Don’t worry if your plan to go out this Mothers Day has been cancelled. We’ve put together a selection of delicious Middle Eastern recipes that you can all cook together and are bound to impress! Whether you try one of them of them or all of them, you can still celebrate at home with a feast of simple but tasty recipes!
1 large aubergine or two smaller ones
50 ml plain yoghurt (or soya yoghurt)
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
½ tsp black pepper to garnish
Olive oil to garnish on the serving bowl
- Preheat the oven to 200˚c/ gas mark 6.
- Pierce the aubergines in several places with a skewer. Place the whole aubergines on oven tray. Bake, uncovered, in a hot oven for about 30-35 minutes or until soft. Leave to cool for 15 minutes.
- Peel the aubergines, squeeze and drain off any excess water, chop the flesh roughly and discard the skin. Reserve ¼ of the chopped aubergine flesh to one side.
- Blend or process the remaining aubergine flesh with the yoghurt, lemon juice, garlic, tahini, ground cumin and fresh coriander until combined.
- Remove from the processor bowl into a mixing bowl and add the reserved aubergine stir in the aubergine to combine with the blended mixture – turn into a serving bowl.
- Sprinkle to garnish with finely chopped parsley and a drizzle of olive oil and serve with flat bread or pitta bread, if desired.
Traditional Eastern Mediterranean style flat bread
Every Mediterranean/Middle Eastern table always has some freshly baked bread, perfect for dipping in hummus or baba ganoush and great for mopping up any leftover juices off your dinner plate or soup bowl! These are simple and can be filled and rolled up for a lunchbox.
225g strong unbleached white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
50g strong wholemeal bread flour
Half a sachet of easy bake yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil or melted butter
150 to 200ml water
1 tbsp natural yogurt
1 tsp caraway seeds
- Sift the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre
- Pour in the oil, water and yogurt
- Using your hand, draw the flour in from the sides, forming the mixture into a dough, add a little extra water if necessary
- Knead the dough on a very lightly floured work surface for about 5 minutes
- Divide the dough into eight pieces, and then you could divide each ball into 2 pieces if you want to make smaller ones
- Knead each piece and form into balls
- Place to the side on a lightly floured surface or tray and cover with a tea towel
- Leave to rest for about 30 minutes
- Roll each ball into thin, flat rounds, about 6 inches in diameter or smaller if you’re making more than 4. Sprinkle the caraway seeds on top.
- Heat a griddle or flat frying pan and wipe with a little oil until almost smoking hot
- Cook each flat round separately, for about minute or two on each side till browned and each bread with puff up/buckle slightly
- Pile them up one by one, keeping covered with a tea towel as you bake each one
Tip: You can make one or two large breads and bake in the oven or up to 24 small individual ones to cook on the griddle and they work well served hot or cold but keep wrapped in a tea towel if serving later.
125g bulgur wheat (or substitute quinoa to make this recipe gluten free)
250ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 bunch of parsley -coarsely chopped
¼ bunch fresh mint -coarsely chopped
200g fresh tomatoes- deseeded and finely chopped
1 medium red onion- finely chopped
5 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
½ tsp of season salt
½ tsp black pepper or to taste
- Place the bulgur in a large bowl. Pour over the hot stock until just covered (you may not need all of the stock), then mix well. Cover with cling film or a plate and allow to stand for approximately 15 minutes.
- Once the bulgur has expanded in size and has completely cooled, use a fork to fluff up and loosen the grains. Drain out any excess stock and press firmly to squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible.
- Place in a large bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl, mix gently until all the ingredients are combined thoroughly.
- Adjust the seasoning to taste.
- Serve at once.
Harissa Baked Chicken
Don’t be put off by the ingredients list that reads like a whose who…. It will be worth I assure you. You could make this recipe in sections by making the blend and marinating the chicken a day earlier.
For the spice blend
3 tbsp Baharat spice blend
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large chicken, cut into 3 inch pieces or drum sticks and thighs with bone & skin on
1 tbsp vegetable oil (may need to drizzle a little more)
8 waxy potatoes, sliced into 1.25cm thick rounds
100 ml olive oil (50ml + 50ml)
200ml harissa paste
60 ml lemon juice
135g shallots – finely chopped
2 tbsp garlic finely chopped
1 tbsp dried mango powder
1 tsp salt
2 bullet chillies finely chopped
4 tbsp fresh coriander – finely chopped
400 ml strong chicken stock – use two stock cubes if using shop bought
- Preheat the oven to 230 degrees Celsius/ gas mark 8
- Start by making the spice blend. Then add 3 tbsp of the spice blend to a large bowl with 3 tbsp of olive oil, make a paste then rub it all over the chicken pieces, coating thoroughly. Allow to rest for an hour or two time permitting.
- Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a large pan and fry the chicken over a medium-high heat. Sear the chicken pieces on both side until golden, for about 4 minutes each side. Work in batches if necessary, to avoid overcrowding the pan to achieve the colour and crisping.
- Separately in a large bowl, add the potatoes with 50ml of the olive oil, mix well then transfer to a large baking dish. Roast until just golden brown, 20-25 minutes. (The baking dish will need to be large enough to also take the chicken later.)
- Remove from the oven and place the seared chicken in a single layer on top of the potatoes. Return the dish to the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 180 degrees Celsius/ gas mark 4, whilst you make the paste to put on top.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 50ml olive oil, the harissa paste, lemon juice, shallots, garlic, chillies, mango powder, 1 tbsp of the Baharat spice blend and the coriander. Remove the chicken tray from the oven, brush evenly over the chicken.
- Pour the chicken stock into the four corners of the baking dish, Cover the dish with foil, place in the oven, and roast for 60-75 minutes, until the juices run clear when a knife is inserted between the leg and the breast. Remove the foil , season to taste for salt and pepper and roast for 15 minutes more, or until golden all over and crispy, being careful that the spice blend does not burn. (if it is in danger of doing so – spoon over a little melted butter or ghee)
- Enjoy with crispy rice or a tabbouleh salad.
Vegetable Pilaf with Apricots
200g basmati rice
2 tbsp ghee
1 stick of cinnamon
1 onion, thinly sliced
½ tsp garlic
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp turmeric
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp dried apricots sliced
380ml vegetable stock
3 finger pinch of fresh coriander
- Start by washing the rice in warm water in a bowl until the water runs clear. You may need to wash the rice with 3-4 changes of water. Once you have rinsed the rice put it into a bowl of cold water and soak it for 15 minutes. Drain when ready to use.
- Melt the ghee in a large pan, when the ghee is hot add the cinnamon stick, followed by the onions, garlic, cumin, ground coriander, turmeric and salt and cook until the onions are soft.
- Add the apricots and the washed rice; stir in until all the rice is coated in the spices. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Now add the stock, bring up to temperature i.e. boiling and then drop the temperature to the lowest point and simmer with the lid on for 10-12 minutes
- Remove from the heat and stir in the peas and fresh coriander.
- Replace the lid as quickly as possible and let the rice rest for a further 10-15 minutes
- Serve at once
Layered honey Custard & Nut Crumble- Kshtaleia
Butter, for greasing
For the Pudding:
2.0 litres milk
2 tbsp rose water (just 1tbsp if you want a more subtle flavour)
2 tbsp orange blossom water
280g honey or 140g icing sugar if you prefer
2 tsp vanilla extract – use a good quality
120g rice flour (almond flour will also work)
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
For the Crusty topping:
45g panko breadcrumbs
100g chopped walnuts
140g chopped almonds
340g butter, melted
1 tbsp vanilla extract
½ tsp ground cinnamon
290g jam of your choice
200ml blossom-scented simple syrup to serve
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius/gas mark 2. Grease a 23x33cm baking dish with butter.
- In a large saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer over a medium heat. Add the rose water, orange blossom water, honey or icing sugar and the vanilla extract
- Slowly add the rice flour, stirring all the while. Cook until the pudding begins to thicken and a whisk leaves tracks in the mixture. Spread evenly on a baking tray to cool.
- To make the crust: in a large bowl, combine the panko, oats, walnuts and almonds. Add the melted butter, vanilla and cinnamon, working the mixture with your hands.
- Spread half of the breadcrumb mixture over the bottom of the prepared dish. Using a spatula, pack it down evenly and firmly.
- Spread the pudding mixture over the top, then spread the jam over the pudding. Sprinkle the remaining breadcrumb mixture on top of the jam a press it down.
- Bake until the crust is golden brown. Pour the blossom syrup over the top and let it cool for a few minutes.
- To serve, cut into squares. The kshtaleia can also be served cold, where you can add some berries or fruit to it. If you wish to store any left overs, cover the dish with clingfilm and place in the fridge, where it will last for up to one week.