• Humangerie Team

Alternative Aperitivo: 9 light and original Middle Eastern recipes

Do you know how many recipes we can find in Middle Eastern cuisine that are so easy and allied of the line? Keep reading if you want to discover with us some new ideas for your next dinner, you will all be amazed.



1. Tahini aubergine

Ingredients:

Aubergine

Tahini

Parsley

Garlic

Lemon

Salt

Pepper

Mixed spices (curry, curcuma, cumin, paprika ...)


In a small bowl, mix two cloves of garlic (finely chopped), chopped parsley, salt, pepper, oil and a few drops of lemon; let them rest aside in the meantime. In another bowl, make the spice mix - anything of the spices listed above will be fine, but the more you add, the better it is.

Take the aubergine and cut them into thin slices. Brush them with the mixture of garlic, oil and parsley and grill them. You can grill them both in the oven and in a pan - to your taste, either way works.

When the aubergine is almost cooked, spread the spice mix on top and allow to grill for a few more minutes. Aubergines must be well cooked and seared.

Leave to rest for a while and, when lukewarm, spread them in a pan making a layer of aubergines and one of tahini (do not overdo it otherwise they will be too heavy) and so on.

Serve cold or lukewarm.



2. Shakshuka

Ingredients:

Eggs

Peppers

Tomato sauce or fresh tomatoes

Tomato concentrate (optional, but recommended)

Garlic

Onion

Parsely

Salt

Pepper

Oil

Chili pepper

Cumin

Put the chopped onion and garlic (both coarsely and finely - to your taste) with a little oil in a pan and leave to fry. In the meantime, cut the peppers into chunks and fresh tomatoes, if you are using them.

Add a tablespoon of concentrate tomato sauce to the sauté and stir for a minute, then add the peppers and a little chilli pepper. When the latter have softened, add the tomatoes or the concentrate along with some cumin.

Let it cook until the mixture is almost amalgamated, soft and fairly narrow - it should not be liquid. At this point create as many holes as you want to put eggs. The eggs will be in a bull's eye, so center the yolk in the holes you have made. Add salt, pepper and parsley and close with a lid until the eggs are almost cooked.

Open the lid, let it rest for a minute and serve directly on the table with the pan, it will be a sight for sore eyes!

3. Moussaka

Ingredients:

Aubergines

Tomatoes

Peppers

Tomato concentrate

Onion

Garlic

Oil

Peperoncino

Sugar

Mixed spices

Salt

Pepper

Cut the aubergine into cubes and leave to rest in salted water. Cut the pepper and tomatoes into cubes. In the meantime, fry the chopped onion and garlic.

Add the aubergines and let cook until they are soft. Afterwards, add the pepper and wait a few minutes to add the tomatoes, a spoonful of concentrate, salt, pepper, a drop of sugar, along with the chili pepper and the spices.

The mixture will be ready when it is soft, but compact. Garnish with a little parsley, if desired. This dish can be served both cold and warm.

Tip: this recipe is excellent with the addition of minced meat or chicken.


4. Chickpea or lentil falafel

Ingredients:

Chickpeas or lentils

Stale bread

Chickpea flour - or normal white flour

Onion

Garlic

Salt

Pepper

Oil

Sesame oil - optional

Mixed spices


Grab a mixer and chop all of the ingredients except the flour and the stale bread until the mixture is compact but still a little coarse.

Put everything in a bowl and add a heaped spoonful of flour and some nice wet stale bread. Knead until the mixture is well blended and firm enough to create meatballs.

Grab a baking dish, put a layer of film and lay a row of meatballs on it - tip: make them crushed and not round, they will be easier to cook.

Continue with a layer of meatballs and a layer of plastic film. Put everything in the freezer and let it rest. These falafel are very easy to make, but often fall apart during cooking. If they are flattened and frozen, this problem will not persist.

Fry with a drizzle of oil in a pan or in the oven.

5. Carrot and yogurt dip

Ingredients:

Carrots

Garlic

Oil

Salt

Yogurt

Grate the carrots in a pan and sauté them with a drizzle of oil and a few cloves of garlic. Add salt.

When they are softened but still intact - and not crushed - remove from the heat and leave to cool. Mix the grated carrots with the yogurt and serve cold.


6. Cacik

Ingredients:

Yogurt

Cucumbers

Garlic

Dried mint

Salt

Oil

Milk (optional)


In a bowl, crush half a garlic and mix in a yoghurt pot. Add half a grated cucumber, salt and dried mint. Let it rest.

Serve with a drizzle of oil.

Tip: The tastiest way to obtain a cacik with Middle Eastern flavors is to use Greek yogurt and mix it with a drop of milk.


7. Perfect hummus

Ingredients:

Chickpeas (you can also use other types of legumes)

Lemon

Garlic

Salt

pepper

Oil

Sesame oil (optional but recommended)

Sesame seeds (optional)

Tahini (optional)

Paprika (optional)

Olives (optional)

Take a mixer and add a can of chickpeas (obviously if you have fresh ones, those work even better) with a little of their water, a clove of garlic, half a squeezed lemon, one spoonful of oil and two spoonfuls of sesame oil, salt, pepper, and, if you have, some tahini - it will make your hummus so much more tastier and creamier, but some people like their hummus more without tahini as it is also lighter. Blend everything until the hummus is soft and velvety - but here too, follow your taste. Some like it creamier and others more grainy.

Tip : I always add a couple of black olives inside, they don’t overpower the rest of the mixture but they will give your hummus an acidic note that fits very well. Same thing goes if you’d like to add a little sesame and a final splash of paprika.

8. Aubergine dip

Ingredients:

Eggplant

Garlic

Chili pepper

Salt

Lemon

Parsley

Oil

Tahini (optional)

Peel the aubergines and bake them whole in pajamas in the oven at 180 ° until they are completely withered - about 40 min to an hour. Once they are cooled, open them and extract all the internal pulp.

Take a mixer and add the pulp, the juice of half a lemon, ½ or 1 whole clove of garlic (depends on how many eggplants you’re using and how much you love garlic), a pinch of chilli pepper, salt, oil and parsley. I also add tahini, but as for hummus, this part is up to you.

Blend everything together until you get a homogeneous mixture, then transfer to a bowl and garnish with a little oil and fresh parsley.

Tip : The best way to make this sauce is also the most laborious way, however worth it. If you want to try, I recommend cooking the aubergines directly on the fire, but you have to be careful and attempt in small portions before placing all of your aubergines on there as they can risk burning and not cooking well if done improperly.

9. Borek

Ingredients:

Phyllo dough

Butter

Feta

Yogurt

Egg

Parsley

Oil

Sesame (optional)

In a small bowl beat one egg with a little yogurt - about a jar. On a plate, mash the feta with a drizzle of oil and the chopped parsley.

Take a baking dish and start making a layer of phyllo pastry by brushing the yogurt and egg mixture over it and crumble a layer of the mashed feta cheese mixture. Go on like this for three or four layers, occasionally adding a few small pieces of butter in between and on the sides.

Then make the last layers without the feta, only with the leftover yogurt and egg.

Spread a little sesame on top and bake at 180° C until the borek is golden and crispy. Leave to rest and serve cold or warm.

If you do not want to use the oven, you can also do it in a non-stick pan with the same procedure used for the baking dish.

Tip : Borek is certainly the most caloric recipe among these, but phyllo dough is much lighter than puff pastry and if you don't want to use feta cheese you can also play with other healthier ingredients, such as spinach. This will make it a relatively diet friendly and light snack.


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