February 24, 2010


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

I first fell in love with these when I tried them at a very authentic Arab restaurant. Everyone else at the table knew what they were as I sat there eyeing these football-shaped..things. Was it bread? Was it sweet? Was it filled with something? Was it even good? The rest of my company seemed to enjoy them, so I took the plunge. Every since sinking my teeth into that first warm, crispy bite 5 years ago, I've been hooked ever since. I've tried ordering kibbeh at almost every arab restaurant since and haven't been able to find a good, much less decent, one since. It wasn't until Ramadan that my friend made some for me and my search was complete. Finally, after all these years the familiar flavors of ground lamb and pine nuts came back to me. I was determined to make my own.

After researching recipes I learned that there's not much variation in the actual recipe. It's more a matter of technique: the shell (outside of it) should be a very smooth and fine paste, you should get a bite of tender lamb and nuts in each bite without over stuffing the kibbeh, it should be fried until golden but not burned. The spices are few, but very essential: ground cumin, cinnamon, garlic, etc. Don't skimp on the salt either! So after all that, I ended up using a foodnetwork recipe for its simple explanation. I made my own sauce from green chilis and cilantro because really, something needed to be spicy!



1 1/2 cups fine bulgur wheat
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped yellow onions
3 teaspoons ground cumin
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1/2 pound ground beef
3/4 cups finely chopped yellow onions
1/3 cup pine nuts lightly toasted
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
oil for frying


To make the outer shells, place the bulgur wheat in a bowl and cover with water. Let sit for 20 minutes then drain in a strainer, pressing to extract the excess liquid.
In a large bowl, blend the beef, onions, cumin, salt, and pepper to a paste. Add the strained bulgur wheat and mix well. Process again, in batches, in a food processor until smooth and pliable enough to work like a dough, adding a little ice water if needed.
To make the stuffing, in a large skillet, cook the meat, stirring, over medium-high heat until browned, about 4 minutes. Add the onions, salt, allspice, pepper, and cinnamon, and cook, stirring, until tender, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the pine nuts. Let sit until cool enough to handle.
To make the final dish, with wet hands, shape the raw meat-bulgur mixture into egg-sized balls. Make a hole down the center of each ball with an index finger to make a deep cup with a pointed bottom. Stuff each ball with about 1 tablespoon of the stuffing. Press down on the sides and top to enclose the filling and reshape into a smooth egg with a pointed top. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, wetting your hands frequently.
Preheat the oil to 360 degrees F.
In batches, add the kibbeh balls to the hot oil and cook until golden brown and the meat is cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve hot or at room temperature, with the Yogurt-Garlic Sauce for dipping.

February 22, 2010

Eh...Not So Much...

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Everyone should have a quick, simply, go-to cookie for last minute guests. The perfect cookie that just calls out to be eaten along side a hot cup of tea on a snowy, winter night. Shortbread, sugar cookies, even a chunky oatmeal will do, it's really up to you. My one word of advice is if you're gonna drag out all the ingredients to make a batch, why not make a double batch and store half in the freezer? That way, when those unexpected guests do show-up on that snowy night, you can just lop off a chunk and bake it off. This here recipe was ok. Just ok. I liked the cookie, I loved the filling, but combined together? No, thank you. This clearly isn't my perfect-with-chai-must-have-on-hand cookie, but it may be yours? They did taste good, I'll admit, even if they're aren't the prettiest little things!

Sparkling Vanilla Sandwich Cookie

makes 6 dozen (I halved this and still had plenty of filling left over)
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (optional)
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pressing cookies
  • Coarse sanding sugar, for rolling (I skipped this step, too froo-froo for me!)
  • Chocolate Fudge Filling

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and salt; mix to combine. Add evaporated milk, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds, if using; mix to combine.
  2. Reduce speed to low; slowly add flour. Mix until just combined; do not overmix. Divide dough into 4 equal pieces and shape each piece into a disk. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Transfer to refrigerator and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with nonstick baking mats or parchment paper.
  4. Working with one disk at a time, form dough into 1-teaspoon-sized balls. Roll each ball in sanding sugar and place on prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Lightly dip the bottom of a drinking glass in flour and gently press down on ball to flatten slightly. Transfer baking sheets to oven and bake until puffy, but still soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool slightly on baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Using a small offset spatula, carefully spread about 1 teaspoon filling on the flat side of one cookie; top with another cookie to make a sandwich. Repeat process with remaining filling and cookies. Cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.

February 20, 2010

Amm ke Achaar (Pickled Mango)

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

If you look over yonder to the right side of this blog, you'll see a list of other food sites I particularly enjoy. I don't go posting every food-related-anything on that list, but only those sites that really hit that spot (eh, taste bud?) for me. Sites that I've personally tried and loved, which is why I added Mona's site. Sharing the same background as the writer, I'm constantly swimming in a sea of warm, fragrant memories every time I browse her recipes, and this one was no different. The Indian version of pickled fruits or vegetables is nothing like the American or European version. The former is loaded with smoky spices, aromatic herbs and layered with burn-your-tongue chilies. Eaten alongside with every meal, even breakfast, achaar is a staple at South Indian tables. This was my first attempt at making homemade achaar and though its only been a couple days since I made it (the longer it sits, the better it tastes!), if the first-day flavor is any indicator then this is going to be one spicy and delicious achaar insha'allah!

