Developing a Taste for Belly Dance
It’s no surprise to anyone reading this blog that my first love is dancing – but what you may not know is that I am an avid cook too! I love all kinds of ethnic foods and have amassed a cookbook collection that has well over 250 titles. Years of hanging around Middle Eastern restaurants for gigs have transformed my diet. Hummus, tabouleh and the like are “normal” food in my house – no more unusual than peanut butter and jelly. But it’s the long-time friendships I’ve enjoyed with two Lebanese women in particular that have introduced me to delicious dishes not usually found on the typical Middle Eastern restaurant menu. One of these is Burghul bi Banadoura or Bulgur with Tomatoes. My friend Nadia whips this up like it’s nothing and it smells and tastes so heavenly I can eat bowl after bowl. It’s as good warm as it is cold. She never wrote her recipe down for me so I have adapted one from Claudia Roden’s “New Book of Middle Eastern Food” to be more like hers.
Burghul bi Banadoura (Bulgur with Tomatoes)
1 large onion, chopped
5 Tbl olive oil
3 cups coarse bulgur, rinsed and drained
1-14 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained and juice reserved
1 Tbl tomato paste
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp allspice
salt & pepper to taste
Water added to reserved tomato juice to total 1 1/2 cups
Fry onion in half the oil till golden. Add bulgur and stir well.
Add diced tomatoes, paste, water and juices, sugar, allspice, salt and pepper. Stir and cook covered over low heat for about 15 minutes. Check after 10 minutes to be sure it isn’t drying out. If there isn’t any liquid left in the bottom and the bulgur is still too chewy, then add a little water and cook 5 minutes longer. If it’s too wet, then cook uncovered to let liquid evaporate.
Let sit covered 10 minutes after it’s done cooking. Stir in the other half of the oil.
Serve warm or cold as a side dish. I like mine as a main dish with a green salad. Yum!
Has being involved with belly dance brought new foods into your life? What’s your favorite Middle Eastern dish?
Tell us in the comments below…