Eggplant and yogurt are two of my favorite foods, and when they are paired up in a dish then that makes three of my favorite foods. This is a pretty easy salad to make, and very delicious. It’s also a very pretty dish. You will need:
1) An egg plant, peeled and cut into
2) Olive Oil for frying
3) Salt to taste
4) 1/4 tsp ground cumin
5) 2 finely minced garlic cloves
6) 1 cup of Greek yogurt of any plain yogurt of your choice
7) chopped cilantro for garnish
8) ground paprika or red chilly powder
9) 1 tsp of fresh lemon juice
Place eggplant fries in a colander and sprinkle a little salt on them and leave aside for 15 min. This helps pull the moisture from the eggplant so there’s no oil spatter while frying. This also prevents the eggplant from absorbing a lot of the oil. But if you’d rather skip this step, it’s perfectly okay.
Now place a frying pan under medium/high heat and add some olive oil. I don’t like immersing the eggplant fries in oil because they become rather fragile as they cook and hence too soft to handle-especially since the skin has been peeled and there’s nothing to hold the eggplant meat together as it cooks. So, just add enough oil to brown one side and then flip on the other side and brown. Then place them carefully on a paper towel to drain some of the oil. Once you are done it is time to mix the yogurt.
Place the yogurt in a bowl and dilute with 1/4 of a cup or so of water–you do not want it to thick or too thin. I like it in between. I use a whisk to get a nice smooth texture. I then whisk in the cumin, garlic, and fresh lemon juice with the yogurt. Add the salt to your taste . Then add the eggplant fries and gently fold with a spoon, then sprinkle the paprika or red chilly paper on the “face” of the salad, as we say in Yemen, and garnish with the cilantro. Serve chilled.
Posted in Appetizers, Snacks | Leave a Comment »
I got this recipe from my Bangladeshi neighbor Fatma–Jazaha Allah Khayr. I wanted a fish dish that I could serve with rice, that only had spices. No tomatoes or tomato paste. I had had this a number of times in her home, and I loved it. So, I decided to make it myself. It turned out great. It has all the spices that we are used to in the southern part of Yemen–Aden. Plus of course we love our fish at least 6 times a week. So this appeals to the south Yemeni palette very well. You will need:
1) 2 Tilapia fillets halved
2) 1 big or 2 medium sized potatoes, quartered.
3) 2 medium onions, finely diced
4) 2-3 tablespoons of Olive Oil –more if you like.
5) salt to taste
6) 1 teaspoon of chilly powder-less if you don’t like it spicy
7) 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
8) 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
9) 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
10) 3 tablespoons of finely cut cilantro
11) green chilly pepper halved, lengthwise
12) 3 minced garlic
13) tsp of minced fresh ginger
To start take ingredients 6-13 [the spices and the garlic and ginger], place in a bowl and add 1/2 cup of water. Leave aside.
In a pan, under medium high heat, add the oil and the onions and brown. Then add the potatoes and sautee for a few minutes. Then add the spices in the bowl and turn the heat down a little and let boil for a few minutes, until the gravy/yellow sauce thickens. Then add the fish and fry in the spices. Turn once. Do not turn too much or else the fish will break. In my culture, it is a sign of a bad cook ha ha ha !
Once the fish starts turning white, add enough water to cover the fish. Add salt to taste and let boil until the sauce thickens to desired consistency. When it starts to thicken add the chilly pepper. When it is ready garnish with the cilantro and serve on a bed of which rice, or rice cooked with lentils.
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I visited Yemen Dec. 9th to the 31st of 2012. During my stay in my hometown Aden, my sister and I drove by and stopped at a small store by one of the roads leading to Seerah –which is a bay area named after a fort called Seerah. It is said that the Portuguese who tried to invade the seaport Aden called it Seerah, and so the name stuck. Whether fact or fiction, the area is now called Seerah. Anyway, we stopped at this small store I was just telling you about where I used to pass by 15 years ago where this old man used to weave straw into baskets, Masaref [like this one], small flag fans, and totes etc. I secretly promised that once I went back to Aden for a visit, I would go to this store and buy some of this talented man’s crafts. Alhamdullilah Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’la gave me the chance to do so. Oftentimes, you secretly wish for something and you think no one knows but in actuality Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala does and grants the wish.I had always been telling my husband that I wanted a Masrafah rather than a dining table–so that’s another wish granted alhamdullilah.
