The Mediterranean Middle East Menu: Defined

Discovering regional flavor profiles, especially those showcased in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine can be overwhelming. What to eat!?

Everyone needs a crib sheet now and then…here’s yours.

A Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Menu.*

ARAK Middle Eastern anise-flavored alcoholic drink found often in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel.

AVGOLEMONO Egg-lemon sauce or soup.

BARBERRY A tiny red berry; tart like a cranberry.

BASTURMA Highly-seasoned cured beef.

BRIK A thin pastry that’s filled with seasoned meat and fried.

DUKKAH Egyptian spice blend with nuts & seeds.

FESENJAN Iranian Stew often made with duck or chicken, containing pomegranate juice and ground walnuts.  It is sweet or sour and always served with rice.

Casserole of chick peas, tahini and crisp bread.

FIDEOS Vermicelli noodles that have been crushed and toasted.

FREEKAH High-fiber Middle Eastern cereal made from green wheat.

KADAYIF A crust made from vermicelli noodles.

KASIR  A meze dish of bulgur, parsley, tomato paste. (In Turkey, it often includes sour pomegranate molasses.)

KOFTA Meatballs made from a spicy mixture of lamb, beef, veal, and pork.

LABNE A thick, strained yogurt.

LEVANT Countries bordering on the Eastern Mediterranean Sea from Turkey to Egypt.

LEBLEBI Roasted chickpeas for snacking. A Turkish treat.

MEZE Small plates of Mediterranean dishes, perfect to share. Often served with an aperitif at cocktail hour.

PILPELCHUMA  An intense ancho-chili, cumin, and garlic paste used as seasoning by the Jews of Tripoli.

ZA’ATAR a wild herb, similar to thyme, blended sesame seeds & sumac.

ZHOUG Israeli chili paste, originally from Yemen.

*Have you seen an ingredient or dish in a Middle Eastern or Mediterranean restaurant that’s stumped you?  If so, tell us about it in the comments section and we will explain what it is to you!