Tag Archives: Middle Eastern

Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Harissa Aioli and Dukkah

Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Harissa Aioli and Dukkah

Confession: I lived in New York City (Queens) for almost nine years and visited the major Union Square farmer’s market so few times as to be able to count them on two hands. Please don’t judge too harshly. It’s not that it isn’t a fantastic farmer’s market – it definitely is! – but I lived just far away enough to make getting there a serious pain, and there’s a huge Barnes & Noble a stone’s throw away, so I always got really distracted anyway. (We’re here for sour cherries. We’re here for sour cherr-BOOOOKKKKKSSSSS!!!!)

Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Harissa Aioli and Dukkah

Living in Hoboken is different, in that several different small farmer’s markets are readily accessible during summer and early fall months (since the entire city is a tad over 1 square mile), and aside from days I’ve been out of town, I don’t think I’ve missed a day yet. Which brings us to rainbow carrots.

Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Harissa Aioli and Dukkah

I keep seeing them, week after week, worming their way into my subconscious like the cleverest of ad campaigns. I caved a few weeks ago, made this superlative side dish with my purchase, and here we are.

Both times I made this, I know I made some kind of protein for the main dish, but I cannot remotely remember, as it was royally upstaged. Lamb chops, maybe? That does sound good…

Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Harissa Aioli and Dukkah

Anywho! This is incredible. Sweetness of the carrots, playing off the creamy, spicy aioli, all punctuated by the crunch of the dukkah. Such a beautiful dish. Enjoy!

Source: Seven Spoons by Tara O’Brady

3 tbs whole hazelnuts, skin on
1 tbs sesame seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
Kosher salt and black pepper
12 skinny carrots or 6 thin rainbow carrots sliced in half lengthwise, tops trimmed and scrubbed clean
Olive oil
¾ cup mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Juice of ½ a lemon
2 tsp harissa

Preheat your oven to 400 F and place a rack in the upper third of the oven.
First make the dukkah: in a small skillet over medium heat, toast the hazelnuts until lightly golden and aromatic, shaking the pan often, about 2 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a small bowl and set aside. Repeat the process with the sesame seeds, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds, toasting each separately, then adding each to the bowl with the hazelnuts. Set aside to cool completely.
In a mortar and pestle or small food processor, pound or process the hazelnut mixture into an unevenly textured mix. You want some little chunks, not a fine powder. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
On a sheet pan, toss the carrots with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast the carrots, turning once, about 15-20 minutes, until cooked through but not mushy.
While the carrots are roasting, make the aioli by whisking the mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, harissa, plus salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl until smooth. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
To serve, arrange the carrots on a serving platter. Sprinkle with as much dukkah as you like (you’ll likely have leftovers), then drizzle with aioli. Pass extra aioli at the table.

Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Rice with White Sauce #SundaySupper

Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Rice with White Sauce

Welcome to another Sunday Supper – our theme this week? Regional Specialties. Of where we currently live. Since moving last summer, I only barely live in New Jersey (I can literally see NYC from my outside my building), so I’m calling upon my nearly nine years living in Queens for this week’s recipe.

Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Rice with White Sauce

Queens is a very large and very diverse borough/county, and I lived in a particularly diverse neighborhood. Unlike some parts of Queens (i.e. Astoria, Jackson Heights, etc.) it was hard to pin down a predominant ethnicity in my area. But if I had to do so, I’d say it was Middle Eastern. We had two grocery stores within blocks of each other that featured halal meat sections, and a couple of halal street carts, which are also abundant all over Manhattan.

Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Rice with White Sauce

This is the typical meal you get from those halal street vendors. Spiced buttery rice topped with chopped chicken thighs, doused with a delicious yet mystifyingly simple white sauce, and dotted with harissa if you want it spicy. Shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes always adorn it on the side. It’s SO New York.

Halal Cart-Style Chicken and Rice with White Sauce

And this homemade version is hands down, the absolute best I’ve ever tasted. As Matt put it, “you’ve now ruined halal carts for me.” So bottom line, wherever you live, you must, must try this recipe, because it is unbelievably delicious. Enjoy!

