A Middle Eastern feast was in the horizon. The Epicurious Kids wanted to celebrate the late spring harvest and early summer delights. What better choice that an exotic take on a Middle Eastern ratatouille Libyan-style – Chakchouka, light and airy arabic pizza and tasty grill of Simsim Daj.
To each his own veggies
Lahma Bi Ajeen is the United Arab Emirates version of an arab pizza. What kid can resist any local take on the beloved pizza? This meal had many steps for different dishes and Inigo was up for the challenge. “Tristan you prep the veg while I begin working on the dough.” Surprise, surprise. The chicken legs were marinated in a mix of home-mixed zatar spices with a squeeze of lemon and chopped coriander. “The spices need time to marinate the chicken.” explained Tristan.
Pizza with a twist
The exotic Chakchouka was Tristan main task, He patiently cut, sliced, diced 3 colours of bell peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplants, green beans and onions. Inigo mixed the meat mixture for the Lahma Bi Ajeen. He pre-baked the dough to prevent a soggy bottom, and threw in chopped tomatoes and coriander onto the pizza. After a few hours of marinating, the chicken and chicken merguez were thrown onto the grill. Quick and easy!
Chakchouka and Yellow Rice
Timing had to be perfect, with the Arabic pizza coming fresh out of the oven, the succulent grilled meats piping hot and the crunchy Chakchouka and fluffy pilaf just ready for hungry mouths. “It´s funny how the flavours taste exotic, spicier, but there is something so familiar with all these dishes!” remarked Tristan.
Aye! Aye! captain!
Crazy for Calamari!
A Middle Eastern feast was in the cards for Epicurious Kids. They invited their neighbor Hussein for dinner and were excited to impress him with their cooking skills. The dinner was going to be exciting with many dishes to prep for, cook and plate all at once. “It´s like we are in Iron Chef, mom,” Inigo says excitedly “We have 1 hour to make all these dishes…
The daily curry grind
The curry was time-consuming with many steps, toasting of the spices on the pan, grinding it by hand while adding the garlic. Tristan was not completely convinced it would make a difference. “This is not easy, grinding it is hard!” he complained. “But it smells awfully fragrant!”
This is how I stir my curry
To each his own dish
The Tunisian dish Mantiq Hammer was the favourite to prepare, it was simple. The sheer idea of calamari was making the Epicurious Kids´tastebuds tingle. They quickly agreed to divide cooking tasks to get the dishes done faster. “You finish of the curry sauce and bake the fish, and I will flash fry the calamari in the turmeric mixture.” instructed ever-focused Inigo to his big brother.
Check out my wrist action
Hurry with the curry!
Once the fish curry was out of the oven, the delicious smell of spices filled the kitchen making Inigo´s mouth water. “I can´t wait to taste the delicious fish curry!” Tristan beamed proudly, “it smells like heaven, and it was worth all the grinding and extra steps!” The doorbell rang, “It´s Hussein!” they both chorused. Dinner served.
Kuwait Fish Curry
One of mommy´s first dishes as a 12 year-old was beef stroganoff. Of course, probably not so authentic since she got her recipe from an american cookbook borrowed from the local library. So naturally, we thought that this should be our Russian dish!
The dish apparently came from Count Stroganoff when he was camping out in the frozen winter in Siberia. The only thing available were the frozen meat, sour cream and some vegetables. This was the reason, the meat was cut into thin strips. Here is where Inigo´s expertise comes in.
Inigo was a master in concentrated cutting. He was precise like a surgeon with his knife and patient like a priest in his methods.
Adding the meat
After all the cutting and dicing, the Epicurious Kids were ready to cook. Zucchini was peeled, sliced and cut into matchsticks. Tristan was practicing his patience in this arduous task. Mushrooms were added to the mix.
Inigo not a big mushroom fan, wrinkled his nose and said, “do I have to eat that mommy?” Tristan looked at him rather sternly and said, “Of course Inigo, you cannot be a gourmet if you don´t like mushrooms!” Good one.
After a stir, the sour cream was added to the mixture and the heat was turned off. Done!
Inigo fastidiously plated the dish and garnished it with tomatoes and fresh cut chives. Was this better than mommy´s version?
The Epicurious Kids agree, that their dish reigns supreme!
A dish fit for a Czar!
How did I get soooo good at this?!