Archive for the ‘Appetizers’ Category


Received a request for Jelly , Adeni style. I always thought everyone made it the same way, but I guess I was wrong. All things Adeni are special I guess. In any case, here is the recipe for Jelly, Adeni style. You will need:

  1. A packet of jelly (make sure it is Halal/Kosher. It should say on the packet)

  2. A can of fruit cocktail in thick syrup (all natural)

  3. 2 cups of water

  4. table cream (unsweetened)

That’s all you’ll need. In a saucepan, boil one cup of water (or however much water it says in the instructions on the jelly packet). Over the years, I’ve memorized this. It always says, “1 cups of hot water, and 1 cup of cold water.” Bring the water to a boil, turn off the heat, and then empty the jelly powder into the water and stir until dissolved. Then add one cup of cold water to the saucepan.

Open the can of fruit cocktail, and run it through a sieve. Make sure to save the juice that drains from it. Take the that juice/syrup and add it to the  jelly. Then divide the fruit cocktail among four moulds and add the jelly equally on top. Let it cool and then refrigerate until it’s set. Add a tsp of table cream and enjoy.

For as long as I remember, this is the way Adenis always make jelly in Ramadan.


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Shafoot 8

I was looking forward to making this Shafoot for my Dad in Yemen early December, but he passed away Nov. 1st 2014. May Allah have mercy on him. We plan and Allah plans, and Allah is the best of planners. To Allah we belong and to Him we return. Please keep my Dad in your Duas. Jazakum Allah Khayr.

My Yemeni-American friend here in Montgomery / Al , Abeer, suggested this recipe for a quick shafoot. Shafoot in Yemen is served as an appetizer especially in Ramadan. For 4 servings you will need :

1) 2 cups of yogurt ( I used greek) or sour cream
2) 1/2 cup of milk
3) 1/4 tsp of cumin
4) 1/4 tsp of dry thyme
5) salt to taste
6) 2 pita bread cut into cubes

Place the pita bread that you have cut into cubes in a dish.

Shafoot 1



Shafoot 2

Shafoot 3








Then whip the yogurt , milk, cumin, thyme, and salt until it’s nice a smooth. Add the mixture to the pita break pieces and gently incorporate using a spatula. Leave aside or refrigerate while you make the following two additions:

Shafoot 5 Shafoot 4








1) 1 green chilly ( jalapeno pepper) — remove seeds if it’s too spice for you
2) 1 tomato
3) 1/4 bunch of cilantro
4) 1 clove of garlic
5) optional: splash of lime juice
6) salt to taste

Place all in liquidizer and process . It’s like a green chutney. I am sure mint would also go great with this, but that’s up to you.

Shafoot 6






Salad :
1) cubed cucumber
2) cubed tomatoes
3) finely chopped salad
4) cilantro or parsley coarsely chopped
5) red or yellow onion finely sliced
6) optional : cubed avocado
7) spash of lime juice
8) salt to taste
9) 1/2 tap of olive oil

Mix them all together .

Shafoot 7






Now it is time to assemble a plate of the shafoot. In a plate scoop some of the yogurt and pita shafoot. Top with some of the sahawaq ( green chutney) and the salad. See picture at the beginning of this post. It’s ready to serve and it’s delicious !

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Cooked Apple Achar Done

When I was growing up, apples were rare in Yemen. I read about them in books; they were always red, sweet and juicy. They were never crispy, green or tangy. Then when I was five, my father was posted in the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen’s Embassy in England, and that was when I was introduced to the green apple. It was love at first sight. It was my favorite fruit to take to school, and I still clearly remember biting into them. Their tanginess sting my eyes momentarily as tears gush out . I always chose the hard and deep green ones because they were extra tangy. When I came to the states, I fell head over heels in love with caramel green apples. There was a chocolate store at the Mall of America in Minneapolis that used to sell amazing caramel green apples and I would make the 45 minute bus ride just for their sake. Well, the green apple has done it again with this beautiful spicy achar (spicy condiment). I was introduced to it when I visited my friend Lucky. She served it as a condiment during lunch and since then I’ve been wanting to get the recipe. So, Monday July 21st 2014, she opened her kitchen to me and showed me how to make it. I walked home hugging a big jar of it. So, here’s the recipe with pics. We made two batches. But for a single batch you will need:


1) 5 green apples –peeled, cored, and roughly chopped.

