Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sriracha fried chicken.

Who isn't in love with Sriracha? Sweet, spicy, PERFECT!  I don't think i will ever make regular fried chicken after I tried this. The whole family is in love with it. It makes regular fried chicken look bland and boring.

What you need
1 cut up whole chicken or a 2 lbs package of chicken breasts cut into tenders.
1 cup Sriracha hot sauce.
2 teaspoons Tony's Chachere's  Creole seasoning ( or season salt)
4 large crushed cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon smoked Hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder.
** Crushed red pepper flakes, Aleppo pepper, and or ground red pepper to taste. ( We like our food REALLY spicy... ya sadistic like that but when we have guests over I don't use these. You can omit these or choose one for an extra twist. I *really* love the complex flavor of the Aleppo pepper with Sriracha. They complement each other in every way.

for frying~
3 cups all purpose white flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Tony's Chachere's  Creole seasoning ( or season salt)
1 teaspoon baking powder
**Crushed red pepper flakes.

I put everything into a plastic ziplock bag and swished it around. Nothin' fancy, folks!
After a proper squishing, refrigerate overnight. The longer the better!

When you're done marinating, heat oil. Shake off excess marinade. Roll chicken in the flour mixture and fry until golden brown and chicken floats.

The chicken will get pretty dark before it's done. Don't freak out, it isnt burnt. Due to the bright red color of the marinade the finished chicken looks darker then regular fried chicken.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Keeping halal on a cruise.

Like many Muslims, I have been skeptical about cruising and the ability to keep halal.
In fact when i told my friends i would be cruising to the Bahamas, I received many scoffs "HOW? Isnt everyone on the ship drunk?" "What about the food? How do you know it isn't cooked with pork?"
All valid questions and concerns that I was also worried about, but I have never been one to turn down an adventure so away I sailed with my good friend Amanda on the Carnival Sensation!

As soon as we boarded the ship my heart kinda sank. Right away we were bombarded with servers carrying trays of bright colored fruity cocktails. Before we could make it to our room at least 6 people asked us to buy a alcoholic beverage.  After I politely declined the offer and educated the server that I was Muslim and do not drink alcoholic, that particular server never asked me again and understood. They were very nice about it and that raised my hopes again. After the initial offer I never felt like I was being pressured.

As we made our way threw the ship in search of our room we came across many of the ships employees and other guests, all of which were smiling and happy, totally at ease with  seeing a covered Muslim woman.
Now, let me explain why I am even telling you this part. If you're a covered Muslim lady, you already understand. If you arnt, imagine walking into the grocery dressed like Micky Mouse, every head in the store will turn and stare like you have lost your mind....  That is what it is like sometimes for us. I have long learned to ignore it, smile and keep going. But on vacation, you really  don't want to have to deal with that so I was SO happy to not get a second look, to just be another person sharing an experience. It was a great feeling.

Our room was lovely and VERY clean. Plenty of room to pray before we set sail.
The rooms seemed to be very well insulated or we just had really quiet neighbors. The entire cruise I don't recall hearing anyone, and that definitely a plus.

Now to the food. There was no "halal slaughtered" meats or chicken. This could be a problem for some fellow Muslims but I have never had the luxury of always having halal slaughtered meats so for me it was fine.
The selection of food was great. Plenty of options for vegetarians, lots of fish, beef and chicken. I had no problem at all keeping clear of haram food items.  Food on the buffet was clearly labeled, and there were plenty of attentive servers and cooks who were more then willing to explain the ingredients and to my surprise some were even Muslim too! I was so thrilled!
In the dinning rooms the selection was equally as great and well labeled, also with a terrific staff.

Speaking of the staff, I can't say enough about how wonderful they are. Before our first day at sea was over, I had the pleasure of meeting many of them.  As I said above, quite a few were Muslim, and I loved that. It was lovely to be walking threw a hallway and hear a "Salam alekome". I really enjoyed taking a moment to speak to them, learn where they were from and exchange names.
The housekeeping staff were great at remembering my name. No matter where on the ship I was or even in port, if I came across one of them I always heard a "HEY MEGAN!"

