Four Clan Kitchen

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Archive for the ‘middle eastern’ Category

Baba Ghanouj

Posted by fourclankitchen on May 2, 2014


photo 5

I know that no one needs another baba ghanouj (ghanoush, ganoush)  recipe.  But this is my archive and I simply need to have it here so I don’t have to go looking all over the web when I am ready to make it.  This is my version and it adds a serrano pepper, some sesame oil and cilantro: this is what makes my tongue happy, but you can omit these if you want.  I make it frequently and almost always eyeball it, so the measurements here are  not that precise.  When we run out of left overs,  it serves as a great lunch.  All you have to do is to add a pita, naan or tortilla.


photo 1



2 medium-large eggplants (Italian Globe eggplants are just fine).

3 cloves of garlic, peeled (scale according your preference).

1 serrano pepper, stemmed and coarsely chopped

1/3 cup sesame paste (Tahini):

3 tbs. olive oil, more for drizzling if you are into the picture perfect look.

1-2 tbs toasted sesame oil (I used 2)

2-4 tbs. lemon juice or to taste (My eggplants were large, I used 4)

salt, to taste  (I used 1 1/2 tsp)

pinch of cayenne, optional.

a hand full of cilantro (you can use up your stems if you like),  optional.


photo 2


1.  Preheat oven to 400˚F.  Line a jelly roll pan with foil.  Cut each eggplant into half and lightly oil and salt them.

2. Roast, cut side down for about 40 min.  The eggplants should be wrinkled and completely soft.  If not,  continue to roast until they reach this stage (you can do this on a hot grill: it takes about 30 mins, with frequent turning).

3. Let the eggplants cool till they can be handled, then peel off the skin (I often don’t bother, it makes no difference to the flavor).

4.  Put all ingredients in the food processor (except salt and lemon) and zap until you get a perfectly smooth baba ghanouj.  A few bits of cilantro  might not blend, but it still tastes great.

5. Add salt and lemon, taste and adjust.

6. It may need a bit more sesame oil to make the sesame flavor more intense, so adjust accordingly.


photo 3

Posted in condiments, middle eastern, Side Dishes, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

almond sheesh kebabs (badami kebab)

Posted by fourclankitchen on May 12, 2012

Every recipe in Smita Chandra’s “Indian Grill” is a gem.  I have no idea why this book is not better known and used.  But if you can find it, you should grab yourself a copy.  These almond kebabs are among my favorite recipes from this book.  The kebabs are unbelievably well-seasoned and their taste lingers on your tongue long after you have eaten them.  A note about adding eggs to the kebab mix:  when it works, it really binds the meat and add flavor.  But depending upon the fat content of your meat,  an egg can sometimes add too much liquid, causing your kebab to fall off the skewer during grilling.  I start with 1/2 egg, adding the rest once I know that the meat is going to cohere.  You can also omit it, if necessary.  If your kebab insists on falling apart even if you don’t add the egg, just shape it into a hamburger and serve it with hamburger buns.


2 tbs. vegetable oil

1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds

2 medium onions, coarsely chopped

1 in ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

1/2 cup ground almonds, unsalted, unroasted

1/2 large egg

salt to taste

14-1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp ground cumin seeds

1tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp gram masala

1lb ground lamb or beef (I buy 91% lean lamb or 96% lean ground beef)

lemon juice


In a skillet,  heat the oil over a high flame and add the cumin seeds, stir for a few seconds, until  fragrant.

2. Add the onions, ginger and garlic and saute for 5 min. until lightly browned.

3. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

4. Transfer the mixture to a food process and process until smooth.

5.  Add half a beaten egg to the mixture and process again until incorporated.

6.  Now add the ground almond and all the spices and the salt and pulse to mix.

7.  Add the meat and process until the ingredients are fully mixed and the meat thoroughly minced.  If the mixture looks stiff, add the rest of the egg.

8.  Transfer the kebab mix to a bowl and refrigerate for an hour so that the flavors blend and the mixture firms up a bit.

9.  Heat the grill to a medium heat.

10.  Mould the kebabs onto skewers in sausage shapes about 4-6 inches long.  (Do not despair if they dont adhere to the skewer.  You can simply make patties out of the meat and eat as an upscale hamburger).

11. Grill covered for about 10 min.  turning once to ensure even cooking. Uncover the grill, turn up the heat and char for a few minutes.

