Monday, April 11, 2011

Rice with nuts ( roz bel khalta)

yeah, we call it that intelligible stuff in the title, it means rice with mix, the mix here is that of nuts.

this is not particularly Egyptian, but it is well liked here and i believe we , in Egypt, modified it to our taste, so hope others will like it as well.

This recipe is usually made with chicken liver and gizzard, but i personally don't like them much so i prepare it without these, and only use nuts. but for authenticity purposes i will include them in the recipe, and show you how you can also do it without these.

(for the mix)
pine nuts
(all in the preferred quantities)
1kg chicken livers and gizzards, cut in small cubes
1 large onion, grated
butter/ghee /olive oil
1tsp yellow curry powder (optional)

(for the rice)
2 tbsp sugar / 14 cup
2 cups rice
1 tbsp butter/ghee


we start by soaking the nuts in boiling water for 2-3 minutes for the almonds a slightly more for the hazelnuts until you can rub off their sheath, as for the raisins, sauté in very little oil or butter until it swells up then remove immediately, as it gets burnt very easy. and if you decide to use pine nuts, sauté as well for a short time. alternatively, and if you don't mind some crunch, you can toast them all in a hot oven for 5 minutes. put the prepared nuts aside.

next we prepare the livers and gizzards, saute the grated onion in on medium heat until soft, add the cubed livers and gizzards, stir and cover. keep stirring every few minutes, when done, add the curry powder (if you opted out of using that, you can add some turmeric for colour) mix and cover again, leave for about five minutes or until you taste and find it done, remove from heat and put aside.

now comes the rice, in a big pot caramelise the sugar, then add to it the quantity of water or chicken stock (yes sometimes we use it instead of water for richer flavour), for 2 cups of rice you use 2.5 - 3 cups and bring to a rolling boil.
while it boils, in a separate pot add about a tbsp ghee and fry the rice until golden then add the salt and cinnamon and mix well. next add the previously prepared caramel-water mix to the rice and leave to boil, once it does put down the heat and leave to cook.

and you are done, all is left is serving once the rice is done.
in the serving plate, first add the cooked rice, then add the prepared livers and gizzards on top then the nut mix.

now, if you don't want to add the chicken bits, do it as before and drop the chicken bits part, easy! then you can serve a meat dish on the side, i do it with a cured tenderloin and mushroom or pepper sauce.

note, the above recipe could also be made using lamb liver, heart and kidneys, i personally find it very tasty.. the only note is that each should be prepared separately and they, of course, take longer to cook.
and, belhana welshefa (wish you enjoyment and good health, in Egyptian)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rice and meat Fattah (Egyptian)

and i put Egyptian in the title to distinguish it from the Syrian type of Fattah, which is quite different.

ok, continuing with the meat feast theme, as i mentioned earlier, in that season almost everyone who sacrifices an animal ends up with lots and lots of meat that has to be used before it gets old, so we get a little creative with it to avoid culinary boredom!
this recipe is made of toasted Egyptian bread or Lebanese pita bread, moistened with meat stock, with steamed rice and garlic tomato sauce on top, then some meat to top it all.. sounds like something you would enjoy?
this recipe i've learnt from one of Egypt's TV chefs, Chef Sherbini, which is the first Fattah recipe to turn out good for me, hoping you will meet the same luck:)


about 2 kg of red meat (beef is preferred) in big cubs.
i big onion or 2 small ones
200 g/ 2 cups white short grain rice
1 full head of garlic
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 big tomatoes (optional)
1 tbspButter/ Ghee/ 2 tbsp Olive oil
4 pieces of Egyptian bread(left) or Shami Pita bread(right) , if neither is found, tortilla flats would do


first we start by cooking the meat in water, adding S&P and the onions, make sure the water is covering the meat and once it boils, turn the heat down and leave to cook.

while the meat is cooking, start preparing the rice, now you can steam it or do it the Egyptian way which is as follows:
in a hot pot, add the fat of your choice (butter, oil or ghee) now you can add the whole load of rice, cover in water, add salt and leave to boil, bring down the heat, cover and leave to cook. alternatively, you can first fry some of the rice until golden/fry some Shaaria (capellini pasta) or what we locally call lesaan asfour (bird tongue) pasta, which i am sure they have a name for in Italian

once your choice of the above is golden, continue as before, adding the rice, mixing, adding water to cover and salt to taste, leave to bubble, cover, turn the heat down and leave to cook.

now we prepare the bread, some people like using it as is, and others prefer to toast it in the oven, some go one step further and fry the bread after toasting.. your call, the frying gives more taste but it also adds calories.

