Introduction: Arabic Food 101 - [Tashreeb Dijaj] - Chicken Meal
This is the first in a series of arabic dishes. I learned this from my aunt, Ama Najat while she was out visiting California.
Why should you consider making this instructable? Well every breathing creature likes food. We also associate tenderness and care with feeding, possibly due to some sort of mothering nurturing ideas. So next time you want to get to know someone better -- cook! It's not hard and they'll really appreciate the effort. In our times where consumption - not production - is the norm, making your own food is surprisingly... surprising!
So considering my lack of expertise when it comes to cooking, I can attest that this feast is a fairly safe bet for your first Arabic/Iraqi styled dinner. If you like chicken, but hate how oven cooking can make it seem dry and tasteless than this is a great dish for you to try. This Tashreeb Dijaj (literally soaked bread chicken) has a sweet and sour taste that's distinctly ethnic and very filling.
Step 1: Find Your Local Arabic Store
Look around you. No, really, look around you. There are arabs everywhere in this country and they like to eat. So no matter where you live there's a good possibility that you'll find an arabic store nearby.
If you're in San Francisco CA I can recommend Salama's Halal Meat Market. It will have all the right spices, and very good fresh meat.
If you're from Ann Arbor MI then Jerusalem Market is your safe bet.
A good way to find an arabic store is to do a keyword search using Google Maps. Click on the find business tab and input your area code. For an example of how you can find an arabic store somewhere you wouldn't expect I did a search for one in Kansas City. Check picture 2 for results.
The store will most likely look like this one in SF in picture 1. Nuts, I know...
Step 2: Gather Ingredients
Now you'll need to gather the ingredients.
To make this you'll need:
1) Noomy Basra. Otherwise known as Dried lemon
2) Pomegranate Molasses.
3) Small Noodles
4) Thick pita bread.
5) Olive Oil
6) Chicken legs
7) Salt / Pepper / Cumin / Spice to flavor.
10) Bell Peppers
Most of these materials you can gather from the arabic store found in step 1. Let's continue...
Step 3: Spice the Meat
Cooking is the arrangement of ingredients in time being processed by selective heating. This meal is pretty simple in it's process, but let's get to it:
If your chicken was not pre-skinned you'll need to clean them. You should get your chicken legs and strip them of all their skin. Put it in a large bowl. Using a knife to peel will help you get a good grip.
Now that your chicken is cleaned and in a bowl, you can add your spices like in picture one. Add 1/4 cup of pomegranate molasses per four chicken legs. On top of this pour some a few table spoons of olive oil to help cover and spread the spices you'll be adding.
Over this soupy mess of chicken, pomegranate molasses and olive oil you will be adding some salt, about 1 table spoon of ground sumac for each leg. Add cumin and ground pepper to your taste if you'd like.
Now you should stick your hands in there and mix it all up, let this bowl sit on the side. The next step is to prepare the final arrangement.
Step 4: Arrange Your Ingredients
You should have a casserole bowl or glass oven dish out and your bread by your side. Start by preheating your oven to 350oF.
Pour some olive oil to coat the bottom of the dish. Now you should take the bread and rip it to bits and proceed to plate the bottom of the dish so you can't see through it. Once the bread covers the entire the bottom of the plate you can start to add your solids. Add the bell peppers, onions and fianlly get your chicken bowl and start to arrange your legs in a pattern flipping the direction each time. Check picture 5 for an idea.
Picture 6 is a cross cut of what a dried lemon looks like on the inside, you actually do NOT eat these, nor do you put them into the dish cut. You add them whole, like little golf balls. Once the chicken is all placed add the dried lemon in between the legs after every few paths.
Now you're basically done, pour the rest of the sauce that remained in the chicken bowl on top of the chicken and sprinkle one last dash of sumac on top. Wrap it up in foil by now your oven should be hot. Toss it in on the second shelf and let it cook for 30--45 mins.
Step 5: Dinner Party
This is not more of a step, but more of a suggestion. Food is delicious and good. But friendships last much longer. Cook for some friends. Or if you don't have any, cook to make friends... it really helps. And this Chicken Tashreeb is a good start.
Also, another benefit of cooking for friends is that you can have them make the remainder of the meal while you make the main course.
During the creation of this instructable we made Chicken Tashreeb and some awesome salad.
Super Awesome Salad Ingredients:
Red Romaine Lettuce
Red and Green Peppers
I hope you enjoyed this instructable, now get cooking!