Another recipe courtesy of the carismathic Syrian chef is this phenomenal lentil salad with pasta. Unfortunately my stomach does not allow me to eat lentils, but I still wanted to make this for my friends.
Pasta is actually quite common in the Middle East among with other Italian influences such as pizza. This dish requires lasagne sheets, but I couldn’t find any egg-free lasagne sheets (to make it vegan) in the shops near work so I used fusilli instead. It worked well but I used a little bit too much pasta to get the perfect pasta-lentils ratio, so do use the measurements below. It was still a very tasty dish and this is great buffet food. (And cheap too.)
Damascene lentil salad (Harra s’bao), serves 4
230 ml lentils
2 lasagne sheets, semi-cooked, cut in finger-sized strips
1,4 l water
2 tsp salt
4 lonions, finely chopped
1/2 bunch coriander, chopped
4 garlic cloves, pressed
juice from 2 lemons
3-4 tbsp pomegranate molasses
240 ml olive oil
250 ml pomegranate seeds
Bring the water to the boil in a large saucepan. Add salt, lentils and 1 tbsp olive oil. Cook for 2o mins, covered, stirring occasionally.
Add the pasta after 20 minutes and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally until the pasta is cooked.
While the lentils are cooking, fry the onion brown in a frying pan, transfer to a bowl. In the same pan, fry the coriander for a minute (until wilted), add the garlic and fry on low heat. Place with the onions.
When the lentils are done, add olive oil and the rest of the ingredients. Top with Arabic croûtons and pomegranate seeds.
As I told you earlier, everything was vegan apart from one meat dish, and that is the lamb scewers above. It might not be strictly Middle Eastern influences in this recipe, but it has the chilli and the cumin, and besides, it was too nice not to try!
And if you will be barbecuing just one thing this summer, make sure it is these scewers! The recipe is courtesy of the lovely Rejina at Gastrogeek and you find the recipe here.
I marinated the meat for 2 days to cram in as much flavour as possible, but since we don’t have a barbecue (or a garden, sob) I cooked them in the oven for 15 minutes or so and a few minutes under the grill at the end.