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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mediterranean continues with Tzatziki Sauce

Continuing with my Mediterranean cooking, I came across an amazingly tasty sauce/dip. I was introduced to this dish by a new friend of ours. They had invited us for a potluck party at their place. The hostess send us three different cuisines and we were to choose from them. Majority of us chose the Mediterranean cuisine and I had to get Tzatziki Sauce and Shawarma chicken.


I had no clue what Tzatziki Sauce was. This was completely new to me. I knew this could be bought at store, but was determined to make it from scratch. So I set out on a research to find out on how this was made. Thats when I realized that it was very easy to make. Once I made them, it was totally worth the trouble. We loved it for its taste and being a healthy sauce. Thanks to our new friends for a wonderful party.

Tzatziki Sauce is made of Greek Yogurt. I hate Greek Yogurt even though its much healthier than the regular one. For me it tastes like liquid chalk, which is a weird description. I replaced with the regular yogurt, but there is a trick I found to get the same consistency. So lets go into the details of the method.

Ingredients:

Regular Plain Yogurt - 1 Can
Cucumber - 3 small nos
Lemon juice - 2 tbspn
Garlic - 3 cloves
Black pepper - 1 tsp
Dill - 2 tsp (chopped)
Salt - 1 tsp to taste



Method:

- The first step would be straining the liquid from the plain yogurt. You can do this by using a strainer. To be on the safer side I kept a tissue towel on the strainer and poured the yogurt on it. Keep this on a bowl to collect the excess liquid. Leave it in the fridge for atleast 5 hours. You may skip this step if using the Greek Yogurt.
-Peal the cucumbers and scoop out the seeds from them. Cut them into block pieces. Add some salt to this and put them in another strainer to drain the water. You may restrict the use of salt as we are adding it in cucumber at this stage. The salt helps to drain the water from it. Keep it aside for 30 mins.
-Fresh dill gives an excellent flavor to this sauce. You can find them in the greens section of the grocery store. You may also substitute dill with mint leaves. But that changes the flavor. Wash the dill and dry them with tissue towel.
-In a food processor/grinder, add the dill, garlic, cucumber, black pepper, lemon juice and grind them until the cucumbers are in fine bits.
-Transfer the mixture to the serving bowl and add the strained yogurt to this. Mix well. Add salt if required.



Tzatziki Sauce is ready. Its a healthy yummy tasting sauce/dip/spread. Pair it with anything, you will love them. Will be back soon with more recipes.

ENJOY!!!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hummus.. a Mediterranean Twist

Being a hardcore lover of Arabic/Mediterranean delicacies, entering into this New Year with one of my favorite dish. I was brought up in UAE and now you  know why I love these Arabic food. My favorites include Shawarma, Falafel, Chicken and Rice, Hummus, Rotisserie chicken and many more. Coming to US, one of the major things that I miss from Middle East is the food. But that doesn't stop me, whenever I get a chance would grab the opportunity to get hold of some authentic Mediterranean food. But it would be more fun to have your favorite delicacies served at home. That is when my experiments on this began and realized that preparing them is very simple unlike the Indian cuisine.

Lets start with Hummus. Its usually severed as an appetizer dip or spread. Hummus is also combined with Shwarma, Falafel or Pita-bread. Its one of the healthy dips which is high in iron, protein and fiber. This is also a good option for the vegetarians with Falafel. Most of you would have tasted the store bought Hummus. But did you realize this is one of the easiest dip anybody could make at home and get the same flavor and taste. Guys you would not believe how easily you can amaze your guests. Lets go into the recipe.



Ingredients:

Chick Peas (Garbanzo beans, Chana) - 2 cups
Tahini - 3 tbspn
Curd - 2 tbspn
Garlic cloves - 3 nos
Lemon juice - 1/2 cup
Salt - 1/2 tspn
Olive oil to garnish
Parsley to garnish

Method:

- Soak the chick peas overnight in water. Pressure cook them until 3 whistles/ they become tender. Let it cool.
- In a food processor/grinder, add the cooked chick peas, curd, tahini, garlic cloves, lemon juice and salt.
- Grind until it becomes a fine paste. If its really thick add a little water, about 1/4 cup or until desired consistency is reached.
- Scoop out the hummus into a dish, garnish with olive oil and fresh parsley. The hummus is ready!!.

* You may use the canned chick peas which is already cooked. This makes it much easier.
* You will find Tahini paste in any stores. However I made the paste at home. This is again simple, toast some sesame seeds in low flame. Once it becomes golden brown, grind it with oil until it forms a paste. You can store this upto a month in an air tight container.
* To spice up the hummus, add flavors like bell pepper/chilli powder/jalapenos etc with the other ingredients.


ENJOY!!! Will be back soon with more Mediterranean delicacies...