Halal Cart Style Chicken and Rice with White Sauce

And don’t forget to check out the regional fare from the rest of my Sunday Supper crew! We’re from all over the place so this should be quite fun!

Source: Serious Eats, recipe by Kenji Lopez-Alt


2 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs chopped fresh oregano
1/2 tsp ground coriander
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat (6 to 8 thighs)
1 tbs vegetable or canola oil

2 tbs unsalted butter
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 cups long-grain or Basmati rice
3 scant cups chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tbs sugar
2 tbs white vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve:
Romaine or iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 large tomato, cut into wedges, or cherry tomatoes halved
Harissa-style hot sauce

For the CHICKEN: Combine the lemon juice, oregano, coriander, garlic, and olive oil in a blender. Blend until smooth. Season the marinade to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. Place the chicken in a 1-gallon zipper-lock bag and add half of the marinade (reserve the remaining marinade in the refrigerator). Turn the chicken to coat, seal the bag, and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours, turning occasionally to redistribute the marinade. Do not marinate the chicken longer than 4 hours or it will turn mushy.

Remove the chicken from the bag and pat it dry with paper towels. Season with kosher salt and pepper, going heavy on the pepper. Heat the oil in a 12-inch heavy-bottomed cast iron or stainless-steel skillet over medium-high heat until it is lightly smoking. Add the chicken pieces and cook without disturbing until they are lightly browned on the first side, about 4 minutes. Using tongs, flip the chicken. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the chicken is cooked through and the center of each thigh registers 165°F. on an instant-read thermometer, about 6 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Cook in batches if necessary, as you don’t want to crowd the pan and steam the chicken. You want them well-browned.

Roughly chop the chicken into 1/2- to 1/4-inch chunks. Transfer to a medium bowl, add the remaining marinade, cover loosely with plastic, and refrigerate while you cook the rice and prepare the sauce.

For the RICE: Melt the butter over medium heat in a large Dutch oven. Add the turmeric and cumin and cook until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add the rice and stir to coat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is lightly toasted. Add the chicken broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to low, and cook for 15-18 minutes without disturbing. Remove from the heat and fluff the rice with a fork. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.

For the WHITE SAUCE: In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, parsley, and 2 tsp black pepper. Whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt.

To SERVE: Return the entire contents of the chicken bowl (chicken, marinade, and all juices) to the skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. To serve, divide the rice, lettuce, and tomato evenly among four to six plates. Pile the chicken on top of the rice. Top with the white sauce and hot sauce, if desired. Serve immediately, passing extra sauce at the table.






Side Dishes:


Main Dish:


Plus Rhubarb Steamed Pudding and Favorite Regional Recipes from Sunday Supper Movement

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

Middle Eastern Chicken with Green Harissa #SundaySupper

Middle Eastern Roast Chicken with Green Harissa

Welcome to a special April Fool’s Day edition of Sunday Supper! Seeing as my family or origin were definitely pranksters, April Fool’s Day was quite up our alley. I’ve detailed our shenanigans in this post. However, my childhood experiences didn’t really help me in coming up with a recipe to share today, because things like putting cat food under scrambled eggs, or possibly putting um, “dietary supplements” in brownies, were not what Sunday Supper had in mind.

making green harissa

My first idea was something I randomly pulled on Matt, my English-pea-hating husband, a few years ago. This one is kinda cool: you take thawed frozen, or fresh blanched peas and place them on a pizza dough round with some minced garlic and olive oil. Then cover it with shredded cheese and pepperoni slices. Bake it off, and when you take that bad boy out of the oven, no one sees the peas. It just looks like a pepperoni pizza, so it would be an awesome, perfectly edible recipe to share today! But Matt was somehow less than enthused about repeating that experience (no, I didn’t tell him the peas were there before he took his first bite), so I decided to spare him the misery and brainstorm further.

