Cookbook 125: middle eastern

The Australian Women’s Weekly middle eastern (not sure why they went with lower case for a place name, but who am I to ask such questions) was the book I cooked for when I had a friend visiting and the vegetarian who lives with us was away for the weekend.  I was going to cook a dessert, but we filled up on the two dishes I made, and dessert was not something we could manage, so we skipped it.

This book doesn’t have a lot in the range of vegetarian dishes that aren’t salads, and as I was cooking dishes in winter, salad was not very appealing.   Being a relatively recent AWW book, it’s triple tested, with clear instructions, and the dishes I made were tasty.  Overall I give this 3 out of 5 stars (I wanted to be more inspired).



  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 x 400g cans chickpeas, rinsed, drained
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground hot paprika
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk


  1. Heat the oil in a pan, add onion and garlic, cook, stirring, until the onion is soft.  Add cumin, cook, stirring,until fragrant; cool for 5 minutes.
  2. Blend or process onion mixture, chickpeas, tahini, juice, coriander, paprika and buttermilk until smooth.  Spoon into serving bowl, drizzle with a little extra olive oil, if desired.  Serve with bread.

(makes about 1 litre)

Notes on this recipe:

  • It was good, though it was way too much.  Next time I’ll halve the recipe.  I served this with toasted naan that I had left over from earlier in the week because I forgot to buy flatbread.  It still worked.

chicken, cinnamon and prune stew


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2kg chicken thigh fillets
  • 3 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 3 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 medium onions, sliced thinly
  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 1 cup pitted prunes
  • 1/2 cup roasted blanched almonds
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. Heat half the oil in a large saucepan; cook chicken, in batches, until browned
  2. Meanwhile, dry-fry spices in a small heated frying pan, stirring, until fragrant.
  3. Heat remaining oil in same saucepan; cook the onion and garlic, stirring, until onion softens.  Return chicken to pan with spices and stock; bring to the boil.  SImmer, covered, for 40 minutes.
  4. Stir in prunes; simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or until chicken is tender.  Stir in nuts and parsley.

(serves 8)

Notes on this recipe:

  • It was very delicious.  I served it with pearl couscous which didn’t do a good enough job of soaking up all the liquid.  I kept the left overs and froze them, for a meal sometime in the future when I am too busy to cook.
  • You could make it less liquidy by reducing the amount of chicken stock you add, however, the liquid in this recipe is what makes the chicken very very tender.


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