No More Boring Beef: Inventive Middle Eastern Steak Side Dishes

August 30, 2013 in News

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A great piece of meat will stand well on its own, but as any good chef will tell you, when it comes to impressing diners it’s all about the imaginative extras.

We asked Hussein El Hassan, Chef and Kitchen Manager at The Grill Room, Four Seasons Hotel Beirut, to tell us how to add a touch of Middle Eastern magic to a steak night with friends and family.

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“A Lebanese-themed steak home dinner is all about sharing the love,” says Chef Hussein. “You can start off with a selection of spreads and dips such as Labneh (yoghurt), Moutabel (eggplant dip), Hummus (chickpea dip) or salads, served with some warm pita bread. In the Middle East, even though the grilled meat remains the star of the show, we accompany it with a lot of dishes that add flavour and that allow guests to have a little more fun with their meal.”

If you are going down the steak, side and sauce route, you can skip the usual suspects for something more exotic such as Batata Harra (Lebanese fried potatoes) or Cheesy Fennel and Marrow. Adding a few unusual ingredients to a regular steak sauce – such as pomegranate molasses which imparts a rich, sweet and tart flavour – or making your wine sauce with a spicy Lebanese Red, can help keep the meal stick to the Middle Eastern theme.

He continues, “If you want to make things a little fancier, you can serve the meat at the table on a ‘man’al’ – a small table barbeque that lets the chef enjoy the company of his guests while getting the main meal ready. It also adds a bit of drama to the table.”


Side Dish Ideas Courtesy of Executive Chef Sotiris Ananiadis:
Batata Harra

500gm cubed potato
20ml olive oil
20gm cup Garlic
10gm Salt
20gm Coriander powder
30gm Coriander fresh
15gm Red hot pepper

1. Cut the potato into cubes and deep fry.

2. Pour the olive oil into a pot and fry the garlic until aromatic. Add the potatoes.

3. Add the coriander and pepper and salt to taste and serve.


Cheesy Fennel Marrow

80gm Fennel
120gm Marrow
5gm Mint leaves
10gm Cheese Parmesan
10gm Fresh Cream
2 tablespoons Oil

1. Slice marrow and cut the fennel.

2. Sauté the two in oil.

3. Add the cream and heat gently.

4. Add the mint and parmesan cheese and serve.

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