• Lokum

    A jellylike oriental delights (rahat lokum, aerated lokum) or cooked dessert (Seker Lokum).

    Rahat lokum is one of the most famous oriental delights, which is known how to cook even in our country. It has short name “lokum” at its homeland. “Lokum” in Turkish language means “mouthful”. Adding of the word “rahat” (means “delight”, “comfort”) describes the taste and feeling of everyone who tried these sweets. The full name in Turkish means “morsels of delight”, in Arabic – “throat comfort”. European people discovered this dessert only in 19th century, when an English traveler after coming back from Turkey took home a big box of these sweets. He named it “Turkish delight”.

    What is lokum made from? It depends on its recipe and its type. Traditional ingredients are sugar, starch, water. Sometimes nuts, some berries or fruits can be added, they as well can be replaced with candied fruits or juices. In some cases honey or molasses can be used instead of sugar. Coconut flakes are added for decoration. In Turkey or Syria people use flour for cooking rahat lokum. If adding flour to the dessert, it is named “Seker Lokum”.

  • Couscous

    what type of cereal is it?

    Couscous is originally come from Berber tribes of North Africa. Later this cereal arrived to Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Libya. Now you can buy couscous in many stores throughout the world.

    Nowadays the process of couscous production is same as in ancient times. To get a cereal, it is necessary to sprinkle with water such grains as semolina, wheat, rice and other, pour the resulting paste and flour into the sieve and stir, shake the cereal until there are hard granules, it will be exactly same couscous.

    Couscous is not typical food, different types of grains are used to get the cereal, but the traditional couscous is made from combination of millet and semolina.

    How to make and how long to cook

    This type of cereal is a general product with faint own flavor. But it can emphasize and intensify the taste of other products combined with it. Most of people who tried couscous porridge won’t refuse it, because in today’s fast world it is very easy to cook (simply by steaming) and really tasty!

    Cover cereal with hot water or put into boiling salty water and switch the stove off. After that hold the couscous under the cover for 5 minutes. When porridge is ready, add piece of butter, stir and serve.

    Majority consider that grains should be combined with fish, meat or vegetables. But nowadays couscous can be combined with nuts, dried and fresh fruits, seafood. In order to save as many as possible health properties in couscous it should be steamed.

    There are 2 ratios for cooking the cereal:
    1)1 glass of couscous to 2 glasses of water – if you want to get soft and tender couscous;
    2)1 glass of couscous to 1 glass of water – if you want to get fluffy and crispy couscous.

  • Bulgur

    isn’t an extraordinary cereal, it is well known wheat, but shelled, steamed, after that dried and crushed. It is crushed in different ways, and depending on the degree of crushing there are few types, such as large (pilavik), medium and fine. Such way of wheat handling was invented in Asia, where it was widespread no less than other cereals. Bulgur is especially loved in Turkey, it is used as full replacement of rice, for cooking pilaf, blind baking pie crusts, making thick tomato soups, preparing fillings for pies and salads.

    It has quite nice taste with delicate nutty flavor. Its nutritive value is same as the one of hard wheat macaroni products or durum semolina. It includes iron, magnesium and phosphorus, but its main advantage is high content of carbohydrates with low glycaemic index at the same time.

    Cooking time of different meals depends on size of bulgur, whether it is large or fine. But in any case, it takes not long to cook bulgur as semi-product, because it was steamed in advance. Water to grain ratios while cooking are same as when cooking rice: water should be added two times more. If using fine bulgur, it is even possible not to boil it, it can be simply covered with boiling water and allowed to infuse.

    What can be cooked with bulgur

    Lots of delicious meals can be cooked. For example, Lebanon salad tabule, to cook which you need only three table spoon of bulgur, same quantity of olive oil, half of pepper, half of onion, half of cucumber, two small tomatoes, a handful of green olives without pits, salt, lemon and parsley. Cover bulgur with water, and when it swells, cook it in salted water till it gets soft. Then sift and chill, cut vegetables into small pieces, mix with bulgur, greens and lemon juice. Delicious salad, which is appreciated by both vegetarians and fasting, is ready.

    It is good to add bulgur to minced meat and stuff peppers, tomatoes, squashes and eggplants with it. Stewed vegetables with this filling are very tasty. Chicken, fatty lamb and lean beef are perfect match. But it would be better not to store up soups with bulgur, they are too thick, and next day they can turn into porridge. Generally, bulgur is a good alternative to tired of pasta and potatoes. Since bulgur is long-keeping and easy to cook.

  • Rice

    Jasmine and Basmati

    Jasmine rice is one of the long-grain rice varieties, which is grown only in Thailand, its homeland. Visually it looks like basmati rice, which is also a long-grain variety. What is the difference between these two types of long-grain rice? Basmati rice when cooking is more fluffy, but jasmine rice tends to stick together, not changing its ideal shape at the same time. There is also jasmine red rice, which is a worthy substitute to white rice. Jasmine rice is famous for its outstanding tastiness and delicate aroma. For this reason it is called “white jasmine flower”.

    How to cook jasmine rice?

    Firstly soak the grains draining water several times. There shouldn’t be much liquid, the heat treating should take place under the cover. To reduce intense boiling water evaporation experienced housewives recommend in addition to cover the pan with the foil, as this type of rice should be steamed. Firstly bring to the boil over a high heat, after that cook over a low heat for about 15 minutes, it is instant food.

    Such advice is related to preparing a side dish or a casserole. If you plan to cook pilaf, paella or dessert mix, you should search for other recipes with jasmine rice.

