Whether it’s thanks to my aversion to cooking, or the fact I’m lucky enough to work for the leading foodservice agency and some of the industry’s top brands (let’s go with that one), I eat out A LOT. Thai, Indian, Mexican, Italian, Japanese – if the food’s good, I’m not fussy when it comes to cuisines.
I do however, have a particular favourite at the moment – Middle Eastern. Having been lucky enough to spend some time in Israel earlier this year, trying all the region has to offer, I want to pass on my top foodie picks to anyone that will listen!
Shakshuka: My all time favourite brunch dish that I have also been known to eat for dinner. Essentially it’s a one-pot dish consisting of baked eggs in a tomato sauce – then it’s up to the chef to add flair with spices, herbs, cheese, peppers and other vegetables as they wish. Serve with bread such as a sourdough or pitta and tuck in!
Hummus: The perfect snack or sharer, hummus is a dip usually made from mashed chickpeas and blended with tahini (a condiment made from sesame seeds), olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. It is often served on its own with pitta, or topped with meat, mushroom or egg. Be warned, servings in the Middle East are huge and will often be served as a main course.
Falafel: Thought to have been first created in Egypt, falafel is now a popular street food throughout the Middle East and is the second most common dish made from chickpeas (hummus is first). It’s usually shaped like a ball and eaten on its own, with salad or with pitta. I’m obsessed!
Shawarma: It may conjure up memories of the local kebab shop after a heavy night out but in the Middle East, shawarma is taken VERY seriously. Even at the lower end of the market, the meat used will be really high quality and is usually served with a free salad bar so diners can top with whatever extras they like.
Baba Ganoush: Apparently this roughly translates to ‘pampered papa’ and consists of aubergine, tahini, olive oil and various seasonings. Mezze (a selection of small dishes) is huge in the Middle East and baba ganoush, with its distinct smoky taste, will almost always be served as a dip.
Tabouleh: Another inclusion to a mezze, this is traditionally made of tomatoes, chopped parsley, mint, bulgur and onion then seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Salads are big over there and this is one of the most popular.
I could go on listing Middle Eastern favourites all day but sometimes, the beauty is in discovering new dishes for yourself. Do you have a favourite dish, or is there a Middle Eastern style restaurant in the UK you think we should try? Tweet us @jellybeanagency to let us know!