Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Arabic Summer Spread

Tuna Rice: 

- Basmati rice (1 1/2-2 cups depends on the size of your family) 
- 1 small chopped onion (if you don't like the texture of the onion like some members of my family just throw in a peeled onion bulb in tact and then remove it later)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 green pepper finely diced (if you like spice add jalapeno? also crushed red pepper)  
- 1 small can of tomato paste
- 2 cans of tuna (in oil, preferably the kind you find at a middle eastern store, or even a good brand in oil) 
- Stock or water
- Salt & black pepper
- Pinch of allspice and ground clove
- A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
- A few tbsp oil + oil from the tuna can

Wash and soak rice in advance, at least 30 minutes before cooking, I used tilda basmati.

Fill and boil kettle.

Chop vegetables like onion, green pepper. 
Heat oil in the pot, add vegetables and sautee until translucent, add chopped garlic frying until fragrant, at this point add tomato paste to caramelize and fry in the oil which will remove the raw flavour.
Season with salt (1 tsp per cup of rice, if tuna is salty reduce salt in recipe) 

Add black pepper to taste, and a pinch of both ground allspice and ground clove (if you only have one or the other use it) 

Drain rice and add to pot frying around, be careful not to break the rice grains, the objective here is just to get the oil coating the rice a bit. 

Add enough water (or stock, water is fine here though) to cook the amount of rice you're cooking. 

At this point when it looks all ready for simmering I add in the can of tuna (oil and all), keeping the tuna in tact and just laying it over the top of the rice (do not mix it or it'll flake into small pieces) and then cover and simmer until rice is cooked.

Remove from heat and gently using a spoon turn the rice over bringing the bottom to the top with a large flat spoon being careful not to mush up the tuna but arrange large pieces on top or throughout the rice. You could transfer it and arrange the rice on a platter to cool better.

Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Items on the menu above:

Lamb koftas (ground lamb, thyme, chopped mint, chopped cilantro, mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, salt & black pepper, with a tad bit of egg and breadcrumb to keep it in tact)

Beef tenderloin tikka: beef, olive oil, salt, black pepper, lemon juice, marinade and grill.

Tabouleh salad: Soaked fine bulgar wheat, chopped parsley, cubed tomato, finely diced green onion, olive oil, lemon juice, salt

Grilled peaches: Grill ripe but firm peach halves on grill (flesh side down) for a few minutes to achieve a grilled mark and to caramelize sugars in fruit.  Sprinkle with brown sugar and add a scoop of french vanilla ice cream.

Apricot turnovers:  Roll out store bought frozen puff pastry and cut into squares, add a spoon of apricot jam and fold over into a triangle, egg wash the top and sprinkle with coarse sugar.  Bake at 375 F until puffed and broil a few seconds at the end.   Garnish with fresh apricots in season. 

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