Mango Pickle
(I made 1/3 of this recipe but would highly reccomend making the whole batch if you're an achaar lover)

Unripe and Sour Green Pickle Mangoes – 3, large
Dry Roasted Black Cumin Seed Powder – 1 1/2 tbsp
Red Chilli Powder – 1 tbsp
Salt – 1 1/2 tbsp
Mustard Seeds – 2 tsp
Dry Red Chillies – 4
Turmeric – 1/3 tsp
Curry leaves (fresh) – 6
Green Chillies - as per your taste, chopped or slit (optional)
Canola oil – 3 tbsp

1. With a damp towel, wipe the raw green mangoes clean and dry them with a paper towel throughly. Throughly dry your hands and knife. Carefully, peel the skin, deseed them and cut into very small pieces.

2. In a flat glass container with a tight lid, put the cut raw mango pieces and add salt and turmeric and mix well. Cover the lid tightly and put the container aside for 24 hours in a cool dark place.

3. The next day, you will see that the mango pieces have released a lot of juice. In a pan on medium high heat, pour oil and add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and dry red chillies. As soon as they begin to pop, remove from heat. Let it cool completely. This is the tempering/baghaar.

4. After the baghaar has cooled off completely, pour it into the container with mango pieces, and also add red chilli powder, black cumin seeds powder and green chillies, if using, and mix well. Adjust the salt and red chilli powder according to your tastes. The Achaar is ready. You can now relish upon it. Store it in a glass jar with an air tight lid. It keeps very weel if kept away from water. Always use a dry spoon when you have it and keep it covered and refrigerated.

February 18, 2010

Sneaky Food

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

There's a lot of controversy in the food world about sneaking nutritious food into your kids' favorite meals. One camp says children should learn to love vegetables in their true natural form while the other says get those vitamins and minerals into those kids any way you can! Having some very picky eaters myself, I lean more towards the second camp but wish I had it easy enough to be in the first. So that led me to hunting down Jessica Seinfeld's (yes, that Seinfeld and am I the only one who thinks they look creepily alike?) book, "Deceptively Delicious". We had success with sweet potato pancakes and sweet potato pasta sauce but it was todays lunch that won me over. Even the adults enjoyed it and I'll definitely be planning on making this again insha'Allah.

Mozzarella Sticks (with Cauliflower!)
(my additions are in red)

1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tbsp flaxseed meal
1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup cauliflower puree (steamed and blended cauliflower)
1 tbsp corn starch
non-stick cooking spray
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp italian seasoning 1 beaten egg

1. In a bowl, toss the breadcrumbs with the flaxseed, sesame seeds and italian seasong.

2. In a second bowl, stir together mozzarella, cauliflower and cornstarch . Shape into 8 logs (2 x 1/2" ). Gently dip into beaten egg and roll in breadcrumbs. Wrap in foil and freeze for at least 20 minutes.

3. Coat non-stick skillet with cooking spray over med-high heat. When pan is hot, add oil. Arrange sticks in single layer and cook 3 - 4 minutes, turning occasionally, until crumb coating is brown. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

February 17, 2010


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Remember that bundle of joy that was supposed to go home a couple weeks ago? Well, she finally did a few days ago, alhamdulillah. I had so many visions of light, fluffy pink cakes and flowers but between my recovery and only a couple hours notice, I instead sent over some nihaari (thick beef curry) and rice. Pink frosted goodies will have to wait until next time insha'allah!

For us I made the one thing I make every time I have lots of veggies just about to go bad: stir-fry. It's truly a beautiful thing; you just take loads of veggies, a shot of soy sauce, a squirt of honey and there ya go! Or, you can cheat like I did and get a pre-made, but very authentic, bottled sauce. I did mention I'm still recovering, right? A little "help" from the store is totally justified!

February 15, 2010


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

For the past week or so, I've been basically bedridden, unable to move without wincing in pain (tahooran, insha'Allah!), so my mother was here to help out - may Allah reward her! - and wow, all I can say is, there truly is nothing like food from your mothers hands. Here's just a small, tiny peak at some of her amazing meals, masha'Allah. Her leftovers can only last so long, which means I'll have to start cooking soon so insha'allah you can expect some regular posts from now on.

Oh, and how could I forget...jazakAllah khair to all the warm wishes and duas from you all. I'm truely touched and pray Allah rewards you all for your kindness, ameen!

February 7, 2010

More Super Food

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Couple more goodies from today's super spread (yes, I'm supposed to be on bed-rest and I have a feeling I'm gonna be paying for this come tomorrow...!)

