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Entries in dips (3)

Thursday
May052011

Middle Eastern mezze no.6: Baba ganoush

 

Back to the Middle East for a few days and then onto new things. The boyfriend will breathe a sigh of relief (a rather garlicky one); he does love a bit of mezze, but everyone has their limits.

Next on the list is baba ganoush, which I have just discovered means "My father is spoiled like a child by my mother". And I thought the Turkish version was a mouthful! I have also always called it a dip, but according to Mark Hix, in Turkey it is considered a salad,

You might think this is a dip, but I'm insisting it's a salad because that's what my local Turkish restaurant calls it. Their aubergine salat is more roughly chopped. My smoother version is one of my favourite mezze dishes, and forms part of a salady selection to start a meal with.

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Monday
Apr182011

Middle Eastern mezze no.5: Tzatziki

Yes, I know, tzatziki is Greek, and Greece is not technically Middle Eastern, but the Turkish word cacik (apart from looking like it reads ‘cat sick’) would be likely to return blank stares from most of my English speaking readership.

Tzatziki and cacik share the same core ingredients – yoghurt, cucumber, garlic, olive oil and salt. However, strictly speaking, they are not quite the same. Tzatziki is always of a thick consistency, while cacik is sometimes diluted with water and served as a soup. Tzatziki is usually flavoured with lemon juice, while cacik would use lime. Both can be flavoured with dill or mint, but only tzatziki occasionally contains parsley, while sumac or ground paprika are sometimes used to season cacik.

Here I give a recipe for a basic tzatziki. I tend to go with the less is more approach because I usually serve it with a selection of mezze dishes – tabbouli, hummous, spicy lamb mince, falafel – where the other herbs and spices make separate appearances. Nonetheless, I encourage you to play around with some of the above ingredients to make it your own, particularly if you are serving it as a standalone dip.

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Friday
Apr012011

Middle Eastern mezze no.1: hummous

 

One of my favourite of Dad’s meals from when I was younger was his Middle Eastern mezze selection – spicy lamb mince with pine nuts, falafel, tabbouli, hummous, babaganoush, tzatziki, olives and feta served with flatbread for making DIY wraps or just mopping up the juices.

This Middle Eastern medley is now a regular part of my own dinner time repertoire, mainly because I like taking the leftovers to work for lunch. I often break it out for parties too because the mezze style is great for picking and dipping, mixing and matching, forking or wrapping.

Over the next week or two I am going to share all of the above recipes with you so you can create your own mezze selection, and where better to begin than with what is arguably the most well-known and ubiquitous of Middle Eastern mezze – hummous.  

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