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Friday, August 7, 2009

Latest Kitchen Rave

A few weeks ago I posted about a lovely Lebanese dinner at Bahar's place. The experience stuck with me and I have been trying to reiterate the dishes at home. Browsing the Times bookshop one day and I came across this beautiful book Saha by Greg and Lucy Malouf.

The book cover was enough to persuade me to part with RM 150 but the foreword by Anthony Bourdain caused the heart to beat a little faster.

The book is a visual delight, the photographs captured the journey made by Australian born Greg Malouf who is of Lebanese origin. He made the epic trip back to homeland after achieving success with his Lebanese restaurant in Melbourne.

The book reads like a travelogue and depicts age old traditions in Lebanon. One such experience was their visit to a district that is famous for their butchers and meat. One selects a cut and portion at your favourite butcher and he chops up the meat along with a bunch of fresh herbs and onions before wrapping it up for you. A butcher who marinades on the spot, how about that!

You take the meat/herb mixture to the communal (!!) baker who then combines fresh mountain bread, home made yogurt cheese and your marinated lamb and within minutes you have piping hot meat pies.

How unbelievable is that?!!!

I devoured the whole book in an hour and could not wait to try the recipes. Thankfully most of the ingredients are available here except for yogurt cheese which I have to ask Bahar's chef if he makes his own.

So for the past few weeks I have tried out at least 4 recipes and they have been massive hits. Tonight I am also recreating from his book, the Upside down poached chicken and eggplant pilaf. It doesn't sound like much but the ingredients, fried pine nuts and ground lamb cooked with rice in aromatic chicken broth is heavenly.

The prep work for this cuisine is painstaking. It took me 2 hours to cook this dish but very fulfilling.

Totally yummy !!

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