An Arabian Affair

Arabic Mahalabia (Middle Eastern-Style Milk Pudding)

3 cups milk
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup cold water
6 tablespoons corn flour
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon rose water
2 cardamom pods, crushed

Combine milk and sugar together in a saucepan; bring to a boil.
Whisk water and corn flour together in a bowl until smooth; stir into boiling milk. Cook milk mixture over medium heat until thickened to the consistency of cake batter, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and stir cream, rose water, and cardamom into milk mixture.

Refrigerate milk mixture until completely cooled, 2 to 4 hours.
Garnish and serve with Pistachio nut or almond nuts.

Kibbeh(Lebanese Beef Croquettes)


1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted

Meat Dough:
1 1/2 cups fine bulgur wheat or Cous Cous Rice
2 cups water
1 large onion, quartered
1/2 cup mint leaves
1/2 kg lean ground beef
1 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon all spice
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil for frying

In a large skillet, over medium high heat, sauté onions until soft, about 5 min. Add the ground beef and cook, until browned, about 5 more minutes. Once browned, season with salt and pepper, allspice and cinnamon and continue cooking until tender, 4 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the pine nuts.

Meat dough:
In a medium-sized bowl, cover the bulgur wheat with 2 cups of warm water. Let it sit for 30 minutes and then drain the excess water in a strainer, squeezing the wheat to get rid of excess water.

Add the bulgur wheat, the onion and the mint leaves to the bowl of a food processor. A process on high until the onion and the mint leaves are almost pureed. Add the spices and the ground beef, in batches if necessary, and process again to a smooth paste.

To form the croquettes, with wet hands; shape the meat-bulgur mixture into egg-sized balls. Using your index finger, poke a hole in the center of each ball(1/3 inch thick walls). Fill the hole with 1 tablespoon of and then gather the edges together to seal, shaping it into a football. Repeat until you have about 24 kibbeh.

In a large saucepan, heat enough oil over medium heat to cover the kibbeh until a deep-fry the kibbeh until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer the fried kibbeh to a plate lined with paper towels, to soak the excess oil.
Serve hot or at room temperature!

Lamb Tagine

3 pounds bone-in lamb stew meat or lamb neck, cut into 1 1/2-inch piece
2 ½ teaspoons salt, more as needed
1 ¾ cups lamb or chicken stock
5 ounces (1 cup) dried apricots
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
2 large onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon tomato paste
½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 small cinnamon sticks
Large pinch saffron
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup fresh coriander leaf, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ cup slivered almonds
2 green onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Fresh lemon juice, to taste

In a large bowl, combine lamb and 2 teaspoons salt. Let sit at room temperature at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.

In a small pot, bring the stock to a boil. Remove from heat, add apricots, and let sit at least 15 minutes.

Heat the oven to 180°c. In a tagine, oven or heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid, warm 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat until hot. Cook until well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer pieces to a plate as they brown.

Add onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Add tomato paste, ginger, 1 cinnamon stick, and the spices, and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add lamb and any juices on the plate, the apricots and stock, and half the cilantro. Cover pot with foil and then its lid, and cook in the oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until lamb is tender, turning it occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat butter and 1 cinnamon stick over medium heat. Add almonds and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick.

To serve; transfer lamb and juices to a serving platter. Top with toasted almonds and any butter left in the small skillet, green onion, parsley, and remaining coriander leaf. Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice to taste. Serve with couscous or pillow rice.

Moroccan Lamb & Chick Peas Soup

150 g dry chickpeas
2 tbsp olive oil
500 g boned lamb leg, cut into 1 cm (½ in) cubes
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground turmeric
4 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
2 pcs fresh tomato
200 g tomatoes paste
1 liter chicken stock
Salt and black pepper to taste
Fresh coriander leaves, to garnish

Method of Cooking
Put the chickpeas in a large bowl, cover with water and soak overnight. Drain and rinse under cold water and drain again.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the lamb and brown in batches for 2–3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, return all the lamb to the pan along with the onion, garlic and tomato paste cook for 2 minutes. Add the cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, a pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the fresh tomatoes chop, stock and 500 ml water and bring to the boil over high heat.
Rinse the lentils under cold water and drain. Add the lentils and chickpeas to the pan then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 1½ hours. Uncover and cook for a further 30 minutes, or until the lamb is tender and the soup is thick. Season to taste. Divide the soup among serving bowls and garnish with the coriander leaves.


300 g or 3 sheets of dried apricot
2 1/2 cups hot water
3 table spoons sugar
3 tea spoons orange Juice

Cut the dry Apricot into small pieces, without seed.
Put the pieces in a bowl and add the hot water. Leave for 2 hr or more, stirring from time to time for the pieces to dissolve.
Strain the mixture through a fine sieve then add sugar and orange Juice.
Let it cool in the refrigerator and serve in glasses.

Turkish Poached Egg with Yogurt (Cilbir)

1 small garlic clove, crushed and chopped finely
1 cup plain thick yoghurt, brought to room temperature
2 large eggs
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. white vinegar
2 tsp. red pepper flakes or chili flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Crusty bread to serve

Prepare the garlic yoghurt first – about 10, 15 minutes before poaching the eggs – and bring to the room temperature.

In a small bowl, beat the yoghurt with garlic and seasoning. Spoon this into two serving plates, creating a round thick layer to provide a nest for the poached egg. Let the yoghurt mixture reach the room temperature.

Fill a small pan with hot water, add the vinegar (this will help sealing the egg whites) and bring to a boil. Stir the water to create a whirlpool and crack in the first egg.

As the egg spins and the white sets around the yolk, stir the water ready for the next one. Poach each egg for 2-3 minutes so that the yolk remains soft.

While the eggs are poaching, quickly pour in the olive oil in a small pan and stir in the red pepper flakes or chili flakes, over medium to high heat. Stir and let the red pepper flakes infuse to olive oil for a few minutes, turn the heat off.

Lift the eggs out of the water with a slotted spoon and place them over the garlic yoghurt spread.

Drizzle the red pepper flakes infused olive oil over the poached eggs. Serve immediately with bread by the side.

*Recipes and photographs from Dhaka Regency Hotel