Many Arabic dishes are prepared with the finest grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, in varied preparations. In this type of cuisine people integrate buttermilk, yogurt, goat cheese, dried fruit and nuts and almonds, sesame seeds, olive oil, mint, parsley, lemons, tomatoes, onion, garlic… The traditional Arabic cuisine includes beef steak stuffed with vegetables, raisins and pine nuts, wrapped in puff pastry or phyllo dough, but we adapted some recipes that do not contain animal flesh, which could be meat substitute or tofu. Do not forget that the furnishing of these dishes is always full of decorations and very striking to the eye.
Vegetarian Pastela (arabian main dish)
Yield: 4 servings
- 500 gr. of seitan or gluten or two hundred grams of TVP
- 2 medium onions finely chopped
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon of parsley
- Olive oil (optionally a bit of butter or non-hydrogenated margarine )
- Sheets of filo pastry or filo pastry ( puff type ) to pastel
- 3 tablespoons of sugar if possible glaze (powdered )
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 2 tablespoons of cinnamon
- 150 gr. of skinless sliced almonds and fried (with just a few drops of oil will brown in seconds)
- A pinch of saffron, turmeric, ginger and nutmeg.
- Sea salt
Recipe for Pastela dough:
Nowadays people tend to buy ready-made dough but we will give you a recipe if you want to prepare yourself.
- It is prepared with flour, salt and water as if we were to make a crepe but a tad thicker.
- When the pan is hot (with a few drops of oil) put a very thin layer of dough.
- Within seconds it will have separated.
- The retired and prepare more stacking, taking care with the brightest part or made upwards.
Development of the Pastela:
- Sauté the onion and when couple of minutes pass, add the seitan (gluten) (before soak 30 minutes), a very tiny pieces. When everything is well chopped, parsley will browned and a minute later add all the spices.
- Stir a bit and add a finger of water so that the flavor becomes more intense.
- When the water has evaporated add the eggs, well beaten, and low heat. Continuously stirring, you must prevent caking primarily as a tortilla.
- Spread the source or griddle with a few drops of oil or butter and top leaves will dough (the brightest part facing the bottom of the pan or griddle). Let's spread the leaves so that they cover the entire inside and they protrude much of the source (then help cover the pastela).
- We will put a layer of ground almonds, sugar and cinnamon.
- We will cover this layer with the dough sheets (some paint with a little melted butter) and top with another layer will we cooked stuffing (which should run dry so as not to wet the leaves).
- Cover with more leaves and "seal up" the pastela with the remaining part of the sides.
- Paint with egg yolk to make it more golden.
- Now we can put in the oven at 180 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes.
- When can we get sprinkle a little powdered sugar and cinnamon.
A tip: the amount and variety of spices will taste and you should go adapting to your tastes. The Pastela or Bastela is really a very complete meal in itself.
Maskina (Arabic dessert)
- 2 cups offlour
- 1 1/ 2 cup of brown sugar, powdered if possible
- 1 cup of cream
- varied nuts (almonds , walnuts, hazelnuts , etc. . ) Well chopped but not ground
- Olive oil
Development of the Maskina:
- Mix the flour with sugar and cream.
- Spread a mold with a little olive oil.
- Trying to extend the mass above it is all rather uniform.
- To finish the we will spread the nuts well distributed over the entire mass.
- We'll put it in the oven (preheated) over medium heat.
- Baking time depends on the thickness of the dough. If you prick the dough with a fork and is clean out is that it is well cooked.
- A tip: some people use double sugar. That's a matter of taste. The same applies to the amount or type of nuts.
- 1 cup of precooked couscous (sold in health food stores and Arabs).
- 2 tablespoons of mint or fresh mint finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon of parsley or coriander leaves finely chopped
- 3 tomatoes cut into small squares
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 3 lemons juice
- 1 cucumber into pieces
- extra virgin olive oil, to taste
- A pinch of sea salt
- Black olives
- A small teaspoon of cumin
- After setting the precooked couscous in a bowl pour over it a cup of boiling water and salt (in the water and we put the salt and cumin).
- Ten minutes, couscous has absorbed all the water and it is ready.
- With a fork go stirring couscous so that it is loose.
- Add all the ingredients and move right.
- Use olives above that will create more colorful dish.
- Normally you put in the fridge (refrigerator) until well chilled.
- A tip: the amount of lemon juice is very relative and it's going to taste. In general it is very important to try not to dominate any flavor, create a feeling of mixture of aromas.
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 tablespoon of tahini (sesame puree)
- Mix the chickpeas with the remaining ingredients in a bowl and pass through the blender (grinder or blender).
- We add more lemon or more garlic, to taste.
- We serve it on something crunchy (crackers , hard vegetables , bread … ) .
Vegetarian Waraq Enab (Egyptian rice without meat, as is traditional)
- 1/2 kg of grape leaves, small and very tender
- 1/2 pounds of seitan (gluten) or soy (soy) textured (the original recipe has minced meat)
- 2 cups of tomato juice
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 large onion, grated
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 600 gr. of Rice paddy
- 1 bunch of parsley
- Pepper , Cumin , Nutmeg, Coriander and Mint .
- Cook the grape leaves with a pinch of salt, for about 5 minutes (depending on size and thickness of the leaves).
- We will remove the stem or rib of each leaf. Then strain a moment and expand on a plate with softer face outward.
Preparation of filler:
- Cut very fine onion and sauté until transparent (not fried at all).
- Add the seitan (gluten) and soy (previously soaked about 30 minutes). Sauté a few minutes with the onion until everything is well done and will also finely chopped tomato and seeded.
- Pepper with spices and add water (two parts water to each of rice).
- When boiling pour the rice and cook (keep trying as it is salt) until it is tender and has absorbed all the water.
- Fill (not too much) the vine leaves with rice and roll up each in the shape of fingers . It is important to put the edges of each leaves are inwardly while rolling so that no "clearing".
- We will fill leaves at the bottom of a pot (in a layer) and above will place the stuffed leaves tightly together with others.
- Add tomato juice, a drizzle of oil, a pinch of salt and lemon juice on the leaves (the ideal is that it is covered) and cook everything over very low heat for an hour.
A tip for the recipe: it is essential to guarantee that the vine leaves are free of any kind of pesticide or chemical. Anyway you should wash one by one. As happens with every recipe there are many variations depending on the area, the availability of certain ingredients or personal tastes. In many places is served with a salad of cucumbers and curry but some prefer to serve this dish with a little acid yogurt on top.
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