Saturday, July 14, 2012

Saudi Sliders: Hashi Burgers (Camel)

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Yep, you read that right.  Hashi burgers.  Hashi, the Arabic word for camel.  Okay, so you're cringing right now...yeah, I get it...I did too when I first thought of eating camel.  I mean, its like a horse, right??  Not to mention the first time I saw a camel head hanging at the butcher station in the grocery store I about lost it...  But, I decided to do a little research and here's what I found about camel meat:

  • Camel meat is known for its large muscular fibers and high water content. It has a slightly sweet taste due to the presence of glycogen and is usually a deep red color.
  • Camel meat has two qualities which distinguish it from beef and mutton: it has lower fat and higher moisture content. Fat in camel meat amounts to 1-2% whereas in beef that number is 4-8%.
  • Camel meat has very high Iron content versus other kinds of meat.
  • As part of a healthy diet, Camel meat can help reduce risks of cardiovascular disease through lower intake of saturated fats.
So, bottom's wicked good for you.  The hubby and I decided to give it a try one night a few months back.  He bought a whole roast and smoked it on the Beast (his smoker).  While the meat actually tasted good, it was very tough to chew.  It probably could have used hours more to make it tender enough.  This time we decided to try it already ground up.  In Saudi, they sell Hashi burgers at the local fast food joints.  Never tried one, but figured we could have a go at making our own.  A google search did not provide me much to go the hubby and I winged it.  The end result???  A damn good burger.  Both kids loved it as well...and we flat out told them it was camel.  We plan to make them again and play with different seasonings and toppings.  My advice?  If you ever get the opportunity to give this a a little and go for'll be surprised.

2lbs ground Hashi (camel) meat
2 Tbs Ras-El-Hanout (Moroccan spice blend)  *or make your own...see recipe below
2/3 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
optional: caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, cheese

*Ras-El-Hanout: (this makes 2 Tbs)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp sald
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
(mix all together with a whisk until well blended)

Preheat your gas grill or get your charcoal grill ready.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix gently.  Form into patties (I made 5 slightly large ones) and gently press your thumb into the middle of each patty to make a small indention.  Place the patties in the fridge for 15 minutes.  *Note, the patties were still quite moist and fell apart a bit on the grill...but not too much)  Grill the patties on one side for about 10 minutes per side.  Top with your fave toppings and enjoy!

Read about my first time seeing camel in the store on my travel blog:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Quinoa Pasta with Pomodoro Sauce

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Back from a lovely 4 weeks in Vegas with my family and friends.  It was so nice to be able to go out to eat at fun restaurants.  I devoured tons of sushi.  Did a bit of cooking, but not much.  But, I did buy some great items to bring back with me for cooking.  One big one was quinoa and quinoa pasta.  (I also brought back panko bread crumbs, some hot sauces, saffron, and wild rice)  So, now I'm back here in Saudi and my cooking cap is on and raring to go!
I couldn't wait to cook up the quinoa pasta and I wanted to find a nice sauce to go with it.  This was just perfect.  I amped up the protein even more by adding cannellini beans.
An incredibly simple sauce with monster flavor.  The hubby likened it a bit to vodka sauce...minus the vodka and cream.  
Leftovers were great too!  Happy cooking!

Recipe adapted from Epicurious

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 28 ounce can peeled tomatoes, puréed in a food processor
Kosher salt
3 large fresh basil sprigs
12 ounces quinoa pasta
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons cubed unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino


Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a 12" skillet over medium-low heat. Add minced onion and cook, stirring, until soft, about 12 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 2-4 minutes. Add crushed red pepper flakes; cook for 1 minute more. Increase heat to medium, add puréed tomatoes and season lightly with kosher salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly and the flavors meld, about 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir in basil sprigs, and set aside.
Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a 5-quart pot. Season with salt; add spaghetti or bucatini and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water.
Discard basil and heat skillet over high heat. Stir in reserved pasta water to loosen sauce; bring to a boil. Add beans and toss to coat, next add pasta and cook, stirring, until sauce coats pasta and pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat; add butter and cheese; toss until cheese melts. Transfer to warm bowls; serve with more cheese, if desired.

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