April is for Arab Food and I had to do it before the month comes to an end.
Middle Eastern cooking is fresh, wholesome, healthy, rich and aromatic -- this Arabic Pilau is a recipe from a Saudi Family in London that an uncle of mine was once acquainted with. The family would come during the British Summer months with their full entourage of helpers. My uncle would watch the Saudi Cook of the house make wonderful things and jot recipes down and then in turn he would share the recipes with the family. This is as traditional as it got .....
* 2 tbsp olive oil * 1 medium onion chopped * 1 medium onion chopped * 3 tsp garlic, crushed * 3 tsp ginger * 1kg lamb loin chops * 1 tsp cinnamon sticks * 1 tsp cardamom pods * 1 tsp pepper corns * 1 tsp cloves * 3 tsp ground black pepper * 3 tsp salt * ¼ teaspoon saffron filaments * 2 fresh tomatoes chopped * 4½ cups water * 2½ cups basmati rice or 500 g, washed and drained 1. Heat oil in a large pot. Fry onions with whole spices for 3-4 minutes or until golden in color then add garlic and and ginger and stir for another minute. 2. Add the lamb and fry for 5 minutes or until it becomes brown in color. Add black pepper and salt and cook the meat until half tender. Add the tomatoes stir for 1 minute and cook down until the meat is tender. 3. Add the rice and water bring to boil with occasional stirring, cover and simmer on low heat for 20-25 minutes or until rice is cooked. The Arabic Pilau as my uncle would tell us was traditionally served with a chopped potato salad mixed with peppers, red onion, sliced chili, corriander, mint and parsley. I typically air-fried the potatoes and tossed everything together with olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, sumac and salt. Fat free yoghurt mixed with mint, red onion and cucumber makes the perfect ensemble and binds all the flavors together.
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