Although Middle Eastern cuisine has gained immense popularity throughout the world, many people’s experience of the region’s food remains limited to the mainstream. However, for those who whish to breake routine, Middle East cuisine offers a range of delicious and unusual dishes, each reflecting the diversity of the region. Check out 5 dishes from the region that probably you have never heard of.
Camel meat is abundant in the Middle East, particularly in the Gulf area, where camels are reared for their meatand leather. In the larger urban areas, camel meat is considered a luxury item and is rarer and more expensive, yet in more rural areas, camel meat is considered an everyday staple.
A very popular Iranjan dish, fesenjoon is famed for its delicate yet striking juxtaposition of flavors and use of fresh ingredients. The dish is a traditional Iranian khoresh (or stew) and consists of tender cubes of chicken cooked in a sauce made of freshly ground walnuts and thick pomegranate syrup over several hours, allowing the chicken to absorb the walnut oil and resulting in a thick, creamy texture with just the right amount of bite.
Another example of the region’s excellent street food, ghoulal is Moroccan inspired snail soup, typically made in large silver pots by the side of the street and ladled out, steaming, for queues of eager customers. The snails used are land snails, which are boiled in their shells in a tasty, spicy broth flavored with cumin, ginger, tarragon and fennel seeds.
In Lebanon, hindbeh – or dandelions – can be eaten fresh as part of a salad or as a garnish.They can, however, also be served as a delicious hot mezze. The dandelion leaves are soaked and boiled in water to create a soft, mushy consistency, and then drained and fried in olive oil until dry and tender.
Another unusual appetizer, kashk-e bademjan is an essential item at Iranian gatherings and parties, served as a dip alongside warm flat bread. kashk-e bademjan has two main ingredients; bademjan, or aubergines, which are fried until very soft and mixed with kashk. Kashk is often translated as whey, and is a fermented dairy by-product with a sharp, distinctive taste and yogurt-like consistency.