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Wanted: Vegetarian Recipes from Mid-East, Turkey, Pakistan, etc.

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi gang,

 

I'm looking for some vegetarian recipes from the Mid-East, Turkey, Pakistan, etc.  It would be a bonus if you have any background on the recipe, such as where it's from, info on any hard-to-find ingredients, etc.

 

Thanks for any help,

Schmoozer
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Schmoozer
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post #2 of 10

Hopefully you can be a little more specific, Schmoozer, about the kinds of veggies you'd like.

 

A good case could be made that those related cuisines are more vegetarian than not. So, what's your pleasure?

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #3 of 10

There are plenty of traditional vegetarian recipes from those areas.  Lots of stuff with chick peas (hummus, falafel, some stew-like dishes i donlt know the names of), lots of stuff with lentils - lots of vegetable dishes in general.  Anywhere in the world where there are lots of poor people has a rich vegetarian cuisine!  As ky says, what are you looking for in particular?

 

YOu might be interested in the book Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi - it's not strictly speaking regional, but most of the recipes have influences of the southern mediterranean and eastward to persian.  And they;re all vegetarian recipes.  Unusual things like grilled eggplants with yoghurt or buttermilk and pomegranite seeds. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #4 of 10

Just to put a point on it, I opened Tess Mallos' classic The Complete Middle East Cookbook. Her chapter on Turkey has 33 vegetarian recipes; a few more if you include cheese as vegetarian. In the Persian (Iran) chapter there are 42.

 

Etc. Etc. And so forth.

 

The thing to understand, too, is that the Turkish influence extends from eastern Italy around through the MidEast, and across the Maghreb to the Morrocan border. So there is a lot to choose from, especially when you look at Italo/Turkish; Grecko/Turkish, and Maltese/Turkish blendings. Egypt is part of the MidEast, don't forget, but has a vegetarian cuisine of it's own.

 

Then superimpose Persian influences over all that, to further broaden the "MidEastern" concept..

 

Pakistan has a similar base of influences. Essentially, look at Pakistan, directly, plus the Muslim (and other vegetarian) cuisines of India.

 

And, if that's not enough to keep you busy.......

 

By the way, there are, surprisingly, relatively few hard to find ingredients when it comes to the cuisines you mention. Trying to find various spice mixes may require mail ordering them. But the fact is, the vast majority of them are mixed at home, and you can do the same.

 

I can't speak for Pakistani food, cuz I'm not all that familiar with it. But for the balance of the cuisines you mentioned, I'd say Z'ataar and Sumac (one of its ingredients) will likely be the most difficult to find locally. But, then again, you're in the Bay area, as I recall, so maybe it won't be difficult at all.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

Hopefully you can be a little more specific, Schmoozer, about the kinds of veggies you'd like.

 

A good case could be made that those related cuisines are more vegetarian than not. So, what's your pleasure?


Any kind of vegetable is fine ... we have a wide range of interests and taste.  Unusual or hard-to-find items are generally not an issue.

 

Tks!
 

Schmoozer
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Schmoozer
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post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by siduri View Post

There are plenty of traditional vegetarian recipes from those areas.  Lots of stuff with chick peas (hummus, falafel, some stew-like dishes i donlt know the names of), lots of stuff with lentils - lots of vegetable dishes in general.  Anywhere in the world where there are lots of poor people has a rich vegetarian cuisine!  As ky says, what are you looking for in particular?

 

YOu might be interested in the book Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi - it's not strictly speaking regional, but most of the recipes have influences of the southern mediterranean and eastward to persian.  And they;re all vegetarian recipes.  Unusual things like grilled eggplants with yoghurt or buttermilk and pomegranite seeds. 


I don't consider lentils and chick peas vegetables although we eat them as part of the vegetarian aspect of our diet.  I am looking for recipes and ideas that would be "different," or even unusual for the US.

