Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fried chicken, KFC style

Today, we are going to make fried chicken KFC style - I know, you couldn't have guessed that reading the title :)

this recipe i learnt from the Egyptian TV chef Yousri on his show " a recipe from each country", and when i made it i found it tastes exactly like the KFC chicken but without the fishiness (yes, to me KFC chicken tastes fishy)
but this recipe is tried and tested by moi, and my husband LOVES it.. it also suits the working mom as it doest take much time to prepare nor fry, it requires however an overnight marinade.
this is how it looked on the show.

(for the marinade)
the juice of one big onion
4 garlic cloves minced to a paste
1 tbsp dried coriander seeds, finely ground ( i use a mortar and a pestle)
2 tbsp lemon juice ( or the juice of 2 big limes)
2 tbsp vinegar
ground chilli peppers to taste ( you can dispense of it if you don't like spicy food)
2 tbsp sumac (if not available it is ok to do without it)

the rest of ingreidents:
1 chicken cut up into 10 pieces (2 wings, breast cut in 4 and legs cut in 4), for absolute beginners see this tutorial
1 cup all purpose flour
2 cup corn flour (the yellow variety)
3 eggs
salt and pepper
frying oil


cut the chicken into 10 pieces as shown earlier, remove the skin completely and poke with the tip of a sharp knife all over to make holes (to ensure the marinade goes inside the meat)
mix all the marinade ingredients well in a deep bowl, ad the chicken pieces and mix until the chicken pieces are well coated. cover and leave in to marinade in the fridge for about 16 hours, you can prepare it at night and use for dinner next day.
next day preparation:
beat the eggs with the salt and pepper, prepare 2 dishes one with the all purpose flower and the other with the corn flour.
cover the chicken first with the white flour, then with eggs, then with the yellow flour.
on high heat, add the frying oil in a deep pan, once the oil is hot ( but not smoking) fry the chicken for no longer than 10 minutes, when it turns golden like the picture below, fish out and place on paper towels.. and you are done!

this is a very hearty meal, so you can serve it with just green salad or cole slaw, but if your family is hungry or loves carbs, pasta goes very nicely with it.

until next time.. enjoy!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Zalabia - honey fritters

Today I'm going to share with you the recipe to make Zalabia, also known in Egypt as "loqmat alqdi" which translates to "the judge's bite" - in Arabic/ Islamic culture the position of a judge was the most distinguished after the Prince/Governor, and thus his bites or snacks weren't like those of ours, mere mortals :) so you better try this :)

for the fritters:
2 cups all purpose flour1 (full) tsp yeast powder1 (full) tsp sugar
1 (full) tsp starch (helps the final dessert be crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside) if you want it all soft, dispense with the starch.
sprinkle of salt
3/4 - 1 cup warm water
for the syrup
2-1/2 cup sugar
1-1/4 cup water
1-1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp rose water
preparation:mix all the dry ingredients of the fritters together well then add the water, 3/4 cup first and mix then see if you need to add the rest, the consistency you are looking for is rather soft and sticky, like chewed bubblegum :).
cover the dough and leave in a warm oven to rise to app. double the size (about 2 hours) until it looks like this:

once it is done, then it is time to fry it.
fill a deep pan with frying oil enough for the fritters to be submerged in it, place on a medium heat burner until the oil is hot (don't leave until it smokes though).
rub some oil, or water in your hands to prevent the dough from sticking to them.with a teaspoon, scoop enough dough to fill half of it, push the dough with your thumb onto the oil while manipulating it with your forefinger to form a round/egg shape. that will take some practice to get the knack of it but you will learn it :)
once the pan is full, put the heat up and make sure the fritters are browned all over before fishing them out, put the heat off , dunk the done fritters into the syrup then go back to the now cooled off oil and make a fresh patch, once the pan is full again, put the heat on once more (if the oil got so hot the fritters will burn)

if you opted for the all soft type - minus the starch- then instead of the syrup, you roll it after frying in confectioner's sugar, it should look like this

now for the syrup recipe:
add the sugar and lemon juice to the water in a saucepan and cook on medium heat until you see the sugar has dissolved and the mix has come to a bubble, lower the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes while stirring. once it has reached honey consistency, remove off heat and add rose water. cover and refrigerate until it is time to use.
when adding the fritters to the syrup, make sure the latter has cooled, hot syrup will cause the fritters to crumple.
originally, honey was used in place of this syrup, but it made the dessert sooo heavy, that's why it is now substituted with syrup.

hope you like it... next time i am going to share with you a chicken recipe that i'm sure you are going to like.. stay tuned!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Arabic flat bread (Tortilla flats )

ok, for those who cannot buy tortilla flats, here's how to make them at home.
this type of bread is also traditionally made in upper Egypt and called flatbread, although the Egyptian types are a little thinner than the Tortilla and sometimes baked until crunchy, also there are varieties close to the Naan bread with fenugreek added to the dough.
the one we are making here is basic Tortilla but a little thinner.


