Arabic Cuisine has its roots in tent cookery. Nomadic tribes could use only transportable foods such as rice and dates, or ambulatory stock like sheep and camels in their recipes - which tended to be rough sketches rather than strict formulae. As the caravans journeyed throughout the Middle East, new seasonings and vegetables were discovered and added to the existing repertoire. Each new discovery was incorporated into the diet in quantities palatable to a particular tribe - a fact that many cooks believe is responsible for the anomalies found in some Arabic dishes today. • The nomadic Bedouin influence is broadened by other cuisines from the Arab world, notably from Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt, resulting in a highly diverse food and drink culture. • Lebanese contributions have been the greatest influence on modern Middle Eastern cuisine, in no small part due to the entrepreneurship of the Lebanese that has helped to spread Arabic cuisine throughout the world from its centre in the Levant in such areas as Aleppo, Damascus, Beirut and Nablus. Lebanese culinary influence and business skills provide the framework for the exotic cuisine recognised internationally as Arabic. Hospitality in the Arab world is second to none, and nowhere is it better expressed than in the age-old custom of serving freshly-brewed coffee or mint tea to every guest, whether the gathering be business or social. • The foreigner who takes time to learn and experiment with this excellent cuisine will be immediately won over and rewarded with many wonderful surprises. Arabic food can rival any international gastronomy for originality and good taste, and, because it basically comprises simple, natural and easily digested foodstuffs, it ranks high in nutritional value with today's fitness-conscious society.


Hummus bi Tahina

125 g (4 oz) chickpeas, soaked for a few hours
juice of 2 lemons
3 Tbs. tahina
2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. paprika
a few sprigs of parsley, finely chopped

Drain the chickpeas and simmer in fresh water for about an hour or until tender. Reserve the cooking water.
Process the chickpeas in a blender (or food processor) with the lemon juice, tahina, garlic, salt and enough of the cooking liquid to obtain a soft creamy consistency.
Serve on a flat plate, garnished with a dribble of olive oil, a dusting of paprika (this is usually done in the shape of a cross) and a little parsley.


Baba Ghannouj

1 large round eggplant (aubergine)
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
60 milliliters (3 oz., 4 Tbs.) tahina
60 milliliters (2 oz., 4 Tbs.) lemon juice
salt, red pepper
olive oil
chopped parsley
slices of red bell pepper to garnish

Cook the eggplant in a hot oven or on a fork over the flame of a gas stove. When it is well cooked through and the skin is blackened, douse with cold water, peel and chop into small pieces. Mash two or three cloves of garlic to a paste with about the same volume of salt. Add eggplant, mash to a smooth consistency and blend the tahina and lemon juice to make the Arab version of this dish; omit the tahina for the Turkish version. Serve in a bowl with little olive oil on top and garnish chopped parsley, red pepper slices and a dusting of red pepper. Serves five.


1 cup dried garbanzo beans, soaked in water to cover overnight and drained
1 cup dried shelled fava beans, soaked overnight and drained
1/2 cup peeled and finely chopped yellow onions
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 cup water
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup garbanzo flour
1/4 cup fine bulgar
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/4 Tbs. salt
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Oil for deep-frying 
Run the drained garbanzo beans and fava beans through the fine blade on your meat grinder or in your food processor. Blend in all the remaining ingredients and let the mixture stand for 1 hour. Form into little patties 1/3 inch thick and 1-1/2 inches round. Or, you can form them into balls the size of walnuts. Deep-fry in 375° oil until toasty brown and crunchy on the outside, about 4 minutes.

Fill pita bread with Falafel, sliced tomatoes, sliced onion, lettuce and yogurt

 Falafel Hot Sauce

2 cups canned tomatoes
Juice of 1 lemon
3 cloves garlic, put through a garlic press
1 Tbs. finely chopped parsley
1 tsp. brown sugar
Chili sauce to taste (1/2 tsp. makes a mild sauce; 1 tsp., a hot one)
Salt to taste

Put all the ingredients into a small, heavy pan, bring to the boil, and simmer uncovered until the tomatoes break up (about 30 minutes). Adjust the seasoning and allow to cool. Makes 2 cups.