 

I'll look into the book - always a good resource.  Gracia,
 

Schmoozer
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Schmoozer
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post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

Just to put a point on it, I opened Tess Mallos' classic The Complete Middle East Cookbook. Her chapter on Turkey has 33 vegetarian recipes; a few more if you include cheese as vegetarian. In the Persian (Iran) chapter there are 42.

 

[...]

 

I can't speak for Pakistani food, cuz I'm not all that familiar with it. But for the balance of the cuisines you mentioned, I'd say Z'ataar and Sumac (one of its ingredients) will likely be the most difficult to find locally. But, then again, you're in the Bay area, as I recall, so maybe it won't be difficult at all.


Tks for the book reference.  Sounds like it's worth looking into.

 

Yes, I'm in the Bay Area, and ingredients are, for the most part, a non issue.
 

Schmoozer
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Schmoozer
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post #8 of 10

I don't consider lentils and chick peas vegetables

 

Thank you for proving our point. You'll have to tell us what you consider vegetables to get cogent answers.

 

By and large, vegetables found in Mideastern cooking aren't particularly offbeat. How they are handled may be strange,  but the foodstuffs, in general, won't be. Lots of use of eggplants, and cucumbers, and squashes, and greens. Herbs are often used as vegetables (as in the famed Lebanese parsley salad). Fava beans are quite commonly used, but, if you don't consider chickpeas as vegetables than you probably exclude beans as well.

 

Vegetables are often converted into dips, spreads, and purees.

 

Grains, such as bulghur and rice, are an important part of MidEastern cuisine. But, again, may stretch your definition of vegetable. Potatoes are suprisingly popular. To Persians, melons had an almost spiritual significance, and that facination continues in Iranian cookery.

 

If you can find a copy of Tess' book it will serve you in good stead as an introduction to the foods of the region. After a quite thorough introdution to the basics of Middle Eastern cooking, and a run-down of common ingredients, she then takes a specific look at: Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Armenia, Seria-Lebanon-Jordan, Iraq, the Gulf States, Yemen, Egypt, Iran, and Afghanistan. Quite a bit to keep you busy.

 

The downside is availability. It was first published in the U.S. in 1993, and I have no idea whether it's still in print or not.

 

Perhaps it would be helpful to list what she considers "exotic" vegetables of the region:

 

Okra, Globe Aritichokes, Eggplant, Spinach and Silverbeet, Parsley, and Preserved Grape Vine Leaves. As you can see, there's not much truly exotic about any of them.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

I don't consider lentils and chick peas vegetables

 

Thank you for proving our point. You'll have to tell us what you consider vegetables to get cogent answers.

 

[...]

 

If you can find a copy of Tess' book it will serve you in good stead as an introduction to the foods of the region. After a quite thorough introdution to the basics of Middle Eastern cooking, and a run-down of common ingredients, she then takes a specific look at: Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Armenia, Seria-Lebanon-Jordan, Iraq, the Gulf States, Yemen, Egypt, Iran, and Afghanistan. Quite a bit to keep you busy.

 

The downside is availability. It was first published in the U.S. in 1993, and I have no idea whether it's still in print or not.

 

Perhaps it would be helpful to list what she considers "exotic" vegetables of the region:

 

Okra, Globe Aritichokes, Eggplant, Spinach and Silverbeet, Parsley, and Preserved Grape Vine Leaves. As you can see, there's not much truly exotic about any of them.


Since I am not very familiar with the cuisines in question, I don't know what vegetables, by anyone's definition, are found in the area.  Since we eat and are intyerested in most any vegetable, all suggestions of the group would probably be relevent.  Spices and techniques, maybe even cookware, ideas are most welcome.

 

The book is available on Amazon and is easy to find on the various used book sites.

 

Thanks!
 

Schmoozer
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Schmoozer
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post #10 of 10

Well, as I said, there aren't a whole lot of "exotic" veggies used in the area. And you seem to be differentiating "vegetables" from "vegetarian."

