Stuffed Grape Leaves: A Touch of the Middle East

Stuffed Grape Leaves

Credit: F_A

Dolmades are a variety of stuffed vegetable dishes popular in the Middle East and neighboring regions. The Greeks, the Egyptians and many Mediterranean countries all have their versions of dolma.  Although each region has a different name for this stuffed delight, their versions have a lot in common.

Dolmades or Mahsi Wara’Enab?

The Mideats article “Grape Leaves Stuffed with Rice and Ground Beef (Mahshi Wara’ Enab)” describes the Egyptian and Middle Eastern version of stuffed grape leaves: “You take a look at Middle Eastern cuisine, you’ll notice that they have a habit of stuffing things too. Green peppers, onions, tomatoes, Swiss chard, zucchinis/courgette, eggplants, and cabbage are all commonly stuffed – usually with a mix of rice, minced meat, and various spices. In terms of grape leaves, every Mediterranean or Middle Eastern country has a distinguishing mixture. The Greek and Lebanese like lamb in their cuisine, and so they use minced lamb in their dolmades. Egyptians tend to gravitate towards beef, so they stuff their leaves with ground beef instead. Most Egyptian feasts and get-togethers involve a platter of neatly wrapped grape leaves.”

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Shakshouka, The Comfort Food from the Middle East and North Africa

Shakshouka a comfort foodYou can’t believe a hearty dish can be healthy too. More and more gourmet chefs are proving that it can be done, but if you are not gourmet, you have your doubts. Enter Shakshouka (or Shakshuka) … another comfort food, even a staple of exotic origin. It is a simple dish of tomatoes and eggs scented and flavored by exotic spices.

If you are looking forward to another unforgettable addition to your repertoire of healthy dishes, learn a few interesting facts about Shakshouka and how you can make it varied and exciting.

Enigmatic Beginnings

References are pointing to various origins – Middle East (primarily Israel and Arab nations) and North Africa (specifically Tunisia, Egypt, Alegria, Libya, Yemen and Morocco). The name is said to have the “flavor” of Tunisian or Yemeni, but the name also brings to mind close association with Amazigh (Berber) or Arabic to mean “mixture.” [Read more…]

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