2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup warm milk
2 tablespoon Greek yoghurt
1 teaspoon yeast powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon oil


add the yeast and sugar to the milk and mix well until dissolved, cover and leave for 10 minutes to ferment.
add the flour, salt and yoghurt to the milk and mix with a spoon to make a soft dough, add the oil so it won't stick while handled.
cover the dough and leave in a warm place until it rises to double the original size.
when done, section into medium ball (between golf ball and tennis ball) size pieces. dust a worktop with flour and work the dough balls with a rolling pin ( if you don't have a rolling pin, use a glass bottle) making medium size circles of dough.
put a baking sheet on a the smallest burner on your cooker and use it as a baking surface, adding the flattened dough to the hot surface and turning it once it starts browning. i don't have a suitable baking sheet so i use a pan turned upside down :) don't worry, the flame won't ruin the pan.

that's all, adios for now!

Chicken doner kebabs - Shawerma

today we are going to make Chicken doner kebabs ( locally we call it Shawerma)
i am sure almost everyone tried one version or the other of  Turkey's most famous export :) i am giving you the recipe for the chicken version because i found that most people liked it better than the meat one, although i personally prefer the latter.
this recipe is courtesy of  Chef Osama with some modifications by my humble self, he presented it to those who wanted to start their own kebab shops but said that it can also be made at home.

ok let's start,

1/2 kg chicken breast fillets
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 small tomato, mashed
1 big tomato, diced
2 big bell peppers, diced
1 big onion diced or sliced, whichever way you prefer
1 teaspoon Indian curry mix
1/2 cup vinegar
1//2 cup oil (sunflower, olive..etc)
2-3 whole bay leaves
2-3 whole cardamom seeds
white pepper (you can use black)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Zaatar (thyme, sesame and other spices mix)
chilli peppers ground to taste (can be omitted according to preference)
tortilla wraps

3 garlic cloves
3 whole bay leaves
3 whole cardamom seeds
1/2  teaspoon ground cumin
(other optional seasoning is Sumac, dried, ground ginger. i don't add these as i didn't like the taste they added)


grind the above marinade ingredients to make a paste and set aside.

cut the chicken in tendrils of medium size, rub the marinade to the chicken well then mix the rest of the ingredients with the chicken and turn few times, taking care so the chicken pieces won't break.
cover with tin foil and leave in the fridge for 6 hours, preferably overnight.
after marinade time is done,  put a wok on a medium heat burner, tip the chicken and the marinade in and cover, keep stirring from time to time but not to much so the chicken tendrils won't break down.
in case the juices of the chicken are dried up and the meat is still not done, add few drops of oil to the wok so it won't stick.
when the meat is about done, add the diced bell peppers and leave to cook for 5 minutes more, add the diced tomatoes and remove from burner immediately.
don't forget to fish out the bay leaves and cardamom seeds.

to make the sandwich, spread a tablespoon of garlic dip on a tortilla wrap, add two tablespoons of the Shawerma mix, some slices of pickled cucumber and wrap. of course you can add condiments and relish to taste but the above are the traditional ones and i believe they enhance the taste of this dish very well.
tip: wrap in foil paper so it won't drip while eating.

and.. good health.. let me know if you like it!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The perfect garlic dip

Oh, how i love this one!! i am adding it right after the Mayo recipe because they are closely related.
Garlic dip is a Greek recipe, which spread in all the Mediterranean region, now every country has its slightly different version, but everyone loves it. it is the perfect companion for Turkish doner kebab - another very popular recipe in the region- which i believe have found its way all over the world.

1 small cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons home made mayonnaise
1 teaspoon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and ground cumin to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil


tip all the ingredients, except the olive oil, in a bowl and mix very well. once smooth add the oil and give it a stir.
and you are done!!!
you are going to LOVE it, that's all i need to say.

Home made mayonnaise

Hello everyone!!
OK, now i am going to share with you the recipe of home made mayonnaise, it is foolproof, preservative-free and would survive in the fridge for 2 weeks.

