A Lebanese Pantry used for a 5:2 Diet recipe:
OK I’ll admit there’s a bit of calculated cooking going on here. I’ve been intending to enter Dirty Kitchen Secret’s competition to win a trip to the Lebanon for a while, and I needed to blog about something Lebanese as part of my entry. But, I’m also trying my best to get back to the 5:2 diet (a simple version of alternate day fasting or ADF) after my trip to Tuscany!
Now, despite having spent time in my teens in Saudi and Libya where my parents were living, I know very little about food from the middle east. I have tried some of Bethady’s fabulous food at a Lebanese wine tasting. Ive eaten in a few middle eastern restaurants in London and I’ve even tried to make a complicated dish called Khoresht Fensenjan – with chicken, walnuts and pomegranate molasses which I believe is eaten in the Lebanon as well as Iran. While it was nice, it hardly seemed appropriate as a 5:2 diet dish.
So, what I’ve done is created a dish based on some of the ingredients I believe are common in a Lebanese pantry. Mint and flat leaved parsley, a wonderful spice mix called za’atar, lemon, tomato, olive oil, aubergine and chick peas. I deliberately kept the amount of olive oil right down and steamed the aubergine, because I wanted the dish to be low calorie. And, I have to say, I was really pleased with the result! za’atar is a fabulous spice mix that you can use to sprinkle on aubergine,s tomatoes, onions and more to make roasted mediterranean vegetables. It is based on a spice called Sumac, together with thyme and sesame seeds.
Is this dish in any way authentic? – well if so it’s entirely by chance. But, it is very good, very simple to make and for a portion based on 100g of chicken and 75g of chickpeas it is around 340 calories if you keep the olive oil down. If you are not dieting, I’d probably use a bit more oil and fry the aubergine rather than baking it, but that would really not make a suitable dish for the 5:2 diet. And, I ate mine last night without any rice or couscous, but if you want a more substantial meal it would be good with lebanese flat breads and salad and perhaps a little rice or couscous too.
So I am back on track with the 5:2 diet after my indulgences in Tuscany. And looking forward to trying out some new low calorie 5:2 diet recipes and sharing with you.