Add variety to your table using local ingredients
CAIRO: For fabulous versatile vegetables you don’t have to look farther than your local market. Artichokes, eggplants and lentils offer a cornucopia of possibilities that have their origins in Egyptian cuisine. Many simple recipes make use of these locally grown ingredients and yield healthy and tasty results! Try out these easy to prepare recipes to add variety to your Ramadan iftars, without much effort.
Artichoke SoupIngredients: 8-10 artichokes (fresh, frozen or tinned); 1 large onion; 1 stick of celery; 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil; 2 tablespoons of butter; 3 cups of stock; 1 cup of milk; 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley; and salt and pepper.Recipe:1. If the artichokes are fresh, prepare them in the usual way. First trim the stem as closely as possible to the head of each artichoke. Remove the outer leaves until you reach the heart. Carefully remove the hairy stuff (the choke) from around the heart. Quickly scrape the inside with a spoon and immediately put in water mixed with either vinegar or lemon juice. This process keeps the artichokes from discoloring. For the same reason, clean one artichoke at a time.2. Cut each artichoke heart into quarters. Peel and finely chop the onion. Thinly slice the celery stalk.3. Heat the butter and the oil in a soup pan and add all the prepared vegetables. Stir and sauté for five minutes.4. Gradually add the stock and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and leave to simmer for around 30 minutes, or until the vegetables turn soft. Leave to slightly cool, and then put the vegetables in a food processor for around two minutes or until smooth.5. Add the milk and heat through, do not let the soup boil. Chop the parsley and add with the seasoning.6. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon or lime
Aubergine SaladIngredients: 2 medium-sized eggplants; 2 cups of plain yogurt; 1 clove of garlic; and salt.Recipe:1. For this recipe peeling the eggplants is optional. Some people even prefer to remove a portion of the peel and leave the rest. Cut them into medium-thin slices. If the eggplant is large, you can cut the slices into two halves. 2. Place the slices in a colander and sprinkle generously with kitchen salt, coating them well. Cover with a plate weighed down with anything heavy (a full water kettle for example). Leave for at least half an hour, but the longer the better.3. Place a bowl under the colander to collect the excess water. 4. When ready to cook, dry the eggplant slices on kitchen paper. The purpose of this step is to draw as much water as possible out of the eggplant so that when cooked the slices are dry and crispy rather then soggy.5. Drizzle the oven tray with about one teaspoon of oil and place (empty) in a very hot oven. Leave for five minutes, then bring out and arrange the dry eggplant slices in one layer on the hot oven tray. Replace in the oven, and leave undisturbed for about 20 minutes, or until they turn golden brown. Turn them on the other side and leave to cook in the same way. 6. Remove and place them on absorbent paper. Leave for 10 minutes, and then arrange on a large, flat serving dish leaving a space in the center for the yogurt.7. Add a couple of pinches of salt and the crushed garlic to the yogurt. Beat well with a fork, and then pour into the middle of the circle of eggplant slices.8. This salad makes tasty sandwiches in any kind of bread.
Rice with Orange LentilsIngredients: 1 cup of white rice; 1 cup of orange lentils; 1 large onion; 2¾ cups of stock or bouillon; 1 tablespoon of butter; 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil; and salt.Recipe:1. Wash the lentils, put in a colander and leave to drain. Wash the rice and spread out on a large platter to dry. Have the stock ready.2. Finely chop the onion. Melt the butter and the oil in a pan and add the onion and sauté until soft.3. Add the drained lentils, and stir for two minutes. Add the rice and stir for three minutes.4. Add the stock or bouillon and the salt and bring to a boil.5. Lower the heat and leave uncovered until all the water has been absorbed. Cover with a tight lid and reduce heat to the minimum, place a heat diffuser under the pan, and leave to cook for 25 minutes. As in all rice cooking, do not lift the lid.6. Without removing the lid, turn off the heat and let stand for five to seven minutes. Then it is ready to be served.
Breaded Kofta Ingredients: ½ kg minced beef; 1 chopped medium-sized onion; 3 slices of white toast; 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley; 1 beaten egg; ¾-1 cup toasted breadcrumbs; 4 tablespoons of flour; around ¾ cup of oil for frying; salt and pepper.Recipe:1. Add the minced meat to the chopped onion, the parsley and the seasoning and mix well in a large bowl.2. Cut off the bread crust and put the bread in a bowl of water for a few minutes to soften. When the bread is completely soft, remove from water; squeeze to get out as much water as you can – you should end up with a damp lump of bread – add to the meat mixture and blend in thoroughly.3. Shape the meat mixture into rounds the size of a golf ball and then flatten down into round or oblong patties – the amount of meat in this recipe should make about 8 large “koftas. 4. Put the flour, the beaten egg and the breadcrumbs in three bowls. Dip the patties alternatively in the flour then in the egg, and then in the breadcrumbs.5. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat; put as many “koftas as you can in to fry without piling them up. Fry on one side for about 5 minutes then turn over to the other side; they should be brown on both sides. Place on absorbent paper.
Rice with Orange Lentils