Now what is a Masrafah you ask? It is a mat made of straw that you see a picture of at the beginning of this post. What do Yemenis use it for? Well, they used it for fine Yemeni dining . Maybe they still probably use it in rural areas. But in Aden people are now used to either using dining tables and chairs, or rolls of plastic that they spread on the ground instead of this reusable and environment friendly Masrafah. Maybe it is even hung on the wall as a relic of traditions past. What a pity! How is the Masrafah used? Well, it is laid on the floor, and the dishes cradling the food would be placed on it. Then people would gather around and eat. You don’t need a tablecloth, because the Masrafah comes in different colors and patterns–some of the straws woven in are dyed with bright colors as you can see in this picture:
And once the meal is over the Masrafah is dusted, wiped with a damp cloth, and hung up by a straw hook [see pic below] and hung up to dry.
This is a small part of my Yemeni tradition that I have longed for while living in the USA. If you are ever in Aden/Yemen pick one up for your home and give this hardworking man a hand. He had a huge smile on his face when I told him , “I never forgot you in 15 years.” He made dua for me. It was priceless! Like he continues to craft tradition , I am hoping through this post to perpetuate it among my blog visitors Insha Allah.
* Click here for a bread basket I also bought.
Posted in Tricks of the trade | 8 Comments »
I also got this recipe from Gada Salamah in Montgomery/AL. I had some beautiful eggplants that I had bought from the local farmer’s market and wanted to make a dip. So, here is a beautiful dip.
You will need:
1) 2 small to medium eggplants. Take a small knife and peel the skin lengthwise in such a way that it looks like you have a striped eggplant. Then cut into thick rounds.
2) Oil for frying. I would say about 3/4 to 1 cup. I used Olive Oil.
3) 6 tablespoons of plain yogurt
5) juice of one small lemon
6) 2 tsp of tahini
7) 1/4 tsp of garlic powder
8) Salt to taste
9) 1 – 2 medium tomatoes cubed
10) 1 hot green chilly minced
11) 2 tblsp of finely chopped parsley
12) 1/4 of cup of walnuts roughly chopped
13) Olive Oil
Let’s start. First fry the eggplant rounds in the oil until golden brown. Place on paper towel side by side for the oil to be drained from them. Then in a blender place the eggplant and ingredients two eight. Blend and empty onto a nice serving plate. Mix ingredients 9-12 and mix in half with the blended eggplant and use the rest for garnish. Drizzle some olive oil on top and enjoy as an appetizer with pita bread. The pomegranate molasses make a huge difference in taste, so make the effort of getting some. If it’s absolutely impossible then you can do without them, but there will definitely be a difference in taste. Enjoy.
Posted in Appetizers, Vegetarian | 2 Comments »
I have always enjoyed this at potlucks. It’s usually either the Amharic, Eriterian, or Oromo sisters who have shared this dish. I called my Eriterian friend Fatma and asked her for this recipe . So here it is for us all to enjoy.
1) small cabbage chopped
2) 2 potatoes ( medium) chopped into bite size pieces
3) carrots sliced into rounds
4) 3-4 tblsp of olive oil
5) 1 medium onion chopped
6) 3 cloves of garlic minced
7) 1/2 tsp of turmeric
8) 1 tsp of curry powder
9) salt to taste
Cook the cabbage in a little olive oil until it wilts. Take it out. Then brown the potatoes in the same oil. Just until they’re browned, but not cooked through. Then take them out out. Do the same to the carrots.
Once you’re down with the frying of the vegetables above –that is the cabbage, the potatoes, and the carrots–take a pot and place on the stove at medium high heat. Then add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Once they have browned, add the turmeric and curry powder. Add a little water so the spices don’t burn. Now add the fried vegetables. Once they’re all looking nice and yellow add a little more water and transfer to a baking dish. Cover and cook in oven at 350 degrees fahrenheit until all the water has evaporated and the vegetables are soft.I serve this with lahoh [Yemeni bread that looks a little like Injera].
Posted in Vegetarian | Tagged dinner, fried vegetables, vegetarian | Leave a Comment »