Chopped Arabic Salad

3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 (1/2-lb) cucumbers, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 1/3 cups)
1 lb tomatoes (3 medium), cut into 1/3-inch dice (2 1/2 cups)
1 cup finely chopped red onion (1 small) or 1 cup chopped scallions (about 5)
1 cup coarsely chopped purslane (optional)
1 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (from 1 large bunch)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint (from 1 bunch)

Cut peel, including all white pith, from lemon with a sharp paring knife. Working over a bowl, cut segments from half of lemon free from membranes and transfer segments to a cutting board, then squeeze juice from membranes and remaining 1/2 lemon into bowl. Transfer 2 tablespoons juice to a large bowl, then finely chop segments and add to measured juice. Add salt, pepper, and oil, whisking to combine, then stir in remaining ingredients.


Chicken Shawarma

fresh pita bread
Whole dill pickle (cut lengthwise into 4 pieces
French fries
garlic spread (follow recipe)
Marinade for chicken
-  2 lb. boneless chicken with (cut into pieces)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground green cardamoms
3/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. crushed red chili
1 1 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1tsp. sumac, optional

Ingredients for garlic sauce:
2 whole garlic bulbs
1 tsp. salt
1 cup corn oil
tbsp. lemon juice

1. Wash the chicken pieces pat dry. Place the chicken pieces in a bowl. Mix all the spices with lemon juice to make thick paste. Rub the paste over the chicken pieces thoroughly. Marinate it for 5-6 hours at room temperature over night in the refrigerator.
2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Grease a baking dish with oil, put chicken pieces in skin side down, and bake it for about 20 minutes. Take it out, turn them over and bake for 10-15 more minutes or until the chicken is tender.
3. Remove the skin and shred the chicken with a sharp knife. Put the shredded chicken back in the baking dish. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sumac and mix well.
Garlic Spread:
Put the garlic and salt in a food processor or chopper and process to a smooth paste. Add oil in a thin stream and process until oil and garlic form a uniform mixture. add lemon juice and process once.
Take one pita bread, put a thin layer of
garlic spread. Put 4 tablespoons of shredded chicken, a
few slices of pickle and French fries. Roll
it, wrap in paper napkin.

Arabian Lamb Rice

1 kg. lamb or chicken
3 cups rice.
2 onions.
1 cup yoghurt.
1 teaspoon of each of the following ground spices;
Nutmeg , galangal , cardamom , cinnamon , black papper , citric acid.
1\2 tablespoon saffron (soaked in water)
1 tablespoon Kady water.
9 tablespoons corn oil.
Whole spices;
1 small piece galangal.
6 cardamom.
8 black peppercorns.
2 sticks of cinnamon.
( tie the above spices in a muslin bag ).
Salt 3 tsp

Cut the onions into small pieces , brown in oil and pound. Cut the meat into cubes ,half boil,adding the spice bundle.
Remove the meat from the broth and add the onions.Cook for two minutes.
Place the yoghurt in a deep bowl.Add the ground the ground spices, salt and the saffron water mix well .Add this mixture to the meat and onions and place on a low heat.
Wash the rice thoroughly partially cook with the meat stock,adding more salt if necessary, then add to the yoghurt and spice mixture .
Sprinkle the top with a little essence then place the pan in a medium over for half an hour until cooked. Serve.


 Bukhari Chicken

1 kg chicken(cut into medium sized pieces); 1 tsp chopped garlic; 1 tsp chopped ginger; 1 tbsp celery(chopped); 300ml chicken stock; 1 tbsp cornflour; 1 tsp soya sauce; 1 cup cabbage(shredded); 1 onion(sliced); 5-6 mushrooms(sliced); 5-6 tbsp vegetable oil; a pinch of ajinomoto;
For Garnishing:
2 onions(cut, peeled and chopped into long pieces and browned);

Heat the oil and brown the chicken turning and cooking the pieces on both sides.Add salt to taste and the ajinomoto and the soya sauce.Continue to cook over a low flame for about 4-5 minutes.Mix in the ginger and garlic.Add the stock and cook for another 5-6 minutes.Mix in the onions and the chopped celery.Cover the pan and continue to cook for another 3 minutes.Add the mushrooms and the shredded cabbage.Mix the cornflour in 2 tbsp of water to make a smooth paste.Mix the cornflour paste to the chicken gravy and serve garnished with browned onions.


Jajik(Cucumber Salad)

2 cucumbers, 1 cup whipped yoghurt, 1 tbso olive oil, 1 tsp pepper powder, salt to taste
For Garnishing:
1 tbsp mint leaves(chopped).

