Egypt (Part 1)

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Creamy Yogurt Sauce

Falafel dressing made with navy beans and yogurt.

Total time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8-10

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups canned navy beans
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

  1. Puree all ingredients in a food processor until very smooth.
  2. Serve with falafel or as a salad dressing.

Family Ratings

  • Papa: 5/5, fantastic!
  • VOD: 5/5, really good in combination with the chipotle tahini sauce
  • McM: 5/5, light and refreshing, very flavorful

Original recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/melissa-darabian/falafel-recipe.html

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Iran (Part 1)

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Borani Esfanaaj

Iranian yogurt and spinach dip.

Total time: 30min
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 500g fresh baby spinach
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons unrefined extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups thick balkan yogurt
  • 3 teaspoon dried mint
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (see recipe)
  • sea salt, to taste

Directions

  1. Steam baby spinach until just wilted. Drain well by squeezing out excess water and chop fine.
  2. In a medium saucepan, saute 1 1/2 cloves of minced garlic in olive oil until lightly browned.
  3. Add chopped spinach and salt to taste. Stir.
  4. Remove from stove and allow to cool. Squeeze out excess liquid.
  5. Toast chopped walnuts in a dry frying pan until dark brown and fragrant. Avoid burning the walnuts. Set aside to cool.
  6. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt with the baby spinach mixture, the remaining minced garlic, dried mint, and toasted walnuts. Stir.
  7. In a bowl and the yogurt, and sea salt to taste, stir gently.
  8. Serve with naan, crackers, or as a garnish for Uyghur Polo (see recipe on this blog).

Family Ratings

  • McM: 4/5, delicious!

Original recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/iranian-yogurt-and-spinach-dip-borani-esfanaaj-444419

Lebanon

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Lentil Rice Pilaf with Blackened Onions

Traditional vegetarian Lebanese dish.

Total time: 1 hour
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 400ml vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cup canned lentils, drained
  • 1 1/2 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 6 medium tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
  • plain yogurt for garnish
  • chopped fresh mint for garnish

Directions

  1. Heat 4 tablespoons oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add chopped onion, minced garlic, cumin, and cinnamon. Sauté until onion softened (about 5 min).
  3. Add vegetable broth, lentils, and rice. Bring to boil.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until liquid is absorbed and rice and lentils are tender (about 15 min).
  5. Heat 4 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  6. Add sliced onions. Sauté until soft and beginning to blacken (about 20 min).
  7. Season pilaf to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve pilaf on plates.
  9. Top with blackened onions. Garnish with tomato and cucumber, yogurt, and mint.

Family Ratings

  • McM: 4.5/5, I really liked the yogurt as garnish!

Original recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/lebanese-lentil-rice-pilaf-with-blackened-onions-78824