Middle Eastern Cuisine FAQs

People living in West Asian and Middle Eastern countries consume the so-called “Middle East” cuisine. It is a unique diet consistingmainly ofbaba ghannouj, baklava, falafel, foul mudammeshummus,lokumpita bread,tabouleh, and tahini. Various vegetables and meats are also included in the diet which includes heavy use of olive oil and a rich variety of pungent spices.

To ensure a seamless shopping experience in a Middle Eastern market Los Angeleshere are some of the frequently asked questions about Middle Eastern cuisine.

What is Baba Ghanoush?

Baba ghanoush is a creamy dip made from eggplant,garlic,lemon juice, olive oil, and tahini with a smoky flavor usually accompanying pita bread, potato chips, or tortilla chips. Baba ghanoush is often garnished with olive oil and at times enhanced with crushed red pepper, cumin, or parsley.

What is Baklava?

Baklava is a tasty pastry that consists of layers of buttery sweet, phyllo pastry, spices, and nuts. Phyllo pastry is very thin pieces of unleavened flour dough prevalent throughout the Balkans and the Middle East.

After baking the baklava, a spicy combination of honey and lemon is poured on top of the phyllo pastry until the syrup is fully soaked. The Arabic baklava is a slightly different version of baklava flavored with syrup made from rose water and sugar.

What is Falafel?

Some people often consider falafel a type of Middle Eastern “fast food”. Street vendors sell it as a sandwich and can also be served as a form of a pita bread sandwich filled with tomatoes, lettuce, or tahini and as an appetizer with hummus, salad, or tahini.

Vegetarians love falafelsince it is meatless and only contains ingredients like chickpeas, flour, garlic,onions, and parsley. Falafel balls are fried in a small amount of oil until it turns brown.

What is Foul Mudammas?

Foul madammasis a type of traditional Middle Eastern breakfast made with seasoned and mashed fava beans, and also contains cayenne pepper, chopped dillgarlic cloves, lemon juice, andtahini. Topping for the dish is a combination of cucumbers, feta cheese, olive oil, parsley, pepper, red onions, salt, and tomatoes.

What is Lokum?

Lokum, also called “Turkish Delight” or rahatlokum, is believed to have been made in response to a Sultan’s aversionto hard candies. These are soft, gel-like confectionary cubes made from lemon, nuts, pistachios, rosewater, and sugar. Lokum cubes are also dusted with powdered cream of Tartar, mint, cinnamon, or icing sugar.

What is Tabouleh?

Tabouleh is made with spices, fresh vegetables, and olive oil. It is a salad enjoyed alone with a fork or with pita bread. Large grape leaves are often used as a scooping utensilif pita bread is hollowed out and thenstuffed with tabouleh. Vegetables often used to make tabouleh include tomatoes, onions, carrots,and cucumbersin addition to flavor enhancers such as lemon juice, parsley, and mint.

What is Tahini?

Tahini is the ground sesame seed paste used mainly to produce hummus. Most Middle Easterners purchase tahini in jars, cans, and even in dehydrated form. While hulled and unhulledtahini is available, many people buy hulled tahini due to the extremely bitter taste of theunhulled type.

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