By Ishita B Saha: Divided into five sections, depicting breakfast, mezze, lunch, dinner and desserts, Suzanne Husseini’s cookbook ‘when suzanne cooks’ takes on traditional Arabic recipes and tweaks them to give them a modern and unconventional take. It thus remains true to the title of the book – Modern Flavours of Arabia. The beautiful photographs bring the recipes to life and are easy to follow – simple steps, simple ingredients and uses a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. I have tried out the Roasted Cauliflower with Citrus Tahini Sauce – adding some Orange zest and freshly squeezed Orange juice into the regular Tahini dip made it taste unique and so unconventional. Her irregular take on the regular dishes, is what makes her recipes so interesting. Her vivacity is infectious as she tries to educate us beyond our limited knowledge of Arabic food, namely Baba Ghanoush, Moutabbel, Houmous etc. Suzanne has shared the recipe for her beautiful Beetroot dip with us.
“To my mother, thank you for the love you put in every meal. Your love lives on in my kitchen.”
I’ve interacted with Suzanne Husseini very closely and have seen her cook at various events. I’ve also tasted menus at a few restaurants that have been specially created by her. I can vouch for the fact that her ‘secret ingredient’ – love, is the definitely her strongest ingredient in all her recipes. Don’t forget to put the same when you cook as well, whether it’s a recipe from Suzanne Husseini’s book or elsewhere!
Shamandar or Beetroot Dip
- 6 medium beetroot
- 1⁄4 cup yoghurt
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tbs tahini
- pinch of cumin
- juice and zest of 1 lemon juice and zest of 1⁄2 orange sea salt
- mint leaves, to garnish extra virgin olive oil
- Heat the oven to 200°C. Wash, dry, and coat each beetroot with olive oil. Wrap each one individually and place on a baking sheet. Roast for approximately 1 1⁄2 hours until they are cooked through. Remove and cool completely. Put on some gloves. Peel the cooked beetroot, dice finely, and place in a bowl.
- Mix the yoghurt, garlic, tahini, cumin, zest, lemon juice, orange juice, zest and salt to make a dressing. Pour over the chopped beetroot and fold to combine well. Place in small shallow dishes, drizzle on olive oil and garnish with mint leaves.
“I have made a few changes to this traditional salad. To bring out its sweetness, I roast the beetroot instead of boiling it. I like to finely dice it for a prettier presentation. It’s a good idea to toss in the dressing at the last minute before serving.”
[Suzanne Husseini has shared the following recipe from her cookbook for FoodeMag dxb website]