Every restaurant I visited in Dubai included hummus (chickpea paste), baba ghanoush (a Middle Eastern puree of eggplant), tzatziki (Greek dip of cucumber and yoghurt), tabbouleh (Lebanese salad of bulgur wheat and vegetables) and fattoush (Levantine salad with toasted pita bread) on the menu. All were served with pita bread and accompanied main courses of chicken, lamb and or fish. Dried limes and spices were the norm as were goat’s cheese, eggs, olives, honey, fruit, almonds and dates. A favourite of mine, the most popular dessert in the UAE, was UmAli which means “queen of puddings”. Scrumptious!
Yields : one small bowl size
1 medium or 1 1/3 cup grated Cucumber
30 ml Salt
1 cup Plain Yoghurt
5 ml finely chopped Mint
5-10 ml finely chopped Garlic
Salt and Pepper
1) Grate the cucumber and lightly sprinkle or degorge, French term meaning to draw out moisture, with the 30 ml salt amount. Place this into a colander and allow to stand with a bowl underneath for a few minutes. (This “degorging” works brilliantly when making cucumber sandwiches as it extracts all the moisture so soggy sandwiches are not a result. You can leave your salted cucumbers in a colander over night for best results.) Wash the cucumber in running cold water. Squeeze out any excess liquid.
2) Take this cucumber mixture and add the yoghurt, mint, garlic, salt and pepper. Be careful not to over-salt
3) Serve with Pita bread and/or biscuits as a dip. Or as a accompaniment for seafood dishes. Tzatziki also compliments lamb dishes extremely well.
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I look forward to hearing from you.