middle eastern cuisine - Adding rolled-in seasonings to pita bread

Usually when I make flatbread, I roll-in seasonings (ie: minced garlic and celery) before cooking. There doesn't seem to be a problem with the dough being too wet or doughy if I only use about a teaspoon of seasoning per ball, and only roll the seasoning into the dough once or twice. The rolled-in seasonings are my favorite part about flatbread- I prefer the thickness and fluffiness of pita much more. I tried combining the two by using my favorite pita recipe and rolling in seasonings before cooking. This completely changed the texture of my pi...Read more

middle eastern cuisine - What are some of the most important things to keep in mind, when making great falafels?

I am currently studying how to make great falafels. Currently I know that the amount of water added to the mixture afterwards is very important. Too little and they become dry, too much and they fall apart. What are your tips on getting the perfect ratio?Secondly, there seems to be a big difference when blending everything together and blending the ingredients seperately.What are some of the most important things to keep in mind, when making great falafels?...Read more

middle eastern cuisine - Cold weather kofta?

I was given lamb kofta in my CSA share. It is spiced with coriander, cumin, garlic, paprika, and ginger.I have limited experience with Middle Eastern cuisine, and I've always thought of it almost exclusively as warm-weather food. I can't wrap my head around a dish suitable for the 15-degree day we're having in NYC right now. Any ideas?...Read more

Are curd and sour cream typical middle-eastern food?

I keep going to restaurants around my city (São Paulo) where in certain days of the week, some of them serve middle-eastern food.Curiously, there's always a whitey cream that some of the restaurants call "sour cream" and some of them, call the same cream as "curd".Now I searched through Google and I discovered that both terms seem to describe different dishes, even though these restaurants interchange them as if they were the same thing.Also, when looking on the web, I couldn't find much result on which one is right, some pages of middle-easter...Read more

middle eastern cuisine - Are there different styles of tahini?

I've recently started frequenting a Middle Eastern restaurant. They provide a sauce with their shawarma that they swear is tahini, but I've never tasted any like this.Most tahinis I've had are about the texture of natural peanut butter, are some shade of brown, and contain nothing but ground sesame seeds.The tahini at this restaurant is a thin white sauce seasoned with garlic and some kind of spices. I politely asked a waiter if they weren't maybe confusing tahini with tzatziki, but they say no. It's a small family-owned place, and they will no...Read more

middle eastern cuisine - Some tahini tastes very salty, other tahini does not. Why?

I have bought several jars of tahini from different companies lately. All labels say, that they contain 100% hulled sesame seeds with no preservatives or artifical flavours added.Some of the jars contained very salty tahini. At first, I even thought, the salty ones were contaminated with some inedible chemical. But then a friend from the Middle East told me, that he sees them as the original flavour and he did not like the unsalty ones, that he called "Australian tahini".An example of the unsalty tahini is Mayver's Tahini Hulled, for the salty ...Read more

middle eastern cuisine - How do I substitute rehydrated garbanzo beans for garbanzo beans from a can?

Possible Duplicate: How should I prepare dried chickpeas? When making food like falafel and hummus, recipes typically ask for canned garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas). I have on hand a bag of dried garbanzo beans. In the past I have tried to soak these beans over night yet they still never seem to come to the same soft/creamy consistancy that the beans in the cans have.What steps must I take to rehydrate these beans so that they are similar enough in texture to the canned beans so that I can use the rehydrated beans in its place for th...Read more

middle eastern cuisine - Uses for thick "country-style" phyllo?

I bought a few boxes of Phyllo (Fillo) that is described as Horiatiko / Country Style - Extra-Thick #10. Extra-thick is definitely relative; it is probably twice as thick as normal phyllo but still paper-thin. The first thing I did with it was to make a spinach/manouri/feta filling seasoned with ras al hanout, brushed the phyllo with butter, rolled them up and baked til golden. It was good, but not nearly as flaky as normal phyllo. So my questions are (1) is there something I should be doing to have it come out flakier or is that just how the c...Read more

middle eastern cuisine - How is the lamb meat made in lamb gyros?

I've been to several Middle Eastern inspired restaurants around where I live and in most of these restaurants, the customers are able to see into the kitchen as they prep our food. In the middle of the kitchen I normally see something like this: I asked the waitress what they were and she told us that the "blob" on the right is lamb. My friend then went ahead and order a lamb gyro platter. We watched as they carved thin slices off of the lamb. These slices look something like this:My friend let me try a piece of the "lamb" meat but it didn't re...Read more