Add Lebanese flavour to your Christmas dinner with Bokharat
Christmas in Lebanon is centred around our families, and tasty food. This month, as an early Christmas present to you, we got our chefs together to give you some top tips on how to create your own Lebanese dishes at home. Impress your friends, family, and loved ones with a fantastic Arabic version of a Christmas dinner. It is incredibly easy to do, and yields fantastic results.
There are four main seasoning tips that give a dish that Lebanese feel. These are: coriander, sweet spices, cumin, and Bokharat. Together, they form the flavour of the Middle East. Bokharat alone however is the most flavoursome and handsome of these spices. So, without further ado, let’s get started on preparing this year’s Christmas dinner with a seasoning of Bokharat.
The Christmas turkey is the centre piece of any Christmas dinner – the foodie version of the star that crowns the Christmas tree. Without a good, tasty turkey – the meal suddenly doesn’t have the “oomph” you need to impress your friends. The roast potatoes also need adequate attention, as with poor potatoes, no matter how good your turkey is, the meal simply won’t cut it.
Bokharat is the perfect seasoning for both turkeys and potatoes alike. But how do we get our hands on it? Don’t be intimidated by the name, it is easily found and readily available at most supermarkets. Obviously, if you have a Lebanese food store near you – that would be ideal. But for us foodies, it’s always best to start grass-roots and make our own.
Bokharat is a mix of seven spices. Our chefs advise that you can make your own using this mix:
1 tablespoon finely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground Ginger
Dried red chillis or paprika
Once you have all these measured out, ensure it is tightly sealed and ready for use (if you buy a nice container it could also be a nice Christmas present to another foodie friend).
Before popping the turkey into the oven, drizzle some olive oil over the top. You now want to rub the oil into all the recesses – making sure you cover it entirely. Take your Bokharat, and begin lightly pouring it onto the top surface of the Turkey. Once again, rub it all over – using the oil as a binder to the turkey.
Of course, if you are preparing in advance, Bakharat can be mixed with olive to create a nice marinade to be left overnight. The longer it is left to season, the more full and powerful the flavour will be.
At this point, you’re ready to go. Stick your turkey in the oven for an hour or so (depending on the size) and you have an authentic “Lebo-turkey.” Use the same mix on the potatoes before slipping them into the oven. Of course, once all is ready, use the juices from the turkey to get the gravy ready.
With this quick-and-easy Lebanese trick, you can turn that bland turkey into a fantastic centre piece and great conversation starter. Of all the Lebanese spices, this one fits in perfectly with Anglicised celebrations. Enjoy your Christmas turkey a la Maison du Mezze.