Middle Eastern Food

In the Middle East, food is much more traditional than in the USA. Meals in the Middle East usually are much larger and serve extended families. The main meat eaten in Arab countries is lamb and chicken. Tea and coffee are the main beverages.


external image moz-screenshot.jpgEveryday Food

In the Middle East, there is generally three meals a day. For breakfast, you could expect to have a quick meal consisting of bread and dairy products with tea. Lunch is considered the main meal of the day, and it is eaten after the noon prayer. Lunch is usually meat, poultry, or fish. Accompanied by rice, bread, and cooked vegetables. Salads and maza are served as the side dish. Dinner is usually the lightest meal, although with modern times, people are changing their eating habits.


Holy Times and Celebration Food

During Ramadan, a Muslim fasting time, people eat two meals a day. Futuur is the meal eaten at night, when fasting is over. Suhur is the meal eaten at dawn, before fasting starts. During Ramadan, sweets are also consumed much more than usual. Sweet fruits are often served between the two meals.


Religous Foods

In most Arab countries, it is forbidden to eat pork. Pigs are considered filthy animals, and not made to be eaten.

Baklava is a traditional Ramadan desert.

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes


  • 2 1/2 cups walnuts or pistachio nuts
  • 4 cups sugar plus 1/2 cup
  • 1 lb butter, butter
  • 1 package, or 16 oz. frozen filo dough, thawed according to package directions
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons rosewater

Prepare Syrup First
Combine 4 cups sugar, lemon juice, water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, and allow to boil for 10 minutes. Add rosewater and bring to a boil. Remove from heat immediately. Allow to cool.

Preparing Dough and Filling
Combine 1/2 cup sugar and nuts in a bowl. If using walnuts add cinnamon. Preheat oven to 300.
Butter the bottom of 9x12 baking dish. Unroll dough and cut into 9x12 pieces to fit into dish.
Butter bottom of pan with butter. Place two sheets of dough in the baking dish. Brush dough with butter and repeat until half of filo dough is used.
Spread about 1 cup of nut mixture over the last layer of dough. Place two sheets of filo dough and brish with butter.
Repeat until nut mixture is used. On the final layer of filo dough, be sure to brush with butter.
Cut into 3 inch squares. Then, cut each square in half diagonally to make triangles. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and pour syrup over top of baklava and allow to seep and saturate it well.