10 Delectable Cuisine Delights from the Middle East: A Culinary Journey

Embark on a culinary journey with us as we explore the richness and diversity of Middle Eastern cuisine. From savoury, slow-cooked meats to unique and fresh vegetarian delights, Middle Eastern food holds a treasure trove of flavours for everyone. Let's feast on ten mouth-watering Middle Eastern delights that leave your taste buds craving for more.

Hummus: A Middle Eastern Staple

Hummus is more than just a dip in the Middle Eastern culinary scene. Made from chickpeas, garlic, tahini (sesame seed paste), lemon juice, and olive oil, hummus is a tangy, creamy delight that serves as the perfect accompaniment to fresh bread and can be used in a myriad of dishes. The simplicity of its preparation belies its essentional role in Middle Eastern cuisine.

Shawarma: A Hearty Meat Treat

No list of Middle Eastern dishes would be complete without the mention of the iconic shawarma. This hearty, meaty dish is made by stacking thinly sliced cuts of meat such as lamb, chicken, or beef, onto a vertical spit that rotates slowly. The meat is marinated with aromatic spices, slowly roasted, and then shredded into fine pieces. It's typically served in a warm flatbread with a selection of fresh salad, garlic sauce, and pickled vegetables.

Falafel: A Vegetarian's Delight

Falafel is proof that Middle Eastern cuisine cater to the vegetarian palate just as impressively as it does to meat lovers. These crispy and flavorful balls are made of spiced chickpeas or fava beans, fried to perfection. The result is a delightful contrast of textures – with a crunchy exterior that gives way to a soft, flavorful center. Falafel can be enjoyed as a meal on its own, or stuffed into pita bread with salads and tahini sauce.

Tabbouleh: A Refreshing Salad

Tabbouleh is a refreshing and nutritious salad from Lebanon that has gained worldwide popularity. It is a mix of finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, bulgur, spring onion, and mint, sprinkled with lemon juice and olive oil. Perfect as a light appetizer, the tabbouleh salad is a testament to the Middle Eastern love for fresh, high-quality ingredients.

Kebabs: A Worldwide Favorite

Arguably one of the most widespread Middle Eastern foods around the globe, kebabs are usually chunks or mince of meat, marinated in unique spices, skewered, and then grilled. The most popular variety is the 'Shish Kebab', which is typically made with lamb. However, many other types like Chicken Kebab, Adana Kebab, and even vegetarian alternatives are equally delicious.

Baklava: A Sweet Pastry Delight

Baklava is the epitome of Middle Eastern sweet indulgence. Made of thin layers of phyllo pastry filled with chopped nuts and held together with syrup or honey, baklava offers a sweet, crispy bite that makes it an irresistible dessert. Each country in the Middle East has its unique spin on baklava, making it a fascinating sweet treat to explore.

Mansaf: Jordan's National Dish

Representing the rich culinary heritage of Jordan, Mansaf is a traditional dish featuring succulent lamb cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yogurt called Jameed and served over a bed of rice. Topped off with almonds and pine nuts, Mansaf is a staple at celebrations and a must-try for anyone wishing to explore Middle Eastern cuisine.

Mezze: A Feast on a Platter

Mezze is not a single dish, but a collection of small plates served together to make a meal. It truly captures the culture and vibrancy of Middle Eastern dining, encouraging communal eating and a variety of flavours. Popular mezze dishes include hummus, baba ganoush, falafel, tabbouleh, and much more.

Dolma: Stuffed Vegetable Delight

Dolma refers to a family of stuffed vegetable dishes prevalent in the Middle East. Vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants are hollowed out and filled with a mixture of rice, pine nuts, and spices, then baked or stewed. Dolmas provide a full, satisfying meal that combines a variety of textures and flavours.

Knafeh: A Cheese Pastry Phenomenon

Knafeh is a traditional dessert made with a thin noodle-like pastry, or alternatively, fine semolina dough, soaked in sweet, sugar-based syrup, and typically layered with cheese, or with other ingredients such as clotted cream or nuts. This delightfully unusual blend of sweet and savory ranks high on Middle Eastern dessert menus and will surely leave a lasting impression on all who try it.