BREAD – An essential ingredient on the table in the Middle Eastern cuisine. It is used on the side, in salads, or in certain dishes such as the “fatteh”.
DAIRY – Yogurt made from sheep, cow or goat’s milk is used in many ways. Diluted with water as a refreshing drink or drained and thickened as a condiment.
MEAT – Lamb is used in most of the Middle Eastern countries, although some countries use veal more than lamb. A delicacy is baby lamb stuffed with spiced rice.
FRUITS – Fresh and dried fruits and nuts are widely used. Most commonly used fruits and nuts used are; pomegranates, lemons, dates, apples, figs, oranges, apricots, mango, almonds and pistachios.
GRAINS – Rice is a staple in all the Middle Eastern countries. It is cooked in countless ways. It’s served alongside meat, fish, and stewed vegetables.
OIL – Olive oil is the most common for cooking and dressing.
SALADS – Salads are always available whether at lunch or dinner. They are made with a variety of fresh vegetables and simple fresh dressing of lemon juice, salt and pepper and olive oil.
SPICES – Spices are the essence of the Middle Eastern cuisine. The most common spices used include but not limited to; cinnamon, allspice, anise seeds, nutmeg, sumac, cardamom, cloves, cumin, caraway, black pepper, saffron, and turmeric.
MEZE – These are side dishes or appetizers that are made of assortment of little tidbits in small plates. They accompany the main dish. They typically include salads, grains, pulses and vegetables.