As mentioned before a couple of my colleagues bring in food to the office on a regular basis and they have been kind enough to let me try some of it (they picked up on my interest/obsession with food pretty early on!).

In the 5 months here, I have been treated to some amazing things. Midddle Eastern Home cooking appears to have a fairly similar base across much of the food – lots of rice, lots of vegetables, a little meat, a bit of spice and – always delicious. Below are some of the new things that I have tried. On the first one, I have included the recipe from Sham who made this. On others I have found the nearest one I could. I can’t wait to get back to my Kitchen in the UK (4 weeks to go) and get cracking!

Riz U Bizella

Riz u Bizella (Rice and Peas Lebanese style) I mentioned this in one of my first posts. This is a stew with meat and peas served with a healthy load of rice on the side. This contains mince, garlic, some spices, carrots, tomatoes and peas. Its kind of like a shepherds pie but, without the potato, and served with rice and yogurt. So actually nothing like shepherds pie, but you get what I mean. Anyway it tastes great, and could become a bit of a staple.

Sham’s recipe for Riz U Bizella:

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

500g Beef cubes – (or you can use beef mince)

200g (ish) Peas

200g (ish) Carrots chopped into cubes

Couple of Tbsps Tomato Puree

2 cups of rice (Egyptian)

White Onion (large)

2 Cinnamon sticks

Vegetable Oil

Directions:

1 – Place the beef cubes, the white onion and cinnamon sticks in boiling water and boil for 2 hours. The fat from the meat will start rising to the surface and you need to manually remove it with a spoon and keep adding more water, as this will be the sauce later on.

2 – After the meat is done, drain it (don’t throw the water).

3 – Heat vegetable oil in a pan and add meat and stir them.

4 – Add the peas and carrots and then a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir them for a bit and then add the tomato paste.

5 – Add the stock from boiling the meat and stir.

6 – Cover and leave on low heat for 30 mins.

7 – Make the Rice – Make sure it’s Egyptian rice. 1 cup of rice = 1 ½ cup of water.

8 – Drain rice and serve with the meat sauce

9 – Enjoy!

Bemieh  (Okra Stew)

 picWyHeTt

Kind of does what it says on the tin this one, lots of Okra, some stewing meat (I had lamb, but beef works) tomatoes, some spices and served with rice. I LOVE Okra, our old favorite Indian in Tooting Did an amazing Okra curry and this one here came pretty close to that. I haven’t got the recipe for my colleagues wife yet, so here is one that I found that looks pretty close. Bemieh Recipe

Kousa Mashi (Stuffed Courgette)

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This is totally yummy. Courgettes hollowed out and then stuffed with a meat mixture containing lots of herbs and spices. Served in a delicious tomato sauce. I had this served with Rice, but would be great with a green salad for a nice Summer lunch. Little time consuming, but definitely worth it. Recipe here

Shish Barak

Shish Barak

Last but by no means least is Shish Barak or Meat Dumplings in a yogurt stew. A real Middle Eastern classic this one, and by the sounds of it the easiest one to mess up! This is really delicious, small dumplings stuffed with meat are cooked in a rich yogurt sauce with herbs in. This is really filling, and looks really fiddly to make, but I am definitely going to try and get this done. Again, no recipe but I found this one, that is a very comprehensive recipe Shish Barak Recipe

I have really loved the food I have tried out here, and it has been great to try some home cooked food alongside the Meze and grilled meats that you get in all the restaurants. I will most definitely be trying out the recipes above as well as few more that I have so will be sure to post how they go.

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