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Sunday, 22 July 2012

Arabic Cuisine Menu - The Feast For Many

When your kitchen looks like this, you know you have cooked up a storm lol
But what you really must know is you and everyone had a great time

"What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family."   
                                                                                                          -  Mother Tereasa

Is there anything better than being home with people we love? Maybe sharing food with them is the only thing slightly better :) I am all for home entertaining. I like to eat out too and take my friends out for dinner at times. But nothing like entertaining with a home cooked meal. It is always special to put effort and a lot of thought into the things you offer to friends, and I find that cooking a whole Menu at home is one very thoughtful act that is also filled with effort lol.
Offering to share food that you have cooked is a very warm gesture, and in our Arabic culture, one that is of utmost value and appreciation. These gatherings are intensely revived during the month of Ramadan, it seems we are either inviting or invited throughout the month. I know that today a lot of people prefer ordering take outs, or hiring a catering service for their events, which is very understandable taking into consideration the busy lives we all lead. But let me tell you this: There is nothing more satisfying than cooking the food yourself. Nothing comes close to the feeling of happiness you experience when your guests like, indulge in and compliment your food. It feels great to know that you have shared so deeply. We all know that cooking comes from a place within, we like to call that ingredient love. It is that piece of you that you share when you offer food that you cooked yourself. It is always warm, always better and always more welcoming.

If you were sold on the thought above and decided to carry out a home cooked Iftar, then this menu will help you do that with flying colours.

The Traditional Jordanian Menu
On The Menu...

Fattoush (recipe Below)


This is a menu that includes food options usually cooked for a big guest list. When you have lots of people coming over, you want to make sure you offer them food that is tasty, filling, catering for many diet requirements while making sure you don't end up getting stuck in the kitchen all day cooking. At the end of the day, you will want to enjoy the company of your guests, not be exhausted and ready for bed as soon as they take their first bite!

Menu Rationale
Jordanian Mansaf
Mansaf is a traditional Jordanian dish that is usually served at big gatherings and important events such as weddings, Iftars, Eid Lunches...etc. It is the star of this menu. This dish is the type of food that can be carried out all the same for 4 or 400 people. It is the same preparation, only the portions will vary. Mansaf is a somewhat heavy dish that includes fermented goat's yoghurt, lamb meat and rice (find my Mansaf Recipe Here). 


Fresh Tomato Soup

The Mansaf yoghurt sauce is heavy and creamy, therefore it is best surrounded by light foods instead of the like (heavy food). Otherwise guests will be too full and bothered by the food after being done. For that reason, I have chosen a Fresh Tomato Soup (find my fresh tomato soup recipe here). This soup is very light, refreshing and not very filling. It is a delicious way to start the meal, prepping your palate for the rest of the menu.


Fattet Djaj  (Layered Chicken  & Rice  Platter)

The succulent Fattet Djaj is just an absolutely Divine appetiser, that in this menu can double as main for those who are not big on meat, or do not like lamb meat specifically. It is always a good idea to have a chicken platter when meat is the main course on the menu. This way, you don't risk someone ordering take out on the way home!


Eggplant Mutabal


Hummus and Eggplant Mutabal are Arabic menu staples (Mutabal Recipe here, Hummus Recipe here). They are appetisers that get your appetite going. Guests can have as little or much of these as they please. 


Fattoush is a garden salad that includes toasted or fried pita bread cubes and is dressed with summac and pommegranate molasses. here is the recipe in case you don't know how to make it...


Fattoush
You Need
500g tomatoes, coarsely chopped
4 branches, fresh mint, roughly chopped
10 Romaine Lettuce leaves, cut into bite size pieces
300g cucumbers, roughly chopped
1 onion, sliced
1 large capsicum, roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sumac
Salt & Black pepper
1 Pita bread, cut into cubes, fried till golden or toasted


Fry or toast the pita bread. Drain over paper towels, and set aside. Chop all vegetables and leaves and combine in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, combine lemon, sumac, salt & Black pepper and olive oil. Mix till incorporated. Add this dressing to the chopped vegetables and toss to coat. Transfer to serving dish. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses. Serve cold.

Ramadan Flavoured Fruit Salad

With a menu full of flavours, and including a rich main, it is best to keep it light with desserts. My Fruit Salad with Ramadan Flavours is the perfect dessert for this menu. It is just super tasty and very refreshing. Your guests would not mind this palate cleanser and light sweet tooth satisfaction :) Find the recipe for the Ramadan Flavoured Fruit Salad here.

Whether you are hosting a Ramadan Iftar or any other occasion, this menu will please your guests giving them a delicious insight into the Jordanian falvours. All you need to do is a little mise en place in the morning, some prep to include making mutabal, hummus and cooking the meat. Then a couple of hours before serving you will start the actual cooking. You have the rest of the day for yourself to relax and enjoy your guests once there :)

Hope you like this menu, more to come shortly so stay tuned. Don't forget to drop by tomorrow for more recipes from the Dima's Kitchen Blog's Ramadan Special: Daily Recipes. Share the love, and tell your friends about this blog and about the free online consultations, you can be doing them a favour, especially if they like to entertain too :))

Always Love & Be Paceful x
Ramadan Kareem

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