Mezze - Appetizer

Middle Eastern Mezze is a way of life.  Mezze with beer, coffee ,ouzo or without drinks. There are all kinds of mezze. Some are very simple, others are complicated.

Mezze includes nuts, chickpeas, olives, vegeables, fried cheese, pickles , dips , fried bread, stuffed dough or vegetables, fried liver, small meatballs , all kinds of baked pastry with or without stuffing and more.

Salads also considered in the Middle East as mezze, although I will put it in a separate chapter.


Easy Hummus

1 can chickpeas - drained
3 tabs tahini
1/4-1/2 cup lemon juice
1 clove garlic
olive oil
3 Tabs water
parsley - chopped

Place all ingredients, except for parsley and olive oil and simmaq, in a blender and add water . Puree and blend well,  Put on a plate.  Garnish edge of plate with  and sprinkle olive oil in the center.


Babba Ganoush - dip (version I)

1 eggplant
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tab olive oil
1/2 cup tahini

Place eggplant in the oven for 30 minutes at 250° F, turning occasionally. Peel the eggplant and Mash in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Garnish with chopped parsley and tomato cubes .


Babba Ganush - Version II



1.5 C flour

1 grated onions

3/4 C oil

white pepper & salt

1 teas cumin

1/2 teas cardamon

oil for frying


1-2 C canned chickpeas - ground

Put flour in a bowl, add salt. Add the oil and mix . Add water mixing thoroughly until dough is binding.

Divide into small pieces, place on a tray and put in a warm place for one hour. Mix ground chickpeas, onion, some more salt, pepper , cumin and cardamon .  Roll each piece of dough and spoon about 2 Tabs from the mixture n the center of , fold and twist the edges. Heat the oil and deep fry the samboosak on both sides. Eat warm with Israeli salad.


Fried zucchini

zucchini, salt, pepper, flour, oil

Wash zucchini and cut to thin slices or big cubes . Mix flour and salt. Dip zucchini in mixture and fry in hot oil. Drain of papper towel.


Stuffed Vine Leaves

1/2 kg. vine leaves - fresh
1/2 kg. ground beef
1/2 cup uncooked rice
2 Tabs chopped parsley
1 Tabs chopped mint leaves (op)
salt, white pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
2 lemons, thinly sliced with rind

Soak leaves in hot water for 10 minutes.  Drain. Combine all beside leaves, lemon and oil . Spoon mixture on edge leaves and roll. Top dish with lemon slices . Top lemons with the stuffed leaves . Cover with oil and water . Cook  for 1 hour.


Beef Cigars

1 finely chopped onion

2 Teas cinnamon
1 large onion, grated
salt & pepper
1 pack of pastry (puff pastry or fyllo)
1/3 C olive oil
1/2 C chopped parsley
200 gr' melted butter

5 eggs
1/2 Kg ground beef

Preheat oven to 300 F. To make filling: Cook onion in the olive oil until soft. Add beef or lamb, crushing it with a fork. Add seasonings and spices. Cook 10-15 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon, until meat is well cooked and lump-free. Add parsley.  Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl and pour over the meat. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring, until egg mixture sets to creamy consistency.  Add more spices and seasonings, if desired. Allow the filling to cool.  Cut each sheet of filo pastry into three equal-sized rectangles. Place one on top of the other and cover with a damp dish towel.  Brush one of the rectangles lightly with melted butter. 

Place a teaspoon of filling along one of the short edges. Tuck the edge and ends of pastry around the filling, and roll into a cigar shape. Repeat with other rectangles.  Place cigars side by side on a greased baking sheet. Brush with melted butter and bake for 25-30 minutes until the cigars are golden. Serve hot


Ratzelech - Jewish Potato Pancakes

4 large potatoes, peeled and grated
1 large onion, grated
1 apple, peeled, cored and grated
2 eggs, separated
pinch of sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1/4 cup oil

Combine the potatoes, onion and apple . Drain liquid well. Combine the potato mixture with the egg yolks, sugar and flour to thicken the mixture . Add the salt and pepper and mix well.

Beat egg whites and fold into the mixture. In a large heavy skillet, heat oil and drop into oil from a tablespoon, fry over a moderate flame on both sides. Drain on paper toweling, sprinkle over with salt , sugar or honey.


Chopped Herring

4 salt herring filets soaked 12 hours in cold water
1-1/2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped tart apple
2 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
2 slice white bread, trimmed
3 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp salad oil
1 tsp sugar

Change water in which the herring is soaking at least twice. Drain. Chop herring as finely as possible. Combine with the onion, apple and eggs. Beat the vinegar with sugar and oil. Pour over the trimmed white bread, allowing it to soak for a few minutes.  Add soaked bread to the herring mixture and chop until it is smooth. Correct seasoning and chill.


Avocado with Honey Sauce - Israeli style

1 onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
4 avocados, peeled and cut into wedges
1 grapefruit, peeled and divided

Mix together the onion, mustard, honey, lemon juice and olive oil. Chill for 30 minutes. Arrange the avocado wedges and grapefruit sections on four plates. Spoon the honey sauce over each portion and serve


Pickled Garlic

4 Heads garlic, cloves separated, unpeeled

2 cups red wine vinegar

2 cups water

1 cup sugar

6 whole cloves (not garlic-the spice!)

2 tablespoons black peppercorns

Place all the ingredients in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat and  cook tor 10 minutes, stirring from time to time.  Recuce the heat to moderate and cook 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.

Transfer to a clean glass or ceramic jar large enough to accomodate the garlic and liquid.  Tightly seal and refrigerate for at least 1 month before serving.  The garlic improves with age for as long as 15 Years.


Pickled Onions

4 big onions, peeled
2 Tabs sugar
4 Tabs wine vinegar
2 Tabs chopped mint leaves

Peel onions and slice. Sprinkle onions with salt, add vinegar and mint leaves. Leave for an hour before serving.


Fried Liver

1 lb liver (cow)

Flour for coating

Olive oil



Lemon juice (op)

Wash liver , cut to big cubes. Coat with mixture of flour, salt and pepper.  Fry over medium heat. Remove from heat and season with chopped mint leaves. To pour lemon juice is an option.


Dukka -  Egyptian Nut mix

Eat with toasted (or not) pita bread dipped in olive oil.


1/2 C Cashew nuts

salt and pepper to taste

1.5 C Sesame seeds

5 Tabs corinader seeds 

1/2 C ground cumin


Crush nuts. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly until well blended. Store in an airtight container, in a cool dry place.




I can chickpeas
1-2  tabs minced garlic (depends on your taste)
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 teas minced cumin
1 teasp ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tabs warm water
oil for deep-frying


Drain the chickpeas and place them in a food processor. Add garlic, parsley, salt, cumin, and coriander. Mix with the warm water and add mixture to food processor. Process until smooth. Transfer mixture into a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate for an hour or more. Pour the oil to a depth of 2 inches in a heavy saucepan . Roll to small balls. Slip a few at a time into the hot oil, making sure they don't stick to the bottom. Fry, turning, for about 4-5 minutes, or until brown on all sides. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.



 Recipes Index