BISA: African/Middle East Potluck

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September 14, 2013 by tvo320

The third edition of the potluck series took us on a whole new adventure! The Ambassadors chefs hosting shared cuisine from Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. This was the first time I had authentic food from each of these countries and realized how I have been depriving myself for far too long. Every dish was bursting with flavors I had never tasted before and I wish they were all my neighbors. Trying new types of foods can be risky but I have found that the more foods you try, the more exposed you are to new fruits, vegetables, and spices among other things. I absolutely loved the freshness and spiciness of the Libyan Sharmula. If you love a quality beef sausage, be sure to try a Zimbabwean Boerewor. The Persian chicken prepared for us was so tender and tasty! I grew up eating lots of chicken but this was the first time I had had it with Nilu’s recipe and absolutely loved it. Have you ever had peanut butter spinach or basbousa? I hadn’t and learned about ingredients such as semolina or farina.

Everyone was loving the food so much that we just kept going back for more. For a room full of social people, it was quieter than usual. The best indication of delicious food! That didn’t last too long because we were celebrating Edward’s birthday!!! Edward happened to be our Ugandan chef and his birthday cake was incredible. I want to be able to make a birthday like that from scratch. What has been so amazing about these potlucks is getting to know each ambassador better and opening the window to the numerous cultures that exist in our group. Ebrahim’s dessert, basbousa was my absolute favorite! I wanted to take the entire tray home. I’ve included the menu below in case you’re interested or wondering what some of the dishes in the photos are.


Libyan M’batten (marinated potato slices stuffed with minced beef)
Libyan Sharmula (Salad with cucumber, tomato, green chili, spring onion, parsley, olive oil and a squeeze of lemon)
Persian Kashk Bademjan (Grilled eggplant and cheese dip)
Saudi Arabian Messa (dips)

Libyan couscous with fish and veggies
Persian Fersenjan (thick tart stew served with rice)
Saudi Arabian Kabsa (rice topped with lamb)
Ugandan Lumonde (sweet potatoes), fried chicken, and ugale (maize meal)
Zimbabwean Boerewors (beef sausage) and peanut butter spinach

Libyan Basbousa (sweet cake made of cooked semolina or farina soaked in honey)
Persian sweets
Saudi Arabian Basbousa
Ugandan fruit salad
Zimbabwean Lemon Meringue Pie

Libyan coffee
Rooibos Tea (Traditional South African Tea) Rooibos is a broom-like member of the legume family of plants growing in South Africa’s fynbos.The generic name comes from the plant Calicotome villosa, aspalathos in Greek.


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