Muhammara – Roasted red pepper dip

BM #110 : Week 2, Day 2
Theme : Middle Eastern recipes

Muhammara is a dip made with roasted red peppers. This is an easy dip to make if you have all the ingredients. I have used readymade peppers here, but it’s not difficult to make roasted peppers at home over stovetop or oven. I have even taken the microwave method where I rub a little oil over the pepper, poke it a couple of times with a fork and then cook for 2-3 minutes until it’s cooked and soft.

Pomegranate molasses can be made at home by cooking pomegranate juice until it thickens. But you can check out these substitutes too. I have used sweet tamarind chutney as a substitute. The flavors need some time to mingle, so it’s a good idea to make it a couple of hours ahead of serving.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe Source : All recipes

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup chopped roasted red peppers
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
  • 1 teaspoon paprika/chili powder/pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt as needed

Method:

  1. The walnuts and breadcrumbs need to be toasted. For this, Add a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan. Roast the walnuts first until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove to a bowl. In the same pan, add another spoonful of olive oil and toast the breadcrumbs till done. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, add the drained and chopped roasted pepppers, garlic cloves, cumin, lemon juice, chili flakes, pomegranate molasses, remaining olive oil, salt, roasted walnuts and breadcrumbs. Pulse to get a not too smooth paste. Refrigerate until the time of serving. Serve as a dip with chopped parsley on top.

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Koshari

BM #110 : Week 2, Day 1
Theme : Middle Eastern recipes

Koshari is the national dish of Egypt. It is a fusion of Indian, Italian and Middle East flavors. It has rice and lentils, originated from khichdi, and it has pasta and tomato sauce, from Italy.

The dish looks complex, but it’s extremely easy to make. It has rice, chickpeas, green lentils, pasta and tomato sauce. Each of these can be cooked ahead to make serving easier. Some recipes online serves the dish in layers where as others mix everything and then top with the tomato sauce. I have tried both ways and I prefer the everything together version.

You might end up having more tomato sauce than you need, but it can be refrigerated or frozen until you can use it again. Some people like to have more sauce, so I prefer to make a little extra than running low.

Read on for the recipe.

Serves 4-6 people

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups cooked Chana /chickpeas
  • 1 cup green/brown lentils (whole masoor dal)
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Salt as needed
  • 1 cup dried pasta
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt as needed
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes (or 8-9 of tomatoes puréed)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder, or per taste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • Salt as needed

Method:

  1. Cook lentils separately until done. I pressure cooked it in Instant Pot for 4 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoon olive oil in a pan. Sauté washed rice for a minute. Add salt as needed and 1.5 cups of water. Bring it to a boil, Cover and cook until rice is done. Set aside.
  3. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Run in cool water to prevent sticking and set aside.
  4. In a pan, heat a teaspoon of oil. Sauté 1 chopped onion and minced garlic until it’s soft. Add a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes ( or 8-9 tomatoes, purées) along with chili powder, cumin powder and salt. Simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes, taste testing and adjusting the seasonings if needed. Set aside.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pan. Sauté 2 large chopped onions until it’s brown. Take off the heat.
  6. Now to assemble, add the rice, lentils, cooked chickpeas and pasta in a big bowl. Taste and add salt if needed. In a bowl or plate, serve the rice mix topped with 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce and a little of caramelized onions.

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Strawberry Jam Butter

BM #109 : Week 4, Day 3
Theme : Dips and Spreads

During the holidays, we had been to a gourmet shop and came home with some interesting items – Jalapeño spiced honey, ginger flavored mustard which is great in salads and raspberry butter, which was absolutely delicious with bread! So when I was using the spiced honey for yesterday‘s chia jam, I remembered the raspberry butter and decided to make a strawberry version.

You can hardly call this a recipe, it is just mixing softened butter and jam of your choice with a whisk or a fork. To keep the emulsion smooth, make sure that everything is at room temperature or else the butter might harden and will look like it’s curdling. If that happens, you might have to heat the bowl for a few seconds until the butter is softened again and turns smooth.

Just like ghee, butter can survive a few days outside the fridge if the kitchen is not too hot. So if you are making a small batch of jam butter, it doesn’t have to be refrigerated. But this is your personal choice, if you are not comfortable leaving this outside, it can stay in the fridge. You might have to warm it up a bit before you spread it on the toast.

Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup, ~50 gms), softened
  • 3 tablespoons strawberry jam (or per your taste), at room temperature

Method:

    Using a fork or a hand mixer, beat in the jam with the butter.
    The jam and the butter has to be at room temperature for the mixture to be smooth. If it’s straight from the fridge, the mixture might look curdled. You can heat the bowl for a couple of seconds or use a hair dryer to warm it up and then beat again to get a smooth paste.
    Serve on buttered toast.

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Pineapple Chia Jam

BM #109 : Week 4, Day 2
Theme : Dips and Spreads

For Day 2, this is a simple fruit based jam recipe with chia seeds. I saw the recipe on Gimme Some Oven and ended up making a small batch with some leftover canned pineapple. This jam can be made with any kind of fruit– fresh or frozen. All that you need to do is to cook the fruit until it’s mushy and done, then add the chia seeds and honey. Wait for the jam to cool down and thicken a bit and transfer it into a jar and refrigerate for a 3-5 days. Mine got over by dinner time, so no storing issues for me :-). It’s a no fuss recipe with minimal ingredients and a healthy one.

For the sweetener, I used some jalapeño flavored honey that I bought from a store during the holiday season. The jalapeño flavor added a little kick to the jam. I am definitely planning to make this jam again with some other fruits.

Read on for this easy recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup canned pineapple, drained
  • 1 tablespoon syrup from the canned pineapple
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon honey (I used jalapeño honey)

Method:

  1. If using fresh pineapple, peel, dice and chop it into smaller pieces. Pulse the pieces (canned or fresh) in a blender to get a rough coarse paste.
  2. Transfer the purée into a pan along with the reserved syrup and bring it to a slow boil stirring in between. If using fresh pineapple, cook until the puree is not raw anymore. Add the chia seeds and honey and mix it in. Turn off the heat. Let it rest for 30 minutes. Transfer into a jar once it’s cold. Serve with bread.

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