Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Arayes and Garlic Paste

I will post more soon, but these are the most important ones to get posted! :)

Garlic Paste:

I know this is the one that people REALLY want, so I’ll add it first. These are approximations and it definitely takes some trial and error.

  • 2-3 good sized heads of garlic (not cloves, the whole head), peeled
  • 1-2 tablespoons each of salt and lemon juice
  • A whole bottle (about 3 cups) of MILD (super important for taste) olive oil (not extra virgin)

Put the garlic and at least a tablespoon of salt and about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in a blender and pulse until the garlic is nicely chopped. Ever so slowly, pour a tiny stream of oil into the blender as it is blending. One mistake I made was having the blender at too high of a speed, but it need to be going pretty quick, just not “liquefy”. The goal is to make sure the oil is emulsifying and it should grow in volume and become white. You have to be very careful not to pour too much oil in at once or the whole mixture will separate and it isn’t as good and will have a topping of oil forever. So, thick and frothy is the goal. You will likely need more salt and lemon juice… don’t be afraid to add more, until it tastes the perfect blend between the 3 flavors (salty, lemony, and garlicky). Good luck! (Store leftovers in a glass jar in the fridge.)


This was my favorite dish while we were in Abu Dhabi, but I have Americanized it both for ease and because it really doesn’t taste that much different. It is tough to find items like garam masala, so I just changed it to fit what is sold at MY stores. J

· 2 lbs ground lamb (if you can’t find it, ask the butcher… there usually isn’t very much stocked, but it IS usually there)

· 1 cup packed parsley

· ½ cup packed mint leaves (at Winco it is only available in organic in the “weird vegetable” section)

· ¼ cup pine nuts (I have had two people tell me they hated pine nuts and then tried this recipe and liked them fine. Don’t leave them out, they really are what makes this dish for me)

· 1 onion, chopped into quarters

· 1 tsp salt

· 1 TBSP lemon juice

· ½ tsp garlic powder or minced garlic

· ½ tsp each: cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves

· 5 or so pita bread, cut into 8 wedges each

In a food processer, pulse until finely chopped: onion, parsley and mint. Put meat in a large bowl and add all ingredients including food processor mixture and combine with your hands (or mix it in your awesome KitchenAid mixture that your dear husband got you for Christmas). Take a small amount (a heaping teaspoon or so and spread it evenly on one side of a pita triangle. Top with another pita wedge and place on a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil and sprayed with cooking spray (I used to use a crap-ton of oil for this, but in an effort to make it healthier, opted for cooking spray and it ends up just as freaking yummy). Repeat this process until you run out of meat and/or pitas.

Bake in a 350 degree oven until browned on the bottom (about 10 minutes), flip and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes or until nicely browned. Serve with garlic paste.