07/06/2009 88 °F
I spent the weekend at my Arabic friends parent's home in the Galilee region. We had some of the most delicious food I have ever tasted. Most are traditional dishes that have been served for generations. Some of those foods include the following:
Kubbe is a rich blend of lemon, onion, cinnamon, allspice, bulgur and raw goat meat. Yes, you read that right raw goat meat! It is all ground and rolled into torpedo shaped balls. Because the meat is raw the patties are a bright red addition to the dinner plate.
Kanefi is a savory combination of rice, shredded goat or lamb meat (cooked!) and cinnamon. It is delicious with a little dollop of yogurt mixed in.
Warak enab mehshi is grape leaves stuffed with rice and spices. It is tangy because it has lemon juice spritzed on it too. It is absolutely delicious dipped in yogurt.
Manakish resembles a mini pizza. The crust is similar to pita. It is brushed with olive oil and generously sprinkled with za'atar. Za'atar is an Arabic blend of thyme, oregano, marjoram, toasted sesame seeds and salt. Sometimes there is cheese melted on top as well.
Tabbouleh is a delicious salad made of tomato, bulgur, mint, parsley, onion and a lemon juice dressing.
Mamool is a cookie sweetened with rose water or orange flower water and stuffed with either pistachios, walnuts or dates. Before it is baked it is pressed with a wooden mold. The shape from the mold is supposed to differentiate what it is filled with. I never figured out the pattern though. After it has been baked and cooled it is dusted with powdered sugar.
Baklava is a rich, sticky pastry made of layers of filo dough, chopped nuts, honey and butter.
Knafeh is very popular here because it originated in the West Bank. It is a super rich dessert made by taking shredded dough (which kind of look like angel hair pasta) and covering it with soft white cheese, pine nuts and a sugar syrup. All of this is baked. Somehow it has the brightest orange top you will ever see. I am convinced they use some kind of food coloring to get it that orange.
All meals were served with a delicious salad. An Israeli salad consists of finely chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onion and minced herbs such as basil or cilantro. There is no lettuce in Israeli salads. Heaps of pickles and home grown olives were also served at every meal. Usually there were bowls of spicy homemade hummus, lebanah (a creamy, white cheese served with olive oil) and home harvested honey for dipping pita into.
Each morning steaming cups of tea were served. The tea is made with herbs that grow wild in the Galilean fields. A typical breakfast consists of eggs, pita, salad and olives.
Throughout the day, tiny cups of Arabic coffee were served. Cardamon is what makes the flavor of Arabic coffee unique.
For snacking on, we enjoyed watermelon, dried fruit, and cooked beans which are eaten as a finger food.
Most of the recipes for the dishes I described above along with pictures can be found at this web site: http://www.blogcatalog.com/blog/arabic-food-recipes