Recipes from the Middle East & beyond

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Broad Beans with Garlic, Dill & Eggs – Baghala Ghatogh

(Serves 4 as part of a Mezze)

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 garlic bulb, cloves bashed and thinly sliced
  • 1 kg (2 lb 4oz) podded fresh or frozen broad beans, skins removed
  • 3 tsp turmeric
  • Generous tsp sea salt flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 x 20g packets of dill, stalks and leaves, finely chopped
  • Knob of butter (about 25g/ 1oz)
  • 4 large free-range eggs

Directions:

Heat a large deep frying pan over a low medium heat, add a generous drizzle of olive oil and sweat the garlic until it softens and becomes slightly translucent. Add the broad beans and increase the heat to medium, then add the turmeric, sea salt and some black pepper and stir well. After 5 minutes, mix in the chopped dill and cook for a further 8 minutes or so.

Add the butter to the pan and let it melt into the beans. Crack the eggs on to the surface of the beans in different areas and allow them to cook through using the heat from the beans. Give the pan a shake to distribute the egg whites. This will take about 15 minutes, at which point the beans will have changed from a bright green to a slightly more dull green – but don’t panic because this is how they should be. Serve this dish with Persian Flatbread which is perfect for scooping up the delicious garlicky beans and soft oozy eggs. Alternatively, serve with naan or flour tortilla wraps.

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Spice Salted Squid

Ingredients:

  • 700ml (1¼ pints) vegetable oil, for frying
  • 750g (1 lb. 10 oz.) baby squid (frozen works well)
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 3 tbsp sea salt flakes
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1½ tsp turmeric
  • 70g (2½ oz.) cornflour

Directions:

Put the oil in a large, preferably slightly deep, frying pan (or even in a cooking pot, if you prefer) over a high heat and allow it to get nice and hot, but do not let it smoke.

Meanwhile, cut the squid tubes into rings – up to about 1 cm (½ inch) thick is ideal – and leave the tentacles whole. Dry them as best as possible using a clean tea towel or kitchen paper and set aside.

Using a pestle and mortar, crush the peppercorns as best as you can, then add the sea salt and other spices and grind them until they are evenly combined. You don’t need to make a fine powder of the spices, so don’t worry about the odd chunks of broken peppercorns.

Combine the cornflour with the spice mix in a plastic sandwich or freezer bag and give the mixture a good shake to ensure the ingredients are evenly distributed. Add the squid and toss the flour and spices lightly over it without excessively handling the squid itself, as otherwise you will create a paste when the flour combines with the juice of the squid, which you want to avoid.

Shake off the excess flour from the squid pieces and fry them in batches, without overcrowding the pan too much. Cook each batch for about 1-1½ minutes, depending on the oil temperature, or until you can see them browning and becoming crispy. Using a slotted spoon, drain the squid on plates lined with kitchen paper and serve hot.

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Lamb Shank, Black Garlic & Tomato Tagine

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 2 large onions, roughly diced
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 6 lamb shanks
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 x 400 g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 6 large tomatoes, halved
  • 4 tbsp syrupy balsamic vinegar
  • 2 black garlic bulbs, cloves peeled

Directions:

Set a large saucepan over medium heat and add a good drizzle of olive oil. Fry the onions for a couple of minutes, then add the dry spices, followed by the lamb shanks and stir well. Seal the shanks on all sides until lightly browned, then fold the onion-and-spice mixture over them again and season well with sea salt and black pepper. Add the bay leaves, thyme, canned and fresh tomatoes and balsamic vinegar, then pour in just enough water to cover the meat. Reduce the heat to low-medium, place the lid on the saucepan and cook for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes to prevent sticking.

Once cooked, add the soft black garlic cloves, plunging them into the sauce. Add a little more water to the pan if needed. Taste the tagine and adjust the seasoning, if desired, then cook the shanks for a further hour without the lid on before serving.

Source: Persiana Recipes from the Middle East & Beyond by Sabrina Ghayour

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