Banir Aghtsan (Bunyer)

DSCN0616

Cottage Cheese Salad

Serves 2

Quick and easy salad. In our family, this was called simply “bunyer“. Served in small bowls with pita bread.

Ingredients
1 cup    cottage cheese
2 Tablespoons     crumbled feta cheese
1 Tablespoon     tomato paste
1 Tablespoon     chopped onion
1/4 cup     diced tomato
1/4 cup     cut-up green pepper (use bell peppers, mild frying peppers or chiles)
2 Tablespoons     chopped black olives
2 Tablespoons     olive oil
pinch     kamoon
pinch     oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

1. Mix tomato paste with cottage cheese using approximately 1 Tablespoon paste per cup of cottage cheese.
2. Add feta cheese, onion, tomato, green pepper, and chopped olive.
3. Sprinkle a dash of cumin and oregano.
4. salt and pepper to taste.
5. drizzle with olive oil.

Hamim Red Pepper Salad

Hamim

Hamim Red Pepper Salad
Garmir Bgh-beghi Aghtsan

Food Processor

Yield is 56 oz (3.5 lbs)
7 – 8 oz containers

Served as a salad or dip, hamim is a delicious blend of flavors with peppers and walnuts. Hamim is very similar to the Arabic dip called muhammara.  In a Turkish restaurant, you will find a dish called Salad Ezme, which is also very similar to hamim.

Hamim takes it’s name from a key ingredient, the Kessabtzi sun-dried red pepper paste.

Ingredients
12 large red bell peppers
12 small red Fresno peppers (look like little red jalepeños)
6 oz shelled walnuts (halves or pieces)
1 oz hot red pepper paste (also called Hamim)
3 oz tomato paste
2 oz toasted pita crumbs
3 oz extra virgin olive oil
1 oz pomegranate syrup
2 oz chopped Greek olives
spices (salt, pepper, cumin, Aleppo pepper
  1. Roast peppers until skins are charred. Cool in a paper bag, remove skins and drain on paper towels to remove excess moisture.
  2. Using a grinder or food processor, chop peppers, walnuts with salt until fine, but not puréed. Drain excess juice.
  3. In a larger mixing bowl, Add remaining ingredients and season to taste.
  4. Chill and serve with topped with diced fresh tomato and a drizzle of oil.

This is a restaurant quantity batch which can be scaled for home use. Watch the pomegrante syrup and the cumin as too much of either can be overpowering.

Loukoumades – Greek Donuts

LoukoumadesLoukoumades

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1½ tablespoons active dry yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups lukewarm milk/water
  • 1 cup of good quality Greek honey
  • Oil for deep frying (I used vegetable oil)
  • Cinnamon powder for dusting
  1. In a mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1 cup lukewarm milk/water then cover the bowl with a cloth and let it stand for 10 minutes to allow the yeast to rise.
  2. Then gently add the flour and salt to the mixing bowl in stages and continue to mix well; sparingly add the remaining (and/or any additional) lukewarm milk/water while continually mixing. The resulting batter should end up as soft and sticky dough, soft enough to be able to drop from a spoon.
  3. Cover the mixing bowl with a cloth and place in a warm spot to rise for a couple hours, or until it has doubled in bulk and has bubbles forming on the surface.
  4. When the dough has risen, heat oil in a deep pan/fryer and prepare to fry theloukoumades in batches. You will need a teaspoon and a cup of cold water for this part. Dipping the teaspoon into the water before using it to spoon up portions of the dough will ensure that it does not stick to the spoon.
  5. Drop teaspoonfuls of the dough directly into the hot oil, helping with your fingertip if the dough does not easily slide off the spoon. (Just remember to wipe your finger before the next spoonful).
  6. Fry each batch of dough balls until they puff up and achieve a golden brown colour. When they are ready, remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and set them on a platter lined with paper towel to drain for a couple minutes.
  7. Place the loukoumades on a serving platter and drizzle the Greek honey overtop to cover. Dust with cinnamon powder and serve immediately.

Additional Notes:

Many recipes for Loukoumades call for a boiled sugar-honey-water syrup bath, but I prefer not to mix sugar with my honey as I like it pure and unadulterated. As well, you can sprinkle the Loukoumades with some crushed walnuts before serving. Lastly, Loukoumades are best eaten on the same day as they are made.

Garlic Sauce – Toum

toumGarlic

  • 16 oz (1 lb) garlic cloves
  • 1/2 oz sea salt
  • 6 oz lemon juice
  • 6 oz water
  • 80 oz (10 cups) canola oil

Process garlic cloves and salt until smooth. Slowly add lemon juice, water, and 2 cups of oil to form an emulsion. Add remaining oil in a slow steady stream. Refrigerate overnight for flavors to mellow.

Yield is 96 oz (6 lbs) of garlic sauce
12 – 8 oz containers