Middle Eastern Roast Chicken with Green Harissa

I came up with this gem of a recipe, and the April-Fool’s-appropriate part is the green harissa. It looks mostly like pesto, but doesn’t taste a thing like it. It really is harissa paste that happens to be green, so I thought that worked for April Fool’s Day.

And this chicken, plus that homemade harissa, is really outstanding, with those deep, sharp flavors from garlic and za’atar spice blend and the piquant spiciness of the harissa. Fairly easy to pull off, too. So I hope y’all will enjoy it, on April Fool’s or whenever the mood strikes you. And be sure you check out the April Fool’s-worthy dishes my Sunday Supper gang has brought to the table today!

Middle Eastern Roast Chicken with Green Harissa

{One Year Ago: Shaved Asparagus and Spinach Salad; Veal Oscar}
{Two Years Ago: Cajun Crab Cakes with Jalapeno Tartar Sauce; Slow Cooker Refried Beans}

Source: adapted from Week in a Day by Rachael Ray


1 large clove garlic, minced
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
Zest of 1 lemon
Leaves from 1 large sprig of rosemary, minced
1 whole chicken (about 4 lbs.), spatchcocked (also called butterflied)
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Za’atar spice blend
Olive oil, for drizzling

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 small bunch of spinach leaves
2 fresh serrano or jalapeno chiles, seeded and rough chopped
1 large garlic clove, peeled and smashed
Juice of ½ a lemon
1 tsp ground cumin
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

Preheat your oven to 425 F.
In a small bowl, thoroughly combine the minced garlic, softened butter, lemon zest, and rosemary. Carefully loosen the skin over the chicken breasts and insert the softened butter mixture in between the breast skin and flesh. Season the skin side of the bird generously with salt and pepper, then place the chicken in a baking dish or large cast-iron skillet. Sprinkle liberally with za’atar. Drizzle with olive oil and rub it in to coat the chicken evenly.
Roast the chicken at 425 F for 15 minutes, to crisp up the skin; then lower the oven heat to 350 F and continue roasting until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of a breast reads 165 F, about an hour longer.
Meanwhile, make the harissa. Add the cilantro, spinach, chiles, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, plus salt and pepper to taste to the bowl of your food processor. Process until everything is minced and mostly uniform. With the machine still running, remove the feed tube and stream in the olive oil. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Set aside until time to serve.
Remove the chicken from the oven and sprinkle with a dash more za’atar, then transfer to a cutting board and let rest for a good 5-10 minutes.
Carve the chicken and serve with the harissa.



Sides & Snacks



Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Chicken Shawarma #SundaySupper

Chicken Shawarma in a pita

Welcome to Sunday Supper, where today we are all bringing you the theme of Middle Eastern Cuisine! I’m sure it goes without saying that my severely unadventurous childhood palate wasn’t the least bit willing to try such food, so this culinary area of the world is relatively new to me. But I must say, I quite like it! I’m certainly not a Middle Eastern cuisine expert by any stretch, but what I’ve tried I have immensely enjoyed.

assembly of chicken shawarma

I chose to make Chicken Shawarma for today’s post. Shawarma is a classic Arabic dish of meat or poultry that is marinated then roasted on a spit, usually all day, and shaved off little by little for serving, usually in a pita with a delicious white sauce. I don’t have a spit in my NYC kitchen – shocking I know – so I just grilled strips of chicken thighs over high heat.

chicken shawarma

So what made me pick shawarma? Because 1) it’s delicious, and 2) it carries warm and fuzzy memories with it. The first time I had it was in Christiania in Copenhagen. For anyone unfamiliar, Christiania is a neighborhood in Copenhagen that started off as a hippie commune back in the day. The goal was to live off the grid, be environmentally responsible, and build a like-minded community free of materialistic and governmental intrusion. Today, it’s mostly a tourist attraction and an ode to graffiti, Bob Marley dreadlocks, and marijuana. Now, technically, marijuana is still illegal in Denmark, so the official party line in Christiania is that they do not sell it or smoke it. One deep breath tells you that ain’t true.