Apples peeled and coredApple cut up

2) 1 whole garlic finely minced


3) 1/2 handful of dried red chillies (more or less according to personal taste)


4) 1 and 1/2 tsp of Shan Achar/Pickle Seasoning (this seasoning has black cumin, fenugreek, aniseed, mustard seed, cumin, turmeric, chilly powder, garlic powder, ginger powder, salt and cloves)

Achar Seasoning

5) Salt to taste

6) 1 tsp and a half sugar

7) 1/4 cup of white vinegar

8) 1/4 cup of Mustard Oil

In a frying pan, under medium heat, add the mustard oil and let warm.

Mustard Oil

Then add the garlic and sautee for 2 minutes. Do not burn.

Add Garlic to Oil

Then add the dried chillies and let sautee for another 2 minutes.

Then add bisbas to oil and garlic

Then add the chopped green apple and mix well.

Chopped Apple


After 2 minutes of cooking add the Achar/Pickle seasoning, and the white vinegar.

Chopped Apple Seasoning

Cover and leave on low heat and let soften. About 6-8 minutes. Then uncover and add sugar and salt and taste. Then leave on stove under low heat until all the water has evaporated and only the oil oozes out of the mixture when you make a hold in the middle with a spatula. The consistency should be smooth, a little mushy with small chunks.

Cook Green Apple Achar

This is how it looks when it is done:

Cooked Green Apple 2

Let cool completely before emptying into jars and store in the refrigerator. Serve with rice dishes, as a dip. I also make chicken sandwiches and use this instead of ketchup and mustard. Enjoy !

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Samboosa 8

In Aden Samboosas (aka samosas) are a must in most households during the month of Ramadan. The first two weeks before Ramadan every household in Aden is making hundreds of these and freezing them. I make them occasionally as my husband and I are not big fans of friend food. You can also bake these, by spraying them with oil and then placing on a baking sheet and baking at 350 degree oven for 10 minutes on each side or until golden brown. But  for the most part they are friend. I used Spring Roll Wrappers that you can really find in any grocery store. If not then make a visit to the Asian grocery stores, and you’ll find them in the freezer section. This is they look like:

Sprint Roll Wrappers

I use two layers of these, as they’re pretty thin.  I cut each into three long rectangular strips like this:

Samboosa 1

I stuffed these with a potato stuffing. Traditionally it is made with ground beef and God Willing I’ll post the recipe for that once I make it. But here’s the recipe for the potato stuffing:  https://yemeniyah.com/2010/08/15/potato-stuffing-for-sambosa/ . You will also need some samboosa glue made from a little flour and water. They’ll help you glue the ends and give them neat ends. Now, once you have all the parts you can start assembling. So, take one of these strips and fold once to form a triangle at the bottom, and then fold again to make a triangular pocket. Then start stuffing:

Samboosa 4

Then continue to fold and glue the end.

Samboosa 6

It’ll turn out to be a perfect triangle.

Samboosa 7

I usually lay these on a tray and then freeze while still on the tray and then when frozen transfer them to ziplock bags. You can deep fry these in vegetable or corn oil until they are golden brown. I like to serve them with slices of lemon.

If you want to make your own wrappers here is the recipe: https://yemeniyah.com/2013/03/11/mutabaq-yemeni/ You will do the same as above, i.e. cut each later into long wide strips. But make sure you just use one layer, not two as with the spring roll wrappers.

Happy Cooking !

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Goat's Head

I love love love goat or lamb heads. It’s my favorite part of the animal. I know, I’m weird! My Mom told me that when she was pregnant with me that was all she craved. Yeah! That was me in there tee hee hee ! Well, this is how I like to make it. You will need:

1) a clean goat’s head meaning it’s been skinned, eyes removed, brain has been taken out (I like to make another dish with the brain and here is the recipe https://yemeniyah.com/2012/01/14/mokh-sheepgoat-s-brain/ ) . I like to cut the head in two equal halves, horizontally.

2) 3 tomatoes placed in hot water and then peeled , seeded and chopped

3) 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper or any red hot chilly powder that you like

4) 1/4 tsp of cumin

5) 1/4 tsp of coriander

6) 1/8 of a tsp of turmeric

7) salt to taste

8 ) 1/8 tsp of black pepper

9) 1 tablespoon of tomato paste

10) 6 tablespoons of Olive Oil

11) one onion diced

12) Cilantro for garnish

Alright, let’s start! Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. I first took a frying pan and added the olive oil and under medium high heat i took the two goat head halves and browned them on each side. I took them out and placed the onions and sautéed them. Then I added the tomatoes and let them cook for about 3 minutes. Then all the spices –cumin, coriander, turmeric, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt. Let that cook for about 2 minutes, then add the tomato paste and add a cup of water. I prefer to add boiling hot water that I keep in a kettle on the side while I am cooking. After about 3 minutes add the goat head halves , add more water to cover them completely (if your frying pan is not deep enough then transfer to an oven dish), cover with foil and place in the oven. Once you hear it bubbling lower the temperature to 350 and let bake for an hour to an hour and a half. The only meat that needs to be tender is on the jawline of the goat’s head. Once that is tender then it is done. The sauce should be nice and thick, but not dry. Place on a serving platter, garnish with cilantro and serve with toasted french bread. Enjoy!

