Rainbow Couscous Bowl

rainbow-couscous-bowl-straightupbananasThis here is a recipe that’s been featured on WKND Magazine and Khaleej Times. It’s a little something I came up with when I had absolutely no clue what to make for dinner.

I just started laying on the flavors and it all kind of worked out.

You can eat this rainbow couscous bowl fresh or as leftovers the next day and it’s absolutely perfect. This recipe is not set in stone, so do play with it.

rainbow couscous salad

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the couscous:

  • 1 cup of fine couscous
  • 2 teaspoons of turmeric
  • 1 sliced spring onion
  • Coriander
  • A pinch of seasalt
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • A pinch of red chili flakes

For the toppings:

  • Toasted almonds
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • More coriander
  • Mint leaves
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Grilled chicken breasts (seasoned with sea salt, cinnamon, chili flakes, sumac and zaatar)
  • Grilled halloumi cheese

For the sauce:

  • Yogurt
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of crushed garlic
  • Coriander
  • The juice of a lime
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini

 

How to prepare:

  1. In a glass bowl, place the couscous along with all the couscous ingredients and fill with 2 cups of boiling hot water. Cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap and let set for 10-15 minutes.
  2. After the couscous has set, remove the plate or plastic wrap and with a fork lightly fluff the couscous.
  3. In a large flat plate, place the warm couscous and layer on the toppings. To ensure that each bite is tasty, mix half of the topping ingredients together with the couscous and leave the rest for the top.
  4. Pour yourself a few spoonfuls and layer on the yogurt sauce.
  5. ENJOY!

 

Delicious Palestinian Fatteh in a Jar

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So there was recently a pretty decent dinner/iftar party at the Straight-up Bananas HQ and I accidentally cooked up a storm enough for 10 when in reality we were only 5….Never cook when you’re hungry, I guess. Lesson learnt.

I made a Middle Eastern feast fit for kings and queens, and along with the Moroccan stuffed leg of lamb I recently got from an event with Spinney’s, I also made my rendition of their popular recipe for fettit khobiz, or bread fatteh.

It was actually my first time making fatteh, and probably only my second time eating it (I had only had it with soggy bread and that never felt appealing to me). I decided to make it in a jar, partly because I had ran out of plates and partly because I felt it looked so pretty with all the layers showing.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 slices of day-old Arabic pita bread cut into squares
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Toasted pine nuts
  • Yogurt
  • Tahini
  • 1 can of drained chickpeas
  • 1 minced garlic (very fine)
  • The juice of a lime
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil

Here’s how it’s done, son:

  1. First, toast the bread in a hot pan until nice and golden brown–a little oil goes a long way, there’s absolutely no possible reason you’d have to deep-fry the bread.
  2. Then, dry toast the pine nuts–dry toasting means that you place them on a skillet without any oil, eventually the natural oils of the pine nut with help toast them up.
  3. In a bowl, mix the yogurt, garlic, lime, olive oil and tahini together to form the yogurt sauce.
  4. In the jar, place the chickpeas on the bottom, layer with pine nuts, pomegranate seeds and yogurt sauce then garlic with some more pine nuts, pomegranate seeds and maybe even a swig of pomegranate molasses.
  5. When you scoop out the layers from the jar and place in your plate, top with the toasted bread–this means each bite is as crispy as it should be!
  6. Go Straight-up Bananas and enjoy!

It’s super simple to make and as long as you don’t add the bread, the jar could last a few days–so you’d be able to make it in advance for any dinner parties you may have.

Go Straight-up Bananas with me and give this a shot, and since you’re here, follow me on Instagram as well, please! 🙂

 

Rainbow coucous salad

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There’s something about cooking up a storm in Ramadan that I find oddly satisfying and I can’t quite pinpoint why–is the anticipation of having something delicious for iftar? Is it the sense of mystery whether or not the food is going to be taste..good? I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I love that feeling of spending time cooking a dish and unveiling the flavors only at that first call of “Allahu Akbar”.

