Where to Find Middle Eastern Ingredients {Giveaway: 4 Middle Eastern Ingredient Prize Packs, Each with a Signed Copy of My Cookbook}

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frontbookcover(small)Today’s post is a fun one.

Not only is it a giveaway (four giveaways, actually!), but I’m hoping to be able to convince you to try something that you might not normally try. To step out of your comfort zone and discover something that’s as rich in culture as it is delicious. You never know, maybe you’ll find a new family favorite!

In some cases, you might want to try something new, but have no idea where to look for ingredients…

I know sometimes it can be hard to source Middle Eastern ingredients – or any international ingredients for that matter – if you’re not sure where to start looking for them. I want to share a few of my go-to sources:

1. Start at your local grocery store. If you’re like me, you probably shop (mostly) around the outer perimeter of the grocery store – I start in the produce department, and then hit up the meat and dairy sections, and also the organic section (and of course a couple other random aisles in the middle of the store). For me, this means that I have no idea everything my store has to offer. When I was searching for exotic ingredients, I found a pretty well-stocked international aisle right in the middle of my local grocery, offering ingredients like rosewater, tahini, and ghee (clarified butter). And don’t be afraid to ask for help finding something; even if your store doesn’t carry a particular item, they might be able to order it for you or they might know where you can get it.

2. Do a simple Google search. Even a basic search like “middle eastern grocery store tampa florida” or “arabic grocery store tampa florida” should yield a good starting point. (Of course be sure to fill in your city and state!)

3. If you can’t find Middle Eastern grocery stores in your area, look for other ethnic stores. Indian grocers, in particular, carry a lot of the same ingredients required for Middle Eastern cooking. You can do a simple Google search for Indian grocery stores in your area (see #2 above).

4. Ask at your favorite Middle Eastern restaurant. Next time you’re eating at your favorite Middle Eastern restaurant, ask where they source their ingredients. (Or just give them a call to ask – but make sure you don’t call during mealtimes when they’re likely to be too busy to chat for a minute.) They might be able to either point you in the right direction, or sell you the ingredient you’re looking for.

5. If you’re looking for spices, check out a spice shop in your area. Penzeys spices are consistently fantastic quality and they have stores all over the U.S.

6. Check out local specialty shops. For example, if you’re looking for a couple different Middle Eastern cheeses to make Knafeh, take a look at a local specialty or artisanal cheese shop.

7. If all else fails, the internet is sure to have it – but be sure you’re buying from a quality company. For about four years now, Mike and I have been ordering from Hashems online store. This is literally the only online Middle Eastern store we buy from because they have everything, and even if they don’t have something listed on their site, I’ve found that they might still have it – I always just ask. Mike is crazy about nuts and he will only eat the nuts from Hashems. The same thing goes for their flatbread; Mike usually places a huge order for their bread (since he eats it at every meal) and keeps it in the freezer, just pulling out a pack as necessary. I also love their Turkish coffee, and their spices are great as well. Don’t forget, if you’re a first-time customer at Hashems, you can get 20% off your entire order with coupon code “anediblemosaic”. (Please note that I am not making any money off your order with Hashems. I truly believe in their products and they are what you’ll find in my own kitchen, which is why I’m helping to promote them.)

8. And right now you have a chance to win some Middle Eastern ingredients!

* * * * *

Hashems and I put together four different prize packs for this giveaway; all are based on recipes from my cookbook, An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair. Courtesy of Tuttle Publishing, every prize pack also includes a signed copy of the cookbook that I will personalize for the winners!

coffeetimePrize Pack 1: Coffee Time (The recipe for Turkish coffee can be found in my cookbook; also, here is a video from Hashems showing how to make it.)

Includes the following items:

  • Date-filled cookies (ma’amoul)
  • Turkish coffee
  • Turkish coffee pot
  • Six small coffee cups
  • One signed copy of my cookbook

falafelPrize Pack 2: Falafel Set (Here is my Falafel recipe.)

Includes the following items:

  • Dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • Falafel mold
  • Hashems falafel spice mix
  • One signed copy of my cookbook

maamoulPrize Pack 3: Ma’amoul Set (Here is my Ma’amoul recipe.)

Includes the following items:

  • Baking dates
  • Ma’amoul mold (for date filling)
  • Ground mahlab spice
  • Cake spice mix
  • One signed copy of my cookbook

saffronricePrize Pack 4: Saffron Rice Set (Here is my Saffron Rice recipe.)

Includes the following items:

  • Basmati rice
  • Pine nuts
  • Golden raisins (sultanas)
  • Saffron
  • One signed copy of my cookbook

* * * * *

I am willing to ship the prizes anywhere in the world, so international readers are welcome to enter. You do not need to have a blog to enter this giveaway! To participate, you can do any of the following (please leave a separate comment for each so I can count them as separate entries):

  1. Leave a comment telling me your favorite Middle Eastern dish.
  2. Leave a comment telling me if you’ve ever made a Middle Eastern recipe at home.
  3. Like Hashems on Facebook and leave a comment here telling me.
  4. Like Tuttle Publishing on Facebook and leave a comment here telling me.
  5. Like An Edible Mosaic on Facebook and leave a comment here telling me.
  6. Share this giveaway on any of your social media (such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.), or on your blog and leave a comment here telling me.

This giveaway ends Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 5AM EST; after that the winners will be randomly selected and notified by email. Good luck to all!

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  1. Naomi says

    My new favorite is chicken shawarma. Discovered a little middle eastern cafe called Sahara and the shawarma wrap is amazing.

  2. Naomi says

    I love fixing middle eastern candies with date paste. I used to buy the same baking dates that you’re giving away, until the shop I bought them from closed down, and now I can’t find them any more!

  3. Maddie says

    My favorite middle eastern dish is Kanafeh. I love it and love how it tastes with black tea or coffee. I would definitely love to learn how to make it

  4. Maddie says

    I’m from the Middle East and now that I have left home to move closer to school, I find myself craving and cooking Middle Eastern food every so often. However, i Have branched out from my own culture’s foods and am starting to make more traditional Arabic foods (i’m from Iran) and Turkish foods.

  5. Jaclyn says

    My favorite middle eastern dish is dolma, aka stuffed grape leaves. My mom’s recipe is always the tastiest.

  6. Ghada says

    I’m from the middle east (Egyptian), so, I love staffed grape leaves(with rice&meat) and also love (koshery) :)

  7. says

    Ever since I first tried Middle Eastern food (starting with Lebanese cuisine) in college, I’ve been in love with it’s perfect balance of savory, sweet, and spice. The first dish I tried is still one of my favorites–chicken with yogurt and pomegranate seeds.

  8. says

    I haven’t done too much Middle Eastern cooking at home, but the dishes I have made have been wonderful. One of my favorites was Moroccan chicken with couscous and golden raisins. I don’t have a tagine, but I used my Dutch oven and everything came out just fine!

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