Ramadan Series: Appetizers by Chef Aziz Rajab

Appetizers are dishes that we serve prior to the main course to whet our appetites and also to set the right tone for the main meal.

‘Appetizer’ specifically refers to building an appetite. Hors d’oeuvre, another word for Appetizer, literally means “outside of the masterpiece”.

‘The varieties of appetizers are limitless. They could be preparations of raw or cooked, marinated meats, fish or vegetables served hot or cold in small portions. They require little to no preparation, even simply served as roasted nuts, brined or raw cut fruits or vegetables.

ICCA Dubai Culinary Instructor, Chef Aziz Rajab prepared 4 different set of appetizers for you and your family to enjoy this Ramadan season.

Lentil Soup

Lentil soup

1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 or 2 carrots, finely chopped
6 cups water and stock
1 cup orange lentils
½ teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric, for colour (optional)
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
pepper to taste
1 lemon
Garnish: fried onions

Method of Cooking
1. Over medium-low heat, sauté garlic and onions until translucent. Add carrots and continue stirring for a few more minutes.
2. Add liquid and lentils. Bring to a boil. Lower temperature and simmer gently for one hour.
3. Add salt, pepper, cumin, and turmeric, if using. For a smooth soup like in the photo, puree in a blender or food processor or use an emulsion blender. Alternatively, if you like the texture, leave as is.
4. Garnish with fried onion and serve with fresh lemon slices.

Baba Ganoush

babagonoush_final

Ingredients
1 medium Tomato
1 medium White Onion
A small bunch of Parsley
3 small bell pepper(Yellow, green, red)
3 Cloves Garlic
1 sprig of Spring onion
Walnuts
10 Eggplant
1 large Pomegranate juice
20ml Lemon juice
10ml Olive oil
10ml Fresh mint (small bunch)
1 medium Pomegranate

Method of Cookery

  • Chop the tomato, white onion, parsley, garlic and bell pepper finely and keep aside in a cool place. Slice the spring onion into fine rings. Crush the walnuts into rough pieces.
  • Prepare a medium hot fire in a charcoal grill. If a charcoal grill is not available a hot stove range plate can be used. Prick the eggplant skin with a fork in several places before placing on the heated grill. Turn frequently until the skin is charred and blisters form with the flesh just begins to feel soft.
  • This should take around 10 to 15 minutes. Remove it from the heat and let cool slightly then peel the skin off. Chop the softened eggplant finely.
  • In a salad bowl mix the chopped tomato, white onion, parsley, garlic and bell pepper with the eggplant. Add the lemon juice and pomegranate juice.
  • Spoon the mixture over in a decorative plate. Make a pattern in the eggplant preparation with a spoon and top it with olive oil. Tear the fresh mint into medium sized pieces. Sprinkle the mint along with the sliced spring onion, crushed walnut and pomegranate seeds over the top. Serve chilled.

Hummus

Hummus

Ingredients
1 can Chick Peas (drained)
1 tbsp Tahina
1 tsp Lemon Juice
3 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt A/R
Garlic

Method of Cookery

  • Blend in the ingredients together. Serve chilled.

Moutabel

moutabel

Ingredients

1 large roasted eggplant (Optional: Aubergine)
1 tbsp Tahina
2 tbsp Yoghurt
Lemon Juice 1 tsp
Olive Oil 2 tbsp
Salt ¼ tsp
Garlic

Method of Cookery

  • Char roast the aubergine/eggplant.
  • Remove the skin and mash the pulp along with other ingredients.
  • Serve.

Get more of our Ramadan Series, visit our official YouTube Page to get more videos.

Aziz Rajab

Chef Aziz is a professional chef, trainer & passionate Saucier, who completed his training at the Escoffier Hotel School in Nairobi. He has not only achieved a tall order of success in his career as chef in the Hospitality Industry but also managed to touch the lives of keen learners as a Chef trainer. He believes perfection is attainable and makes sure its at the heart of his cooking, leading him to have a sharp eye for detail. The Kitchen is his home as his comfort with food transcends onto the plate.

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