I discovered that I really quite like baharat. It is flavourful but not spicy. In looking for uses for this spice, I stumbled across an idea: a Pakistani-style savoury mince served with some common Middle Eastern additions – hummus (yum), tabouleh (yum), shared from one big plate with flat bread. Sounds like a fun idea, right? Well it was pretty simple and made for a different dinner experience. It also helped me find another use for my baharat spice mix. Sharing the meal together from one plate rather than having individual dishes made for some good connection and conversation time. It was fun.
This meal is simple and quick if you use pre-made hummus and tabouleh from the shops. Or you can make both from scratch and go all out. I elected to purchase the hummus but make the tabbouleh. I used my quinoa tabouleh recipe which you can find here. It makes way more than is needed for this meal, but you can use the leftovers in a bunch of different ways. You can find heaps of hummus recipes online if you want to make it from scratch.
- 500g lamb mince
- 1 onion (red or brown), diced
- 2 tsp baharat (Middle Eastern Spice Mix) – if you don’t have it, just use a mix of whichever of these spices you already have at home – ground peppercorns, ground cumin seed, ground coriander seed, paprika, nutmeg, cinnamon, ground cloves and ground cardamon seeds.
- 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp grounds cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 2 tbs water
- Tabouleh – See my recipe here. Make this first so that the quinoa has time to cool after it has cooked.
Both hummus and tabouleh should be served at room temperature or warm, never cold from the fridge. This is important.
- 4 serves of flat bread. I just used small wholemeal pita breads this time around.
- Mix the spice paste ingredients in a small jar or bowl.
- Cook the onions in your fry pan on medium heat until they become translucent. Add the spice mix and cook a further 3 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.
Allowing the extra time for the spice paste to cook through properly makes a big difference to the final flavour.
- Add mince, stir through and brown.
- Add diced tomatoes and baharat to lamb mince, stir through. Cook for a further 3-5 minutes.
- Dry toast pine nuts in a small frypan until lightly brown. It is not the end of the world if you run out of time for this, but it does add another dimension
- Serve on one large plate. Start with a layer of hummus, then the mince mixture, the pine nuts.
- Add the tabouleh.
- Warm the flat breads in the microwave for 20 seconds or so until warm but not hot.
- Enjoy messy mealtime fun.
My Take Aways
Eating off the one plate feels so intimate and warm and makes for giggles when either of you drops some/it gets to be messy fun. It has been a tradition for centuries in various countries for a reason. It just works. I wouldn’t do it with people I wasn’t that close to though, might feel a bit weird. Warning – don’t wear your best clothes for this. I got some on my PJs and some on the table. You will definitely need a fork as well as your bread. If you don’t like the idea of using the bread, you could just eat it with forks and it would still be nice. After playing for a while the Dragon started putting pita bread hats on top of his fork full of the meal rather than the other way around. So get creative and find what works for you! Food enjoyment is so subjective – there are no rules!
I think that these ingredients would work well in a wrap, and will try that next time. Or, given that the hummus base makes it look like a pizza, I may try doing it on a pizza base sometime instead of with flat bread.
A well cultured friend of mine showed me that this meal could easily be a Lahmacun (Turkish pizza) as it is very similar. I googled it and it looks yum