Middle Eastern cuisine is a flavorful and complex blend of cultures of lake cares food pantry. Sharing a common region for many centuries, Middle Eastern cuisine has been heavily influenced by the culinary traditions of Persia, Afghanistan, Ottoman Turkey and surrounding areas.
This article will cover the most common mistakes people make when eating Middle Eastern food. See the following list for our top ten!
1. Over-salting of food.
Middle Eastern recipes use a lot of salt. Some recipes even call for a half pound/250 grams of salt per person/per meal. However, if you are cooking Middle Eastern food that is not raw, such as grilled meats or stews, you should taste your food before adding more salt to the dish (especially if you are using quality sea salt instead of table salt).
The idea behind this tip is to get the right level of seasoning (or lack thereof) into the dish. If you over-salt your food, it will be too salty and too strong for some people’s tastes, but also not enough for others who like their food very seasoned.
In addition to the salt being used in different dishes, it is also used as a leavening agent. Because Middle Eastern dishes are cooked so often, it is extremely important that your dish does not develop any food poisoning bacteria and microbes. To prevent the risk of this, you must cook your Middle Eastern food with the right amount of salt.
2. Serving too much lettuce/tomatoes/carrots/etc.
While vegetables are a great side dish to Middle Eastern meals, they should not be used as filler to provide bulk and taste to a meal that is missing its main ingredient(s).
Lettuce is a great way to add another texture and flavor (in a more subtle way) to your meal. But it can be used in excess causing the dish to become dull and dry.
Tomatoes should be served as a side dish or salad, as they are not very common in Middle Eastern cuisine. However, when they are used in dishes, they usually do not make up much of the overall dish, but rather serve as freshness to compliment other ingredients.
Bread is a must-have with Middle Eastern food. But even pita bread can be served in excess. While warm pita bread is a great treat, you should not serve it with every Middle Eastern appetizer and main course. This will make the meal too heavy, and will take away from the flavor of each dish.
3. Serving too many cold appetizers (cold starters).
While some people may enjoy having an assortment of cold appetizers before a main course, others hate them! Because of this, it is important to know whether or not your guests are going to enjoy an assortment of cold MEZZE before they enjoy their main dish.
It is best to stick with Middle Eastern appetizers that have a limited amount of salt. When it comes to mixing flavors, you can either serve cold (pizza/chips and dips) or hot (soups/salads).
4. Eating with your hands.
While it is common practice for many cultures to eat food with their hands in their native countries, it is not the norm in most Middle Eastern countries. If you are eating at an Arab restaurant and the host does not offer you cutlery, this means that you will probably be eating with your hands.
The best thing to use when you do not have cutlery is a napkin or serviette. It is different from a dry-type napkin, as it enables you to eat any type of food with it.
5. Overly spicy or overly salty (tasteless) dishes
While Middle Eastern cuisine may be known for being seasoned very well, there is a limit to how much you can add before it becomes too strong and ruins the overall flavor of your dish. If your recipe does not call for any salt, this means that you should probably add some as needed/when necessary.
Another example of this would be if your dish is way too strong in both the spicy and salty realm.
6. Forgetting to eat your bread (or forgetting to eat with your hands).
While bread is great in Middle Eastern cuisine, it is also very important. If you forget to drink your tea/water, any dish you are eating will probably be ruined too! So, be sure that you do not forget to eat the bread with every meal!
7. Serving a salad before or after the main course.
Salads are considered a side dish in most Middle East countries, although some cultures call for them as an entire meal before the main course. While this is not an American custom (most people would not have salad at dinner), it can become annoying if you are served one before or after your main course.
This can also be found in Mexican cuisine and other Latin American cuisines, where a salad is served as the main course before the main course.
8. Inexperienced cooks/chefs cooking dishes for guests with no prior experience.
While Middle Eastern cuisine is very versatile and can be used to create many different types of dishes, there are various rules that are involved with making certain dishes. One of these rules is not to have any food touching the side of your pot or dish while you are cooking your food, as it may contaminate it somehow.