Lentil Soup,  Baba Ghanoush, Hummus and Moutabel, the four most popular and healthy  appetizers in the Middle East and the must have accompaniments to the blessed Iftar evenings.

 

 

Lentil Soup 

A delicious Middle Eastern soup based on lentils and vegetables/meat of your choice that bursts full of fresh & healthy flavours.

Recipe Card (to serve 3 pax) 

Ingredients                                                                        Quantity
Olive oil 1 tbsp
Garlic, Minced 2 cloves
Onion, finely chopped 1 large
Carrots, finely chopped 1 or 2
Water or Stock 6 cups
Orange lentils 1 cup
Cumin 1/2 tsp
Turmeric 1/4 tsp
Salt As Required
Pepper As Required
Lemon 1
Garnish Fried Onions

 

Method of Preparation

  • Over medium-low heat, saute garlic and onions until translucent. Add carrots and continue stirring for a few more minutes.
  • Add liquid and lentils. Bring to a boil. Lower temperature and simmer gently for one hour.
  • Add salt, pepper, cumin, and turmeric, if using. For a smooth soup like in the photo, puree in a blender or food processor or use an emulsion blender. Alternatively, if you like the texture, leave as is.
  • Garnish with fried onions and serve with fresh lemon slices.

 

Baba ghanoush 

A popular Laventine appetizer made with smoky grilled eggplants, tahini, and lemon as base that is combined with various Arabic seasonings of your choice.

Recipe Card

Ingredients                                                                        Quantity 
Tomato 1 medium
White Onion 1 medium
Parsley bunch small
Bell pepper (green, yellow and red) 3 small (one of each colour)
Garlic 3 cloves
Spring onion 1 sprig
Walnuts 10
Eggplant 1 large
Pomegranate juice 20 ml
Lemon juice 10 ml
Olive oil 10 ml
Fresh mint bunch small
Pomegranate 1 medium

 

Method of Preparation

  • Chop the tomato, white onion, parsley, garlic and bell pepper finely and keep aside in a cool place. Slice the spring onion into fine rings. Crush the walnuts into rough pieces.
  • Prick the eggplant skin with a fork in several places and place on a direct flame turning frequently until the skin is charred and blisters form with the flesh just begins to feel soft.
  • This should take around 10 to 15 minutes. Remove it from the heat and let cool slightly then peel the skin off. Chop the softened eggplant finely.
  • In a salad bowl mix the chopped tomato, white onion, parsley, garlic and bell pepper with the eggplant. Add the lemon juice and pomegranate juice.
  • Spoon the mixture over in a decorative plate. Make a pattern in the eggplant preparation with a spoon and top it with olive oil. Tear the fresh mint into medium sized pieces. Sprinkle the mint along with the sliced spring onion, crushed walnut and pomegranate seeds over the top. Serve chilled.

 

Hummus 

The quintessential Middle Eastern dip made of chickpeas, tahini, lemon, garlic and olive oil, which makes any Arabic meal complete.

Recipe Card

Ingredients                                                                        Quantity
Chickpeas, drained 1 can
Tahina 1 tbsp
Lemon Juice 1 tsp
Olive oil 3 tsp
Salt As required
Garlic 2 cloves

 

Method of Preparation

  • Drain and rinse the chickpeas
  • Combine all ingredients in the food processor
  • Blend hummus until smooth, at least 5 minutes
  • Taste and adjust seasonings
  • Transfer into a bowl, drizzle some olive oil and a touch of paprika for garnish.

 

Moutabel

A creamy and light dip made of smoky eggplants which is a spicier version of Baba ghanoush.

Recipe Card 

Ingredients                                                                        Quantity
Roasted eggplant/aubergine 1 large
Tahina 1 tbsp
Yogurt 2 tbsp
Lemon Juice 1 tsp
Olive oil 2 tbsp
Salt 1/4 tsp
Garlic 3-4 cloves

 

Method of preparation

  • To begin with, use a fork to prick the skin of the eggplant/aubergine several times - this will stop them exploding as they cook.
  • Place it over a direct flame for 20 minutes (or until soft) until charred all over to help achieve a wonderfully smoky flavour. Allow to cool for 20 minutes.
  • Carefully peel the aubergines, placing the flesh into a bowl and reserving as much of the charred skin as you can.
  • Gently stir in the garlic, tahini, yoghurt, lemon juice and salt until combined. Season to taste.
  • Add to a serving bowl and scatter over garnishes of your choice.