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Arabic Foods

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Cuisine Guide

About Arabia

Arabic Cuisine

Arabic Culinary Highlights

Arabic Shopping List
North Middle Eastern Restaurant Guide

Middle Eastern Cooking Techniques

Arabic Entertaining

Middle Eastern Glossary

Middle Eastern Ingredients

Bulgur (Birghil): or Cracked Wheat. It is made from wheat that has been cracked. It is available in three sizes: large, medium, and small (fine). The small variety is used in this book as the ingredient for recipes such as Tabuli and Kibba. Bulgur is available in our online store

Cardamom (Hale): Due to the Arabic trade with India this spice is a common ingredient in recipes from the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

Couscous: Couscous is a Moroccan staple. It is eaten with many meals, and almost every day. It is made from durum-wheat semolina with salt and water.

Cream of Rice is a staple ingredient in many middle Easten Cuiinses

Cream of Wheat: it is made of ground-up wheat pearls.  

Curry (Karry): many Middle Easten cuiisnes have developes their own blends of spices that are mainly Indian but to local tastes.

Fava Beans (Bajilla): This bean variety can be found in health-food and Middle Eastern stores in a dehydrated or canned form. Fresh Fava Beans can sometimes be found in supermarkets during the summer season.

Garbanzo Beans (Himmus): These beans are also known as Ceci beans and Chickpeas and is a must for a Middle Easten pantry.

Middle Eastern Spice (Boharat): This popular spice is made from blending and grinding several spices in exact proportions. It gives the Middle Eastern food its distinctive taste and aroma. It is a mixture of seven spices, including allspice, nutmeg, cardamom and others. 

Mint (Naanaa): This aromatic plant enhances many recipes from this region

Oman Lemon (Noomy Basrah): A variety of the lime family, this plant is unique to the Middle East region. It looks like a small brown dehydrated lime and has a strong tangy aroma. It can be found in Middle Eastern stores under a variety of names, such as Basrah Lemon or Oman Lemon. Sometimes you may find it in plastic bags without a label.  

Pita Bread: This variety of bread has become very popular. Middle Eastern people eat it with meals as well as use it for sandwiches.

Rose Water (My Warid): This is an aromatic water containing the extract of roses.

Saffron (Zaafaran): Saffron is the deep-orange, aromatic, dried stigmas of a purple-flowered crocus. It is used to colour and flavour foods such as rice. Saffron is very expensive and is therefore sold in small quantities.

Tahini (Rashi): This tan-coloured substance, made from sesame seeds, is thick in consistency. The seeds are first toasted and then ground with peanut oil. Because no emulsifiers are used, the Tahina will separate with time. This is normal; just stir before using. Its most popular use is in the Hummus Be-Tahina dish.

Tamarind (Tamir Hind): This tangy tropical fruit is available in fruit packs or paste. The paste is easier to use because most of the fruit skins have been removed, and it therefore dissolves easily in water.

Typical Ingredients and Index for Middle Eastern Food

Arabic and English Names

English Name Arabic Name English Name Arabic Name
Aniseed Habbat Hilwa Fava Beans Bajilla
Black Caraway Habbat Soda Middle Eastern Spice Boharat
Bulgur Birghil Cinnamon Darseen
Cardamom Hale Cayenne Filfil Ahmar
Cayenne Filfil Ahmar Paprika Filfil Hiloo
Cinnamon Darseen Aniseed Habbat Hilwa
Coriander Kizbarah Black Caraway Habbat Soda
Cumin Kammoon Cardamom Hale
Curry Karry Garbanzo Beans Himmus
Fava Bean Bajilla Nutmeg Jose Boa
Garbanzo Beans Himmus Cumin Kammoon
Middle Eastern Spice Boharat Curry Karry
Mint Naanaa Coriander Kizbarah
Nutmeg Jose Boa Turmeric Kurkum
Oman Lemon Noomy Basrah Parsley Maadanose
Paprika Filfil Hiloo Rose Water My Warid
Parsley Maadanose Mint Naanaa
Rose Water My Warid Oman Lemon Noomy Basrah
Saffron Zaafaran Tahini Rashi
Sumac Simmak Sumac Simmak
Tahini Rashi Tamarind Tamir Hind
Tamarind Tamir Hind Saffron Zaafaran
Thyme Zaatar Thyme Zaatar

