Middle Eastern Food – Dietary Habits Of The Middle East


Middle East is an ancient civilization with rich traditions and customs and equally opulent cuisine. Tradition food consists of all essential ingredients needed for a healthy balanced diet. Middle Eastern cuisine includes fiber-rich cereals like whole wheat and maize, olive oil, seafood, nuts and meat. Their diet also includes lots of fresh herbs and fruits and dry fruits, which are rich in minerals and antioxidants. Pomegranate and dates are consumed regularly, and these fruits are known to be rich in antioxidants that fight against cell damage and ageing.


Major ingredients of Middle Eastern Cuisine

Cereals like rice and wheat are the staple diet, wheat is used in many forms and roughly crushed wheat, called burghul, is used for preparing famous recipes like meat pie. Burghul is typically prepared like rice by boiling with spices and water; it is also prepared with milk. Consumption of barley is also common though wheat and rice are most preferred cereals of this region. Meat is prepared regularly, lamb meat is the most preferred one followed by beef. Pork is rarely eaten and in some countries consumption of pork is strictly prohibited due to religious sentiments. Lamb meat is rich in animal protein and fiber, lamb liver is rich in Vitamin A, meat is prepared with rich spices like turmeric, red chili powder, anise, cumin, coriander, pepper, fresh mint, onion, fresh tomato puree and ginger garlic paste. Curd is generously used for any meat recipe, curd is not just rich in calcium but it also has whole range of healthy bacteria that improves digestion and builds immunity.

Popularity of sweets in Middle Eastern Recipes

People of this region are fond of sweets and special occasions are incomplete without a wonderful dessert. What is really nice about Middle Eastern desserts is that these are not extremely sweet and they are often prepared by using unprocessed sugar made from sugarcane juice and date palm juice. Firni is a typical dessert prepared from rice powder and full cream milk and sugar, pistachio and strands of saffron are used for garnishing.


Different courses of Middle Eastern Food

Middle Eastern food is served in many courses and they have a whole range of appetizers like kofta kebabs and kibbehs that are served with salad typically consisting of sliced onion, mint and parsley. Main course consists of legumes, fresh vegetables cooked in olive oil and variety of spices to give it a rich color and flavor. Meat is generally served at the end of the main course; most of the preparations are consumed with pita bread and occasionally with rice. Rice is also prepared with lots of spices and meat in huge vessels on slow fire.


Traditional flavors of Middle Eastern Food

Traditionally food is served at the center of a large room or hall on the floor covered with large sheets of fabric; guests are seated around large plate that contains the food. During festivals people hold banquet for friends and family and they eat from same palate. Eating together is considered more like a ritual that is believed to improve relations and encourage solidarity.

Middle Eastern Food- A Quick Overview

People in this region mostly follow Muslim religion and they abide by the rules laid down by the religious head, in terms of their lifestyle and diet which they follow. People of this region are by far robust and they pay lot of attention to their daily diet to stay fit and healthy. Background of Middle Eastern recipes
Middle Eastern countries like Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and Turkey are known for their rich and diverse cuisine. Some of the recipes have been largely accepted in the western countries as well. It is said that the process of fermentation was first discovered in this region and it is here that bakeries are known to have started. Different rulers who conquered this region in the past brought with them different cuisine, which amalgamated to give distinct flavor and taste to the Middle Eastern recipes.

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