Before we start, let me clear the air. We are not going to talk about cruise ships, romantic sunsets or travel at all. I’m referring to the Mediterranean cuisine and how your whole palate goes on a journey discovering those wonderful spices and herbs. This cuisine is just as colorful and packed with flavor reminiscent of the region.
It is one of the world’s most popular cuisines and combines the flavors of – North Africa, Europe & Middle East. The most widely used ingredients are olives, Tahini (sesame seed paste), chickpea, meat, seafood, legumes & whole grains. It is a healthy option when eating out and contrary to common belief there are a lot of vegetarian options as well.
If you ever happen to be in a place that serves Mediterranean buffets then you’re bound to find a wide array of salads, soups, breads, hummus, innovative deserts, bread spreads and more variety than you can count. This cuisine is rich in flavors and there is no dearth of appetizing dishes. The freshness of ingredients is a vital thing. Moreover, you can eat as much as you like without having to worry about your waist size.
My favorite dish is simple yet delicious serving of hummus with pita bread & pickle. It takes under 15 minutes to prepare & is a hit with house guests in any party.
If you are in Delhi and looking for a place that serves Mediterranean cuisine; then head to Fres Co in Janpath (http://fresccoonline.com/home). It is done quite nicely & the interiors remind you of Greece/ Croatia. The walls are decorated with murals of beautiful Mediterranean Sea in vivid blues and greens. You can see a live cooking station where the chefs are busy cooking up some mouth watering delights. They serve a huge spread and an interesting mix of main course & deserts at the buffet table. You pay a fixed price for all you can eat buffet! The carrot cake that they serve at this place is simply too good to miss. They had a huge array of chicken, seafood, pasta, assorted breads and other scrumptious dishes.
While I was away from home in Houston last year and badly craving for some spicy & aromatic food I discovered a place called Dimassi’s. It was my lucky day I guess. I was tired of eating all the southern chilly corn, hot dogs & steak. Indian food served in that neighborhood wasn’t like the one served at home. So when I ate at this Mediterranean place I wasn’t complaining. They have this system of weighing your food. You only pay for as much as you can manage to eat per serving. I was really happy drinking Rose sherbet instead of Dr. Pepper. They serve Baklava, hummus, lamb shanks, zucchini, okra, pulao style rice, falafel, kebabs, eggplant and endless options. I truly understood the meaning of ‘Tummy Khush’ that evening!
When I came home I started experimenting with the cuisine myself. I followed online recipes and watched food shows on TLC to get a fair understanding of it all. Here’s my recipe for Hummus & Pickle that will be sufficient for a party of 4-5 people.
- For Pickle:
- 1 finely sliced orange carrot
- 1 finely sliced radish
- 5-7 green chilies split (optional)
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
Just add the ingredients to vinegar in a glass jar and sprinkle some salt. Keep it for 6-8 hours.
- Soaked chickpeas – 1 cup (soaked over-night)
- 1 tbsp yogurt
- 1 tsp Tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
- ½ tsp of roasted cumin
- Few sliced black olives for garnish
- ½ tsp Paprika
First boil the soaked chickpeas and remove the skin. Now combine the chickpeas, yoghurt, tahini & cumin powder in a blender. Make a smooth paste and top it with olives, olive oil & paprika. Serve with pita bread that’s easily available in supermarkets.
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