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Savory Parfait 1

I really enjoy making savory parfaits, so I experimented with some of my favorite ingredients and made this. I was amazed at how delicious it turned out. I used white quinoa and other favorites like: hot green chilly peppers (serano or Jalapeño work so take your pick), avocado, buttermilk and cilantro. So, here is what you’l need for about 3 parfaits :

1) Cup of cooked Quinoa (to cook place the quinoa in a mesh strainer and rinse with cold water, then heat 2 tsp of olive oil and add the quinoa. Stir for about one minute then add 2 cups of boiling water . Once it starts bubbling, cover and look under low heat for about 15 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes then fluff with a fork).

2) An avocado diced

3) spicy green condiment that is made by combining 2 hot chilly peppers (I used Serano), half a bunch of cilantro, 1/4 cup of juice from a lime, and salt to taste. You can adjust this to your taste–if you like it mild then use one pepper and take out the seeds.

4) about 3 cups of buttermilk

5) finely ground cayenne pepper

6) finely chopped cilantro for garnish

Now it is time to assemble. Take your serving glasses and add about 1/4 cup or less of buttermilk. Then add some a layer of quinoa, then a layer of the spicy green condiment. Then add another layer of the quinoa and the spicy green condiment. Then top it off with the buttermilk , and add the diced  avocado and garnish with a few dashes of colorful cayenne pepper and some cilantro. Serve warm or chilled. Absolutely delicious.


Savory Parfait 2

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I went to Buffalo/New York and during a Yemeni Sister potluck and forum, I met this amazing bread that a sister by the name of Hannan brought with her. It looked like a “Bint Al Sahn” but it was thicker. There must have been at least 30 layers. And it was crispier. I had my eyes on it the entire afternoon, but sidled up next to it too late. It was wiped clean. Serves me right for talking too much!  Well, on my last day in Buffalo Hannan was nice enough to make me one to take home and enjoy with my husband. I prayed to Allah that I wouldn’t lose my luggage and Alhamdullilah it made it home safe. Khaled and enjoyed it with honey, with lots of Duas for Hannan. Here are the pics of it:

photo 2 photo 1

photo 3

Of course, once every crumb was gone Khaled and I yearned for it. So,  asked Hannan for her recipe and I made it today. She doesn’t have exact measurements, so I measured as a went along. Here is what you’ll need:

1) 1 cup of warm milk

2) 1 cup of warm water

3) 1 tsp of salt ( or to taste)

4) 4 cups and a 1/2 of white flour (I used Gold Medal all purpose flour)

I kneaded all the ingredient together and made a soft dough. Add more flour or water if you need to make a soft but un-sticky dough. Here is what the dough looks like:


Cover it with plastic wrap and let sit for half an hour:


After half an hour turn this dough into small balls –it’ll make 24 balls of dough comfortably.

photo 1-3

Then cover and leave aside for another 30 minutes.


Then with a rolling pin starting opening each one into thin circles, and leave them aside. Make sure you flour the counter so they don’t stick to it or to each other.

photo 4-1

Preheat the oven at 500 degrees fahrenheit and place a big circular tray in the oven to heat. Then take another metal circular baking tray  and flip it over and oil well. And then start covering the tray with the circles–stretch out the dough so it covers it well. It’ll be a very thin layer.

photo 3-2

Oil this first layer well and then continue with the next one and the next one, remembering to oil in between  in each layer.

photo 2-2

Oil the last one as well. Then take a pair of scissors and cut out the excess dough on the ends like this:

photo 3-1

photo 2-1

Now you are done and ready to place in the oven.  Open up the oven and carefully take the tray that has been heating up inside and carefully flip the layers onto the hot tray. Do this carefully, using your fingers to help the dough along. Close the oven and let it cook. It will puff up beautifully like this:


When it has browned well, then take it out. Let it cool and then serve warm with honey.

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