Super Bowl Sunday

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

I absolutely love theme-foods! New baby girl? Pink cupcakes coming right up! Recovering from an illness? How about some get-well-soon smiley face cookies? And of course, the mother of all themed-food get-to-gethers: Superbowl Sunday. Here's some football inspired goodies from the past to help inspire your superbowl spread:

February 6, 2010


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

I'm basically bed-ridden over here so the Muslim Wife Kitchen's gonna be closed for some time. Insha'allah it won't be for too long. In the meantime I'll try my best to convince some amazing cooks to guest-post insha'allah.

Please keep me in your du'as!

February 3, 2010

Vanilla (Actually Almond) Cupcakes

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

In honor of the sweetest, tiniest bundle of love and joy that I've ever seen (nope, no babies here...a dear friend delivered a *tad* bit early, she was 2lbs at birth!) I wanted to make something sweet. Something tender, delicate and very girl was in order. Our usual cupcakes just wouldn't do and so I went about searching for a simple yet sweet vanilla cupcake. After reading many reviews I finally decided Billy's Vanilla cupcakes (from the acclaimed bakery) would do and only after pre-heating the oven and getting all my ingredients together did I realize I had no vanilla! A quick swap for almond extract and the day was saved, alhamdulillah.

Even after the substitution these cupcakes maintained a subtly sweet crumb, nothing that makes you want to run to the nearest toothbrush, yet still sweet enough to hit the spot. I agree with other reviews that you need to keep a careful eye on these and take them out as soon as your tester comes out clean to avoid over baked and dry cupcakes. Can't wait to try these with vanilla next time!

Billy's Vanilla Cupcakes

Ingredients (~30 cupcakes)

  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour
  2. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat
  3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter. Once cupcakes have cooled, use a small offset spatula to frost tops of each cupcake. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Serve at room temperature.

February 2, 2010


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Continuing with our latest health-kick, I experimented with some freekeh today. Having never before seen or tasted it, I wasn't sure how to approach it. It was only after my husband was introduced to it by a friend that we learned of the incredible health benefits, and we were sold.

After researching some recipes online (the back of the bag was SO not helpful!) I came to the conclusion that if I wanted something with a little heat and kick, I'd have to make it myself. I still don't know if this is what it supposed to look or taste like, but in the end, my kids ate it and really that's all the assurance I need.

Freekeh My Way
1 cup freekeh, rinsed well and left to soak
1/2 onion minced
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 chicken buillon (maggi)
1 can of garbonzo beans
1/2 bell pepper diced (I used both green and red)
1 green chili, minced
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 bay leaves
2 cups water

1. Saute onions, garlic, chili and bell pepper until soft. Dissolve buillon into pan.Add can of (drained) garbonzo beans. Stir in freekeh and cook off any excess liquid. Add spices (turmeric, cayenne, cumin, bay leaves and salt to taste) and stir.

2. Slowly pour in water and bring to boil. Allow to boil 1 minutes and reduce to simmer. Leave to simmer at least 45 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. We sopped up the extra liquid with some home made naan.

February 1, 2010

Kale, the Other Leafy Green Stuff

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Short of the occasional side salad or pizza toppings, we don't eat many vegetables in our family. The problem lies with me, the cook. I know if make it more than likely the rest of the family will eat it, or at least some of it. So in an attempt to incorporate an exciting variety of healthy foods in our diet I picked up a bunch of kale last week. And it sat in the fridge until now, staring at me every time I opened the vegetable drawer to grab another head of garlic or tomato to blend into a chutney. I couldn't ignore it any longer and went out on a limb tonight. After a little research (read: instant messaging my health-food eating friend and crying for help on how to tackle this leafy green monster taking up precious fridge space) I found it its basically a sturdier, stronger tasting spinach, so cook it as such. So I did. And you know what? We all ate it and liked it, alhamdulillah.

Linguini with a Kale Cream Sauce with Cheddar Bay Biscuits

1/2 box of linguine
1/2 onion
3 cloves of garlic, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tsp chopped cilantro
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1 tbsp cream cheese
1/2 head of chopped kale (rinsed well)
sprinkle of feta (optional)

1. Cook linguine per package directions; set aside (do not rinse!)

2. Make bechamel/cream sauce: In small pot, melt butter. Add flour and wisk until incorporated. Cook in medium low heat for a minute to cook off any raw-flour taste. Slowly pour in milk, continuing to wisk out any lumps. Increase heat to medium hight and cook just until it begins to boil. At that point, remove from heat and wisk until thickened.

3. In a seperate frying pan, saute onions and garlic in olive oil just until translucent. Add kale and red pepper flakes. Cook until kale has wilted , about 4 minutes. Add kale mixture to milk sauce. Add in cooked linguini and cilantro. Stir in cream cheese until melted through.Salt to taste. Garnish hot pasta with a sprinkle of crumbled feta cheese.