Now with all the alcohol pumped into the ship you would think people would be stumbling around trashed.  I know I was expecting it and I am sure it has happened but on this cruise, I never saw even 1 person being belligerent or obviously drunk. Yes, people were drink, and a lot at that but it was very pg 13.
There were plenty of activities on the ship to keep occupied so people didn't have to just sit and drink non stop.

So, overall it was wonderful and YES! You can keep halal on a cruise. I am really excited about going on another ASAP and this time with the hubby and kid. I hope more of my Muslim friends take the opportunity to cruise. It's a great affordable and family friendly vacation. I have only been on one and it was a Carnival cruise so I can only vouch for them, Im definitely singing their praises!

If you're Muslim and been on a cruise, I would love to hear your experience! Please feel free to comment. . 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

DIY fabulous fabric softener.

Homemade Fabric Softener
6 cups water
3 cups white vinegar
2 cups Suave conditioner in your favorite scent, ( you can add essentual oils to it to make it stronger or make your own blend!)
1. Mix water, vinegar, and hair conditioner in a 1 gallon container; stir. Do not shake it; it will cause foaming.
2. Use the same amount you normally use in a rinse cycle.

Sore in an empty milk jug or mason jars with ribbons tied around them for decoration.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Hungry Egyptian is going to the Bahamas!

Yep! Tomorrow I will be on the Carnival Splendor, cruising away into the sunset with my good friend Amanda.
Once i return be on the lookout for a new post "Eating Halal in the Bahamas". I will review the options of an observant Muslim lady to keep halal in a country with a very small Muslim community.

If you find yourself in Nassau, be sure to check out the only Masjid in the Bahamas, You can find the address and their contact info here.

Ma Salamaa!

Halal Scalloped Potatoes with turkey ham

I made these for dinner tonight and forgot to take a picture so I'll have to update it next time I make them.

This is a great easy dinner to make served up with a side of veggies or a salad. sometimes I make them without the turkey ham as a side to roast beef.
This recipe is for a 12x9 baking pan but you can cut it in half. I make it in a large batch so I can send some with the hubby for lunch the next day. They reheat really well. They can also be frozen and taste just as good when reheated.

What you need

4-5 large potatoes peeled and sliced as thin as possible divided  ( if you have a mandoline slicer it makes it a lot easier)
3 table spoons flour - divided
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese- divided ( The preshredded Mexican blend is really good too)
1 1/2 cups milk 
1 1/2 cups diced turkey ham - divided ( You can find it in most grocery stores with the lunch meats, there is no pork in it, it's a cured dark meat turkey product that looks like ham and tastes pretty darn good!)
4 teaspoons of butter
Garlic powder, salt, black pepper to taste.

Pre heat oven to 350 and grease a 12x9 baking pan

Make your first layer of potatoes in the bottom of your pan. Sprinkle with half of the flour, cheese and turkey ham. lightly salt ( the turkey ham has a good bit of salt that will bake out to flavor the potatoes) and add garlic and black pepper to taste.
Now make the second layer exactly the same making sure the cheese is on top.
pour the milk over the top and drop pats of butter. Cover with foul and bake 1.5 hrs or until fork tender. then 15 min or until brown with foil removed. Cooking times in a smaller pan will be shorter.

Looking for an Egyptian or Middle Eastern recipe and don't see it here? Let me know!

For a long time I didn't have the time or energy to post all of the great things I cook, but I have regained my cooking and posting passion. I really want to turn my blog into a resource for others with as many great recipes as I can compile. 
When my husband first came to the states he went threw a stint of homesickness. I scoured the internet for his favorite foods to give him a little piece of home. What i found wasn't that great. While he appreciated the effort, it just wasn't the same. It wasn't until I was able to go back to Egypt on vacation and spend time with his mom and all the ladies in his family cooking that I was able to learn the techniques, the spices and ingredients. Hopefully I can pass some of that along.
Not everything i post is Egyptian or Middle Eastern, just good stuff I like and I think others may too.
One last thing....
Thank you!  I get such a thrill out of opening up my blog to see I have had new views from across the world.
It always amazes me that so many people have viewed what i started on a whim.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

DIY Halal, vegan laundry soap.

