Tag Archives: chick peas

Middle Eastern Spiced Rice and Lebanese Mousaka (Maghmour)

I love middle eastern food. Plain and simple. The flavors go so far beyond just hummus and pita. When I was younger and we lived in South America , we would frequent the Syrian, Lebanese and Armenian restaurants a lot because of their vast selection of vegetarian dishes. Hummus, babaganoush, tabouleh, fattoush salad and one of my favorites, lebanese mousakka. Mmmmm my mouth is watering! This dish is called Maghmour I believe in Arabic, and bares very little resemblance to its Greek counterpart (A layered caserole dish with meat and potatoes.) It is a savory, tangy, and sometimes spicy blend of tomatoes, spices, eggplant and chickpeas. I’ve seen it served both room-temperature and warm. I ate this dish warm. Especially, now that tomatoes are in season I used a bunch of fresh tomatoes.   You are going to love it!


I paired this with some delicious middle eastern spiced rice. You see this on the streetcarts of NYC and in any shawarma place. Warm Basmati rice cooked to perfection with a blend of freshly ground cinnamon, cloves, peppercorn, allspice and paprika. I topped it off with a few slivered almonds.

*On the side was a yummy and simple salad of Persian cucumbers, tomatoes, mint and feta. Drizzled with some balsamic vinegar and olive oil. (This was the only non-vegan portion of this recipe.


For the Rice:

You Will Need:

  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice, rinsed a few times under running water
  • 1 tbsp whole allspice
  • 1 tsp whole cloves (4-5 cloves)
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • Olive oil
  • Mint, cilantro or slivered almonds for garnish

1) Grind whole spices finely in the above proportions


2) Heat  olive oil in a skillet and add  spices, saute for less than a minute

3) Add 1/1/2 cups basmati rice (rinsed first) and fold in the spices


4) Allow the spices and rice to fully blend together (2-3 minutes)

5) transfer to a rice cooker or pot, and add less than 3 cups of water and 1 tsp salt, cook covered on medium for about 20 minutes, until the rice is cooked.

The result is spiced, savory perfection! Garnish with some mint and slivered almonds if you like!


For the  Mousaka


You will need:

  • 2 eggplants
  • About 5-6 Roma tomatoes , chopped(or 3 larger tomatoes)
  • 1/2 Red onion
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Cayenne pepper or any chili powder on hand
  • A pinch of sugar
  • Paprika
  • Cumin powder
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Can of chickpeas, drained ( I used only half in this recipe)

Before you begin:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°  and trim the ends of the eggplants, and peel in strips (like below image)
  • Then, cut the eggplant into about 1 inch rounds, and lay them on a baking sheet. Drizzle generously with olive oil and salt them. Make sure both sides get some olive oil.


To Prepare:

1. Bake  eggplant rounds for 20 minutes, turning half-way. Remove when eggplants are soft, but not squishy. Cut into cubes and set aside.

4. In a skillet, heat olive oil and saute half a large red onion and 3 cloves of garlic, minced

5. Add in the chopped tomatoes and 1 tbsp of tomato paste

6. Saute for a few minutes, and add 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp paprika, and 1/2 tsp cayenne powder (more if you like it spicy). Add 1 tsp salt and let the tomatoes reduce into a nice sauce, adding water as necessary.  This should take about 10 minutes.

7. Reduce flame to medium and add chick peas. I am not a huge fan of chickpeas so I just added half the can.  Simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Add a pinch of sugar if you feel it is too acidic. This cuts the acid.

8. Add in the eggplant and mix well.

9. Finish it off with some fresh chopped mint and cilantro. Remove from flame and serve with the spiced rice and salad!





Be my Valentine Sun-dried Tomato Hummus

Happy Valentine’s day everyone! Today I’m going to a small get together with my coworkers so I thought I’d bring along a little something yummy. This sundried tomato hummus takes no time at all and is sure to wow. Tastes great in salads, and sandwiches too.  Here’s the step-by-step:

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Red and Green Palak Chhole

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. This season, in keeping with the festive theme, I made a spicy palak chhole, chickpeas cooked in a sweet and spicy tomato gravy with fresh spinach. My dad was hungry and I cooked up this recipe based on what we had in our pantry–a few cans of garbanzo beans, tomato puree and spinach. High in protein and iron from the spinach, this dish was a big hit with the fam. Hope you enjoy!


  • 2 cans garbanzo beans, rinsed well
  • 1 cup of tomato puree
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 cinnamon stick, 3-4 cloves, 3 cardamom  pods and a few pepper corns
  • red chili powder
  • Dried  red chillies
  • 2 dried red chillies
  • salt to taste
  • cilantro
  • kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • Half a bag of fresh baby spinach, chopped


  1. Add a little bit of vegetable oil to a pot, I used a cast iron skillet which gets very hot, but leaves the food very flavorful. Add the dry spices to the oil (cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorn, clove) and allow it to heat.
  2. Add onions and 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste and 2 dried red chillies and saute until translucent.
  3. Add 1 red pepper, sliced.
  4. Add tomato puree and another tsp of oil and cook well. I also add 1 tsp of ghee, or clarified butter for flavor. Tomatoes are not in season, so tomato puree gives a nice gravy, but can get a bit acidic. To reduce the acidity, add a tsp or so of sugar and optionally a squirt of tomato ketchup.
  5. Cook this gravy well, stirring occasionally and adding water when needed so it does not burn. Add 1 to2 tsp of red chilli powder and salt.
  6. Once  the gravy is well cooked, add 2 cups of water and chickpeas and simmer on low for about 20 minutes. The longer you cook beans, the more flavorful they become. You can add  1 pinch of kasoori methi for seasoning at this point.
  7. When this has thickened, add in the finely chopped fresh spinach. Stir and remove from flame. Garnish with chopped cilantro,  and serve with basmati rice!