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chefzadi

Besides Harissa...

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In Algeria we also have felfel which is hot pepper relish/condiment made from roasted sweet peppers and hot peppers. I've noticed some jarred red peppers pastes at Middle Eastern markets here. Some are labeled mild, medium or hot. What is it used for in Middle Eastern cuisine? As a table condiment or is it added as a flavoring in cooking?


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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There are many commercial pepper pastes from Turkey on the market. One that I use frequently is called aci biber sosu. Kalustyans in New York has many kinds.

It is used in many recipes from southeastern Turkey in equal amounts with tomato paste.

For example, a typical sis kebab prepared in Gaziantep, Turkey, a town famous for its skewerd meats and great baklava, uses the followoing marinade for meat.

1 pound lamb loin cubes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon hot or sweet pepper paste

1 tablespoon olive oil.

To this oily paste you would add 1 teaspoon each: crushed garlic, Turkish spice mix and black pepper.

In this part of Turkey, the most wonderful onion-parsley salad is served with kabobs:

2 white or red onions, peeld and halved

coarse salt

1/2 cup chopped parsley

l teaspoon ground sumac

thinly slice the onions and toss with 1 teaspoon coaser salt

rub the salt into the strands and let stand 5 minutes.

Rinse and drain the onions thoroughly. Mix with the parsley and sumac. Serve within 30 minutes.

c\Wolfert. TheCooking of the Eastern Mediterranean. Harper Collins,1994.


Edited by Wolfert (log)

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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Interesting, i am actually not familiar with this.

If this appears in Southestern Turkish cuisine then logically it should have crossed the border futher south (and opportunites for this to happen were plentiful in the past 500 years!! :biggrin: )

I'm curious to know if this is also used in some parts of Syria, Lebanon, or other countries in the region...


"A chicken is just an egg's way of making another egg." Samuel Butler

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Hot and sweet peppers are used raw, pickled, fried, stewd and roasted in the eastern Mediterranean.

Certain regions have become famous and have their town names attached : the hot and hotter Nabeul and Gabes peppers in Tunisia; the mix of hot and warm Maras pepper, and the smoky Urfa in southeastern Turkey; the sweet fleshy peppers of Florina in Northern Greece (bucovo); Abkhaia Red pepper from the Black Sea coast of Georgia; and the husky Aleppo pepper in Syria

Almost all of these are now available in the states.

The pepper paste that I know and described upthread is popular in Georgia and Aleppo as well as in southeastern Turkey.

When I was in Aleppo doing research on the eastern Mediterranean and its different styles of cooking, I went to an Armenian restaurant called Wings which featured nothing but tinted 'red' dishes!

The most famous pepper sauce is a mildly assertive one called muhammara. A combination of walnuts, pomegranate molasses and medium to hot red pepper sauce.


“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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One of the guys who works at the lab across the hall from my office has a fil who is from Albania.

(Worked on a ship and requested and was granted asylum in port of L.A. years ago (mid 70s) after he got word his entire family had been executed by the communists.)

Leo tells me that his wife makes a pepper paste when her father is coming for dinner that is so hot it brings tears to his eyes and he is used to hot foods.

He has been promising to get the recipe for me for many months but so far no go.

It is sweet/sour/salty as well as hot and also contains a lot of garlic, besides a fat pepper that looks like a pimento and skinny yellow peppers that must be the hot ones. (I showed him some pepper pictures on Graeme Caselton's web site.)

He was also going to get a recipe for little meat pastries (look like an empanada) which are served with this hot pepper paste and yogurt sauce.

Haven't got that one yet either.

Albanian recipes aren't all that easy to find.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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You are right. There are very few Albanian cookbooks out there.

Do you remember a food writer on the LA Times named Rose Dosti? I think she wrote an Albanian cookbook.


“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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I don't know if she wrote an Albanian cookbook. I have a couple of her books, written in the late 70s or early 80s. I know I have had them for many years. One is on middle eastern cooking but I don't remember the exact name. I think they were both published by L.A. Times books and sold through the old "Home" magazine in the Sunday paper.

One is California recipes, requests from the Times food section.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Mediterranean Cookery: New & Used Books Search Result for Mediterranean Cookery

... Best of Albanian Cooking: Favorite Family Recipes ... Mideast & Mediterranean Cuisines. By Rose Dosti. Paperback / Motorbooks Intl / October 1993 /

Too bad neither of us have a copy, we could have checked out the pepper sauces of Albania.


Edited by Wolfert (log)

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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came late to the pepper party, but just wanted to add that i ADORE the varied array of pepper sauces and mixtures in this area of the world.

wish i had a copy of the book too. and wish we could all do a cyber pepper extravganza together.

sometimes i positively lust after really tasty fleshy peppers. living in britain peppers are not as lush as they might be elsewhere, unless i hightail it up to dalston or green park, the the turkish area. and then shlep them all the way back to hampshire. in many ways its easier to go to turkey, and at the prices of british trains, probably cheaper too.

anyhow am now just sucking my teeth and lips in pleasure, thinking about the long simmered peppers and aubergine we ate in bulgaria, just a silky spicy puree. lots of peppers so it was more a pepper salad than an aubergine salad. and a bit of tomato too.