now to the daqqa - which is the name of the mix of liquids and spices we add to flavour some dishes, differs from one recipe to the other - so first we peel the garlic, mince it, season with S&P.
put aside 1 tbsp of that mix and fry the rest in a hot pan, with the type of fat you chose to use, until golden. add the vinegar and leave to boil then add little bit of water and taste, it should taste strongly of vinegar but not too strong.
if you chose to add tomatoes, clean and cut and make into juice, and use instead of the water in the previous step, leave to cook - should be done after about 5 minutes of boiling- and that's it for the daqqa/sauce

now to the serving steps
start by shredding the bread into bite size bits, now if you choose to fry them you do that then add some of the previously prepared daqqa/sauce to the bread in the pan, enough to moisten the bread and add about one ladle of meat stock, let it be absorbed then move to the serving plate.
if you chose not to fry the bread, you do the above directly in the serving plate.

next step is to add some of the previously cooked meat, about two pieces , cut into think strips and distribute on top of the soaked bread, then ad a little bit more daqqa/sauce.

then we add the rice, add few pieces of meat and pour the rest of the daqqa/sauce on top.
the rest of the meat we sauté with some butter and the saved garlic mix and serve on the side.

if you are into savoury dishes i am pretty sure you will like this one and make it again and again.

Egyptian meat pie - Roqaq

This is a very popular feast sociality as well, remember that feast with all the meat? we had to come with few dishes to use it in, this is one of them.
now, Roqaq is some sort of round shaped pastry, made of flour, water and salt. when baked it becomes brittle and is usually used for porridges and pies, could be substituted with filo pastry and the result would be pretty close.
but if you are feeling adventurous, i am including the recipe for it here.

first the pastry

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup warm water
2 tsp fine salt
2 tsp sugar.

sift the flour and add the salt and sugar, add the water and mix well to form soft dough. cover with a towel and let it rest for half an hour, then section into small balls (golf ball size).
sprinkle some flour on a clean counter top, and with a rolling pin, flatten each section into a thin circle , sprinkling it with flour as you work. once you are done, bake the roqaq flats in a hot oven, bake for 2 minutes on each side then remove carefully to avoid breaking. repeat until the whole patch is done.

now on for the main recipe:


from 4 to 8 pieces of roqaq pastry, depends on how thick you want it to be, half of which should go at the top and the other half should go at the bottom of the pie.
hot chicken stock
butter/ghee for greasing
1/2 kg ground beef
2 medium sized onions
S&P to taste
a dash of nutmeg
1 tsp crushed pine nuts (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil/sunflower oil or 1 tbsp butter

saute onions in oil/ butter until tender and golden, add the ground beef , S&P, nutmeg and pine nuts, saute until meat no longer pink, then remove from heat.

grease a deep oven dish then place the first roqaq pastry, add some of the chicken stock, enough to make the pastry soft but not soggy, turn over and do the other side then place in the dish.
brush the pastry with melted butter/ghee to keep it from sticking to the next layer.
repeat with the next piece of pastry, you can stop at two for the lower part or you can add more if you want it thicker, don't brush the top one with grease though, as the filling will be added to the top of it.
once you are done layering the lower half, spread the saute beef on top of the pastry, evening it out. once all filling is in and distributed, start layering the top half the same way you did the bottom.
once you are done layering, brush the surface with butter so it would brown in the oven. add three ladles of the hot chicken stock to the pie - or enough to make it moist - then bake in a 190 C oven until the stock is absorbed and the surface has turned golden.
... and enjoy !!


many have requested this recipe so here it is.

1 small white cabbage
about 1/2 kg carrots, cleaned
3-4 tbsp fine sugar
small jar mayonnaise

grate the carrots, chop the cabbage into thin strips, add the sugar and the mayo and mix well.
add half the quantity of mayonnaise worth of milk and mix well. refrigerate for two hours.
this can keep in the fridge for a week so you can make a little bit more and use over the week.

Roast Lamb Tajine

Happy Eid!!

today we are going to make a Eid Al Adha speciality, which is the Islamic greater feast, and as some might know, this is the one Muslims sacrifice an animal - a sheep in most cases - and distribute most of its meat among the poor and their family, so, we are going to make a meat based Tajin.

i am going to use lamb, some people don't like it - including my brothers - because of its strong smell, but when i served this to them they thought it was beef kebab, so.. this recipe will get rid of this if it is your only beef with lamb :D


1 kg Lamb - mixed as we call it, meaning it doesn't come from a specific cut, no problem if it contains bones, ribs are ok as well.
3 big onions, grated
1/2 cup vinegar
Juice of two big lemons
S& P to taste
diced bell peppers/ green chilli if you want it spicy (optional)


add all ingredients in a deep oven dish, mix well, cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
next day, add a big tbsp butter/ghee/ OO, cover with foil again and bake in a 180 C for 45 to 60 minutes.
the key is to cover it well so the sauce of the meat won't evaporate..
check with a fork, once the meat is cooked to your liking, remove the foil and leave for few minutes until browned.
remove and serve, works very well with the Garlic dip recipe i shared earlier, steamed rice and flat bread.
P.S. the banner picture isn't of the finished dish :) it is of the meat in the marinade!