I am mad about all things Arabic. From food,music to art and the language it all intrigues me. During my London days , I was first introduced to the Arab way and my education came from food. I was introduced to various Arabic Foods from different Arab countries each with their own unique flavours and common dishes. All this was new to me and loved experiencing this culture through their food. From Algerian to Moroccan to Egyptian and Lebanese I tasted it all. My favourite food part of London was and still is Edgeware Road.
Walking down Edgeware Road, makes one feel as if they are literally in another country. Sounds of Arabic music in various dialects of Arabic fill the shops. All the shop signs are in Arabic and it is not uncommon to see men and women dressed in traditional Arabic dress walking around. Arabs love socializing and this is often done in coffee shops and eateries. Along with drinking coffee it is common to see Hookah or Sheesha smoking pipes set up for customers.The variety of eateries is amazing and each so unique to a specific Arab country and something to suit all pockets.
The big thing that I love about Arab food is how full of flavours dishes are made from basic ingredients. The spices used in Arab cooking is not too overpowering or too spicy. Two spices which are commonly used are Sumac and Dukkah. After moving back home to South Africa ,I craved Arabic food and their spices until last year when I found that Nomu ( www.nomu.co.za) stock these spices.These spices can also be found in certain Pick n Pay and Woolworths stores.
So what is/are Sumac and Dukkah ?
Dukkah is an Egyptian condiment. It is a mixture of herbs ,nuts and spices that are pounded coarsely. Dukkah is flavoursome and can be used as a garnish for Hummus ,sprinkled over salads , mixed into couscous or rice, a topping for cream cheese, a rub on chicken/meat/fish/veg and often bread that is dipped into Olive Oil is then dipped into Dukkah to give a flavoured coating.
Sumac is a tangy lemony flavoured spice often used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cookery. It is grown in the Middle East on a bush with deep red berries. Once the berries are ripe they are dried and crushed to give the very lemony spice. Often used as a garnish or to season grilled meats and salads. Sumac is added to the Dukkah spice mix to add a lemon flavour.
Dukkah Spiced Chicken
1kg Chicken pieces
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil as there is no fat on the chicken
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon honey
2 Tablespoons Dukkah mix
Salt to taste
2 Tablespoons Paprika and BBQ spice mix
- Wash and clean chicken pieces removing skin and any hair.
- Mix all the ingredients together and add chicken pieces.
- Coat chicken pieces well all to marinate as long as possible for flavours to infuse.
- Pre heat oven to 180 degrees and grill chicken for 45minutes to an hour until cooked.
- Remove from oven allow to cool and garnish with chopped coriander.
Serving Suggestions :
- Mashed sweet potato or potato
- Veg bake