:smile:

marlena


Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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anyhow am now just sucking my teeth and lips in pleasure, thinking about the long simmered peppers and aubergine we ate in bulgaria, just a silky spicy puree. lots of peppers so it was more a pepper salad than an aubergine salad. and a bit of tomato too.

Oh Marlene,

So happy to be reminded of that sauce. Thank you. It is called "Macedonian Butter." Not only used as a salad, but added in generous scoops to a version of Greek stifado made with short ribs, onions,and a few heads of garlic.


“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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I think it is the most popular hot sauce in Israel.

Perhaps I forgot about it because it is made with green chilies. Or is it also made with red ones?

Aside from serving it with Israeli-Yemenite bread, how is it used?


Edited by Wolfert (log)

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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In this part of Turkey, the most wonderful onion-parsley salad is served with kabobs:

2 white or red onions, peeld and halved

coarse salt

1/2 cup chopped parsley

l teaspoon ground sumac

thinly slice the onions and toss with 1 teaspoon coaser salt

rub the salt into the strands and let stand 5 minutes.

Rinse and drain the onions thoroughly. Mix with the parsley and sumac. Serve within 30 minutes.

This relish is served with Kafta in Lebanon as well. I always make it when I make kafta over here.

Another wonderful hot sauce is the Armenian chili paste that is so ubiquitous in Lebanon. It is consumed by those of Armenian decent and Arabs as well. My grandmother always has a stash of the stuff and adds it to lots of things including the Lahm Bi Ajeen filling.

It is easy to make, basically frying red bell peppers and spicy red peppers in oil and cooking it down to a loose paste consistency. It is sometimes dried on the roofs in the sun resulting in an even firmer result. In the late summer months in Beirut you can count on seeing several roofs covered with trays of the drying paste....

Elie


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I'm curious to know if there is a certain town or region in Lebanon that produces peppers that have some sort of special flavor or "personality".

The red pepper from Aleppo is gritty, earthy and has a robust flavor when dried. Is it coveted in Lebanon as it is here?


“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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Another wonderful hot sauce is the Armenian chili paste that is so ubiquitous in Lebanon. It is consumed by those of Armenian decent and Arabs as well. My grandmother always has a stash of the stuff and adds it to lots of things including the Lahm Bi Ajeen filling.

It is easy to make, basically frying red bell peppers and spicy red peppers in oil and cooking it down to a loose paste consistency. It is sometimes dried on the roofs in the sun resulting in an even firmer result. In the late summer months in Beirut you can count on seeing several roofs covered with trays of the drying paste....

Sounds like Algerian felfel, but we roast the peppers.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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Another wonderful hot sauce is the Armenian chili paste that is so ubiquitous in Lebanon. It is consumed by those of Armenian decent and Arabs as well. My grandmother always has a stash of the stuff and adds it to lots of things including the Lahm Bi Ajeen filling.

It is easy to make, basically frying red bell peppers and spicy red peppers in oil and cooking it down to a loose paste consistency. It is sometimes dried on the roofs in the sun resulting in an even firmer result. In the late summer months in Beirut you can count on seeing several roofs covered with trays of the drying paste....

How is it called in arabic?


"A chicken is just an egg's way of making another egg." Samuel Butler

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Another wonderful hot sauce is the Armenian chili paste that is so ubiquitous in Lebanon. It is consumed by those of Armenian decent and Arabs as well. My grandmother always has a stash of the stuff and adds it to lots of things including the Lahm Bi Ajeen filling.

It is easy to make, basically frying red bell peppers and spicy red peppers in oil and cooking it down to a loose paste consistency. It is sometimes dried on the roofs in the sun resulting in an even firmer result. In the late summer months in Beirut you can count on seeing several roofs covered with trays of the drying paste....

How is it called in arabic?

At my home we called it "Rub El Har"


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Africa, other than the north, has been neglected in this discussion. In many ways I feel like African cuisine - again the north and, to a lesser degree, the west excepted - is fairly unknown. Perhaps a single dish is known here and there ... a peanut stew perhaps ... but whether this is hiding wonderful unknown treasures or is simply the cream rising to the top, I don't know. But I digress ...

I recently came across a reference to "Sauce Cany" - a "Wolof Pepper Paste" - in the Senegalese section of Jeffrey Alford's "Seductions of Rice." He describes it explicitly as a relative of harissa. I cannot recall the ingredients or proportions of the top of my head but I do remember him calling for a scotch bonnet or habanero. I imagine these are replacing the kick of a different local pepper. In addition, the sauce contains additional peppers, shallots, spices that I cannot recall, and peanut oil. I have yet to make a batch, but perhaps this weekend. I've looked for other references but come up empty handed.

