My love for the arabic kitchen is growing every day since a number of years. So diverse and such an exciting kitchen! I was therefore thrilled to go to the book presentation for this Dutch book, My arabic kitchen by Mounir Toub. Original titel of the book Mijn arabische keuken.
Mounir Toub, the author, is a young succesful chef living in the Netherlands but originally with roots in Morocco. He has dedicated his first book to his mother; the one that introduced him in the first place to good food and a happy childhood where food was given an important role. The great importance of his mother is a repeating theme throughout the book. It’s personal written in such a sweat way! Chef Mama giving the instructions to a professional chef but also a son. I believe that many of us foodies can recognize the relationship and the role it has played for our future passion; food!
The photos, made by Saskia Lelieveld, are simple with beautiful colors and small details of perfection. Just looking at them, made me immediately wanting to run into the kitchen!
The Arabic kitchen
If you are new to the Arabic kitchen, you should immediately make a list for the most important spices and herbs to use. Add fresh leafy parsley, cilantro, mint and leaf celery to your list. The main spices are ginger, cinnamon, orange blossom water, rose-water and saffron. Now you are all set to make the most delicious dishes such as tajines, harira (a creamy soup) or couscous (that of course also can be made with cauliflower, see link).
Even though vegetables and fresh herbs has a tremendously big role in the Moroccan kitchen, it’s rather focused on meat and fish. The great thing is that you easily make many of the dishes vegetarian or even vegan.
From the book, I have chosen the first recipe that I knew straight away that I had to make. Grilled halloumi with mint and honey. You just can’t go wrong with salty cheese, fresh mint, sweet and sour pomegranate and crunchy nuts.
Let’s get to work!
Grilled halloumi with mint and honey
200 gram halloumi
1 bunch of mint
2 cloves of garlic
1 preserved lemon (read more about them here)
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper (be careful with salt though since the preserved lemons and the cheese is rather salt in it self!)
2 tbsp honey (can also be replaces with agave or maple strop if needed)
1 handful of pomegranate seeds
1 handful of pistachios (or almond flakes that I had at home)
How do I do it?
1. Cut the halloumi into slices of 3 centimeters and grill the slices on both sides shortly in a hot grill pan.
2. Pick the mint leaves and cut them into very thin strips. Peel the garlic and chop finely. Cut the peel of the preserved lemon into thin strips. Mix the olive oil with mint, garlic and preserved lemon peel and season it with salt and freshly ground pepper.
3. Place the grilled halloumi in a ovenproof dish and spread the prepared mix over the halloumi.
3. Drizzle with a little honey and place the ovenproof dish about 2 minutes under a hot grill so that the honey can caramelize.
4. Remove the tray from the grill, sprinkle the pomegranate seeds and pistachios over the halloumi and serve immediately.
Tips: You can prepare everything and just before the dinner, place the ovenproof dish under the grill.
This recipe is free from gluten.
Title Mijn arabische keuken (My arabic kitchen in translation)
Author Mounir Toub
Publisher Carrera culinair