Last week a patient told my husband that his religion, Islam, “is the worst religion in the world.” One of his colleagues who was wearing a hijab was told by another patient that he “does not see terrorists.” What happened in Orlando was a horrible tragedy, caused by a sick man with a lot of hate misrepresenting a fundamentally peaceful religion. As a pediatrician I believe in stricter gun laws that could help prevent some of these tragedies, but that is a whole other conversation. Right now I am worried. I am worried about racism, misunderstandings, and stereotyping. I am worried this is bad for our country, but also bad for our health. I’m worried for my future children who will have an Arabic Muslim father and a Latino mother because that now means something. I am worried that we have stopped embracing our differences and the diversity that made the United States the country so many of us immigrated to and felt safe in. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could just all sit together and break bread? If we could experience each other’s cultures through food and realize it is so much better to learn from each other than it is to fight each other. So I’m gonna start sharing more Arabic and Latino recipes from now on. Two groups that seem to be under target by a certain presidential candidate…
The recipe below is one of our favorites. It is a traditional Arabic dish that is great comfort food.The hubby usually makes it and this is his recipe as he learned from his grandma. It is hearty enough to be a meal on its own. Sometimes we make tabbouleh or fattoush salad on the side. You can also serve with pita bread.
- 1 1/2 cups of green lentils
- 2 1/2 cups of basmati rice (we have used both white and brown basmati and both are great)
- 1 tbsp of cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp of ghee
- 4-5 large onions
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper (can decrease or eliminate if no spice wanted)
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp salt
- Mixed nuts (optional, we use these)
- 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
- Caramelize the onions
- Add lentils to three cups of water. Bring to a boil. Decrease heat and simmer for 20 minutes (lentils should still be a little firm in the middle). Drain and save the water lentils were cooked in.
- Sautee the cumin seeds in ghee, add the rice and mix until coated
- Add the rest of the spices and mix until coated
- Add the lentil water (should be about 1 cup) and an additional 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until water is gone.
- Mix together, garnish with chopped parsley, the fried onions, and mixed nuts.
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- 1 chicken boullion cube
- 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
- For the yogurt sauce, heat up 1 tsp olive oil and add 2 finely chopped garlic cloves.
- Add one cup of yogurt, and dissolve a chicken boullion cube inside.
- Put as much yogurt sauce on top of the rice as you want!