1/2 cup cold water
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup mix of vinegar and the juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mustard
1 cup sunflower oil
2 eggs


in a pan, add the flour to the cold water and mix well, then add the sugar and slat and continue mixing, add the mustard and mix until smooth.
put the mixture on a medium heat burner while continuously stirring until the mix forms a big lump, remove from heat and leave aside to cool.
in a blender, blitz the eggs a couple of time then add the previously prepared mix and continue mixing until all is well beaten.
lower the speed of the blender and from the cap in the lid, add the oil little by little while the blender is mixing, once all the oil is added and mixed, put up the mixing speed and blitz for one more minute.
and that's all, the above would produce a medium size jar of mayo that you know is free of all additives and whatnot, and it provides fresh mayo in a very little time. try it and let me know.

Baked chicken and potato tajine

This one is a classic Egyptian yummy recipe, everyone loves it and once you have tried it you'll know why. suitable for winter dinners and usually served with rice and green salad. it is very easy to make and is a life saver on a day when you are tired or don't feel like spending much time in the kitchen.


1 medium size whole chicken
2 big onions chopped into ringlets,1 small onion grated.
1/2 kg ripe tomatoes, blended into tomato juice or 1 carton of peeled tomatoes
1 kg of potatoes, cut in thick slices
salt and pepper to taste


wash the chicken very well and rub with a salt,pepper and grated onion mix inside and out, pushing them in all gaps.
put the onion ringlets, potatoes then add the chicken to the oven pan and pour the salt and pepper seasoned tomato juice on top.
if you don't like the onions in ringlets, you can blend it with the tomatoes.
put the pan on a hot burner for few minutes until the sauce starts bubbling, cover with tin foil and bake in a 200C preheated oven for 45 minutes.
check the chicken and the potatoes, once done remove the tin foil and turn on the grill in your oven if it is equipped with one and leave for the surface of the tajine to brown.

i add everything raw at the beginning, don't worry it all cooks well the way described above, and no need to add any type of fat, the chicken oozes enough of it to add taste to the dish.
alternatively you can brown the onion ringlets at the beginning, add the chicken, potatoes, tomatoes and little water and leave to bubble then continue as above.

hope you like it!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Chocolate pecan tart

This is a regular tart, what I like about it is the chocolate and pecan together, they are just right.


3 eggs, beaten hard!
1 cup corn syrup
4 cubs of low sugar chocolate, melted and left to cool.
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons butter
1 sachet vanilla powder or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup pecan nuts, halved ( can be swapped for almonds or hazelnuts )
1 tart base


in a large bowl mix the beaten eggs, corn syrup, chocolate, sugar, butter and vanilla well.
pour the mix on the tart base and arrange the nuts on top.
bake in a 180 C temp for an hour, or until the knife comes out clean.

in case you can't buy ready made tart base, here's how to make one :)

150 gm all purpose flour
100 gm butter
50 gm confectioner's sugar


beat the sugar and butter together very well until they turn into a white mix, fold in the flour to make dough.
put the dough in a plastic bag and leave in the fridge for an hour.
sprinkle some flour on a worktop and spread the dough with a rolling pin to match the dimensions of the baking pan you have, place the dough on the pan and work through it with a fork to create small holes.
put the dough in the oven for few minutes to ensure it holds its shape, then top with the mix prepared above and cover in nuts as described previously.

the topping can also be placed after the dough has been fully baked, as shown in the smaller picture in the banner.

Creme Caramel

This recipe i learnt from my cousin Nouna, and she is really something in the kitchen, so her recipes are the thing to copy!


12 tablespoons of sugar ( separate 6 to make the caramel)
3 cups of full milk
6 eggs
2 sachets of vanilla powder or 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract


on a low heat, melt the sugar for the caramel in a pan until brown then remove from heat.
mix the rest of the ingredients in a blender.
pour the molten sugar in the desired pan or ramekins and even out with a spatula, then pour the mix on top of it.
preheat the oven to 180 C , then fill a deep pan with hot water, place the other pan where you placed the mix inside the other, water filled, pan then place both inside the hot oven. cook for 45 minutes . once the mix has cooked to the required consistency - that of custard- then remove from the oven, cover with tin foil and place in the fridge to cool.
before serving, place ramekins/ pan in hot water once more to loosen the dessert, run a knife around the sides of the container then tip onto a plate and serve

Bon Appetit!

