With an immense love and curiosity for food as well as 12 years of experience in the film and media industry, wide eyed and curious American content creator Beryl Shereshewsky turned her passion for food into a YouTube channel devoted to introducing viewers to food through a whimsical “Around The World” series. In each of her videos, she picks out a popular food like tomatoes, toast or chickpeas and then asks her global viewers how they usually cook and eat it. Then she’d film herself cooking the roster of dishes. Along with the numerous countries that made it to her videos, many stemmed from the Arab world. Let’s take a look at some of the coolest Arab dishes that were included in Shereshewsky’s videos:
Lebanese Burghul aa Bandoora
The famous and versatile fruit, tomato made it on Shereshewsky’s series where she showed viewers how the tomato is eaten around the world. One of the coolest dishes that made it to the video is the Lebanese Burghul aa Bandoora aka tomato bulgur. Sharing the recipe with Shereshewsky is Beirut resident Karen who described Burghul aa Bandoora as a go-to dish for mothers on a budget who want to make something that is quick, easy and healthy. It’s so simple that it requires only 3 ingredients, sliced tomatoes, burghul (cracked wheat) and diced onions cooked together in boiling water.
Egyptian Hummus El Sham
During winter, a new special love develops for Egypt’s port city of Alexandria especially its extended beachfront promenade known as the Corniche. Along the walkway are friendly Egyptians selling everything from ice cream to hot tea at informal kiosks. Along with these is Hummus El Sham, the warm, filling and rich Egyptian drink made exclusively by boiling chickpeas in a soup that is made of tomatoes, onions and garlic with a final addition of spices tailored to your tastes. This special drink made it to Shereshewsky’s chickpea series and is introduced by a Cairine known as Noor who describes Hummus El Sham as “very customizable” as you can “add too much spice, no spice, lemon, no lemon”, making it a crowd favorite among Egyptians including the ones in the capital of Cairo.
Assyrian Iraqi Potato Chap
For something new and different, we are taking a dip into Iraqi cuisine of indigenous origins, that of the Assyrian people, an ethnic group that resides across the Arab world in countries like Iraq and Syria but do not have a country in modern day. They are known for their special and beloved fried snack food or even party appetizer known as potato chap that can be enjoyed among family and friends. The adored snack is basically a stuffed potato fritter made of a lightly spiced potato shell and spiced minced meat filling. Making it on Shereshewsky’s fried foods series is the special snack that gets introduced by Rachelle who is half English-Irish, half Assyrian. She describes it as being an appealing snack because biting into it, “you get the crispiness and the softness of the mashed potato and then you’re hit with the salt and the flavor of the filling.”
Diving into the world of Emirati cuisine, we’ll explore a dish that has been gracing the tables of families across the UAE, enjoyed as a beloved breakfast staple. Known as ‘Balaleet’, it is basically a dish that combines sweet vermicelli and an egg omelet, blending unlikely sweet and savory flavors. The special dish is prepared by sweetening vermicelli by adding rose water, saffron and cardomnen and then topping it with an egg omelet. The idea of having something sweet accompanied by eggs is nothing new to the Emirates and is even a concept loved by early bedouins. Knowing all this, the unique recipe made it on Shereshewsky’s breakfast series and was introduced by Miriam from the UAE. It is not the healthiest and most nutritious meal but Miriam explained the reason behind its existence, “Bedouins back in the day needed a recipe that they knew was easy to make and would give them energy in the harsh environment of the desert.”
In Morocco, many might consider this to be one of the simplest salads of Maghreb cuisine but Zaalouk is so much more. Zaalouk is basically an aromatic cooked salad whose star ingredient is the widely beloved eggplant. Usually presented as a dip alongside crusty bread or served as a side dish to many meals, it is made by cooking eggplant in a tomato sauce with added ingredients like garlic, cilantro, parsley as well as spices. Making it on Shereshewsky’s eggplant series, the star dish is introduced by Fayrouz who is from Marrakesh. She described the true beauty of any zaalouk which is that it can go with 90% of their main dishes, “so you’d have your fried fish, or grilled meats, or tagine and you’d have a full spread of warm salads including the king of warm salads, which is Zaalouk.”
Egyptian Eshr El Bortooan
Did you know that there is a way for you to eat orange peel? Turns out that in Egypt, a lot of the older generation of grandparents know how to turn the sour orange peel into a sweet candied dessert. Known across Egypt as “Eshr El Bortooan” which literally translates to orange peel, this sweet dessert is made by cooking orange peel in a water mixture of sugar and anise until it crinkles and becomes darker in color and candied in texture. Then you’d coat it in a bowl of sugar for that added sweet kick. Appearing on Shereshewsky’s most unique series yet where she shows how the world cooks “scraps”, we meet Egyptian Yasmin who describes the candied orange peel through the perspective of her grandma. “My grandmother used to make orange jam in the season of oranges and she didn’t like to waste anything so she’d make these orange peel candies every time she’d make the orange jam.”
By trying out any of these recipes, you’ll get a unique taste and dive into the culinary world of the Arab region. We are excited to see what other Arab countries will make it on the upcoming episodes released by Shereshewsky.