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Four Healthy Summer Recipes in the UAE
Posted on Jun 17, 2013 by Rob Kellaghan
Check out our guide to four simple and nutritious local recipes to enjoy this summer.
Summer is well and truly here and daytime temperatures are soaring. The evenings don’t feel much cooler either, and as is often the case during the warmest part of the year, many people find it increasingly difficult to prepare and eat large meals consisting of heavy or starchy foods such as rice and potatoes. Some of the region’s tastiest foods are actually really simple to make, and the following guide lists four of the healthiest local recipes that can be easily prepared this summer.
This classic Middle Eastern salad can be prepared and eaten in minutes, and is ideal to enjoy on a balmy summer’s day. Tabbouleh is also very low in calories and rich in vitamins A and C. The following ingredients are required: firm tomatoes, flat-leaf parsley, mint leaves, bulgur (cracked wheat), herbs, lettuce, spring onion or scallion, cinnamon, black pepper, olive oil and lemon juice.
To start, the tomatoes should be diced into cubes and the onions or scallions sliced into thin strips. The parsley and mint is then mixed together by hand and sliced into very small pieces. After that, the bulgur is rinsed through several washings of cold water and left to drain. It will naturally begin to inflate. When each ingredient has been prepared, drain the tomatoes and place into a large bowl. Add the onion, herbs and bulgur, then season with pepper, cinnamon juice, lemon juice, olive oil and mix together. The salad is then served with lettuce.
This creamy dip is popular not just throughout the UAE but in the wider region and beyond. It is extremely tasty and can be prepared in around 30 minutes. Hummus is very nutritious and is rich in calcium, vitamin B-6, magnesium, zinc and thiamin, and low in saturated fats. While there are a number of different recipes for hummus, the traditional UAE recipe uses tahini, cumin, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, paprika and of course chickpeas.
The chickpeas should be left to drain before being placed in a blender. The garlic and cumin is then crushed before being added, followed by the lemon juice, tahini, salt and some water. All should be blended until creamy, then placed in a bowl with some paprika sprinkled on top. It can be left to serve at room temperature or can be placed under a grill for three to five minutes on a medium heat. Although traditionally served with pita bread, raw vegetable sticks or tomatoes also work well with this dip.
Fattoush is more commonly known as a side dish at a summer BBQ, but this salad is actually a delicious meal in its own right. While the ingredients may vary, the sauce does not and its tangy yet sour taste is what helps make this salad stand out from the rest. The UAE version predominantly uses cucumber and tomatoes, both of which are low in calories and rich in vitamin C and antioxidants.
The ingredients to be used for the sauce include sumac (a sour spice available locally), black pepper, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. All should be blended together, then seasoned with salt or additional lemon juice until just right. The salad should consist of the following: tomato, cucumber, green pepper, rocket, lettuce, shallot, mint leaves and radish, with each ingredient placed in a large bowl and mixed together before being seasoned with the sauce. Pita bread sticks may also be served with the salad but are entirely optional.
Another dip recipe that goes well with vegetables or bread, baba ganoush is low in calories and high in protein. Its main ingredient, aubergine, is rich in fibre and protein and low in fats. Other ingredients include tahini, olive oil, parsley, lemon juice, black pepper and garlic.
Cooking time is quite short at just 15 to 20 minutes, which is typically the time it takes to grill the aubergine until cooked. The outside of the aubergine should be black or have a charcoaled look, and the inside should feel soft. While the aubergine is cooking, the garlic and black pepper should be crushed before adding tahini and lemon juice. Once the aubergines are cooked, the fleshy insides should be spooned out and placed in a blender, along with the juice and crushed spices. Once blended, the aubergine is placed in a large dish and covered with the sauce, olive oil and a topping of chopped parsley.
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