Middle Eastern Comfort Food (podcast)Jan 27th, 2012 | By Cecilia | Category: Featured Articles, podcast, the show
Hummus, babaghanoush, falafel and pita bread are practically synonymous with Middle Eastern cuisine; but what about Musakhkhan and Knafeh? Get to know these dishes—and how to correctly pronounce their names– on this week’s show featuring Sahar Arafat Ray.
I met Sahar at a party in June 2011 at a mutual friend’s home; everyone at the gathering was a culinary professional or food enthusiast.
Sahar fits comfortably into both groups.
She teaches cooking classes in people’s homes via her business Tart Queen’s Kitchen, as well as at Central Market, where she is a past Cooking School Manager at the Austin store.
During our party conversation, I learned she has Texas and Arab roots, and does a great deal of Middle Eastern cooking.
Of course I had to get her on the show.
We tried mightily to coordinate our schedules so we could get a show on the air at the end of the Muslim observance of Ramadan (30 days of sunrise to sunset fasting) and the beginning of Eid al-Fitr, a three-day festive occasion where Muslims literally celebrate breaking the fast.
Scheduling conflicts thwarted our efforts.
That didn’t stop us from eventually getting together so that Sahar could demonstrate how she prepares two dishes Muslims might (and do) eat during Eid al-Fitr.
The recipes for Mussakhan, which roughly translates to baked chicken on bread, and Knafeh, which is sweet baked shredded phyllo with cheese, are not for those watching their weight. They harbor large quantities of olive oil, butter and sugar–respectively.
But what would you expect? These are foods people eat to break a 30 day fast.
You don’t have to fast for 30 days to give these recipes a whirl. They are very easy to make and delicious, too–they’re just not intended to be eaten every day (even though you’ll want to).