It's not cooking, but it is halal!
I confess, i have not tried this specific recipe yet. I found it on Facebook posted by Kimberly Kenyon Newsome.. She always has some great stuff posted. Give her a fallow!

I know you may wonder.... "Halal Laundry soap?!" Yep! Some of the soaps you buy in the store contain animal products. To make soap you have to have fat or oil. Fat or tallow is a cheap byproduct in many bar soaps and laundry detergents.
Making your own laundry soap is easy and it saves a pretty penny, who can say no to savings?
Like I said, this recipe I have yet to try but I have made my own liquid laundry soap before with great results.
If you try this, please report back with your results!

1 box of borax
2 small containers of oxy
1 box of super washing soda
1 box of baking soda
2-3 Ivory** soap bars, grated ( just like cheese!)

It is all down the detergent aisle. The baking soda is the big box.
I take a cheese grater and grate the ivory bars, then I add all the ingredients in a bucket and stir. I do this outside because of the powders being dusty. I use one of the scoopers from the oxy to measure it out. I do 2 scoops for a normal load.

** The original called for zote bar soap, however zote is made with tallow ( animal fats) The liquid soap I have made, I used Ivory and it was a prefect substitute.

If you want to add a sent to your soap use essential oils. You can add any scent you like from lavender, sweet orange to peppermint. Just make sure you drop it in a few drops at a time and mix, mix, mix like crazy to get it evenly distributed. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Homemade from scratch, halal chocolate pudding cream pie.

My husband always said his mom made pudding from scratch.... ( ya right... from a pack. I thought)
Turns out she actually did! ( Sorry Momma!) I came across this recipe on Facebook and when I made it the hubby confirmed, step by step 'THAT'S IT!"   So here it is and it's a freakin amazing, rich, creamy pudding.

½ c. cocoa
¼ cup cornstarch
3 egg yolks
1 ½ c. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
2 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla ( 1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder to make it halal)

Mix cocoa, cornstarch, beaten egg yolks; sugar and salt, then add milk gradually, while stirring in a pot over med-high heat. Cook until thick, beating it smooth. Cream pies take some time to thicken, so stir... and stir (10-15 min).  Just keep it up until it thickens. Pour into a pre-baked pie shell. Put in the fridge to chill.
You can just put it in cups, no need to make pie with it. Top it with cool whip and some toasted coconut.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Hungry Egyptian is taking a moment to pray for the Philippines.

Many of my readers are real life friends and already know that my brothers wife and one of my closest friends is Filipino.
 Like millions of Filipino's her family's has been directly effected by the devastation on the recent storm that ripped apart towns and villages. Possibly thousands have died, Millions are without clean water and food and family across the world is unable to make contact with their loved one's
The hungry Egyptian would like to take a moment to say a prayer for the the suffering, the dead and the families in these trying times.
Find it in your heart to do the same. It dosent matter what God or faith you follow, say a prayer, light a candle, send some good vibes or thoughts.
I am providing links to different organizations who are accepting donations for helping the Philippines, If you can afford it, please donate. Even $1 could help save a life.
Many of you know I am Muslim, let me share some hadith~
The prophet Mohammad ( pbbah) said ~ "Give charity without delay, for it stands in the way of calamity." Sorry for not keeping this "cooking only" but this is such a sad issue and I couldn't not address it.

Mercy Corps
American Red Cross
World Food Program

**** I am in no way affiliated with any of the organizations who I have linked.

Make your very own artisanal bread! Easy sourdough starter, and it's halal!

I love sourdough but I have always been a bit skidish of making my own starter.
I finally got up the guts to do it and the outcome was PERFECT!