'ARAQ anise flavored liqueur from grapes
'AWWAMAAT Lebanese doughnuts

BABA GHANNOUJ eggplant puree with sesame
BAQLI Purslane
BANADOURA tomatoes
BAQLAWA many-layered sweet pastry
BATINJAAN eggplant
BAYD eggs
BOEREK Turkish pastry
BOUZA ice cream
BURGHUL cracked wheat

DJAAJ chicken

GHAMEH stuffed sheep's stomach

HABASH turkey
HREESI wheat porridge
HUMMUS chick peas

KAFTA ground meat patties
KA'K hard rolls or cakes
KATAIF sweet stuffed pancakes
KHUSHAAF raisins with water and sugar

KHYAAR cucumbers
KNAAFEH cheese pastry
KIBBEH ground meat and burghul mixture
KISHK laban ferrnented with burghul
KIZBARA coriander
KOUSA marrow squash
KROUSH MAHSHIEI I stuffed intestines

LABAN cultured milk; yoghurt
LABNEH cream cheese made from laban
LAHM meat
LOUBIEH green beans

MA'AMOUL easter cakes made with semolina
MAHSHI anything which is stuffed
MI'L'AAQ grilled
MALFOUF cabbage
MA'EZ ZAHR orange blossom essence
MA'EL WARD rose water
MEZA hors diceuvres
MOGHLIE rice pudding
MUJADDARAH lentil stew
MUSTIKAH gum arabic

QARNABEET cauliflower
QATER sugar syrup
QAWWRAMA preserved meat
QOUZI stuffed baby lamb

SAHLAB corn flour
SAMBOUSIK hot pastry filled with meat and nuts
SAMMAK sumac seasoning from sour purple seeds

SAMNEH clarified butter popular shortening
SHARAB syrup
SMAISKEH fillet of lamb
SMEED semolina
SILQ Swiss chard

TABBOULEH salad of chopped mint, parsley and burghul
TAHEENI sesame oil
TARATOUR sesame sauce
TEEN figs


ZA'TAR thyme; marjoram
ZAYT oil

'ARAQ: anise flavored liqueur from grapes
'AWWAMAAT: Lebanese doughnuts

BABA GHANNOUJ: eggplant puree with sesame
BAQLI: Purslane
BANADOURA: tomatoes
BAQDOUNIS: parsley
BAQLAWA: many-layered sweet pastry
BATINJAAN: eggplant
BAYD: eggs
BOEREK: Turkish pastry
BOUZA: ice cream
BURGHUL: cracked wheat

DJAAJ: chicken

GHAMEH: stuffed sheeps stomach

HABASH: turkey
HALEEB: milk
HREESI: wheat porridge
HUMMUS: chick peas

KAFTA: ground meat patties
KA'K: hard rolls or cakes
KATAIF: sweet stuffed pancakes
KHUSHAAF: raisins with water and sugar

KHYAAR: cucumbers
KNAAFEH: cheese pastry
KIBBEH: ground meat and burghul mixture
KISHK: laban ferrnented with burghul
KIZBARA: coriander
KOUSA: marrow squash
KROUSH MAHSHIEI: I stuffed intestines

LABAN: cultured milk; yoghurt
LABNEH: cream cheese made from laban
LAHM: meat
LOUBIEH: green beans

MA'AMOUL: easter cakes made with semolina
MAHSHI: anything which is stuffed
MI'L'AAQ: grilled
MALFOUF: cabbage
MA'EZ ZAHR: orange blossom essence
MA'EL WARD: rose water
MEZA hors: h'odeuvres
MOGHLIE: rice pudding
MUJADDARAH: lentil stew
MUSTIKAH: gum arabic

QARNABEET: cauliflower
QATER: sugar syrup
QAWWRAMA: preserved meat
QOUZI: stuffed baby lamb

SAHLAB: corn flour
SAMBOUSIK: hot pastry filled with meat and nuts
SAMMAK: sumac—seasoning from sour purple seeds
SAMAK: hash

SAMNEH: clarified butter popular shortening
SHARAB: syrup
SMAISKEH: fillet of lamb
SMEED: semolina
SILQ: Swiss chard

TABBOULEH: salad of chopped mint, parsley and burghul
TAHEENI: sesame oil
TARATOUR: sesame sauce
TEEN: figs


ZA'TAR: thyme; marjoram
ZAYT: oil

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