Christiania, Copenhagen

Rows and rows of outdoor vendors have tables set up selling all manner of weed paraphernalia, but not any actual pot. Apparently to get the stuff you have to ask locals in the right way and they’ll lead you to the sale. Matt and I were well behaved and did not partake. We were just there to see the place.

graffiti in Christiania, Copenhagen

After walking around and, you know, breathing, for about a half hour, we realized we clearly didn’t need to buy anything to partake. We looked at each other like, “I know we just had lunch, but gosh, I’m really hungry for some reason.” So we found the food vendors: an outdoor area with picnic tables, live music (and by live music I mean some stoned guy strumming a badly made guitar and intermittently hitting the pitch on whatever indecipherable song he chose) and a loose semi-circle of food stalls set up. Most stalls had really long lines – can’t imagine why – so we got in the shortest one, which happened to be selling chicken shawarma!

Christiania, Copenhagen

We got a couple of pitas, took them to the picnic table and noshed on the deliciousness, all the while giggling at nothing in particular through our contact highs and just generally having a wonderful afternoon on vacation with each other. I loved recreating (most of) this experience at home. You know, minus the spit, “live music”, and the second-hand buzz. This dish is unbelievable. I don’t care who you are or what your experience level with Arabic food is, I promise you will LOVE this. It’s insanely delicious, and we were truly blown away. Try it soon, don’t smoke pot, and be sure to check out the rest of the Sunday Supper team!

Chicken Shawarma

{One year ago: Apple Jalapeno Cheddar Scones}

Source: adapted from Food & Wine Magazine, May 2011

2 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced and divided
3 tbs fresh lemon juice, divided
¼ cup olive oil
Kosher salt
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, visible fat trimmed and thinly sliced
1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
½ cup tahini (sesame paste)
½ cup mayonnaise
2 plum tomatoes, sliced
4 pita breads, warmed, cut in half, and each half split into pockets

In a large bowl, combine the cumin, oregano, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 tbs lemon juice, olive oil, and a generous pinch of kosher salt. Add the chicken and onion and let stand 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the white sauce. In a blender or mini food processor, combine the tahini with ½ cup water and the remaining garlic and remaining 2 tbs lemon juice. Puree until smooth. Add the mayonnaise and puree until very smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as needed. Season with salt and set aside.
Heat a large griddle or grill pan over high and let it get very hot. Add the chicken and onion, along with all the marinade. Cook over high heat, turning with tongs occasionally, until the meat and onion are charred and tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer to plates.
To serve, place chicken, onions, and tomato slices in the pita pocket and top liberally with white sauce.

Mezze {Appetizers}

Salata {Salads and Sides}


Halwa {Desserts}

Fattoush Salad


Happy Friday, y’all! Wow, it has been quite a week of dessert recipes here on The Texan New Yorker. Now I’m feeling somewhat obligated to close out the week with a salad, just to rebalance my nutrition karma.


Fattoush is a wonderful salad for many reasons, not the least of which is that it’s such a fun word to say aloud. Try it – fattoushhhh…. Yeah, it’s greatness. Anywho, fattoush is a Middle Eastern version of the Italian panzanella – bread salad. But the bread here is pita chips, which makes it all the more awesome.



The pita chips provide a satisfying crunch against the flavorful dressing and wholesome vegetables and salty feta. Matt and I both really enjoyed this one.


A few notes: I would highly encourage making your own pita chips, and I’ve written the recipe this way. It’s very easy, mostly hands-off, and I’ve never found a store-bought brand that even remotely rivals homemade. Secondly, there is one possible unusual ingredient in the salad dressing – pomegranate molasses. If you can find it, get it and use it, it’s delicious. If you can’t find it, you can make your own by boiling down pomegranate juice until it’s a syrup consistency; or you could just substitute balsamic vinegar. Either way, it’s delicious. Enjoy!


