How to Read a Middle Eastern Menu Arab Food List

Middle Eastern Food

The Middle East historically relied on chicken and lamb as sources of protein with some lesser use of beef and even camel.

A special occasion for Bedouins might mean serving an entire roast camel. The next time you are expecting a hundred Bedouins for dinner stuff and roast a whole camel. A camel would be stuffed with 4 lambs and 20 chickens much like some people here serve Turducken! Cook slowly over an open fire for about a day and a half. Unfortunately camel is supposed to be very tough and stringy so maybe this is what you serve to people you don’t want to impress. One source says roast camel tastes like beef but finishes like horse. Larousse Gastronomique has recipes for camel so, next time you see it in your market go wild!

Pork is completely taboo for observant Muslims and Jews as it is forbidden in both the Koran and the Torah.

Rice, wheat and barley are the principal grains and yogurt, various cheeses, milk and butter are all used heavily. Spices are used less than in India and vary according to the region. For an introduction to seasonings in this cuisine you might try Zattar, it is used frequently as a table spice the way we use pepper and tastes heavily of Sumac.

The area sits astride the Silk Road and has been influenced through the years by travelers from India and Asia to Europe and the Balkans.

The list below is rather long but is fully searchable for use on the go from a smart phone

Foods of the Middle East

Cardamom

Source

Falafel

Source

MA'EZ ZAHR Orange Blossom Essence

Source

Cumin Kufta Recipe

Arab Glossary A thru L

ACKAWI
Ackawi is a soft white brined cheese, with a smooth texture and a mild salty taste, usually made from cow's milk, originating in Palestine. Served as a table cheese

'ARAQ
Strong clear liquor from raisins

ARDY SHAWQI
Artichoke

ATAIF
(gatayef, kataif) Small pancakes stuffed with nuts or cheese and doused with syrup

ARAYESS
Deep-fried lamb sandwich

ARDISHAWKI
Artichoke

'AWWAMAAT
Lebanese doughnuts

BAAMIEH
Okra

BABA GHANNOUJ
Eggplant puree with sesame

BAHARAT (bjar)
Arab mixed spices

BAQLI
Purslane

BAKLAWA (BAQLAWA) (BAKLAVA)
Dessert of layered pastry filled with nuts and soaked with honey flavored with lemon.

BANADOURA
Tomatoes

BAQDOUNIS
Parsley

BASAL
Onion

BASBOOSA
Sweet cake made of Semolina soaked in syrup

BATAATA
Potato

BATINJAAN
Eggplant

BAYD
Eggs

BAZILA
Peas stewed with chicken

BIL
With

BOEREK
Turkish rolled pastry filled with cheese, eggplant, spinach or meat, like a middle eastern egg roll.

BOOTHAH (BOUZA)
Ice cream

BUKHARI
Lamb and rice cooked with onion, lemon, carrot and tomato

BURGHUL, BULGUR OR BULGHUR
Cracked wheat usually Durum wheat, that has been par-boiled which sets it apart from cracked wheat

CARDAMOM
Spice used widely in the middle east and Asia, part of the ginger family also in Nordic countries for baking. A little goes a long way and buy cardamom in the pods so it lasts. Unique flavor, very aromatic there are black, green, white, red and brown varieties in different parts of the world.

DJAAJ
Chicken

DOLMASI
Stuffed

EJJE
Arabic omelette

‘ENAB
Grapes

FALAFEL
Deep-fried patties made of spiced ground chick-peas

FARAWLAH
Strawberry

FATAYIR
Pastry filled with spinach, meat or cheese

FATTOUSH
Salad of toasted croutons, cucumbers, tomatoes and mint

FELFEL
Pepper

FOTOOR
Breakfast

FOUL (ful)
Mashed brown beans and red lentils, dressed with lemon, olive oil and cumin

GAHWA (kahwa)
Coffee

GHAMEH
Stuffed sheep's stomach

GYRO MEAT (this is Greek)
See: SHAWERMA

HABASH
Turkey

HALEEB
Milk

HALLOUMI
Cheese is a mixture of goat's and sheep's milk, and is similar to mozzarella cheese.

HALWA (halva)
Sesame paste sweet, usually made in a slab and sometimes studded with fruit and nuts

HAMOUR
Red Sea fish, a type of Grouper.

HREESI
wheat porridge

HUMMUS
Purée of chickpeas, tahini lemon and garlic - served as a dip with pita

IGGIT
Omlet

JARISH
Crushed wheat and yoghurt casserole

JEBNE
White cheese

KABSA
Classic Arabian dish of meat mixed with rice seasoned with Kabsa spice which is is a blend of black pepper, turmeric, coriander, fennel and allspice

KADIFI
A pastry that looks like shredded wheat, made of sheets of Filo stuffed with pistachios and sweetened with honey

KAMAREDDINE
Apricot nectar

KAFTA
Ground meat patties, balls, loaves etc

KA'K
Hard rolls

KARKAND
Lobster

KATAIF
sweet stuffed pancakes

KEBAB
Skewered pieces of meat or fish cooked over charcoal

KHADRAAWAAT
Vegetables

KHAROOF
Lamb

KHASS
Lettuce

KHUBZ MARKOUK
Paper thin, discs of Arabic bread, what we know as PITA is a poor form of Khubz. The true product is light and airy and the layers are very thin. Cooked on a convex metal disc called a markouk

KHUSHAAF
A drink served in Ramadan of raisins with water and sugar

KHYAAR
Cucumbers

KIBBEH, KIBBE
A paste made of ground lamb mixed with burghul and onions, eaten raw.

KIBBEH NAYE
Raw kibbeh eaten like steak tartar

KISHK
Laban ferrnented with burghul

KISIR
A spicy, Turkish version of tabouleh flavored with red pepper paste base

KIZBARA
Coriander

KNAAFEH
cheese pastry

KOSHARY
Cooked dish of pasta, rice and lentils to which, onions, chillis and tomato paste are added

KOUSA
marrow squash

KOUZI
Lamb baked over rice so that rice absorbs the juice of the meat, also

SAUDI CHICKEN KOUZI
A Saudi dish of chicken in yogurt sauce over potatoes and pasta

KROUSH MAHSHIEI I
stuffed intestines

KUFTA (kofta)
Fingers, balls or a flat cakes of minced meat and spices that can be baked or charcoal-grilled May be packed on skewers

KUNAFI (kunafah)
pastry dessert stuffed with sweet white cheese, nuts and syrup

LABAN
Cultured milk; yoghurt

LABNEH
Cream cheese made from laban (yogurt)

LAHM
Meat

LAHM B AQAR
Beef

LAHMA BI AJEEN
Lebanese pizza

LOUBIEH
Green beans

Shish Kebab

Source

Lebanese Food

Arab Glossary M thru Z

MAHHAAR
Shellfish

MAHSHI
anything which is stuffed

MAI
Water

MA'AMOUL
Little shortbread cakes made with semolina and dates especially served on religious holidays

MA'EZ ZAHR
Orange blossom essence

MAKLOUBEH
Literally upside down, Meat or fish with rice, and vegetables flipped over on the serving plate

MAKHLOUTA
Lentil Soup with Beans and Rice

MALFOOF
Cabbage

MANSAF
Lamb on rice with yogurt sauce

MANTOU
Dumplings stuffed with minced lamb

MARKOK
Lamb and pumpkin stew

MASHWEY
Roasted

MAWZ
Banana

MI'L'AAQ
grilled

MALFOUF
cabbage

MA'EZ ZAHR
orange blossom essence

MA'EL WARD
rose water

MEHSHI
Stuffed

MELOKHIYYAH
Greens (like spinach)