Beef Stroganoff with pasta

This recipe i learned from a foreign magazine that belonged to my grandmother, she came from Upper Egypt but she was very interested in learning about other cultures, so she got her kids to buy her women's magazines from London and Paris :) her English wasn't that good but she was good at guessing what she couldn't understand.. gotta love her!

ok, this dish can also be the main dish in a dinner party, served with salads such as cole slaw or tzatziki and sambousek and you have an easy to digest dinner, dinner parties don't have to consist of elaborate dishes you know.

let's start


1/2 Kg of beef diced into small cubes (this recipe can also be made with veal)
3 tablespoons of butter (can substitute with sunflower/corn or olive oil for a healthier dish)
200 gm of fresh mushrooms, sliced ( canned mushrooms can be used as well)
1 big onion diced
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of cooking cream
1/2 cup all purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste

for the pasta
1 bag of pasta
2 teaspoons of butter
1 small carrot, grated
2 tablespoons of finely chopped green coriander (cilantro)

in a bowl, add the flour to the meat and mix well until the meat is covered well with flour.
heat a big pan, add the butter/ oil and add the meat, stir until brown, fish out and leave to cool.
in the same pan, add the onion cubs, salt and pepper and stir until it is tender, add the mushrooms and stir until cooked and the onions have goon clear in colour, then add the previously browned meat and mix well.
add water until meat is covered and up the temperature until the mix comes to a boil, then put the temperature down, cover and leave to simmer.
once the liquid starts to reduce check the meat , if not done add more water and leave for a while longer (veal of course would cook in a shorter time).

once the meat is cooked add the cream and leave to bubble, if you found the sauce to be dry add a little more water with the cream.

cook the pasta in boiling water, then drain.
in a pan melt the 2 tsp of butter till hot, add the grated carrots and stir for a minute or two, turn off the heat and add the chopped coriander leaves, add the drained pasta and mix well, it will look like the banner picture i swear! just try it and tell me how it went

ah, by the way, i make the mushroom beef piccata the same way, only the meat used would be beef tenderloin, and i will marinade it in grated onions, salt and pepper before cooking.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Here we go, stuffed chicken, a-la-Egyptian!!

this dish is quick and easy to make and looks good enough for dinner parties!

let's start,

Ingredient (serves 2, or one hungry person!)

1 medium size chicken, about 1 kg.
1/2 cup small grain rice
2 tablespoon butter or sunflower oil
1 small onion, grated
1 big onion
1 tomato
Whole bay leaves
Whole cardamom
Salt & pepper
( all spices to taste)


when buying the chicken try to get it with the neck attached if you have that option, if you are buying it from the supermarket then just use the end slice of a loaf of bread to close the neck cavity before stuffing.
now, start on cleaning the chicken by first soaking it in salty water for few minutes - add some vinegar if you are germ phobic- then rinse it, rub it well with coarse salt to remove all the yellow film from the skin then rinse well.
rub the chicken with salt and pepper, inside and out in all the cavities you can reach and also inserting some between the skin and the meat. cover and leave aside for few minutes for the spices to get in.

now the stuffing:
wash the rice well, then in a pan add the butter/ oil and the rice to fry, keep stirring until it becomes golden then add enough water to barely cover the rice. once the water starts boiling, put down the temperature to the lowest possible and leave to cook.
once the rice is almost done but not quite, add the grated onion, and season with salt and pepper and mix in, leave for few more minutes then remove from burner and leave to cool off a little.

now, fill a pot big enough for the chicken with water and add the bay leaves, cardamom, pepper and the big onion and tomato (diced in quarters) and boil.
start stuffing the chicken with the rice mix, pushing it in all cavities but don't overstuff, because the rice expands when cooked. once done stuffing, sew it up, close it with skewers or clamps.. whichever way you prefer! where i come from they leave the tail on the chicken so we can easily tie the legs to it to close.

once the water starts boiling, lower the stuffed chicken in and cover, leave it to cook for 20 min. then check, bear in mind that cooking time depends on the size of the chicken so you have to keep checking it otherwise it will overcook and disintegrate :-O insert a fork in the meat, if it goes in with ease and the juice runs clear then it is done.
once done, take it out and leave on a cutting board to cool, removing the wings to make it easier to fry.

preheat a large pan and add a generous amount of butter/ oil and heat, add the whole chicken to fry, turning it carefully until all sides are brown.

that's it!! you can serve it with French fries, green salad and chicken cream soup.

hope that was good, let me know!