Food in the Arabic cuisine

 

In the Arabic cuisine, there are a variety of really delicious foods that leaves one licking their fingers even when having eaten to capacity. However, there is one that would dominate my daily meals and still not get enough of it, the Arabic Humus aka Houmous. The Humus is a traditional Levant cuisine, (Bilad ash-S ham) and also an Egyptian cuisine (heavily uses legumes, vegetables and also fruits in its preparation) food dip prepared from cooked and mashed chickpeas with a blend of tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Historically, hummus is one of the ancient foods and is connected to fathomed historical figures, for instance Saladin. Humus can be slathered with anything form flatbread, for instance pita, as an appetizer and dip. Also served as part of a meze or as an accompaniment to falafel, eggplant, grilled chicken, or fish, Humus is really a must in almost every meal (Keller, 118).

It can be garnished using chopped tomatoes, coriander leaves, parsley, cucumber, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, hard boiled eggs, olive   oil, Sumac, paprika, ful, pine nuts, pickles, or whole chickpeas among other garnishes. It can also be deliciously served with crackers and tortilla fries. Being a cut across every meal, almost every Arabian, as I lead the line will agree with me that, in whatever form, Humus is a favorite for all and hard to separate from them. it is a jack of all traits as it can be eaten in almost any  meal, be it dinner, lunch, or breakfast and it still feels as good as ever. Ideally, in a layman’s language, ‘humus and Arabs are just different sides of the very same coin’. By no doubt, it is with all precision to say, ‘as Arabic as Humus’ (Keller, 119).

 

Vocabulary

Humus-also pronounced as Houmous in English, it is an Egyptian and Levantine spread or food dip that is mainly prepared from blending tahini, lemon juice, salt, garlic and olive oil with cooked and mashed chickpeas.

Levantine cuisine– this is a traditional Levant cuisine. In Arabic it is known as the Bilad ash-Sham. The most distinct features or aspects of the Levantine cuisine are Meze, baba ghanoush, tabbouleh, and hummus.

Egyptian cuisine– this includes mostly legumes, vegetables and fruits owing to the richness of the Nile valley and the delta river to produce very high quality quantities of such crops.

Dip– a dip is generally a condiment or a sauce that is used in preparation of a variety of foods. Dips usually add flavor or some needed texture to food like pita bread, meat, cheese, tortilla chips among others. Commonly, dips are used for appetizers, finger foods, and mostly in easily-held foods.

Spread– spreads literally include those foods that are literally spread using a knife onto other food products like crackers and bread. They are specifically meant to add some texture and/or flavor of that food which may otherwise be deemed bland without them. Their major difference is that unlike dips which food must be dipped into them, spreads are just literally spread onto the food. They may   include butters, creams, jams, jellies, pate, and cheese.

Tahini– this is an oily paste that is made from toasted ground hulled sesame seeds. In most cases it served independently as a dip or even as one of the major components of hummus.

Chickpea aka gram– it is a legume belonging to the fabaceae family, a sub family of Faboideae. Its seeds are rich in protein and are one of the major ingredients of humus.

Olive oil- this is fat produced from the olive by pressing whole olive seeds and is ideally the oil used in making the original hummus.

Reference

Keller Nora Okja, My mother’s food, Rodale, Inc., September, 1997, Pg 117-120.

 

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