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Sunday, 5 August 2012

An Exquisite Appetisers Buffet

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As part of Dima's Kitchen Ramadan SpecialKenwood are sponsoring a 4-bladed food chopper/ mini blender for Dima's Kitchen Readers. For details on the giveaways and how to enter the draw, please follow this link.
This post includes recipes that were made using this chopper, either for emulsifying dressings, creating sauces, chopping or blending.

Sometimes an appetisers buffet is all that we want to eat. Appetisers are delicious!

"Wow such amazing recipes have tried a few & they taste so delicious. Thanks a lot for sharing such wonderful recipes"  -   Amrita Jawahar's comment on Sfeeha post

I don't know if you feel the same way, but sometimes I like to indulge on appetisers and really don't feel like eating the rest of the food. Appetisers are delicious, they offer an array of flavours and textures. I almost never feel the need for main course when there is a selection of good irresistible appetisers. Now while we still want to cook main course, we all know and love to have a proper appetisers buffet in our Iftar gatherings. So I have put together this post with a collection of my most favourite appetisers for you to choose from for your appetisers buffets. Whichever options you go for, or even all of them for an elaborate buffet if your time/guest list allow lol; you are going to have an irresistible selection!
So here we go...

An Exquisite Appetisers Buffet

Mutabal & Hummus are the pearls of Arabic Cuisine's Appetisers Selections

Purees & Dippers

What appetisers buffet is complete without the good old Hummus and Mutabal Beitinjan? These two are the pearls of Arabic Cuisine's appatisers selection. Not only are these two good on their own, but they also serve as dippers for Arabic Samboosik and Fried Kubbeh. You can make mutabal from a variety of vegetables, not just eggplants. Pumpkin Mutabal is an excellent option, so is beetroot mutabal and so on...

Another option would be Nutted Labneh. To make Nutted Labneh all you need to do is crush toasted walnuts to resemble coarse pieces, mix in with labneh and a little salt. Place all in a serving dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Sumac. Serve cold.
Make a variety of these purees and dippers and place them at the front of your appetisers buffet.

Beetroot Salad with Cherry Vinaigrette


There are many very well known salads in Arabic Cuisine, such as Fattoush, Tabbouleh, Zaatar Salad, Jarjeer Salad, Carrot & Beetroot Salad... you can go for a selection of these salads (choose the flavours to go best with the main you are serving). Along with that selection why not serve this amazing Beetroot Salad with cherry Vinaigrette everyone loves this super fresh salad. It goes very well with all meat dishes, as well as alongside seafood. It is always nice to offer something different.

For a different presentation of the salad section on your buffet, why not go for a make-your-own salad option? I think it is always a good idea to place assorted bowls with chopped raw vegetables with assorted dressings (like 3 basic dressings) on the buffet to allow guests to create their own salad. So what I would do on a Ramadan Appetisers Buffet is have the beetroot salad ready made, and a tabbouleh as it is specific in preparation. Then I would place different vegetables in bowls, some toasted pita bread in a bowl next to the vegetables, some cubed fetta cheese in another bowl. In small pouring jars, I would have a basic vinaigrette, an olive oil and lemon dressing and a balsamic vinaigrette. You can also add a bowl of toasted and roughly chopped walnuts, and some fruit bowls if you like. This way my guests, get to have a say in what salad they like to have. Place the Salads on the middle part of your buffet.

Arabic Samboosik

Fritters & Fried Appetisers

Every appetisers Buffet must have at least one fried appetiser. The most common one is Meat & Cheese Samboosiks. There is also Fried Kubbeh (the same as that used in yogurt sauce, except fried and not cooked in the sauce), as well as the succulent Fried Cheese Rolls. I also love to include a platter of assorted fried vegetables such as eggplant slices, zucchinis, cauliflower and sweet potato slices simply fried. Next to this platter I place a bowl of Tahina dip (tahina mixed with lemon juice and little yogurt in a thin sauce consistency) which guests can use to drizzle over the fried vegetables. Although, Tempuras is not an Arabic cuisine option, but I sometimes would include them on a Buffet, especially if the main is seafood. Don't forget that you can make vegetable Tempuras too.

Muajant (Arabic Appetiser Pastries)

Muajanat or Arabic Pastries

If you make these small (bite size) they can be a very elegant option on an appetisers buffet. There is the Sfeeha, the Arabic Spinach Pastries, the Potato-filled Pastries, Zaatar pastries, and Mni Hotdog pastries to choose from. The sfeeha and spinach pastries posts have 2 different doughs, which you can use for making the rest of the pastries.

Stir-fried Chicken Giblets

Hot Appetisers

Hot appetisers are an art in Arabic cuisine. The many dishes offering many flavours and experiences! Ah!Heavenly! There is the famous, simple yet really delicious Allayet Bandoora. A similar dish but with the addition of green beans is Loubyeh bil Zeit (which can be served hot or cold). Not to forget the super tasty Stir-fried Chicken Giblets, the Samkeh Harra, the Grilled Halloumi, Yalangi, Fool Mdamas, Arayes... just to name a few! The variety is endless! Choose the ones that compliment your overall menu, and you can choose as few or little as you wish.

Fattet Makdoos

Fattes (Arabic Cuisine Specialty Layered Platters)

These are the jewel of the crown, my absolute favourite part of Arabic appetisers. From Fattet Beitinjan, to Fattet Makdoos, Fattet Fool Akhdar to Fattet Djaj... all are delicious in their own right! And these are just the tip of of the iceberg! Make one type that compliments the flavours of the rest of your menu, and place it on your Buffet!

Every Arabic Appetisers Buffet must include Brined Olives as well as assorted pickles. Arabic Pickles include Cucumber pickles, Pickled Faoos, Pickled Cauliflower, Pickled Lemon & Chili, Parsnips, Beetroots ...etc

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When you think of a Buffet always think of the flow of flavours. Make sure that the options flow well together. The buffet must be colourful and therefore appealing to the eye. It also has to be a variety of textures. Nothing worse than a buffet offering all mushy creamy textures only! It has to offer the comfort of purees, the crunch and freshness of salads, the warmth of the hot appetisers and the cool of the cold ones. It has to be a full rounded experience, and nothing does it better than a good Appetisers Buffet.

Hope that you have enjoyed today's post with all the mini recipes and links to recipes. I trust that you will find inspiration in these suggestions and that they will help you decide on your menu options. Hosting an Iftar is so much fun and a chance for you to show your hidden cooking talents ;) Have a good one, and let me hear from you, tell me what you think...

Don't forget to take pictures of recipes you carry out from this blog and share them with me for a chance to win this super handy Kenwood 4-bladed chopper/mini blender as part of Dima's Kitchen Ramadan Special. See other readers' creations here... For more details on how to qualify for the draw and a list of giveaways, please visit this link.

Don't forget to like Kenwood this Ramada, a kitchen is never complete without them!
Ramadan Kareem