Hummus Elite
Hummus Elite    /    Sunday - Thursday: 11:30 AM - 10:00 PM    /    Friday: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM    /    Saturday: Closed    /    201.569.5600
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Glatt Kosher Middle Eastern / Mediterranean Cuisine
FAQs About Middle Eastern Cuisine

People living in Middle Eastern and West Asian countries consume a “Middle East” cuisine, a unique diet comprised primarily of hummus, falafel, tahini, tabouleh, baklava, pita bread, baba ghannouj, foul mudammes and lokum. Various meats and vegetables are also included in this diet which incorporates heavy use of olive oil and a diverse variety of pungent spices.

What is Falafel?
Americans would consider falafel a kind of Middle Eastern “fast food”. Sold as a sandwich by street vendors, falafel can also be served as a pita bread sandwich stuffed with tomatoes, tahini and lettuce or as an appetizer with salad, tahini or hummus. Vegetarians love falafe because it is meatless, containing ingredients such as chickpeas, onions, garlic, parsley and flour. Falafel balls are fried in a small amount of oil until browned.

What is Tahini?
Tahini is ground sesame seed paste used primarily to make hummus. Middle Easterners buy tahini in cans, jars and in dehydrated form. While unhulled and hulled tahini is available, most people purchase hulled tahini because the unhulled type is extremely bitter. Usually mixed with salt, garlic and lemon juice, tahini is also used in soups and sauces as well as a substitute for peanut butter.

What is Tabouleh?
Made with olive oil, spices and fresh vegetables, tabouleh is a salad eaten with pita bread or alone with a fork. Large grape leaves are often used as a scooping utensils when pita bread is hollowed out and filled with tabouleh. Vegetables frequently used to make tabouleh include cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and carrots in addition to flavor enhancers like parsley, mint and lemon juice .

What is Baklava?
Baklava is a pastry containing layers of sweet, buttery phyllo pastry, nuts and spices. Phyllo pastry is extremely thin pieces of unleavened flour dough popular throughout the Middle East and the Balkans. After the baklava is baked, a spicy mixture of lemon and honey is poured over the phyllo pastry until it is soaked with the syrup. A slightly different version of baklava is Arabic baklava, flavored with syrup made from sugar and rose water.

What is Baba Ghanoush?
Made from eggplant, tahini, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil, baba ghanoush is a creamy dip with a smoky flavor traditionally accompanying pita bread, tortilla chips or potato chips. Baba ghanoush is always garnished with olive oil and sometimes enhanced with cumin, parsley or crushed red pepper.

What is Foul Mudammas?
A traditional Middle Eastern breakfast made with mashed and seasoned fava beans, foul madammas also contains garlic cloves, cayenne pepper, tahini, lemon juice and chopped dill. Topping for this dish is a mixture of tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, parsley, feta cheese, olive oil and salt and pepper.

What is Lokum?
Said to have been created in response to a Sultan's dislike of hard candies, lokum (rahat lokum or “Turkish Delight”) are soft, gel-like confectionary cubes made from sugar, nuts, pistachios, rosewater and lemon. Lokum cubes are dusted with powdered cream of Tarter, icing sugar, mint or cinnamon.

Middle Eastern cuisine is a healthy diet promoting less consumption of saturated fats, refined flours and sugars and incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables than the traditional Western diet. Research into the effects of eating a Middle Eastern diet indicate that it can reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and osteoporosis when used in conjunction with a regular exercise program.
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