 

We stopped at our favorite Lebanese restaurant for lunch, today, and had the buffet. Here are some of the non-meat dishes that were out:

 

Olive Salad

Lebanese salad (cukes, tomatoes, romaine, mint, parsley)

Fatoush (Toasted Bread salad) (carrot, romaine, cucumber, tomato, radish, scallion, red bell pepper)

Chickpea salad

Tabbouleh (Parsley Salad)

Hummus

Tuan

Falafal (Chickpea Fritters)

Carrot & Potato with Garlic

Zucchini Fritters

Lentil Soup

Rice Pudding

 

As you can see, pretty common veggies: tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, potatoes, radishes, green and common onions, peppers, squash, eggplant. Chances are if I name any vegetable from the region you probably have eaten it, or recognize it with no trouble.

 

Here's a simple salad that is found everywhere in the region, with minor variations.

 

Cucumber-Tomato Salad

 

2 cucumbers, sliced

2-3 tomatoes, sliced

Cumin seed, toasted and coarsely broken

Salt

Freshly squeesed lemon juice

Extra virgin olive oil

 

Arrange the cucumbers and tomatoes on a plate, overlapping them slightly. Squeeze lemon juice over the veggies. Squiggle olive oil over the veggies. Sprinkle veggies with cumin seed and salt.

 

Fried zucchini is another dish that's common through the region, with, of course, site-to-site variations. Here's a Turkish version:

 

Fried Zucchini

(Kabak Kizartmasi)

 

3 large zucchini

Salt

1/2 cup flour

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

 

Cut the zucchini in half the long way, peel them, seed them if desired, and cut into 1/8th inch half moons. Salt the slices well and let sit in a bowl of water about half an hour. Rinse well to remove the salt, and pat dry with paper towels.

 

In a large bowl mix 1/2 cup water witht he flour and stir to make a thick paste. Place the zucchini in the paste and mix well.

 

In a large skillet, heat the oil. Remove the zucchini from the paste and frey them, in batches, being careful not to crowd the pay. Fry, turning as necessary, until golden brown on both sides. Drain well and serve with Yogurt Sauce.

 

Yogurt Sauce

(Sarmisakli Yogurt)

 

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp salt

1 cup plain yogurt

 

Crush galic in a mortar with the salt. Add it to the yogurt. Mix well and cover. Chill at least 20 minutes until flavors blend.

 

Beets aren't always associated with the MidEast. But they're more common that you might think. Here's a recipe from Egypt:

 

Beetroot With Garlic Dressing

(bangar bi-i-toom)

 

2 1/4 pounds beetroot

Garlic dressing

 

Boil beetroot until very tender, about 1 hour. Drain, cool, peel, and cut into small cubes, thin slices, or fingers. Set aside two tablespoons of the boiled water and discard the rest. Add the garlic dressing to the cooled water, pour over beetroots, and mix gently and thoroughly.

 

Garlic Dressing

(Salsit Khall Bi-i-toom)

 

10-15 garlic cloves

1 tbls vinegar

Salt

 

Crush garlic with salt until ver smooth. Add vinegar and blend well.

 

From Israel comes:

 

Potato and Leek Patties

 

1 1/2 cupscold mashed potatoes

1 small onion, finelychopped

1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/4cup plus 2 tbls all purpose flour

2 large eggs, lightly beating

2 1/2 tbls butter, melted and cooled

3-4 medium leeks, mostly whites, with a small amount of green, roots removed

Salt and pepper to taste

Oil for frying

 

In a large bowl mix together the potatoes, onion, garlic, flour, eggs, butter and 1/4 cup water. Mix well and let the mixture rest about half an hour.

 

Remove the tough outer leaves from the leeks, wasth them well. Slice into 1-inch pieces and boil for five minutes. Immediately shock them in ice water to stop the cooking. Squeeze out the excess water and chope the leeks. Add them to the potato mixture and mix well, along with slat and pepper to taste.

 

In a large skillet, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan and place large spoonfuls of the mixture into the ot oil. Cook until brown on the bottom, turn, and cook until firmand brown on the other side. Drain well on paper towels and serve.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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