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Mediterranean Cuisine


Mediterranean Cuisine


Mediterranean cuisine is considered as the world’s healthier diet is a much diverse style of cooking with the uniqueness in the style and ingredients. Unlike other ethnic cuisines, Mediterranean cuisine is not a product of a specific country or an ethnic group; rather it is a shared culinary trend in between the countries geographically in and around the Mediterranean Sea. It is spread into three continents, Asia, Africa and Europe, which contributes abundantly to results this as a unique and significant cuisine of a diverse culture.

The enchanting characteristics of the cuisine are mainly shaped by the climate and geographical aspects of the region. The sunny Mediterranean climate yields an abundant agriculture bounty and heavily influences the vegetable dominant cuisine of the region. Fresh vegetables, seafood and dairy products plays a vital role in the cooking. Olive oil is used as the cooking media throughout the region for both cooking and dressing for salads and breads. Green and black olives, artichokes, zucchini, eggplant, okra, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes etc were commonly used. Vegetables were used in cooking in different forms such as grilled, baked, sautéed or pureed. Meats such as lamb, beef and chicken is used sparingly as grilled or stewed with vegetables. The close proximity of the aqua rich Mediterranean sea gifted the cuisine with its abundant source of fresh seafood such as fish, octopus, squid, mussels, prawns , lobster etc.

The culinary regions

The Mediterranean cuisine is spread into three regions such as Eastern Mediterranean, North Africa and Southern Europe. The Eastern Mediterranean cuisine encompasses of some Middle Eastern cuisine like Greece, Lebanon, Turkey, Palestine, Syria and Egypt. Yogurt and fresh cheeses such as Feta and Haloumi is widely used. Herbs such as parsley, mint, sumac etc are the flavoring for the salads and marinations. Pomegranate and nuts were used to enrich the dishes, rice and grains is for the staple in the form of pilaf and breads such as pita and lavash. Lamb, beef and chicken is skewers and grilled as kibbehs or keftes , or spit roasted as Gyros.

Southern European region consists of Italy, France and Spain, contains specific ingredients that distinguish from rest of the continent. Onion, garlic, tomatoes, capers, squash, anchovies, pine nuts etc are the major ingredients. Beef and pork are widely used than any other meats. A variety of pasta dishes and rice dishes such as risotto from Italy and Paella from Spain also are prominent.

North African region consists of morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya uses much of spices such as star anise, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, chilies and cloves and it characterize their food. Dried fruits, nuts and preserved lemon imparts flavor to the cooking and lamb, mutton and goat is widely used in the form of stews and soups to meet the protein requirement. Granular semolina –Couscous is accompanied their meat dishes such as Moroccan Tagine– a slow cooked meat casserole.


In short, since early 90’s Mediterranean cuisine acclaimed international recognition as healthiest cuisine in the world as a special diet in the name with much sought after motto-“eat healthy, live long”.


Feta and water melon salad

Watermelon and Feta Salad

Watermelon dice-1 cup                     Sliced red onion-20 gm

Feta cheese dice- 50 gm                     Parsley chopped- a pinch

Toasted pumpkin seeds- 2 tbsp                  Mint chopped- a sprig

Black olives-5 no                              Salt n pepper

lettuce-1/2 no

Lemon juice- ½ no lemon

Thyme- a pinch

Olive oil-2 tbsp

Ground cumin-pinch

Method –

Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, thyme, parsley and mint. Toss all other ingredients gently. Serve on a bed of lettuce , garnished with sliced red onions (optional).


Samaki Harra ( Lebanese style chilli fish)

Red snapper fillet- 1no cut into two

Marination–                                                Harra salsa

Olive oil-5 ml                                    Chopped tomato-1tsp

Lemon juice-5 ml                              Chopped pepper-1 tbsp

Chopped green chilli- ½ tsp              Chopped green chilli-1tsp

Chopped coriander leaves-1 tsp                 Chopped coriander leaves-1 tbsp

Chopped garlic-5gm                         Chopped garlic-1tsp

Cumin powder-1/2 tsp                      Tomato puree-2 tbsp

                                                          Chili flakes-1/2 tsp, salt


Marinate the fish with all the marination ingredients and grill it.

Make the harra salsa by sautéing garlic, peppers, tomatoes, green chilli, coriander leaves in olive oil. Add tomato puree and seasoning, keep aside.

Serve the fish on a bed of roasted potatoes, onions and lemon wedges, topped with harra salsa and sauce taratour (mix one tbsp of tahini paste-sesame seed paste- with 1 tsp of lemon juice and olive oil, season it)