Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Maritimer's vegan take on Egyptian cuisine

A couple of years ago, I spent some time testing, tweaking and sometimes (when needed) veganizing some Egyptian recipes I found across the internet. In some cases, I took 2-3 or more similar recipes and sort of merged them according to my taste buds. The experiment culminated in a scrumptious feast that left even a really fickle omni friend delighted (and stuffed). Here are a couple of the recipes; I'll have to dig out the others over the weekend.

Orange & Olive Salad with Cumin

What you need:

8 oranges, peeled and with the white pith removed, sliced (or in segments)
3/4 cup good quality black olives*, cut in half and pitted
1 red onion, sliced very thinly
juice of one medium-sized lemon
1/2-1 tsp ground cumin (to taste)
a pinch of cayenne (or more to taste)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs olive oil

What you do:

Toss together the oranges, olives, onion. Mix together the lemon juice, cumin, cayenne and crushed garlic and then mix into oil. Toss with the rest of the ingredients, salt and pepper to taste, chill (you don't really have to, but I did and liked that the ingredients had a longer chance to marinate) and serve. Serves 6.

* Don't skimp on the olives by getting those canned rubbery things.

Couscous with Currants and Cumin

What you need:

1 cup water
1 cup couscous
1/2 cup currants (or raisins)
2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs fresh ginger, finely grated
1 tsp cumin seed, toasted
the grated zest from one orange
1 Tbs fresh cilantro, finely chopped
hot chili flakes

What you do:

In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Stir in the couscous and currants. Cover and remove from heat to let stand for around 5 minutes. During this time, heat the olive oil in large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger. Sauté 3 minutes or until tender and then add the cumin seeds. Sauté an additional minute. Fluff the couscous and currants with a fork, then stir in the onion mix, the zest and the cilantro. Add salt and hot chili flakes to taste. Serves 3-4.

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