Scrolling through the many products available on OjaExpress for Middle Eastern grocery delivery can be overwhelming, but don’t worry! We’ve put together this short guide to help you with ideas for dishes to make and ingredients to buy. Let’s get cooking!
What Is Considered Middle Eastern Food?
There are many different countries that are considered part of the Middle East, so determining which cuisines are Middle Eastern can be difficult to figure out. The definition of the “Middle East” has changed over time, and people define “Middle Eastern food” in a variety of ways. Currently, the countries that are considered part of the Middle East are Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Palestine, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Cuisines from these countries are certainly considered Middle Eastern, but you also might include dishes from Arab, Armenian, Assyrian, Azerbaijani, Cypriot, Georgian, Iranian, Israeli, Kurdish, and Turkish cultures.
What is a Middle Eastern market?
A Middle Eastern market is a place where you can purchase groceries, fresh produce, delicious foods, Halal meat varieties, and any ingredients you need to make Middle Eastern cuisine in the comfort of your home. If you’re searching “Middle Eastern market near me” in the Windy City, you’re in luck! Here at OjaExpress, we can bring a Middle Eastern grocery store in Chicago right to your doorstep with our same day ethnic grocery delivery platform (more on this later, let’s get back to the food!).
What is the most famous Middle Eastern dish?
Many famous Middle Eastern dishes are enjoyed all over the world. Some of the most popular are:
- Falafel – This popular dish is made of chickpeas or fava beans mixed with spices and herbs and then formed into balls or patties and fried. Often eaten with tzatziki, a sauce made of yogurt with cucumber and spices, falafel is a filling and hearty dish.
- Dolmas – Dolmas are made from a variety of vegetable or meat mixtures wrapped up in young grape leaves and served cold.
- Hummus – We’re fairly certain you’ve heard of this one, but just in case, hummus is a chickpea puree typically mixed with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and sometimes other spices.
- Shawarma – This Levantine Arab dish consists of meat that is cut into thin slices, stacked in a cone shape, and then roasted on a vertical rotisserie that spins slowly. While shawarma was originally made with lamb, mutton, or chicken, you may find shawarma that is made from turkey, beef, or veal.
- Mulukhiyah – Made from the leaves of the jute mallow, this vegetable dish is often cooked with chicken or chicken stock for flavor, and served with white rice and lemon or lime.
- Baba ghanush – This dip is similar to hummus, but made with grilled or roasted eggplant instead of chickpeas.
- Baklava – A beloved dessert, baklava is made from layers of flaky pastry, chopped nuts, and drizzled with honey or syrup.
What are the most important ingredients in the Middle East?
Some of the ingredients that are integral to Middle Eastern cuisine are:
- Olives and olive oil
- Sesame seeds
Important spices include:
Other Middle East products to try are spice mixtures like za’atar and baharat.
Za’atar is widely used throughout the Middle East, and is a blend of spices and herbs that varies slightly from region to region. The most popular recipe contains thyme, sesame seeds, and dried sumac berries. It may include marjoram and oregano. This mixture is often used on meats as well as sauces like hummus, baba ghanush, and tzatziki.
Baharat is a spice mixture that is often used in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine. The traditional recipe uses cumin, caraway, cardamom, black pepper, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, paprika, and allspice. There are regional varieties, like the Turkish version of baharat uses mint while Tunisia adds dried rose petals.
OjaExpress: Chicago’s Middle Eastern Grocery Delivery Service
Looking for groceries and Middle Eastern sweets in Chicago? We’ve got you covered at OjaExpress. We work with local Middle Eastern groceries stores to deliver right to your Chicago doorstep. We know firsthand how difficult it can be to find authentic ingredients for the cultural recipes you want to recreate, so we had to create a solution.
Our platform gives family-owned ethnic grocery stores in Chicago the opportunity to reach new customers and provides customers with an easy and convenient way to support these stores. Right now, we currently serve the Chicago area, with plans to expand into more cities. If you are in the Chicago area, explore our stores online now. If you are interested in having OjaExpress come to your city, please fill out an interest form.