    These grains are also called Thai, because they are typical part of Thai cuisine and have the same country of origin. It is the exact ingredient for cooking curry, roasting with shrimps, shiitake mushrooms, cooking coconut soup.

    The ready side dish combines with all products: fish, meat, vegetables, but the best is just to add sauce, such as soy sauce, cream sauce, seafood sauce.

  • Orzo Pasta

    Or its other name risoni pasta, is considered a traditional Italian product, and in translation means “barley”. It has a form of short-cut pasta, visually looks like rice or barley grains (refer to picture).

    There are two legends of risoni pasta origin. One legend says that this variety was invented and produced by sea explorer Marco Polo. The other legend says that Oriental people produced this pasta for the first time, and after that it was spread over all Europe.

    It is cooked only from the high quality hard wheat flour. Only mineral water is used for making dough.

    This farinaceous product is quite high-calorie, that’s why it is not recommended to eat it in high quantities.

    What can be cooked from this product?

    Plenty of culinary delights can be cooked using risoni pasta. Nowadays there are a lot of recipes with orzo pasta. Pasta can be served as a separate course or added to hot dishes, vegetables or seafood salads.

    This farinaceous product is also a perfect match for vegetables and feta cheese. If pasta is served as a second course, its flavor can be supplemented with cooked seafood (squids, shrimps, crab meat) or meat products (fried chicken, turkey).

    In addition, spinach, parmesan and ruccola match well with risoni pasta.

  • Lentil

    is a short-growing plant of the legume family. It is known to mankind for a long time and has stem and pods with beans.
    Lentil varieties are the following:
    • Red lentils are quickly boiled soft, they have no shell.
    • Brown lentils are perfect for cooking soups, they are the most popular type.
    • Green lentils are immature grains, they are the perfect addition to meat and rice meals.
    • Green lentils are immature grains, they are the perfect addition to meat and rice meals.
    It is one of the oldest cultivated plants, its beans were found by archaeologists in large numbers in the buildings of the Bronze Age. The ancient Egyptian cooked different meals from lentils and even baked a bread. Lentils were quite popular in the ancient Rome, also as a medicine.

    Lentil has lots of micro elements, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, as well as Omega-3, Omega-6 fatty acids, which have effect on the health of skin and hair, immune system.

    It has plenty of proteins, which are easy to digest. For this reason, it is a perfect meal for sport lovers, vegetarians, as well as during fasting.

    This legume has less fats, than peas, and is good for a healthy diet. It also stimulates metabolism, that helps in loosing weight. Its fibers reduce food cravings and improve digestion.

    This legume is very beneficial for pregnant women, because lentil has lots of folic acid, up to 90% of recommended daily allowance. Folic acid accelerates fetal development.

    Magnesium and potassium, which are available in great quantities in lentils, are necessary for heart and nervous system functioning. This is essential product for those who suffer from heart diseases.

    Serving the dish together with fresh vegetables, rich in vitamin C, such as tomatoes, greens, helps to improve the absorption of iron from lentils. Iron increases blood formation and helps to fight against anemia.

    Lentil has isoflavones, which decrease breast cancer risk.

    It helps in lowering blood sugar, that’s why this product is recommended for diabetics.

  • Chickpeas

    or Turkish Peas

    In the Orient and Africa, nohut, Turkish pea or chick pea is known for more than seven centuries. It is traditional plant of India, Pakistan, China, Ethiopia, Mexico, Turkey. This annual plant is thermophilic and grows perfectly well in subtropical regions. There are chickpeas plantings in Russia as well. Visually they look like small nuts, their beans are bigger than the ones of peas. There are many varieties of this plant, but the most popular are two, desi chickpeas and kabuli chickpeas. The first one is grown mainly in Mexico and India, the second one is cultivated in the North Africa, Chile, Pakistan. Chickpeas are called golden grains and considered to be helpful in curing diseases when consistently eating them.

    How to use chickpeas in cuisine

    Turkish peas can be added to soups, salads, pilaf, and ground beans can be used for cooking porridge and even desserts.

    If you want to try chickpeas for the first time, here is our advice: before cooking be sure to cover them with cold water for several hours. Such beans are hard, that’s why they get soaked much slower than peas and kidney beans. But even if it takes more time to cook chickpeas, the result will fulfill all your expectations, all dishes will be delicious and aromatic!

    The most popular dish in the Orient is hummus. It is a puree from chickpeas and spices, dressed with sesame oil. Boiled beans is ground with lemon juice, garlic, salt, sesame and spices. The resultant mixture is dressed with sesame oil and served with cookies, home-made bread, crackers. Every housewife has her own secret recipe of making hummus and its special ingredients. You can experiment with composition, leaving the main components, which are chickpeas, salt, lemon juice. Taste must be gentle, with lemon sourness and nutty afterglow.

  • Asafoetida

    Is the latex with intensive aroma, exuded from an umbelliferous plant, originated from Iran and Afghanistan. Usually the dried latex is crushed to powder and mixed with rice flour to make it dusty. The flour percentage can be different, the less it is, the less amount of spice should be added to dishes.

    The pure latex is sold mainly in India, Afghanistan, Iran.

    How to use asafoetida in cuisine

    This spice is one of the main components in vedic cuisine. It can sucessfully replace onion and garlic, whereas not leaving any smell. It can be added to appetizers, soups, vegetable meals and side dishes, salads, basically to every dish, in which you could add onion or garlic. It stimulates digestion so much, that in India people say, you can digest even nails with its help. That’s why this spice should be added to food that is hard to digest, for example, beans. It is good for increasing appetite, helping with belching, relieving trapped winds, toning the body and so on.

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