating utensil). The typical accompaniment is a chopped salad made with red onion, tomato, cucumber with a dressing of lemon juice, a little mashed garlic, salt and olive oil. If you can get some, dried mint rubbed between your palms to break up & then sprinkled over the salad is also very typical and very good. I would also think a salad made with cucumber, rubbed dried mint, garlic and yogurt would work very nicely as a counterpoint. Or any basic raita probably...

This dish is not native to Lebanon, but I have had it many times in homes of Jordanian and Syrian friends and it is really delicious. It is tart and, well... sumac-y :smile:

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Once again, thanks for the information. :smile: I am looking forward to this dish. I hope my student will enjoy it. My collegues are certainly excited about it.

It's such an adventure for all of us. Most of our students are Chinese, so to have something entirely different from Canadian and Chinese will be so cool!

There was a recipe for a cucumber/tomato salad. Does it have to be dried mint? or would fresh mint do? I love fresh mint and eat it tucked in my sandwiches, rolll ups etc.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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I think fresh mint would be much better than dried, and while as far as I can remember, I've never had Saudi Arabian cucumber salad, I have had that salad in Palestinian, Lebanese, and Syrian restaurants, and they used fresh mint or/and fresh parsley.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Fresh mint is nice, but dried mint is very traditional. It tastes a little different but it has its own purpose. (I've eaten it in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan over the course of the 17 years I lived there if we're arguing about authenticity :wink: )

Dried mint is also commonly used in the tomato sauce made to accompany stuffed kousa squash or eggplant. The reason they use it is that dried mint gives you a much larger hit of mint flavor than fresh per volume -- to get the same flavor from fresh you would have to use a lot of leaves, which would affect the texture of the dish. Especially in a cooked sauce, fresh mint would just get soggy & gross and there would just be too much of it. Either way is fine, but try the dried stuff sometime when you have it and you'll see what I mean. I always tie up and dry a little of my fresh mint because I use both kinds.

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Wow, here is an instance where dried is traditional and preferred over fresh. Thanks so much for the info and perspective, Behemoth. This is another reason I love eG, too -- always something new to learn!

Yetty CintaS

I am spaghetttti

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Chicken shwarma (some would call this a kabab) is a neat little eat from the Middle East that most people would enjoy. It's simple and portable which makes it highly enjoyable.

Roll up (like a taco) into one warm pita bread the following:

Grilled Chicken strips marinated in lemon, garlic and onion (slightly-charred is always good)

Potatoes (usually pomme frites)

Pickle

A dash of cumin

A dash of paprika

A dash of nutmeg

A twist of lemon

Some chopped mint (in the summer)

Depending on where you go, the locals will add a little garlic yogurt (akin to greek tzatziki). Some also add a little crushed pistachio which adds a nice flavor. You can also substitute either shish and/or donner (each is a different type preparation of lamb).

Other things to try...

T'hinni (sesame paste)

T'boulli (bulgar wheat and parsley with lemon juice)

Hummus (as everyone knows; chick peas)

Kefta (minced lamb made up like a hamburger with mint, oregano and cumin).

Fattoush (akin to the traditional greek salad of tomato, cucumber, onion).

And of course, Baklawa.

- CSR

Edited by C_Ruark (log)
"There's something very Khmer Rouge about Alice Waters that has become unrealistic." - Bourdain; interviewed on dcist.com
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Chicken shwarma (some would call this a kabab) is a neat little eat from the Middle East that most people would enjoy. It's simple and portable which makes it highly enjoyable.

Roll up (like a taco) into one warm pita bread the following:

Grilled Chicken strips marinated in lemon, garlic and onion (slightly-charred is always good)

Potatoes (usually pomme frites)

Pickle

A dash of cumin

A dash of paprika

A dash of nutmeg

A twist of lemon

Some chopped mint (in the summer)

My local very good shawarma place uses allspice in their chicken shawarma rub. However, it's Israeli, and I don't know whether Arabians would use allspice.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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chicken shawarma looks like another great recipe to try out. I love anything with cumin.

I love food...PERIOD.

Hopefully I will have pictures of the musakhan to post later tonight. :smile:

Edited by Dejah (log)

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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What a day!!! and a successful one at that. :biggrin:

I got home at 3 with my pita bread, cucumbers, tomatoes and yogurt.

