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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Manaqish bi'l Za'tar

A very popular and delicious flatbread from the mideast.
Wonderful for lunch or something to snack on. I was able to find all the herbs I needed to make this from Penzeys Spices in Seattle. I absolutely love the selection of spices that they have!

(prep time 2 hours)
(bake time 3 mins per flatbread)
(serves 6-8)

Za'tar 4 Tbs 
(this spice blend usually contains sesame seeds, marjoram, thyme and sumac)
Olive oil 6-8 Tbs  

Sumac 1 tsp *optional - Za'tar contains sumac but I like to add a little extra 

Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.


All purpose flour 2 cups + some for dusting
Olive oil 2 Tbs
Whole milk 3 Tbs
Sugar 1 Tbs
Salt 1/2 Tbs
Active dry yeast 1 tsp
Warm water 2/3 cup

Combine all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and mix well.
Add the oil and rub it in.
Now pour in the water and knead to make a dough.
I use my hands so it take me about 8-10 mins, I am sure in a food processor it will be quicker.
Transfer the dough in a lightly greased bowl and lightly cover it with saran wrap.
Let this sit in a warm dry place.
In about 2-3 hours the dough will be double in size.
Punch it down and sprinkle some extra flour, 2-3 tablespoons, and knead for another 2-3 mins.
Divide the dough into 8 parts.
Roll them into 7" round.
Spread some Za'tar on each round and bake until cooked.

How to bake

I have a pizza stone that I love to bake on.
Both the stone and the oven needs to be super hot to be effective.
So I start by setting the stone on the second shelf of the oven and then I pre-heat the oven to the highest setting, 550 degrees in my case.
I turn the oven off and turn on the broiler on high and let the stone sit under it for 10 mins.
Now I am ready to bake on it.
Before you start, turn the broiler to the low setting.
Slide out the shelf and place the bread on top of it, I like to use a paddle for this.
The bread will be cooked in 3 mins but keep an eye on it.
Use tongs or the paddle to remove the cooked bread from the stone.

Hope you like.

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Friday, December 16, 2011



Behold - Tamagoyaki
A Japanese rolled omelet.
I learned how to make it from this video.
The ingredients were in the subtitles and I guesstimated the amount.
I got the pan from Daiso for about $2. It was smallish, roughly 6" by 4",  and I was skeptical on how well it would work but it was able to handle 3 eggs okay, although something bigger would have been much better.


Eggs 3 Large
Mirin 1 Tbs
Light soy sauce 2 Tbs
Dashi 1/4 cup
(I got dashi in powdered form and I added about a tsp of it to 1/4 boiling water and then let it cool down)
Pinch of salt
I also added 1/2 plain white sugar
Oil for brushing


Just mix everything together in a large bowl.
I didn't pass the eggs through a sieve like in the video.
I took about 3 Tbs worth of the egg mixture and spread it over the hot pan.
Once the egg was slightly set I rolled it and then added more batter.
Kept doing that until I ran out of the batter.
Occasionally I would have to hold the pan away from the heat because it would get too hot.
And as the rolled eggs started to build up I had very little pan space left so it helped to lift up the cooked eggs a bit and let the uncooked eggs get beneath.
Here is a little video of me making it.
Definitely takes some getting used to.
It was tricky folding it, specially as the roll got fatter probably because the pan was too small.
I hope to get better at it and maybe for next time I will divide the batter and make 2 rolls :-)

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Somali Sambusa

(prep time 20 mins)
(cook time 10 mins)
(makes about 15 sambusas)

Ground lamb 1 Lbs
Garlic 2 tsp (minced fine)
Serrano chili 1 large (chopped fine) *optional
Flat leaf Italian parsley 1 cup chopped
Green onions (chopped) 1/3 cup
Ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp
Ground cardamom 1/8 tsp
Ground nutmeg 1/4 tsp
Coarse black pepper 1/4 tsp
Ground cloves 1/8 tsp
Sumac 1/2 tsp
Olive oil 3 Tbs
Canola oil for deep frying

I used samosa wrappers from KG Pastry for wrapping these. This wrapper is different from the Indian samosa wrap. I was able to buy it only at Halal Meats (the tiny store inside the plaza next to Apna Bazar in Bellevue)

I also folded a few of these in wonton wrappers and I have to say there is a difference.The wonton wrappers were much thicker than the samosa wrappers. And after frying the wontons seemed harder and the samosa wrappers seemed very delicate and more flaky.

TIP: If you'd rather bake these instead of deep frying phyllo dough might work great. However using phyllo might not save you calories because lots of butter goes between the layers unless you used a low cal spray.


Start by heating some oil in a frying pan.
Add the garlic and cook for about 30 to 45 seconds.
Add the beef, chilies and all the seasonings.
Cook until beef is done about 10-12 mins and make sure to break any lumps of meat with the back of a spatula.
Mix in the green onion and the parsley.
Allow this mixture to come to room temperature before you can start wrapping them.
I wished that the wrappers should have been atleast 12 inches long but the ones I had were only 8.5 inches.
So I wet the edges with some water and glued two wrappers together to make one long one.
Take about 2 Tbs of the mixture and wrap them in triangles.
Here is the video I learned from, however I just used plain 'ol water to seal the sambusa ends and not a paste like in the video.
Deep fry for 6 mins or until golden brown.
Super delish!

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