Source: adapted from Keys to the Kitchen by Aida Mollenkamp

2 pita breads
Olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tbs olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
2 tsp ground sumac
1 tbs honey
2 tsp pomegranate molasses (or balsamic vinegar)
¼ cup red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and black pepper
8 oz. romaine hearts, chopped or torn into bite-size pieces
1 plum tomato, seeded and roughly chopped
1 medium cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and chopped
¼ cup roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tbs roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 oz. crumbled feta

First, get going on the pita chips. Preheat your oven to 400 F. Cut each pita into 8 equal wedges. Drizzle some olive oil on a baking sheet. Lay the pita wedges on the baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with a little more olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Use your hands to loosely toss the wedges so they are all evenly coated with salt, pepper and oil. Spread them back out into a single layer.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until browned and crisp. You know they are done when you can tap a wedge with your fingertip and feel crispness and now sponginess. Remove from the oven and allow to cool until you can handle them.
Make the vinaigrette: in a small bowl, vigorously whisk all the ingredients together. Let it sit for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to marry.
Make the salad: place the lettuce in a large salad serving bowl, then scatter the tomato, cucumbers, mint and parsley over top. Drizzle the vinaigrette over top, then top with the feta. Crumble the pita chips over top. Toss all together and serve.

Baba Ghanoush

Like most people, I absolutely adore appetizers and I would subsist on them to the near exclusivity of everything else if I could. Alas, most are not so easy on the waistline. They tend to be carb-heavy and cheese-heavy, and many are best if deep-fried. And as a group, they tend to be light on the inclusion of nutrient dense vegetables. So I don’t make them nearly as often as I’d like. Which makes me feel kind of sad.

It was a great pleasure, then, to discover baba ghanoush several years ago. I feel no guilt for making a dinner out of this dish, as it’s mainly just pureed, grilled, spiced eggplant. Baba ghanoush is Middle Eastern (Lebanese, actually) in origin, so it should surprise no one who reads this blog that I hadn’t heard of it until moving to New York. I’ve taken quite a shine to Middle Eastern cuisine in recent years. I have to credit it with expanding my palate quite a bit. You can expect to see more Middle Eastern dishes here in the coming months.

Baba means “daddy” in Lebanese and ghanoush means “coquettish” or “pampered”. So there you have it: a pampered daddy, which is likely a (sort of) polite reference to a sultan of a royal harem, which means this dish may have originated in a harem. But, no one really knows for sure, and it’s delicious and healthy no matter where it comes from. And, even if it was born in those unsavory circumstances, it’s not like it’s the only beloved dish or ingredient to have some rather dark originations. Graham crackers, anyone?

The basic components of baba ghanoush are smoky eggplant, garlic and tahini (sesame paste). Beyond that, it usually includes lemon, various spices, and maybe some onion. Pita chips are what I’ve always used as a dipping vessel. This recipe is made spicy with harissa, but you can always omit it if you please.

Source: Global Kitchen, by Jeffrey Saad

1/2 tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsp caraway seed
4 Japanese or baby eggplants
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs finely chopped garlic
2 tbs chopped fresh mint
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp tahini
1 tbs harissa
Pita chips

In a dry pan over medium heat, toast the cumin and caraway seeds until you smell them, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Grind them to a fine powder in a spice or coffee grinder.
Turn on your grill to high heat. Once hot, place the eggplants on the grill and rotate occasionally until they are blackened. Let cool.
While the eggplants are grilling, in a medium skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once it is hot, add the garlic and mint and cook for 30 seconds, just until you can smell the garlic. Remove from the heat and transfer to a food processor.
Peel the eggplants and discard the stems and skins. Put the flesh (you should have about 2 cups) in the food processor with the garlic and mint. Add salt, tahini, harissa, and ground spices. Depending on how you like your dip, either pulse-chop until combined but still chunky, or puree until completely smooth. I like mine very smooth, but either way is fine. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the food processor bowl to make sure everything is evenly combined, regardless of your desired texture.
Put the dip in a serving bowl and garnish with an extra small drizzle of olive oil. Serve with pita chips alongside. This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It’s best eaten at room temperature.