MESHMESH
Apricot

MEZZE
(mezza, meze, meza, mezzah) The Arabic word for appetiser,

MISH
Apricots

MJADARA
lentil stew

MOQABBALAAT
Appetizer

MOGHLIE
A rice pudding with ginger,Caraway and Anise

MOUHAMMARA
Mixture of ground nuts, olive oil, cumin and chillis, eaten with Arabic bread

MOUTABEL
Eggplant dip made with Tahini olive oil and lemon juice

MUBASSAL
Onion pancakes

MUHALABIYYAH
semolina pudding served cold

MUJADDARAH
lentil stew

MURABBA
jam

MURABBA QISHR EL ABOU SFAYR
Candied peel of bitter orange

MUSAKHAN
Chicken casserole with sumac

MUSTIKAH
gum Arabic

MUTABAK
Sweet or savory pastry turnovers usually stuffed with cheese, banana or meat

MY WARID
Rose water

NABULSI
Several semi-hard brined cheeses made from sheep's or goat's milk. Named for Nablus the town of origin in Palestine. May be fried in oil or served as a table cheese and is the main ingredient in katayef pastry.

NAJIL
Saddle-back grouper

PIYAZ
Turkish bean salad. It is often served as part of the mezzeh, or as a main course.

QARNABEET
cauliflower

QATER
sugar syrup

QAWWRAMA
preserved meat

QOUZI
stuffed baby lamb

RIZ BI HALEEB
Rice pudding

ROCCA
Salad green with a peppery mustard flavour, used in salads or mixed with hot yoghurt

SABANEKH
Spinach

SAHLAB
corn flour

SALATIT SALATAH
Salad

SAMBOUSIK / SAMBOSA
Fried pastry filled with meat, nuts or cheese

SAMAK
Fish

SAMNEH
clarified butter

SAYYADIYA
Fried fish served on rice cooked in fish broth

SELEEK
Lamb and rice dish where the rice is cooked in milk

SFEEHA
Meat pie

SHAI
Tea

SHAMMAM
Melon

SHAMANDAR
Beet

SHANKLISH
Cheese from Syria and Lebanon made from sheep's or cow's milk seasoned with thyme. Usually formed into balls, dried and aged but may be eaten fresh

SHAOUR
A Red Sea fish

SHARAB
Syrup

SHAWERMA
A cone of pressed meat cooked on a spit and shaved for sandwiches, this is the fast food of the Middle East. The sandwich here is usually called a Gyro, but this is Greek

SHISH TOUK
Skewered chicken cooked over charcoal

SHOURABAT (SHOURBA)
Soup

SMAISKEH
Fillet of lamb

SMEED
Semolina

SNOBER
Pine nuts

SUKKAR
Sugar

SILQ
Swiss chard

SUMAC
Ground leaves a seasoning from the cashew family

TABBOULEH
salad of chopped mint, parsley and burghul

TAHDIG
Meaning bottom of the pot from Iran Tahdig is the layer of crispy rice taken from the bottom of the pot in which the rice is cooked

TAHINI (TAHINA)
Sesame seed paste used in Humus, Baba Ganooj, Halva and other dishes

TAMR
Dates

TARATOOR
sesame sauce

TEEN
figs

TESTOURI
Cheese shaped like an orange, Testouri originated in Egypt and is eaten lightly salted as a table cheese. It is made from goat's or sheep's milk.

TOUM
Garlic

TOUT
Mulberry

UM ALI
(Ali's mother) pudding with raisins and coconut in milk

WAJBAH
Meal

WARAK ENAB (WARAK DAWALI)
Stuffed grape leaves

YAKHNIT
Stew

YAKHNIT EL SAMAK
Fish Stew

YANSOON
Hot spiced tea

ZAAFARAN
Saffron, the most expensive spice in the world this is the dried stigmas of a Crocus blossom, has a unique flavor and is intensely colored so it is used both for flavor and color. Annatto is sometimes used as a cheaper substitute.

ZATOON
Olives

ZATTAR
A blend of thyme, marjoram, sumac and salt

ZAYT
Oil

ZUBDAH
Butter

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