Two days ago, I decided that I wanted to cook some chicken and couscous, but was left uninspired on how I wanted to go about it. I pranced into the kitchen and started to ransack the cupboard, looking for anything that I thought might fit the Moroccan flavors I was looking for. Many ingredients and spices later, and I came up with this salad and it was a smashing success 🙂

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the couscous:

  • 1 cup of fine couscous
  • 2 teaspoons of turmeric
  • 1 sliced spring onion
  • Coriander
  • A pinch of seasalt
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • A pinch of red chili flakes

For the toppings:

  • Toasted almonds
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • More coriander
  • Mint leaves
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Grilled chicken breasts (seasoned with sea salt, cinnamon, chili flakes, sumac and zaatar)
  • Grilled halloumi cheese
  • Sliced olives
  • Baby spinach
  • Grilled sweet potatoes

For the sauce:

  • Yogurt
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of crushed garlic
  • Coriander
  • The juice of a lime
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini

 

How to prepare:

  1. In a glass bowl, place the couscous along with all the couscous ingredients and fill with 2 cups of boiling hot water. Cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap and let set for 10-15 minutes.
  2. After the couscous has set, remove the  plate or plastic wrap and with a fork lightly fluff the couscous.
  3. In a large flat plate, place the warm couscous and layer on the toppings. To ensure that each bite is tasty, mix half of the topping ingredients together with the couscous and leave the rest for the top.
  4. Pour yourself a few spoonfuls and layer on the yogurt sauce.
  5. ENJOY!

 

I know it feels like it may be a lot of ingredients, but I can’t tell you how delicious this dish is. You could eat it warm on the spot, or enjoy leftovers the next day–it’s absolutely delicious!

Go Straight-up Bananas with me and give this recipe a shot! And since you’re here, why not follow me on Instagram and SnapChat (ahlam.al1)?

 

Morocco in an afternoon cup of tea at Kif Kif – Dubai

If you’ve followed me for the past year, you’ll know how absolutely obsessed with Morocco I am. I love the people, I love the food, I love their sense of style–I love Morocco.

We’ve come across this quaint little restaurants in Jumeirah called #kifkif that offers great quality Moroccan food for very affordable prices and the decor is absolutely gorgeous. Just had some lahm wa barkouk tagine like there was no tomorrow and now we’re cooling down with some afternoon Moroccan tea. Love it!

#morocco #tea #teatime #straightupbananas #jumeirah #dubaifood #food #beautiful #weekend #lunch #arabicfood #arab #color #boho #dubai #dxb

(at Kif Kif)

This one’s an Arabic mouthful. Protein-packed veggie kebab sandwich with all the works!

I may have gotten too carried away in the kitchen today. Just spent a good hour and a half making this vegan lunch for myself.

With the rigorous workout I’ve been doing lately, I need to pack on the protein to build muscle and in the true spirit of being kind to my body I’ve made this Arabic vegan feast.

We’ve got a vegan chickpea and potato “kofta” sandwich doused in pickled red onions and radishes, a dill and cucumber yogurt sauce in some wholewheat pita bread. On the side, I’ve got some vegetarian stuffed grape leaves and some hummus topped with pomegranate!

An absolute mouthful and handful, but it was delicious.

#vegan #whatveganseat #veganfood #veganfoodshare #veganfoodlovers #bestoftheday #bestofvegan #straightupbananas #plantbased #plantpowered #arabicfood #hummus #kebab #sandwich #lunch #food #foodporn #foodgasm #palestinian (at Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

Words could never explain just how delicious this dish was!

A mushroom and freekeh risotto topped with juicy boasted chicken spiced with plenty of Palestinian zaatar, garlic and black pepper.

Oh. Dear. Lawdy.

#amazing #home #homemade #homecooking #chicken #risotto #palestine #palestinian #straightupbananas #arabicfood #yum #delicious #hungry #eat #food #foodporn #foodgasm #dubaifood #dubaifoodie #foodblogger (at Remraam)

It may not be the best looking picture, but it was most def delicious. Yesterday’s lunch for 6 was a moroccan inspired chicken, olive and preserved lemon stew with a vegetable couscous, ginger grilled chicken breast and toasted almonds.

#family #love #lunch #moroccan #morocco #puertorican #straightupbananas #foodcoma #eatwithme #foodie #food #chicken #foodporn #arabicfood #middleeastern #happy (at Dubai, United Arab Emirates)