Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 52! Egypt(Cairo)(AS)-Kofta (Spicy Meatballs) and Tzatziki Sauce (Yogurt Sauce), Hummus with Tahini - - Up Next, El Salvador (San Salvador)(NA)

مرحبا بكم في مطبخي

I will never, ever, ever again buy Hummus. The batch I made tonight was easy, cheap (probably cost me $2 - if that) and tasted unbelievably good. I love preparing Middle Eastern food as the exotic blend of cumin, cinnamon, allspice, garlic and lemons not only scents the house as it's cooking but tastes so uniquely different from any other foods I've cooked thus far. Tonight I decided to make Kofta (spicy lamb meatballs), Tzatsiki sauce (cucumber, yogurt sauce) and Hummus with Tahini.

So here's a little background on Egypt - ancient land of camels, pyramids, innovative brilliance, culture, art, Evidence of the Egyptian culture, food and lavish feasts dates back thousands of years and can be found in the form of wall paintings and carvings in tombs and temples. Egyptian food draws it's influence from neighboring countries such as Iraq (Persia), Greece, Italy (Romans), Arab countries and Turkey (Ottomans) as well as numerous other Middle Eastern countries.

Staple foods include rice and bread (Aish baladi). National dishes include: Kofta (spicy lamb), lambkebabs, ful midamess (spicy bean paste and onions), tahini (sesame paste) and koushari (lentil dish);  pmolokhiyya (a spinach like vegetable) and ful mudammas (cooked, creamy fava beans). Lastly, there's Hummus, the oldest of foods, dating back somewhere around 7,000 years.
I used a combination of beef and lamb - prepare as you would meat loaf

Blend well - your hands are your best tools - chill for a good hour to let the flavors blend

Make meatballs - about the size of a small egg

Unless you have access to a Middle Eastern Market, Joseph's is very good and available in most grocery stores

Brown meatballs in a little good quality olive oil

Tongs - hands down, the tool I most use in the kitchen

Cucumbers from my garden - scoop seeds out with a spoon

Greek yogurt - all others pale by comparison

Combine yogurt, grated cucumber, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil - is there anything better??


The basics of good hummus!

(makes about 20 meatballs)
  • 2 Pounds ground lamb, beef or a mixture of both
  • 1 Onion, minced
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley or mint, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying
  1. Place meat, onion, herbs, spices and salt and pepper in a large bowl and knead together well. Wrap in plastic and chill for 1-2 hours to allow the flavors to mingle and make the meat easier to handle.
  2. form meat mixture into balls, patties or ovals about the size of a small egg.
  3. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat, and working in batches, saute the meatballs until browned on all sides and cooked through. Browned meatballs can also be finished in 350 F oven.
  4. Serve as is or in pita bread with tzatziki sauce.

Tzatziki Sauce
(Makes about 2 1/2 Cups)
  • 1 Cucumber, peeled, seeded and grated
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Cups thick, Greek-style yogurt
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  1. In a large bowl, toss the cucumber with the salt and set aside for 5-10 minutes. Squeeze the cucumber to get rid of the excess moisture.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl with the cucumber and stir together until well blended.
  3. Adjust seasoning and serve well chilled.
Hummus with Tahini
  • 1 16 oz can of chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup liquid from can of chickpeas
  • 3-5 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  1. Drain chickpeas and set aside liquid from can. Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from chickpeas. Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth.
  2. Place in serving bowl, and create a shallow well in the center of the humus.
  3. Add a small amount (1-2 Tbsp.) of olive oil in well. Garnish with parsley.


Karen said...

mmm....that all looks amazing ! Mark makes killer hummus, learned back in his restaurant days - but yours looks awesome too !! We'll have to have a tasting ;)

ChristopherR2D2 said...

I love your blog -- it's so awesome what you're doing! I love the cultural background and images you've included.

dining table said...

These are really nice meatballs! I like it. It has been a long time since I had some. Thanks for reminding.

sadie said...

Thank you! So glad you enjoy it!