Middle Eastern food is definitely up there as one of my favourite cuisines. The amazing depth of flavours, the beautiful baking, the zing of fruit in the mix. Oh I am salivating just writing this. The short time I spent in Israel when I was 17 really opened my eyes to the local cuisine. I tasted falafel for the first time sitting at Damascus Gate. It was one of the best foods I've ever tasted!
This is one of the reasons that I’ve been so excited to welcome Honey and Co to our community of BeeBee Wraps stockists. Honey and Co founders, Sarit and Itamar, have inspired my culinary adventures with the most exciting salad 'Big Itzik' and a real crowd pleaser of a lunch in 'Pomegranate Molasses Chicken'. Their careers have both crossed paths with another hero of mine, Yotam Ottolenghi, whose recipe I've used here.
Opening Sami Tamimi and Yotam Ottolenghi's book 'Jerusalem’ was such an evocative flashback. Photos of the streets of Jerusalem immediately brought back the smells of the city. I remember going to the bakery for pitas bigger than dinner plates and eating a cauliflower dish that I have never since found, and continue the search for. The Green Door Pizza Restaurant, featured in the book, was a small cave-like pizza joint with a proper oven where we all sat against stone walls munching down delicious grub! All in all, Ottolenghi managed to once again draw me in not only with taste but the lure of a culture I love.
Zhoug (pronounced shoog) is one of the recipes from right at the back of the book, apparently it's the condiment of choice for the Middle East. I chose to recreate it here because I just love it and because the herbs before and the Zhoug after are so well preserved in BeeBee Wraps.
Watch me preparing my Ottolenghi inspired Zhoug below. Spot the moment where we struggle to get bowl out of the mixer (definitely kept it in for comedic effect and not because we haven’t worked out how to edit it out…)
If you want exact ingredient quantities (and not my guestimates as in the video) you can use these quantities which come from Ottolenghi’s gorgeous Sabih dish (oh and yes you have to try Sabih too, who'd have thought mangoes, aubergine, eggs and tahini would work, but they just do!!):
For the Zhoug
2 green chillies
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground cardamom
⅛ tsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp water
Can't wait to see your photos! Let me know how you get on in the comments below :)