To celebrate Marilyn’s visit to her hometown Antwerp, we decided to make a Middle-Eastern dinner for our friends and family.
An ideal dip for pita bread: a big plate of Hummus and green Tehina, hard boiled eggs, grilled pine nuts with some cumin and sweet paprika powder. Hummus is a food dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas. Tehina is a paste made from ground, hulled sesame seeds.
This is the home made “Shakshuka” and probably Israel’s most famous dish after Falafel and Hummus. Shakshuka is a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Sometimes with garlic. You can spice it up with some chili peppers. Most Israelis eat it for breakfast with a salad. Contemporary Israeli restaurants play with it and often offer a Green Shakshuka (with spinach, chard, aubergines and feta cheese). This dish knows many stories, recipes and myths. I like this description and recipe by “the Shiksa in the Kitchen” website if you want to try it at home.
I realize that even when describing food it’s hard to avoid politics: this is a chopped “Arab Salad”. The basic recipe includes tomato, cucumber and onion. Often mixed with parsley and combined with the juice of freshly squeezed lemon and olive oil, unlike many Western salads, Arabic salad contains no lettuce. In summer we add fresh mint leaves.
Another important spice in Mediterranean cuisine is called Za’atar. It’s a mixture of sumac, sesame seed and herbs.
And of course: Falafel. Falafel is a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both. Falafel is usually served in a pita, topped with salads, pickled vegetables, hot sauce, and drizzled with tehina-based sauces. You can make them yourself or buy them at your local supermarket
בתאבון – Beteavon – Bon appétit – Smakelijk