Category Archives: Sides

Creamy Moutabel (Eggplant Dip)

MoutabelOne of my most favorite dishes while I lived in Abu Dhabi has to be the moutabel.  It’s similar to baba ghanoush but way better in my opinion. It’s simply a garlicky, roasted eggplant dip. It’s like a cross between baba ghanoush and hummus. Or if hummus and bab ghanoush had a child, this is what it would be. I just love it and could it eat every day.  I especially love it with pomegranate arils and sumac, which takes the moutabel to another level. Don’t be shy about using sumac, it has such a nice sour citrus flavor and its color compliments the eggplant dip quite well. You will really love this recipe. Enjoy!

Here’s my version that is simply delicious. It’s a modified Lebanese/Syrian version:

  • 1 eggplant (about 1 lb) roasted or grilled
  • 1/4 tahini (I like the Oskri brand, Lake Mills, WI)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup of Chobani plain Greek yogurt (1 single serving)
  • juice from 1/2 of a lemon (or to taste)
  • 2-3 TBSP really good Olive oil (enough until you like the consistency)
  • Salt to taste
  1. Heat the oven to 400F.
  2. Cut the eggplant lengthwise and score the flesh so it’s cooks evenly. No need to salt or oil. Place on a tray lined with parchment paper.
  3. Cook for 30-40 minutes at 400F until the flesh is soft.  Or you can grill them.
  4. Cool in the fridge until cold.
  5. In my Blendtec blender (or food processor): I add the cold eggplant, garlic, yogurt, tahini, lemon juice and olive oil.  Add a little salt and blend in short pulses until a nice creamy texture.  I add more olive oil and salt to taste.  Similar to how you make hummus.
  6. Cool in fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Serve with pomegranate arils and some sprinkles of sumac. You can add more oil on top too as this is often how they serve it in Abu Dhabi.  These are optional but really make it taste better.
  8. I recommend dipping veges (celery, cucumbers, etc) and also toasted pita (or Arab bread) in moutabel.  But I could dip stuff like chicken and other meats in it too.

 

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Lemony Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Onion Stir Fry

Nicely cut squash

Nicely cut squash

I really love zucchini and squash in general.  I usually just stir fry really quick with a little lemon zest and salt and pepper. But I found this stuff at Penzey’s that I thought I would try and it is really good. It’s called Trinidad Style Lemon-Garlic Marinade, which is actually a mix of  coarse salt, lemon peel, garlic, clove and ginger.  It’s great on veges and also fish and is a nice sprinkle to go with when you are out of ideas.  This recipe is just super simple and something I made up.

  • 8 small (baby) zucchini and yellow squash cut into half moons
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • Trinidad Marinade (Penzey’s)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Stir fry in a nice big pan with tall sides

Serve with fish, steak, chicken or pork….It goes with everything.

Pre-cooking

Pre-cooking

Lemony zucchini and onions

Lemony zucchini and onions

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Cilantro Lime Rice

If you’ve got any left over rice from the night before, try this.  It’s terribly delicious and easy. We usually eat this with our simple fish tacos we always make.  Simply stir fry the cold rice with lime juice, butter, some oil and cilantro. Season with some salt. My husband loves this.

In a 2-quart heavy saucepan, heat oil or butter over low heat, stirring occasionally until melted. Add rice and lime juice, stir for 1 minute. Add water and salt, bring to a full rolling boil. At boiling, cover, turn down to simmer over low heat until rice is tender and the water is absorbed, about 25 minutes. Stir in some more cilantro at the end.

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