Algerian Kefta (Meatballs)
This simple meatball dish is delicious, rich, and fresh. It was taught to me by my Algerian husband, one of his favorites from home. The tomato sauce can be used for anything and the amounts of flavors can be adjusted. I like a lot of garlic and pepper. I have also found halal hamburger to be much leaner and lighter than regular. You can find it at international food stores and halal butcher shops in bigger cities. Serve this dish with a French baguette.
Al Kabsa - Traditional Saudi Rice and Chicken
This was the first Arabic dish I ever made and it turned out extremely delicious, a new favorite! Serve Al Kabsa with a fresh mixed cucumber, carrot, lettuce, and tomato salad -- preferably with a little lime vinaigrette. Some fresh pita bread on the side would be nice also. Saudis like their Kabsa with a hot sauce called 'Shattah'. Enjoy!
Afghan Beef Raviolis (Mantwo)
This is a time consuming recipe, but it's worth it! This dish always sells out at a well-known Afghan restaurant nearby.
Chef John's Falafel
Unlike most of America's other favorite fast foods, falafel is rarely attempted at home, which is a shame, since it's very simple to do, and even a relative novice like me can get some very decent results. One word of warning: you do need to know you're going to have a craving for this a full day before you actually want to eat it.
Chakchouka (also called shakshouka) is a Tunisian and Israeli dish of tomatoes, onions, pepper, spices, and eggs. It's usually eaten for breakfast or lunch, but I think it's tasty anytime. And it's easy to make. It is similar to the Turkish dish 'Menemen' and to the Latin American breakfast dish 'Huevos Rancheros.'
An Egyptian spice blend that is wonderful. The more you eat it the more addictive it becomes. Serve with toasted crusty bread (Turkish bread is great for this), and olive oil. Dip bread into olive oil, then into the hazelnut mixture and enjoy this unique and addictive mix.
Lentils and Rice with Fried Onions (Mujadarrah)
This may sound like a plain recipe, but believe me, it's wonderful! It is an easy-to-make Middle Eastern comfort food that combines lentils, rice and delicious fried onions. The yogurt really gives it a super flavor!
Ash-e-jow (Iranian/Persian Barley Soup)
I've seen a lot of recipes for this soup; however, my mother-in-law adds tomato paste for a bit of a different flavour and she doesn't add any lentils or beans. It's thick, filling, and delicious, and you could make it vegetarian by using vegetable stock.
Bazlama - Turkish Flat Bread
Bazlama is a simple and delicious village bread that I learned to prepare after moving to Turkey. Normally it is cooked in an outdoor oven but it works just as well on the stove top. It's best served warm.