12 Slide off the skewer and squeeze a few drops of lemon juice before serving.

13.  Serve with a rice pilaf, raita/yogurt dip or any Indian flat bread.

Posted in Asian, Indian Food, Main Dishes, Meat, middle eastern | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Chermoula (Moroccan cilantro pesto)

Posted by fourclankitchen on March 12, 2011

I count Moroccan food among the 10 great cuisines of the world.  I also love dips made out of fresh leafy greens.  So when I hear about Moroccan chermoula (a parsely-cilantro pesto of sorts), I had to try it.  This recipe was a consequence of web surfing and taken from a video posted by the chef of Tagine Dining Gallery in NY.  The chef, Hamid Idrissi, recommends eating this chermoula with steamed fish or  carrots.  I can vouch for chermoula and steamed carrots: they are absolutely marvelous.  I have also made chermoula by grinding carrots into it (this was  lovely).  I bet it would be great with any flat bread.  Finally, today was one of our first warm days.  So we had cold pasta with steamed vegetables and chermoula.  I have posted a photo below, but really no recipe is needed.  Just throw in whatever vegetables you have and dress the pasta with the chermoula and pine nuts.


6-7 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tbs. cumin

1/2 bunch parsley (about 3/4 cup)

1 large bunch of cilantro (about 1 cup)

Juice of 1 lemon juice (about 1 tbs)

2 tbs. white vinegar

1 tbs. olive oil

Salt to taste


Put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender.  Pulse till a pesto like paste forms.  Taste and adjust the salt and lemon.  You are good to go.

Posted in Brunch, Main Dishes, middle eastern, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Chick Peas and Chard

Posted by fourclankitchen on October 4, 2010

Fried chick peas have taken off as a concept in the blogosphere.   I am seeing some recipes out there where a little extra oil is used so that the chick peas are nearly fried and have that satisfying crunch that comes with frying.  I have added chard to the dish and have combined Indian and Irani spices to get a quick weeknight meal.

1 can of chick peas (use the kind that have been cooked in salt- they taste better)

5 leaves of chard, leaves and stems chopped coarsely (substitute with spinach or kale if that is what you have on hand)

3 tbs. oil

½ tsp cumin seeds

¼ tsp turmeric powder

¼ tsp coriander powder (optional)

½-1 tsp sumac powder

lime/lemon juice to taste

Salt to taste

Heat 1 tbs. oil in a thin walled cast iron wok, until hot. Add cumin seeds and chopped pepper to the oil and allow to sputter and turn fragrant. .  Add the chard, then add the turmeric, cumin and coriander powder .  Rapidly stir fry at high heat:  5-7 min till the chard  softens, but is still crunchy (think Chinese stirfry).  Remove the contents of the wok to a large bowl and add the remaining oil to the wok.  Let the oil smoke, then add the chick peas and stir fry at high heat about 5 min.  Return the chard etc to the wok and quickly stir fry for 1-2 min more.  Taste and adjust the salt. Add a squeeze of lemon and the sumac.  Mix and serve with any flatbread (naan, tortilla etc) and maybe a raita (this website has a recipe).

Optional.:  If you have time, you can add ½ onion, ¼ tsp ginger, grated and 2 cloves garlic to this dish before you add the chard. Saute for 5 min, then add chard.  Omit  if you are busy or feeling lazy (what I did).

Posted in Asian, Indian Food, Main Dishes, middle eastern, Side Dishes, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Hummus with cilantro and thai bird peppers

Posted by fourclankitchen on April 2, 2010

I have tried making hummus in many different ways, but this partially Indianized version is my favorite. In addition to the traditional hummus ingredients, this contains ginger, thai bird peppers and cilantro. This adds both a kick and a freshness to the hummus which is missing from the store bought, olive oil laden, bland stuff. For this batch, I cooked the chick peas from scratch and used cilantro from my yard- delicious.

So here is how I do it:

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas ( and about 2-3 tbs of the cooking water). I salt the chick peas when cooking them in the slow cooker on low for about 10 hours). You can used canned chickpeas if you like.

1 thai bird pepper (optional)
3 medium sized garlic cloves (use less if you don’t like garlic)
½ “ piece of ginger

1 tbs. sesame or olive oil.
2 tbs. tahini (sesame paste)
½ to 1 tsp salt (or to taste)

¼ cup cilantro
1 lime (~3 tbs. juice or to taste)

Mince ginger garlic and the pepper in the food processor. Then add the chick peas, tahini and oil and process until smooth. Add the lime and cilantro and whiz the processor till the cilantro is chopped into little bits, but not fully pureed. Then add the lime and the salt (start with 1/2 tsp and work your way up) and briefly pulse the processor, just enough to mix all ingredients evenly. Serve with heated naan, pita chips or any bread product you like.

Posted in condiments, middle eastern, Side Dishes, Uncategorized, vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

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