Meet Nettie ( yes I named it) my very own starter~

She's at her height of perfection. I can taste the change in the bread she makes as she has aged. The first loaf i made was good, with an ever so light sour taste but 5 loaves latter the taste has transformed into a rich, smooth sourness that I love about a good sourdough bread.
It can take what feels like forever to make a loaf, but it is worth every second!
You could just buy a starter off line, but why? It's so easy to do yourself and there's a sense of accomplishment that comes with it.

You can make your starter one of 2 ways. With wild local yeast or with the store bought yeast. I decided to do wild.

what you will need~

A large glass or plastic bowl. ( never use metal! it reacts with the starter)
a rubber band that will fit around the bowl
cheese cloth ( I used an old clean think scarf)
1/2 a cup of white all purpose flour
1/2 cup  filtered water ( bottled)

Make sure everything is CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN... like really clean! You going to be fermenting the flour. You don't want anything funky getting into your starter. 
Mix the flour and water together. Once its well mixed cover it with the cheese cloth and use the rubber band to keep it on tight. I set mine on the counter near my open kitchen window. You are "catching" wild yeast that is naturally floating around in the air.
This is why not all sourdoughs taste the same. different wild yeasts give their own flavors to your bread. Your bread will be one of a kind!

Now, every day you will add equal amounts flour and water to the starter ( I never measured exactly but 2 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons water roughly) This is called "feeding" Your starter is alive! Because it's alive it will eventually start producing gas so it's important to never tightly cover it because it WILL explode.
When you feed your starter be sure to whip it up and aerate it. You want to make sure you catch lots of wild yeast. 
Within 5-8 days ( sometimes long or shorter there's no set time frame for mother nature to do her thing so be patient) you will start to notice little bubbles forming. This means you have successfully caught and are now growing your own wild yeast ( YEY!)

Keep feeding your starter for a few more days before using it, wait for it to have a nice sour smell. At no point should it ever have a rotten smell or turn colors. If you get black spots, a pink or orange color or a funky smell, your starter has become contaminated and needs to be trashed.
I keep my starter on my kitchen counter all the time, but I have 3 cups frozen just in case it ever turns bad on me.
As long as you feed it, it can stay at room temp. If you don;t plan on using your starter to cook with often, refrigerate it. Refrigerated starter only needs to be fed once a week. If you are not using it often you will also have to remove an equal amount of starter as you are feeding once a week, so if you are feed a total of 4 teaspoons then first remove 4 teaspoons.
You may notice the starter will separate and there be a yellowish liquid on top. This is called hooch and is a normal part of starter, just stir it back in and everything will be fine.

Now to the halal subject.

Sourdough starter produces alcohol, that's what the "hooch" is however, this is not produced for the purpose of  intoxication 
 and the baking process cooks off the alcohol.  So is Sourdough halal? YES! It is. Here is a fatwa concerning it from a reputable source.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Middle Eastern style beef stew, Meat with veggies. 1 pot easy dinner.

Served up with rice and fresh warm bread, this is a stick to your ribs, easy dinner. It's perfect to warm you up on a cold winter day. This is a comfort food for Hubby, a true taste of home.

This is pretty spicy but you can season it to taste. You can add just about any veggies to it. Normally i throw what ever I have in it, bell peppers, lima beans, carrots, corn, you name it and I have probably added it to this stew one time or another.

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef ( or left over roast ground )
3 large potatoes, peeled and clunked.
1 med. yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 cups fresh green beans ( or 1 can)
1 can green peas
1 can of hot rotel ( you can used a diced tomato and a few dices hot chilli peppers)
2 tablespoons of hot curry powder
1 1/2 cups water
2 heaping tablespoons of diced garlic
1 packet of brown gravy mix ( or 3 beef bullion cubes)
2 teaspoons paprika 
salt to taste

In a large stock pot boil potatoes until for tender, drain and set aside.
Brown ground beef and drain off any fat.
add the garlic, onion and rotel, cook it down with the ground beef for a few min. making sure you keep stiring to keep it from burning. add in the dry seasoning then water making sure to give it a good stir and then add in the veggies. Let it cook down, it should be thick but not too thick if need be add some more water. taste and add salt.

