Arabic Dips, Soups, Sauces
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All photos by Nicky Garratt copyright 1999

Taratoor (Sesame Sauce)
"Great dressing for more than just Felafel."

  • 3 Cloves of Garlic chopped
  • 1 Cup of Tahini
  • 1 Cup of Water
  • 1/2 Cup of Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 t. of Salt

Blend in food processor.

"These days there are many varieties of hummus with different additions - hummus with peppers, hummus with sun dried tomatoes, etc. The authentic Middle Eastern hummus is still the best and seems to be more lemony than the supermarket varieties (in the USA) and much tastier."

  • 1 Cup of cooked Chick Peas, reserve liquid (soak rinsed dried Chick Peas overnight and bring to boil, then simmer for 2 hours. Skim off foam once boiling)
  • 1/2 cup of Tahini
  • 3 large Cloves of Garlic
  • Juice of 2 Lemons
  • 3 T. of Water from Chick Peas
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Paprika
  • 1/2 t. of Salt

Blend garlic, lemon juice and chick pea water in food processor. Add chick peas, (Save a few whole chick peas), tahini and salt - If you are using canned chick peas, use less salt as they usually have salt added. Otherwise start with a teaspoon, taste, and add more if needed. Run until mixture forms a paste. If you prefer Hummus smooth, process for a longer period.


Option #1 Add 1/2 t. of paprika into blender.

Option #2 Stir in two T. of chopped Chives after blending, before dressing.


FoHf.JPG (17927 bytes)rmal dressing: Pour hummus into shallow bowl and level out just below the rim. Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into center and smooth over using the back of a spoon until entire surface is sealed. (Make sure no puddles of oil remain). Using a container like a salt shaker with a single hole, pour paprika in sparse diagonal lines about an inch apart.  Repeat in opposite direction forming a cross hatch pattern. Place whole chick peas where lines cross.  Garnish around the perimeter with chopped parsley.

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Informal dressing. Pile hummus on a serving bowl. Form a small crater in the center, then fill with olive oil. Garnish with paprika lightly sprinkled on top and a few parsley leaves. A nice addition is a few black olives placed on one edge and a little chopped green onion thrown over the top.


Hummus should be eaten with fresh pita bread baked that day. Look for pitas without added sugar or preservatives, they taste awful. Generally, the supermarket varieties of pita are a complete waste of time. Try the local Lebanese or Egyptian store if you have one near you.

Baba Ghannouj
"A lot of people prefer Hummus to Baba Ghannouj. This is most likely due to the poor quality of the commercial versions in supermarkets. When the eggplants are correctly smoked and bled, it's hard to beat. I almost always smoke a dozen eggplants and freeze the 'bled' pulp for future use. There are numerous regional and family variations of Baba Ghannouj - this is my favorite"

  • 2 Large Eggplants
  • 3 medium cloves of Garlic
  • Juice from one large Lemon
  • 1/2 cup of Tahini
  • 1 t. Salt
  • Seeds from one Pomegranate
  • Parsley chopped
  • Extra virgin Olive Oil
  • Paprika for garnish
  • A few oil cured Black Olives

Roast Eggplants on Barbecue grill or preferably, smoke in brick or clay oven over open flame turning until evenly black and collapsed. Slit bottoms and stand upright in a colander for an hour draining the sour liquid. Remove charred skin and further bleed the pulp in colander or bowl (tip out liquid). The longer you do this process the sweeter the Baba Ghannouj. Crush the pulp in a bowl, add Tahini and salt. Make a paste out of the lemon juice and garlic in a food processor and add to bowl. Mix thoroughly with a fork and turn into shallow serving dish. Level off the mixture, then trickle olive oil on top and seal using the back of a spoon to spread the oil over the top surface. Use a container with a small hole to make a cross hatch pattern with the paprika. (see hummus above.) Make a circle around the edge of the dish with the chopped parsley and a second circle inside that with the pomegranate seeds. Place half black olives where each line of paprika crosses. Eat cold with pita bread.

"Somewhat similar to Baba Ghannouj, but lighter. A nice variation for summer"

  • 2 Large Eggplants
  • 3 medium cloves of Garlic crushed
  • Juice from One Small Lemon
  • 3 T. Soy Yogurt
  • 1 T. Pomegranate Syrup
  • 3 T. Dry Roasted Almond Slivers
  • 1/3 cup of Chopped Mint
  • 1/2 t. Salt
  • Pinch of Black Pepper
  • 10 Dry Roasted Blanched Almonds for garnish
  • 1 sprig of Whole Fresh Mint for garnish

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Serve in a shallow bowl and garnish with blanched almonds and mint.

Vegetarian Option:  Use thick Lebanese yogurt, which frankly works better


Foul Mudammas
"Staple of Egypt"

  • 1 Cup of Dry Fava Beans (soak overnight in water)
  • 1/4 Cup of Olive Oil
  • 1 t Salt
  • 3 Large Cloves of Crushed Garlic
  • 1/4 Cup of Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 t Cumin
  • 1 T Chopped Parsley
  • Pinch of Black Pepper

Rinse beans, then cook in covered saucepan with enough water to cover the beans for about an hour, or until they are very soft (This will vary with the variety of the bean). Drain off water, then add salt, pepper, half the oil, garlic, lemon juice and cumin. Mix, crushing some of the beans with the back of a fork. Put onto plates and garnish with parsley and drizzle with remaining oil. Serve with pita bread.Bread.JPG (35609 bytes)


Pine Nut Pâté
"This is a very rich dip, I like to serve it with pickles and salad"

  • 1 1/2 Cups of Pine Nuts
  • 3 Cloves of Minced Garlic
  • 1/4 t Salt
  • Juice from 3 Lemons
  • Parsley for garnish

Blend all ingredients in food processor until smooth. Arrange on plate and garnish with parsley. I sometimes frame the paste with pomegranate seeds which cut the rich pâté.


Lentil Soup
"A hearty and cheap soup. My small rhubarb patch keeps me supplied with sufficient stalks for as much of this soup as I want. The vegetable stock is made by boiling the carrot residue from the juicer (strain off the solids to leave a clear broth)"

  • 3 Quarts of Vegetable StockLenthum.JPG (14095 bytes)
  • 1/3 Cup of Olive Oil
  • 2 Large Onions Chopped
  • 2 Cups of Lentils
  • 1/4 Cub of Rice
  • 4 Stalks of Rhubarb
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 t Salt

Fry onions in the olive oil in a saucepan until dark golden brown . Add 1 1/2 cups of water and continue to heat until most of the water is absorbed into the onions and you are left with a puree. Add stock, lentils and rice. Boil then simmer until lentils are soft. Strip outer skin from rhubarb, cut into 3/4 inch pieces and add to saucepan. Cook for 15 more minutes, add salt and pepper.

Barbecue Sauce
"All over the Middle East a wide variety of foods are barbecued. Most however, involve meat. Here are a couple of barbecue sauces which work great with corn-on-the-cob, shallots, and other vegetables"

Barbecue sauce #1

  • 3 T. of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic minced
  • 1 Medium Onion minced
  • 1 1/2 T. of Fresh Oregano
  • 1/4 t. of Salt
  • 1/4 t. Ground Black Pepper

Blend all ingredients in a mixing bowl or in a blender (do not over-blend).

Barbecue sauce #2 (Morocco)

  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 T. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 T. Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 t. Salt
  • Large pinch of Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 T. Paprika
  • 3 T. Minced Fresh Coriander
  • 1/2 t. Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 t. Ginger Powder

Mix all ingredients well in a bowl.