Dajaj Fe Ga3ateh – Chicken at the Bottom (Bahrain)
Yield: 4 Servings
sea salt, to taste
1 lb chicken piece (breast, legs, wings, whatever you want)
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1 1⁄2 cups basmati rice (soaked)
khaliji mixed spice (Gulf Spices (Ibzar), I use a mix of that and Baharat Aka Middle East Mixed Spices – the Real Mix)
1 cinnamon stick
3 -4 partially open cardamom pods
1 teaspoon turmeric
chicken broth or water
Half cook rice using straining method – basically you just fill the pot with water and salt to taste, bring to the boil, add rice (rice has to be MUCH less than water) and cook until rice starts floating (that’s when you know its half cooked but taste rice to make sure). When you’re done strain rice.
In the meantime, heat oil in a saucepan/pot. Rub chicken pieces with spices and add to pot (note: if pieces are large then cut slits in chicken and rub spices inside and under skin if the skin is on).
Add onions & whole spices. Fry until onions are soft. Add rice & turmeric and add a little broth over the rice, mix up somewhat.
Cover and reduce heat to medium- low – cook for around 45 minutes. Note: put a paper towel between cover and pot so that it absorbs the extra water.
Main Ingredient: Chicken
“Middle Eastern spicy roasted pepper dip”
Yield: 2 cups
Muhummara is popular condiment and dip in Lebanon, Palestine, Syria. Serve muhummara with grilled meats, fish and kebabs, or as a spread or dip for bread or pita. In western Turkey it is called acuka. Other spellings are moohummara or muhammarah.
4 Red bell peppers
¾ cup Walnuts, toasted and chopped
½ cup Breadcrumbs
2-3 cloves Garlic, crushed
1-2 tbsp Lemon juice
1 tbsp Red pepper flakes
1 tsp Ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup Olive oil
Place the the whole peppers under a broiler or over a stovetop flame, turning frequently, until the skin on all sides has turned black. Remove to a large bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Once the peppers have cooled, peel off the blackened skin and remove the stems and seeds. Rinse them quickly in running water and pat dry.
Chop the peppers roughly and place them, along with all the remaining ingredients except the olive oil into a food processor or blender. Pulse to roughly chop the ingredients. Then slowly pulse in the olive oil. Try not to puree the ingredients too much. You want the dip to have a little texture.
Adjust seasoning to taste and serve as a dip or spread with pita wedges, vegetables or kebabs.
Variations: Other Possible Additions: Chopped and sautéed onion, pomegranate molasses, or paprika.
Muhammara is typically quite spicy. You can cut down on the red pepper flakes to adjust to your taste.
Main Ingredient: Red Bell Peppers
Asaabi’Simsim – Bahrain Sesame Seed Sticks (Bahrain)
Yield: 2 dozen sticks
1 cup sesame seeds, toasted and pulverized
1/3 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/8 tsp. cayenne
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for frying
Place all ingredients, except water and oil, in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Add water gradually, and knead until a dough is formed. Roll into finger sticks and set aside.
Place cooking oil in a saucepan to a depth of a 1/2 inch and heat. Fry sticks over medium heat until they turn golden brown. Drain on paper towels; serve hot or cold.
Chef Notes: From the days of The Arabian Nights, and even before, sesame seeds have been a part of Arab cuisine. However, this dish probably originated in India.
Main Ingredient: Bread