Weekend Cooking: Lamb Meghazlia Rice

This was on my To-Make list for a while now, and finally I managed to make it this week.  Use a mix of meat and bones for a more flavorful stock; I chose lamb shoulder chops specifically for this purpose.  If you’re not keen on making your own meghazlia spice mix, I’m sure subbing with your favorite spice mix such as bukhari, kabsah and the like works just as well.  A great dish which was quite simple to make and easy to eat, I’ll definitely be making this again.

Try it out!

Based on the recipe by Saudi Food Eman.

Read More

Make Your Own: Meghazlia Spice Mix

It took me a while to finally make Eman’s Lamb Meghazlia, mainly because I needed to mix the meghazlia spice mix myself.  Since I have some lamb in the freezer I really needed to get rid of, I set aside some time today to make this spice mix.

What took me a while to figure out was the “besbasa Indian” listed in Eman’s ingredients list.  After some research I thought what she was asking for was bisbas, a spicy Yemeni spice mix, and that was what I used to make my current batch of meghazlia.  While sitting around researching this spice a bit more, I realized that besbasa was another name for mace.  So my meghazlia spice mix is most probably going to be quite different from Eman’s.  Sigh.  Anyway, I’ve noted down both my version and Eman’s version, for my future reference.

Read More

Weekend Cooking: Khaliat Nahal (Beehive)

To me, cooking is a way to destress after a long week slogging at the office.  Making bread, however, is what I find most enjoyable.   When a bread recipe appeared in Saudi Food Eman’s Facebook feed, I knew I had to try it ASAP.  I mean, bread stuffed with cream cheese and drizzled with syrup? Sign me up!

Because I was adamant about using my breadmaker for this, I had to make a few adjustments to the recipe.  I didn’t notice that the recipe uses a lot more yeast relative to the flour (which was really silly in retrospect, but ah well that’s how we learn), so after letting the Dough cycle run its full course, my dough literally looked like foam.  While I managed to save the dough by adding more flour, the bread turned out heavy and had a strong yeasty taste.  At this point, I still didn’t realize that the cause was my overproofing the dough. I instead blamed it on the plain flour I used, and switched to bread flour for my second attempt.

While the dough was a lot less wet this time around, and the bread was a lot fluffier, the yeasty flavor remained.  Finally it dawned on me that I was using the same amount of yeast but a little more than half of the flour compared to my roti paung recipe, so since the whole point of using a ton of yeast is to cut down prep time, I must have been letting the dough sit for far too long.  I then realized my normal breadmaker Dough cycle isn’t suitable for this recipe, so I used the Pasta Dough setting instead, letting the machine do just the kneading without resting the dough.  True enough, this dough rises so fast, the earlier rolls doubled in size by the time I finished working on the last few.

The results? Lovely rolls which were bite sized and fluffy, with no unpleasant yeasty taste.  I also loved the amazing combination of exotic flavors and textures.  Creamy cheese inside fluffy bread, topped with crunchy, herby black seeds (habbatus sauda) then drizzled with sweet syrup infused with the distinct flavor of saffron.  I just couldn’t stop eating this.

Try it out!

Read More

Weekend Cooking: Eman’s Oven-baked Chicken and Rice

It was another one of those weekends when the freezer was full of stuff and Kak’mbang sent out her SOS.  I needed to help her clear at least one whole chicken, so I decided to try this recipe by Saudi Food Eman.  I found it interesting how good she claims the dish to be despite using so few ingredients, so I decided to give this a go.

This took me a few tries to get right.  The chicken Eman uses is way smaller than the mutant birdies we have here, which required me to do a lot of guesswork for the cooking time. I also had to adjust the water and salt quantities before finally getting the perfect taste and texture for the rice.  Rudy got me this amazing ThermoPro TP-20 food thermometer which alerts me as soon as the breast meat hits the optimal temperature, so I no longer had to guess how long I needed to leave the chicken in the oven.  If you don’t have a thermometer, be sure to weigh your chicken and use a roast timer to estimate your cooking time.  Because the chicken is butterflied and we’re cooking at very high temperature, you can check for doneness at the halfway point.

Overall, a great dish which is super easy to make.  Give it a try!

