IDP#27 Eating a 4,000 year old meal…

Sunday, 22 July 2012

—————————————
Entree:
Pita Bread ( الخبز العربي )
with dips:
Tahini and Molasses (عسل أسود بالطحينة)
Dukkah (دقة‎)
Mint Cucumber Yoghurt (Khiar be laban – خيار زبادي)
——-——————————

Pre-Mortar and Pestle toasted almonds, sea salt, cumin and coriander seeds

Toasted Sesame Seeds

Sam chose a winner with Egypt, I love middle eastern cuisine, so I think I cooked a bit too much with this one.

My wife game me ‘the look’ when I said I was going to make the dukka from scratch, along with the pita bread. It would be easier to buy it she said, yeah, but that’s kinda not the point.

All the ingredients we needed were quite easily found, with a trip to the health/organic store for the fava beans and red lentils (which I actually found we had at the local supermarket anyway.) Blanched almonds however they didn’t have…. so we had to blanch and peel out own almonds – so I had a little child labour camp going with all the boys – even 2 year old Ethan – peeling the skin from the almonds – and Ethan with his little fingers was the best at it!

We toasted the almonds, coriander seeds and cumin seeds sesame seeds, and ground them all up apart from the sesame. The only spice that was impossible to find here was something I’d never heard of Sumac… apparently it has a mild lemon flavor – and lemon zest is an appropriate substitute, and lemons we have! And after all that trouble I forgot to put it out on the night! So I’ll have to get the boys verdicts tomorrow…

The Tahini and Molasses dip sounded interesting, apparently its a dessert and well as a dip, and can be eaten as breakfast or an evening meal. I can see how it could be a dessert. It’s as simple to make as it sounds – mix equal amounts tahini and molasses, there’s your recipe right there… Not a flavor the boys liked, but my Dad seemed to he kept going back to it! I might have some for dessert tomorrow night!

Mint Cucumber Yoghurt (Khiar be laban), pretty much identical to Greek Tzatziki, Indian Riata and Persian Maast-o Khiar. Refreshing, minty, and good with bread and spicy meat.

We also had some Ful Medammes as a dip as well, but we also served it as a main so I’ll talk about that one in the next section.

Now the boys ratings… I knew Egypt might be a big ask of them… but there were bound to be a few favorites… like.. well.. err the bread…

PITA:
Sam’s rating: Infinity / Infinity
Ryan’s rating: Infinity / Infinity
CUCUMBER YOGHURT:
Sam’s rating: 5/10
Ryan’s rating: 4/4
 ———————————————————————————————-
MOLASSES AND TAHINI:
Sam’s rating: 5/10
Ryan’s rating: Didn’t want to taste it
DUKKA:
Sam’s rating: 10/10 “I want some more”
Ryan’s rating: 1/1

—————————————
Mains:
Ful Medames (فول مدمّس)
Kefta / Kofta / Kufta with yoghurt sauce (كفتة)
and more Pita bread!
——-——————————

Okay, I guess this is the bit where I qualify the title for this post. Yup, we had a 4,000 year old meal. The roots of Ful Medames can be traced back to Pharaonic Egypt. Pharaohs from the 12th dynasty have been found with Fava Beans buried in their tombs with them. So that’s this dish’s claim to fame. Ful Medames is claimed to be one of Egypts national dishes served with fried or hard boiled eggs, it is the daily breakfast meal for millions of Egyptians, so although it looks rather bland I thought it was a must for this little project, plus being vegetarian it would be ideal for my sister who is coming to dinner tonight as well.

I was pleasantly surprised by this one, it actually had more flavor than I thought it would, with the addition of lemon juice at the end of the cooking and onion/shallots on top it was nice on it’s own or heaped on the pita bread. The boys tried some, but didn’t seem too keen on it – but at least they tried it!

Now the Kefta, common throughout the Middle East, this is the Egyptian variant, nicely spiced, with mint, parsley and cumin, cinnamon and all spice these smelt great. And surprisingly held together without any egg mixed in with the minced beef. I thought these Meatballs would be something the boys would recognize and therefore be happy to eat and I was right, I served there’s up without yoghurt sauce to be on the safe side, but the adults all had the yoghurt sauce, which went well as a cooling element and added some more moisture to the dish.

All the meatballs disappeared – so that was a good sign. And Jocelyn and I had the leftover Ful Medames for lunch the next day – I didn’t quite feel like trying it for breakfast…!

FUL MEDAMES:
Sam’s rating: 5/10
Ryan’s rating: 4/4
KEFTA:
Sam’s rating: Infinity / Infinity
Ryan’s rating: 7/7

 

—————————————
Dessert:
Basbousa (بسبوسة )
————————————

Finding a dessert was an interest voyage. I didn’t think the kids would appreciate Batata (Baked sweet potato) as a dessert, Khushaf (dates and dried fruits in sugar and water) looked tasty to me, but again – I didn’t think the boy would be overly impressed. Roz bil-Laban is a Milk and Rice pudding, and I am keen to introduce the boys to rice puddings (‘cos I like ’em) at some stage, but thought I’d skip that one tonight. So I settled on Basbousa, a semolina based sweet cake with a sweet lemon sauce. Looked great – was hoping I could pull it off.

Well there was more peeling of almonds here, the recipe was rather straight forward, my baking dish was a little small, so our basbousa ended up being quite high. But it cooked perfectly, and wonder of wonders came out of the cake tin perfectly.

It was popular with everyone, with people having so much they didn’t want coffee or tea afterwards – I can recommend this one and I think I might make it again, the semolina gives it such a great texture. As I write now, there is none left as we had the last two pieces with out coffee tonight. Success… recipe to come.

BASBOUSA:
Sam’s rating: Infinity / Infinity
Ryan’s rating: 100/100

Was a really great night with the family tonight, everyone got to try some different foods and I think everyone found something new that they liked. Already handed the Basbousa recipe over to Mum!

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “IDP#27 Eating a 4,000 year old meal…

  1. Who would have thought that dukka would be so polarising? I love that the scales are all different. It gives the ratings some spunk. I never really thought of Eygptian food to be so golden coloured. Just like Eygpt. You could have turned a platter into sand dunes, pyramids and a sphinx 🙂

    • Thanks
      ha! Yes those ratings scales, I tried explaining how ratings work, especially to Ryan, “don’t you mean 4 out of 10?”
      “No Daddy, 4 out of 4”
      In the end I thought I’d just keep it honest, while all Ryan’s ratings are technically 100% scores, you can tell how much he likes something by how high his scale is…
      Very nice food, and Sam has requested I bake some more Basbousa… just as well we have lemons on hand…

  2. I am loving reading all about your global food adventures. Was telling someone just yesterday how much you strive to make everything authentic as possible – and how I think that’s ace. This menu is my fave so far – I love a bit of ancient fare.

  3. Love the new look blog theme. As for middle eastern and Egyptian food it’s always a winner for me! The Barbousa sounds and looks amazing, being quite partial to semolina cakes I agree re the texture, it’s so light and delicate!

    Kudos to you for peeling those almonds from scratch too, dedicated, definitely 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s