Arabic Food 101

Posted by Wessam Hashem on Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Arabic Food 101


Middle Eastern cuisine is a delicious, simple and fairly easy style of cooking, with emphasis on fresh, healthy foods made from scratch with exotic flavors. But the cuisine is not only about the food itself, but also the hospitality that comes with it. Making your guests feel comfortable and going above and beyond their culinary expectations are a must in Middle Eastern culture.

Arabic foods such as hummus and  falafel have found there way into main stream America due to their exotic and delicious flavors. “Our foods have never been more popular” said Sam Hashem, president of Hummus is an appetizer made from ground chick peas, tahini, lemon, garlic and olive oil. Falafel is a crispy vegetarian patty made from ground chick peas and fava beans, mixed with falafel spices and parsley that is then fried and put on fresh pita bread. Pickled turnips, pickles, fresh tomatoes and a tahini sauce are added to round out the flavors.


It is important to use fresh quality ingredients that are authentic in style and taste. Spices, for instance, are often purchased by stores from large companies that know almost nothing about the way a spice mixture should taste in the first place. Not only that, but ingredients like salt are added to weigh the product down and cover flavors. They also include fillers, preservatives and other additives to retain color and manipulate the spices. Be sure to find an authentic grocer in your area or online that mixes there own line using spices and nothing else. We hand mix all of our Middle Eastern spices fresh on a daily basis.


Just as in other cuisines, some Middle Eastern foods are enjoyed more at different times of the year. Cold cucumber and yogurt soup for example, is traditionally eaten in the summer months. While Mougrabia, a cous cous like dish mixed with chunks of meat, chick peas and onions is typically served in winter months. Favorites like hummus and fattoush salads are enjoyed all year round.


Shish kabob, also known as “Lahem Mishwee”, is one of the most popular of all Arabic foods. Shish Kafta , a ground meat with parsley and spices is also a very popular dish. Shish Tawook is a grilled chicken breast marinated in oil and spices. Grilling is a big part of Middle Eastern culture, that’s why it’s not uncommon to see people grilling in their chimneys in the cold winter months when grilling outdoors, is not an option. 


Whatever fun and exciting Middle Eastern dish you decide to cook be sure to use fresh and authentic ingredients. Remember to put plenty of food on the table and make your guests feel at home. Good Luck!


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Hashems Nuts and Coffee Gallery is a Middle Eastern Foods company. Our main offerings include: Turkish Coffee, Roasted Nuts, Middle Eastern Spices, Baklava, Fresh Baked Pita Bread and many other traditional specialty foods.