Peel and cut the cucumber into cubes.Season with salt and pepper.Mix in the curd and the olive oil.Garnish with mint leaves.


Arabian Rice Aroz Mofalfal

2 1/2 cups long grain rice
2 cups boiling water
1/4 cup vermicelli
2 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon salt

Break vermicelli noodles in small pieces; fry with butter till slightly brown.
Add boiling water and salt. Stir till boiling.
Add rice slowly. Let it boil before covering. Stir.
4 Put a thin layer of tin foil under the pan to prevent burning. Reduce heat to low and leave to cook for 30 minutes.
Open the pan. Stir the top and see if rice is done. If rice is still a little hard, cover and cook longer. Serve with any vegetables.


Moroccan Chicken with Olives

4 Pounds Chicken
2 1/2 Tablespoons Oil
2 Onions -- sliced
Salt And Pepper -- to taste
1/4 Teaspoon Ginger
1 Teaspoon Paprika
1 Onion -- finely chopped
1/2 Pound Green Olives
1 Lemon Lemon Juice

Heat the oil in large saucepan. Add 3/4 cup water gradually. Add onion slices, sprinkle with spices. Lay chicken on top. Cook over low heat, covered, one hour. Add finely chopped onion. Cook for another 1/2 hour. Place pitted olives in pan of cold water, bring to boil for 1 minute. Drain water. Add olives to pan. Cook for 5 minutes. Just before serving squeeze on lemon.


Afghani Biryani

1 kilogram lamb meat on the bone , 5 cloves , 1 large cinnamon sticks , 2 teaspoon salt , 1 tablespoon ginger paste , 1 tablespoon garlic paste , 8 cups water , 3 cups basmati saila rice, good quality , 3/4 cup cooking oil , 1 large onion skinned & thinly sliced , 1 inch piece cinnamon stick , 6 cloves , 8 green cardamoms , 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, zeera , 4 carrots, peeled and grated , 1/2 cup green raisins , 1/2 cup pine nuts.

1. Cut meat into large pieces and wash thoroughly under cold tap water. Place meat, cinnamon, cloves, salt, water, garlic and ginger in a large heavy based sauce pan. Bring to boil and skim off any scum that rises to the top. Reduce heat, cover and allow to boil gently for 40 to 45 minutes until the meat is tender. 2. Meanwhile, put rice in a sieve and wash it thoroughly under running cold tap until water runs clear. Soak in plenty of water for 11 hours. Drain in a sieve and let it stand for a minute or two. 3. Fry nuts, raisins and carrots separately in 2 tablespoons of oil in a small frying pan. keep aside. 2. Heat oil in a large heavy based pan, add onion and while stirring frequently fry for 3-5 minutes. Add cinnamon stick, cloves, green cardamoms, cumin, meat and 6 cups of stock, add water if necessary to make 6 cups. Bring to boil and add rice to it. Carefully stir once. Cover and reduce heat to medium and cook for 7-10 minutes. Gently stir rice. (Do not stir to hard otherwise the rice will break.) Put a layer of carrot, raisins and pine nuts on the top of rice. Cover with a tight fitting lid, reduce heat to very low and allow to cook for another 7 - 10 minutes until rice is tender. Fluff up rice with a fork, then transfer it into to a heated serving dish. Serve with Raita


 shrimp Balls

10 slices bread, white crust removed , 700 grams shrimp, peeled and deveined , 1 cup water chestnuts , rinsed and chop , 1 1 teaspoons salt , 1 tablespoon soya sauce , 1 teaspoon black pepper

1. Cut the bread with a sharp knife into very small cubes, cover and keep aside. 2. Place shrimp, water chestnuts, salt, soy sauce and black pepper in a food processor and grind to a paste. Process for few more seconds until a sticky paste is formed. 3.Transfer to a large bowl, beat the shrimp paste vigorously with a wooden spoon, until combined well. 4. Wet your hands with water and form tablespoons of shrimp mixture into balls, then roll in the bread cubes, pressing lightly to stick the bread cubes. (Make sure that the shrimp balls are completely covered with the bread cubes.) 5. Heat oil in a large wok to 375°F and fry balls in batches, turning, 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden and just cooked through. (Return oil to 375°F between batches.) 6. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. 7. When all shrimp balls are fried, reheat in a shallow baking pan in a hot oven, until just hot, about 3 minutes. 8. Serve with sweet and sour sauce.