In a Chicago area African grocery, I found a bottled pepper sauce from Ghana called Ghanian Spicy Shito. Shito being pepper in the local language. In addition to the normal peppers, spices, tomato, and oil, this contains ground fish and shrimp, giving it a me a vague sense memory of something Southeast Asian. Again, references are slim, though I have found comments that only the preserved variety has fish and shrimp. When made fresh in a mortar, it is peppers, spices, tomato, and oil only. Seems that Shito is served with pretty much everythin in Ghana - fufu (a thick, pounded mash of boiled starches such as cassava, plantains, and yams), fried plantains, Banku (cassava dumplings), kenkey (fermented corn dumplings), etc. I've seen some references that call for making this with black pepper ... which could be quite overpowering and interesting.

Pili-Pili is a third variety. The differences here seem to be the inclusion of vinegar, sweet peppers or bell pepper, and sugar to temper the intense heat. In my experience, this is a looser sauce rather than a thick paste like the previous two and harissa.

I'm no expert on African cuisine. In fact, I'm barely a journeyman. I'm sure I've made errors and omissions. Please fill in any blanks that you can.

rien

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One follow up to my previous post. I recently came across the Congo Cookbookwebsite and was quite impressed.

rien

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Perhaps a single dish is known here and there ... a peanut stew perhaps ... but whether this is hiding wonderful unknown treasures or is simply the cream rising to the top, I don't know. But I digress ...

I have quite a few Black African friends (this is the term used in France to distinguish from North Africans). It's mostly a case of cream rising to the top. The terroir is not fertile in sub-saharan Africa. Even in North Africa, availability of produce can be feast or famine. Hence meals represent Mediterranean abundance or desert sparcity. Of course over thousands of years we've learned how to make the best of it all. :wink:

A Senagalese friend of mine made the famous peanut stew for me. I will try to get a recipe to post. It is intensely peanut buttery. I suppose folks who really love Thai peanut sauce might like it. He also served it with a scotch bonnet pepper oil.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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Here's a great recipe for Zchug (Yemeni hot sauce, now a staple of the pan-Middle-Eastern Israeli kitchen) that comes from my grandmother, born in Jerusalem of Yemeni parents. (PS - they sell really good packaged zchug at the Israeli markets around here - ie Los Angeles.)

Safta Sima’s Zchug (Yemenite Hot Sauce)

15-20 hot peppers (serrano)

2 garlic cloves

3 tbsp. ground dried coriander

2 tbsp. ground cumin

2 tbsp. ground cloves

2 tbsp. salt

A few seeds of cardamom

¼ cup water (for blender)

2 red bell peppers

1 big bunch of cilantro

Blend in blender. To cut hotness, mix in mashed tomatoes to make Zchug im agvanyot (Zchug with tomatoes).

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I think it is the most popular hot sauce in Israel.

Perhaps I forgot about it because it is made with green chilies. Or is it also made with red ones?

Aside from serving it with Israeli-Yemenite bread, how is it used?

When I asked one of my Israeli customers what he used it for, he said "whatever a person uses ketchup for, I use Schug"... he also said that about lemon baliadi :huh:

Here's a great recipe for Zchug (Yemeni hot sauce, now a staple of the pan-Middle-Eastern Israeli kitchen)

Ayana - I have the same question... is the stuff made with green peppers also called schug/zchug or is it something else? Any ideas?

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I think it is the most popular hot sauce in Israel.

Perhaps I forgot about it because it is made with green chilies. Or is it also made with red ones?

Aside from serving it with Israeli-Yemenite bread, how is it used?

When I asked one of my Israeli customers what he used it for, he said "whatever a person uses ketchup for, I use Schug"... he also said that about lemon baliadi :huh:

Here's a great recipe for Zchug (Yemeni hot sauce, now a staple of the pan-Middle-Eastern Israeli kitchen)

Ayana - I have the same question... is the stuff made with green peppers also called schug/zchug or is it something else? Any ideas?

Hi Pam,

I grew up with "green zchug" and "red zchug" - the only difference was the type of peppers used. I'm not sure of the name of the red peppers in English - in Israel, you've only got the two kinds of hot peppers in the market, but here of course there are a million kinds. It looks like a serrano pepper, but red instead of green.

Ayana

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"... in Israel, you've only got the two kinds of hot peppers in the market, but here of course there are a million kinds. It looks like a serrano pepper, but red instead of green.

Ayana


"Eat every meal as if it's your first and last on earth" (Conrad Rosenblatt 1935)

http://foodha.blogli.co.il/

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"... in Israel, you've only got the two kinds of hot peppers in the market, but here of course there are a million kinds. It looks like a serrano pepper, but red instead of green.

Ayana

Hi Ayana,

Next time you hop over to Israel I'll be more than happy to introduce you to some more hot chilies of sorts. I am situated in Tel Aviv, and if allowed 2-3 hours I believe can come up with at least 10 different varieties of red, green and yellow hot peppers, some are Habanero, Jalapeño and more.

One farm, about 3/4 of an hour, south of Tel Aviv, grows many kinds, and I can arrange a visit in no time. Here is a link:

http://www.mesheklevy.co.il/index.html

note that it is only in Hebrew, and they grow many other great products. (If someone needs translation assistance, let me know).

Naturally there are many other growers.

Boaziko

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