August 21, 2014

Egyptian Arabic Style Beshamel

This recipe is for Egyptian Arabic style béchamel which is similar to lasagna. I love to cook béchamel whenever I have enough time on hand because it is a time consuming process in order to cook it. It is definetly worth it because this is not sold outside at Arabic restaurants at all in Europe. Please keep in mind some of the ingredients will require a trip to an Arabic authentic grocery store or a South Asian grocery store. 

So lets start! 

We will need the following: 

Salt - to taste 
Lamb ground meat - 1 kg (you can also use mixed vegetables if you are a vegetarian) 
Tomato-1 whole piece 
Onion- 1 whole onion 
Red chili powder - 2 tsp 
Ginger paste - made at home - 2 tsp 
Garlic paste - made at home - 2 tsp 
Olive oil - 6 tbsp 
Green chili - 1 whole piece 
Cilantro - 3/4 bowl chopped 
Green Peas - 3/4 cup 
Lemon juice- 6 tbsp (this helps eliminate the smell of ground meat because of the acid) 
Cloves- 6 pieces 
Whole black pepper- 6 pieces 
Raghu sauce- 3/4 cups (you can use any Raghu sauce, I used peppers with mushroom) 
Milk- 1 1/2 cup (you can use low fat, fat free, lactose free milk as well) 
Curry powder- 1 tbsp  
Qeema powder- 4 tbsp 
Elbow macaroni- 1 box ( you can use whole wheat or white) 
Bechamel sauce- 1 packet 
Water- 6 cups (to boil the macaroni)
Shredded Mexican cheese- 1 1/2 cup 

Method of cooking: 

In a medium sized pot add olive oil and let it heat up on medium temperature for 3-4 minutes. Then add the chopped onions. Let onions turn dark brown as in they are a little crispy. Once the onions are mildly crispy and dark brown, add the ground lamb meat to the onions along with whole black peppers and clove. Mix well and cover the pot over medium heat for 15 minutes. 

Once 15 minutes are up, make sure to add the lemon juice to the ground meat while it is still in the pot over medium heat. Cover and let cook for about 10 minutes. 

Now that 10 minutes are up, add the chopped onions to ground meat which is in the pot and it needs to cook until tomato does not go transparent. When the tomato is transparent, add ginger/garlic paste, red chili powder, raghu sauce, turmeric, salt, curry powder, and qeema powder. Mix all of this well, and let it cook over medium heat for 20 minutes. 

When 20 minutes are up, add the whole green chili piece, along with green peas and cilantro. Cover the ground meat and let it cook for another 10 minutes. Once the ground meat turns brownish, simply turn off the heat and set it aside to cool down. 

Start pre-heating the oven to 360 degrees so the béchamel can be baked faster. 

In another large pot, add 6 cups of water, olive oil, and salt to boil the macaroni. Once the macaroni is boiled, remove all the water by using a strainer. 

In another smaller pot start heating the milk for 10 minutes. Take the béchamel mix packet and add the contents slowly by mixing each time you add the powdered contents. Once you have already mixed the whole powered contents into the milk, let it sit over low heat until the content is thick and creamy. 

Take a large pyrex glass tray and start spreading the macaroni. Then add the ground meat. Keep layering until all your contents are added to the tray. Now spread the béchamel sauce all over the contents ( DO NOT MIX). The sauce has to be spread all over the top layer just like we add icing to the cake's top layer. When the béchamel sauce is spread evenly all over, sprinkle grated cheese over the béchamel sauce till all parts are covered. 

Now simply put the tray in the oven and let it bake for about 15 minutes or till the cheese has melted and the béchamel sauce has turned golden brown. 

Take out and serve hot ! 

This is how I make the Arabic style béchamel.