For this week’s guest post, we’re delighted to welcome back Dubai recipe developer, Sukaina Rajabli, to share two of her favourite almond recipes with us.
Almonds are a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking and snacking. Here, Sukaina has put her own spin on two traditional Middle Eastern recipes: Ouzi and Stuffed Peppers. Thanks, Sukaina!
Ouzi is a very traditional Middle Eastern recipe, and is an perfect dish to share at large gatherings such as New Years. Every Middle Eastern mother will have their own traditional recipe that they think is the best and below, I share with you mine.
In any Middle Eastern home, sharing food and plates is part of every day life. Traditionally, ouzi is served in a large platter and everyone sits down to eat together from the one platter.
- 2 tbsp + 1 tsp sunflower oil
- 200 gms lean beef mince
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 tsp allspice
- ¼ tsp cardamom powder
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp cumin powder
- 300 g basmati rice, washed thoroughly and drained
- 125 g frozen peas
- 800 ml beef or vegetable stock
- 70 g blanched almonds
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan and add the beef mice. Cook the mince, using a wooden spoon to break up the lumps, until the water has released. Add the cinnamon and fry until the beef has browned. Set aside.
- Add 1 tablespoon oil to a pan and add the onion. Cook until it just starts to brown. Add the allspice, cardamom, black pepper, cumin and season with salt. Add the cooked beef, rice, peas and stock. Bring to a boil before simmering until the rice is cooked through.
- In the meantime, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a frying pan. Add the almonds and fry until golden brown. Garnish the rice with the almonds and serve.
Stuffed Peppers with Crunchy Herbed Almond Topping
Stuffing vegetables is an art relished by people in the Middle East, be it eggplants, zucchinis, courgettes and even cucumbers and carrots.
Here I have used peppers (capsicums) for ease. The rich and creamy sauce is perfectly balanced by the crunchy topping. However, the best part is that it is perfect for serving at a party as most of the preparations can be done beforehand.
- 35 gms almonds
- 35 gms parmesan
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 4 peppers, assorted colours
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 small onions, chopped
- 400 g lean beef mince
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 100 g sun dried tomatoes, pureed to a paste
- ½ tsp basil powder
- ½ tsp oregano powder
- 2 tsp mixed herb powder
- 250 ml stock
- Combine the almonds, parmesan and parsley in a food processor and process until combines. Set aside.
- Cut the peppers lengthways. Remove the membrane and seeds. Set aside.
- Put the tomatoes in a bowl and cover with boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain the water and peel the skin off the tomatoes. Chop the tomatoes and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the garlic and onions and sauté until the onions are golden brown. Add the beef and cook until the water has drained and the beef starts to brown. Use a wooden spoon to break up any lumps. Add the rest of the ingredients and season well with salt and pepper. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the stock has nearly dried up.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade. Place the peppers, cut side up, on a baking tray and fill to the top with the beef sauce. Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until the peppers have just softened. Add the almond topping in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Serve immediately.