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Kitchen World Tour Day 75: Iraq

Tonight I served Kubba Hallab with Amba, Labneh and Fattoush

There are lots of types of Kubba in the middle east. Kubba Hallab is mashed rice dumplings filled with minced lamb or beef. It is then deep fried. This was served with Amba, an Iraqi mango pickle.

If you haven’t made labneh before you should. A really simple cheese. Add salt to yogurt and let drain through a cheese cloth. You need 12 hours for soft Labneh, 48 hours for hard Labneh. I prefer this cheese to be served hard and shaped into balls as an accompaniment to the meal.

Lastly Fattoush Salad, salad with pita bread chips, and the secret ingredient if you can find it is pomegranate molasses. It is sweet and sour, and adds something special to the dressing.

Next Up: Ireland

Kitchen World Tour Day 74: Iran

Cooking Iranian was a delight. Kuku Sabzi is a herbed frittata containing an enormous amount of green herbs. It was very flavoursome.

Tah Dig is a Persian rice dish full of saffron and baked until it has a solid crust. It also has a layer of a sour fruit in it called barberries. Never used them before but I liked them a lot.

Finally Torshi ‘Ye Bademjoon is an eggplant pickle. Kas loves eggplant so this was right up her alley. Vegetarian and Persian is a cuisine which I need to experiment with some more. Quite different to anything I have tried before.

2 Litres unhomogenised milk
3 Tbsp lemon juice
(Cheesecloth for straining)

Very important, homogenisation breaks up the fat molecules and they don’t curdle so you need to buy unhomogenised milk specifically. I have found that a 2L bottle of milk will give you about 500g of paneer.

Put the milk on to boil. While heating prepare a cheese cloth over a colander (placed over the sink) to drain the whey.

When the milk is just boiling add about 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Add them a table spoon at a time and stop when it starts curdling. If it doesn’t curdle add more. The PH of the lemon and milk differs so this will be different amounts each time. The trick is to add acid till the curdling starts and then add no more.

Once it starts curdling turn off the heat and let it sit for about 3 minutes before tipping into the cheese cloth.

Wring and twist the cloth to extract as much moisture as you can and then put it under a weight. You can see from the picture I just used a saucepan with a few litres of water in it.

After a few hours remove the weight and put the cheese mixture in the fridge. Make sure you refrigerate it for a few hours before use as it helps it bind.

It is a very simple process and I have found that the hardest part is finding a source of unhomogenised milk.

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