Read More

Weekend Cooking: Eman’s Lamb Bukhari with Rice

Last weekend I picked up some decent-looking lamb cubes from Tesco, and decided to use it immediately for dinner that night.  I didn’t want to make something too complicated, because I was just so exhausted by the many things that were going on both at home and at work.  Since Saudi Food Eman is my current go-to for yummy recipes, I naturally looked through her channel for ideas.

This lamb bukhari recipe doesn’t use many fancy spices; just cumin and rock salt.  What I found super elegant about this recipe is that it is all about building layers of natural flavor from the ingredients.  So take your time, caramelize those onions, simmer the lamb until the oil separates.  The result is a beautifully fluffy bukhari which is simply delicious.

Based on Eman’s recipe here.  I used more lamb and a bit more salt in mine, and added more precise measurements for the ingredients.  Enjoy!

Read More

Weekend Cooking: Saleeg

I’ve been looking through the Saudi Food Eman YouTube channel, and seriously this lady is pretty talented.  I’ve tried a few of her recipes already, and have quite a long list of others in my weekend cooking queue.  This particular dish, saleeg, was something different for the recent rice dishes I’ve been making.

Looking at how simple the ingredients were, I had my doubts about whether this was really as good as I imagined it to be, but in the end my fears were unfounded.  This tasty rice porrige worked so perfectly with the no-frills roast chicken, and yes, I think I agree with Eman that this dish may satisfy the pickiest eaters.  Try it out!

Read More

Weekend Cooking: Lamb Haneeth with Rice

During a rare trip to Berkat Madinah, a Middle Eastern grocer, I bought a jar of Chef Ammar’s haneeth spice.  We love the haneeth served at Half Moon, our favorite Arab restaurant, so I figured I’d try making it on my own.  However recipes I found online were very different from what I thought haneeth looks like, because most are roasted in the oven, instead of being nicely baked in aluminium foil pouches.

The jar of spices has been sitting in the larder for a while now, so when I had the family over for dinner recently I made lamb and chicken haneeth.  The chicken turned out really well, however I really had to experiment with the lamb recipe, because most require hours of roasting in the oven and I really couldn’t be bothered with that.  I expect to keep improving on this recipe, but for my first try I cooked the meat in the pressure cooker first, before transferring to the oven.  Flavor wise I think it was good, but I think the rice could be better.  Will keep tweaking this until I get it right.

Read More

Weekend Cooking: Chef Ammar’s Haneeth Roasted Chicken with Cajun Spiced Vegetables

We got Monday off to celebrate our victory at the SEA Games, so Rudy and I decided to have the family over for dinner.  The fridge was overflowing with chicken and lamb and all sorts of stuff, so I joined the effort to clean it out.  I needed to feed about 9 adults, so I decided on both chicken and lamb haneeth.

This recipe was based on Chef Ammar’s recipe, from one of the episodes of his show.  The directions as shown on the video looked a bit strange, so I’ve modified it to what I think it should be, based on my experience roasting chicken.

Overall this dish turned out really well.  I loved the flavor of the vegetables, they roasted nicely and were perfectly tender.  I used a pretty small chicken this time, and it was done after only 30 minutes in the oven.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, butterflying and cooking at high temperature is the fastest, almost fool-proof way to get juicy, perfectly roasted chicken.  Will definitely make this again!

Read More

Potluck: Emeril’s Potatoes a la Boulangere

Our friend Marissa will be jetting off to Jakarta soon for a new job, so Elina had us over for potluck dinner and card games last Sunday.  Danial made roast chicken and Elina made rotkohl, so I decided to bring some form of starch as a complementing side dish.  It was either the baked potato casserole or this interesting potato dish by Emeril, and finally our host chose this one.

People say potatoes a la boulangere make a great side dish for roast chicken.  Making it wasn’t difficult, but rather time consuming.  A sharp, heavy knife worked wonders for me when slicing the onions and potatoes into even-sized pieces.  I also took my time to properly caramelize the onions and potatoes, and I think this gave the dish a wonderful flavor.  An excellent dish for potlucks, which you can make ahead on those busy days.  Try it out!

Read More