Halal Triple chocolate indulgence cookies.

These cookies are amazing! Once I make them they are gone, I'm lucky to get a crumb.
They are great for Ramadan and Eid or even a quick gift for a friend. <3

Preheat oven to 350f

You need~
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2/3 cups cocoa powder ( Hersey's is what I use)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp vanilla powder ( vanilla extract contains alcohol)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup margarine.
2 large eggs.
1 cup dark chocolate chips,
1 cup milk chocolate chips.

Cream together, butter, margarine, baking soda, salt, sugar, vanilla and eggs then add in dry ingreatents a little at a time to avoid lumps. once the dough is smooth add in chocolate chips.

Drop spoon fulls on a cookie sheet and bake for 11 min or until set. Cool on a wire rack.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Homemade sourdough bread. No knead, super easy.

This was my first attempt to make a sourdough loaf ( dusts shoulders off) and it worked!

Seriously, I suck at baking bread but for some reason sourdough LOVES me, and I love it.

Preheat over to 450 with a pan of water on the bottom rack
I used my pizza stone so it was also in the oven

3.5 cups flour ( I used all purpose)
1.5 cups water
2 cups starter
 A teaspoon salt

A pinch of sugar

Mixed it up covered it and let it set. I had read it should take 8-12 hrs to rise it it had more then doubled in 4. I had to go ahead and bake it I didn't have time to let it rest either so I flopped it out to a parchment paper dusted in flour, shaped it very gently into a ball, cut the top and moved it to the oven
Baked for 28 min... I checked at 25 and it didn't sound hollow enough when tapped on.

The pan of water is very important. It helps the bread form that crispy, chewy crust.
The rise time isn't that important, as far as how long is takes to rise. Once it doubles, form it and let it rest.
It may not rise much in the rest period and that's fine, Oven spring normally takes care of that.
If you cant let it rest, don't freak out. The loaf pictured didn't rest and it was AMAZING! The air holes just wont be as large.

Batatas Mashi Egypian meat stuffed potatos.

 My mother in law made these as have my amazing sister in law Naglat but since we have been back in the states it hadn't crossed my mind to make them until a Jordanian friend of mine made them a few days ago.
They are a great way to use leftovers. I used a pot roast that i ground up but chicken, turkey or ground beef could all be used.
I used this niffty little corer to core out my potatoes

Cored out tater ready to be stuffed  

Once they were cored I stuffed them with a mixture of the seasoned, ground pot roast and I added some cheese, everything is better with cheese.

Line them in a baking pan and bake for 1.5 hours or until tender, You can bake them covered in tomato sauce or without.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Experimental Chicken casserole

I wanted something different for dinner and couldn't put my finger on what i wanted.
Ever have a frig full of stuff but nothing sound good? Ya... my dilemma, exactly.
So this is what i came up with, pics to fallow if it's any good. =)

Experimental Chicken casserole~~

1 package of 3 chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can hot Rotel
1/2 can milk
1 cup of shredded pepper jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar

I mixed everything together, poured it over the chicken and put it in a 350 degree oven. It's still cooking, time will tell.

Egyptian chicken and potato casserole. Super fast dinner.

This can also be made in a crockpot.

3-4 large potatoes, peeled and sliced like you would for potatoes au graten.
1 small onion sliced the same way
1 or 2 bell peppers sliced.
3 chicken breasts cut into nugget sized chunks.
1 can tomato sauce, ( I use a can of Hunts traditional pasta sauce )
Salt, pepper, garlic, paprika and crushed red pepper to taste. I also add Asian red pepper paste to mine but we like stuff extra spicy.
* optional, shredded cheese.

Preheat oven to 375.

season potatoes, onions, bell pepper and chicken.

In a casserole dish layer potatoes, bell pepper and onions, arrange the chicken on top of them and pour over the pasta sauce. cover with foil and cook until the potatoes are tender. Usually and hour and a half. Remove the foil and top with cheese, cook till it starts to brown.

Serve over rice with pita bread.