Got the 2 lbs of red onions cooking gently for 20 minutes as I fried up the ground lamb, cumin, cinnamon, black pepper, parsley and tomato sauce and chopped onions. This was spread out to cool while I arranged the marinated chicken in the baking pan.

Did the onions on top, cover and bake for 20 minutes thingie.

While that was in the oven, I made up 2 salads, one of tomatoes/ cucumbers, parsley, black pepper and lemon juice, the other was cucumbers, yogurt, garlic and fresh mint ( no dried available :sad: ).

Ripped the pita into manageable pieces and lined the bottom of my stainless steel chafer. Flipped the chicken into it. I made sure all the pieces were skin side up. They turned out beautifully. The skins were a little crunchy, but the meat was very flavourful and juicy

Because my student requested some lamb, I took behemoth's idea and made an Arabian pizza with the lamb mixture. My daughter said it was very good with the pita. :smile: I put the pizza into the oven at 400F until the edges of the flat bread were golder.

We took some pictures, but I have to wait for techie hubby to download and upload for me.

We got to the potluck at 6:20...supper was to start at 6:30. I hate it when they draw table numbers!!

We were seating close to the food so I kept my eyes on my food. It was going pretty fast, so I grabbed a late, put on pieces of chicken and the bread, and 2 slices of my pizza for Turki. I mean, he was my motivation to cook Arabian food!

By the time our table was called, there was just a couple pieces or very flavourful, soggy, chewy pita. But it tasted good!

As my staff didn't get any, I said I'd make it again, in the new year, after I receive behemoth's most generour offering. :smile: Crazy one cooked, but didn't even get to try one mouthful!

I will post pics tomorrow. Hubby is away tonight.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Sue-On, you are such a generous person. It's wonderful how you try your best to give homesick students a taste of home. I'm glad you had success!

My sentiments exactly! Michael, you took the words right out of my fingers!

Can't wait to see your pics, Sue-On!

Yetty CintaS

I am spaghetttti

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Ok, here are the pictures of the two dishes I made for our international potluck supper:

a Middle Eastern ground lamb and onions seasoned with cumin, cinnamon, garlic, parsley and tomato paste served on flatbread.

http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/11015138..._1101526298.jpg

The musakhan was a success after the search for sumac.

http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/11015138..._1101526229.jpg

The responses in many of my students' journals, especially that of Turki from Saudi were " I really liked Sue-On's food!" Turki actually wrote those words, which is a major accomplishment from him. He couldn't write a sentence when he arrived in Sept. Guess I'll have to reward that again in the new year. :biggrin:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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This is the first time I've posted pictures since eGullet changed the system.

I got as far as copy/paste up the URLs, but how do I embed the images within my post?

And, I think I got the descriptions/URLs backwards! :huh::rolleyes::unsure:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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behemoth,

Wish I could send you a sample right now just so you can tell me if it tastes as it should! :laugh: As I said, I didn't get any chicken, just the soggy, chewy but wonderfully flavoured pita bread at the bottom of the pan.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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  • 3 weeks later...

Many thanks to the generosity of an eGulleteer, namely, Behemoth, I now have a great supply of SUMAC! Finally my family and I will taste the musakhan I made for a potluck supper. :biggrin::biggrin:

Thanks also to all you folks for recipes, suggestions, etc for middle east recipes. I am sure my Saudi student will also thank you. He is staying here for more English classes.

The running joke between us now is "when the camel will arrive for the grandest feast of all . . . stuffed camel"!

Dejah

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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[...]

The running joke between us now is "when the camel will arrive for the grandest feast of all . . . stuffed camel"!

If you ever make that, you have to do step-by-step pictures. Is that a deal? :laugh::biggrin:

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Now THAT would be a sight!

I think they are the ugliest animals I have ever seen...but they might be good eating :wink:

If one DOES land on my doorstep, I will recruit all of you to come and help! :laugh:

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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  • 2 months later...
one of the things I enjoyed most ....the most amazing freshly baked flat bread. It still ranks as one of the best things I have ever had to this day.

I lived in Bahrain for 5 years and the bread is called khobz: http://www.recipehound.com/Recipes/1535.html

Other than the people, I miss this bread the most. Really it should be slapped onto the inside of a giant Khobz oven but hey, we don't all have one of those! Personally I think the heat should be higher than this recipe says....more like a pizza oven...it should burn the bread in about 1.5 minutes.

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