What a fun month it has been!
Exploring realms little known, I thoroughly enjoyed myself!
Got to know quite a few histories and stories and the magic of how food connects.
So now to the Mezze platter! Referred to as the Mediterranean Mezze, the Middle Eastern Mezza or the Lebanese Mezze platter- this is a veritable smorgasbord of delights. It is made up of an assortment of chips and dips, fritters and fries, salads and relishes.
The Food Republic explains it so completely and with a cute illustration to boot!
Pic Courtesy- foodrepublic.com
The mezze platter (sometimes spelled meze) is one of the more malleable snack trays, varying slightly depending on where it’s being served. It’s a popular way to start a meal in Turkey, Israel, Greece, Lebanon — spanning cultures across the Middle East and beyond. However you serve it or say it, the most important thing about mezze is what it means: it’s Arabic for sharing.
Although this platter is meant to serve as a Starter to a meal, it is quite a meal in itself. I have a feeling after having feasted on these goodies, I would only head towards the desserts.
I tried to get a Mezze platter together and made
I started with making Rob-e-Anar aka Pomegranate molaases.
Pomegranate molasses, as they are an essential part of the Middle Eastern cuisine.
–Fattoush- The fresh salad with the crunch of Pita bread croutons
-A delicious Watermelon,Feta Cheese and Mint salad
Some gorgeous Middle Eastern dips
-The walnut and red pepper Muahammara
–Green Pepper Hummus
-The smoky Baba Ghanoush
-The fresh cucumber yogurt Tzatziki
and the hot hot Harissa Yogurt dip!
The dips I teamed with
–No fry Falafels (I have the regular fried Falafels on the blog too)
–Crisp Lavash Crackers and
–Spinach and feta cheese filled Sambousek
And though not a part of the Mezze, two gorgeous desserts
The Rob-e-Anar Kaashta Ice cream
and the Basbousa cake dessert!
Ah!! What a month is has been ❤
Until the next one….
I confess, the name Tzatziki (Pronounced tsa-tsi-ki) kind of stumped me (To add to the fun it is called ‘cha-chi-ki’ in Greek! ). I am not sure I would have ventured giving it a go had I not been on a Middle Eastern mission this month. But when I looked at the recipe, it was simplicity itself!
Reminiscent of our very own summer favourite ‘Kheere ka Raita’ this sauce comes together in a jiffy. Use it for sandwiches, wraps, rolls or dunk your chips in!
All we need to watch out for is getting rid of all the excess water from the cucumber and we are good to go.
For about a cup of Tzatziki you need
¾ cup very thick yogurt/curd/dahi (Hang about 2 cups of regular yogurt in a muslin cloth for a couple of hours to get the thick and creamy Greek style yogurt)
2 small cucumbers, peeled and cubed
3 cloves of garlic
¾ tsp salt
1 Tsp of lemon (add more as per taste)
8-10 fresh mint leaves, washed and torn
Sprinkle the cubed cucumber with salt and sit it in the colander covered with a plate with something heavy on the top so that the excess water drains. Alternatively, remove the seeds from the cucumbers and then dice them. The seeds contain water and can make the sauce watery.
Pat dry the cucumber with a towel and throw it into the food processor with garlic, lemon juice and the mint leaves.
Grind into a coarse paste.
Stir into the yogurt and mix well.
Check and add more salt or lemon juice if needed.
Serve with chips, crackers or Lavash (Find recipe here)
Store refrigerated in an air tight container.
It stays good in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Recipe sourced from Greek.Food.Com
My Gran makes her special special ‘bina chaaunk ka baingan bharta’ where she roasts the aubergines, peels and mashes them but does not further cook or temper them as is usually done in case of ‘Baingan ka Bharta’. She simply adds fine chopped tomatoes, onions, green chillies and fresh coriander along with some spices and serves it with a generous squeeze of lime. When I read up the recipes for Baba Ghanoush/Ghanouj, it reminded me of Naani style baingan bharta. And I got to say they are close,almost identical in fact!
I am amazed at the way food finds echoes across boundaries.
I made Baba Ghanoush with the green aubergines rather than the dark ones as they are slightly sweeter and milder than the other ones.
1 medium Aubergine/brinjal , dark or green any will do
1 Tbsp Pomegranate molasses
2 Tbsp chopped walnuts
A clove of garlic
½ tsp salt (or to taste)
1 small tomato
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped (can use fresh coriander if parsley not available)
A few drops of white vinegar or a dash of lime (Can skip if tomato is tart)
Roast the aubergine over the stove till the skin is completely charred.
Alternatively slice into two and char it under a hot grill. Peel, remove the seeds and mash it once it cools down a little.
Leave it in a colander for about 15 minutes so that the excess liquid drains off. This will ensure a thick and creamy dip rather than a watery one.
Blend the aubergine mash and all the other ingredients in the food processor till you get a coarse paste.
Drizzle with some olive oil. Garnish with some parsley, olives and a tomato rose.
Serve cold with warm pita bread wedges, nachos and crackers.
Mutabal is another dip which is made with smoked aubergine and the method to prepare it is similar to Baba Ghanoush
The ingredients for Mutabal are
1 medium Aubergine
1 Tbsp Yogurt
2-3 cloves of garlic
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Blend the aubergine mash and all the other ingredients, apart from olive oil, in the food processor till you get a coarse paste.
Drizzle with some olive oil.
Recipe sources- Mama’s Lebanese Kitchen and Syrian Foodie in London.