Middle Eastern dishes may sound incredibly exotic but many of the flavor combos you might be more familiar with than you may think. This easy guide includes a brief overview of Middle Eastern food and great resources to interest children and get them excited about trying new flavors and ingredients.
If you haven’t gone over the above guide it’s a good place to start so that you can successfully introduce your children to new and adventurous foods. Here’s some things to get you started on your next food adventure to the Middle East!
Tips to Make Middle Eastern Dishes Kid Friendly:
Mix new ingredients in with old favorites– if your family has never had ingredients like lamb or eggplant before, they might be hesitant to try them. Start with ground lamb and mix it in with ground beef the first few times, the lamb will be less apparent and they can slowly become accustomed to it. I do the same with eggplant since my family isn’t a huge fan. I cut the eggplant smaller and use less the first few times I make a dish.
Tools and Gadgets for Cooking Middle Eastern Food At Home:
Although these aren’t 100% necessary, these special gadgets or tools will aid you in making Middle Eastern food at home.
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- Mortar and pestle/ spice or coffee grinder – it’s suggested to have two separate spice grinders- one for saffron and one for everything else. Freshly ground spices have a much more intense flavor and aroma so it really is worth the extra effort. Grinding spices is a fun job for children to do! A spice or coffee grinder takes the elbow grease out of the equation, but make sure you have one grinder dedicated to spices only (the flavors of coffee beans can cross contaminate your spices).
- Rice Cooker or nonstick rice pot – If you make a lot of rice (and many countries throughout the world eat mainly rice) a rice cooker is a great investment. It is a set it and forget it appliance that makes it easy to have lots of rice ready to go without having to watch over it. The one I have also has a delay timer so you can use a slow cooker or instant pot and come home to a house full of ready to go food.
- Food Processor - Whether you use it for chopping all those veggies or mixing up some awesome dipping sauces, a food processor just makes life easier.
- Skewers - Middle Eastern cooking involves a lot of meat on skewers. The cheap wooden ones are fine, but they require soaking (which requires fore-thought beyond me) and often splinter. Stainless steal ones are a much better buy - they are easier to use, easier to clean, and you don't have to dispose of them after each meal.
Kid Friendly Middle Eastern Recipes: