Saudi Arabia Creamy Tomato and Chickpea Soup {Recipe}

I was sent the cookbook The Arabian Nights Cookbook: From Lamb Kebabs to Baba Ghanouj, Delicious Homestyle Middle Eastern Cooking by Habeeb Salloum from Tuttle Publishing.


It focuses primary on recipes in the Arab Gulf region and has to be one of the most beautiful cookbooks I’ve seen in a long time.


I was pressed for time this week to look for dinner options for our Mawlid al Nabi celebration tonight and took the cookbook with me on the bus to work. Mawlid al Nabi commemorates the birthplace of the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh), in Saudi Arabia. This annual Islamic holiday is celebrated by many Muslims around the world.}


On the bus, I caught my seat mate leaning in, reading over my shoulder. When we reached our destination, she had already asked where she can buy it.   The photos were so eye catching that she couldn’t resist.


The book is broken up into the traditional chapters (salad, soup, chicken, seafood, drinks, desserts, etc) and includes an opening chapter on popular condiments and pickles.  The intro is a well written explanation of the diversity of modern Arab Gulf cooking, followed up with useful tools and essential ingredients. Reading the chapter on the spices, nuts and vegetables unique to the region made me long for the smells I experienced in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey.


The recipes include tips and notes on everything from how to stuff a lamb to which meals are best served family style. The stunning chapter introductions explain the dishes and their influences from surrounding regions. The resource guide includes Arab stores country wide, where tools and ingredients can be found.


I’d like to share the recipe for the Creamy Tomato and Chickpea Soup. But you don’t have to wait for the annual Mawlid al Nabi to enjoy this yummy delicious meal, you can make this anytime.


(Readers of the blog will note the similarities of this dish to the Egyptian Tomato and Chickpea Soup we made a few years ago.  This version includes a few differences. Most notably, the addition of fresh cilantro, an herb introduced historically by Western Asia to the area.)



4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 minced onions
4 cloves garlic, crushed to paste
2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
6 cups water
2 cups stewed tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Pinch of ground red pepper

Pour the oil into a large saucepan with a lid and place over medium heat. Add the coriander leaves and onion and saute for 10 minutes, uncovered.

Add the remaining ingredients, stir and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium heat for 25 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool, slightly.

Next, purée, then return to the saucepan, adding more water if desired. Reheat and serve.

We served our soup with a side of naan bread.

To enjoy more Arab food we have tried, please check out

Egyptian Ful Medames {Recipe}

Hot Algerian Lasagna {Recipe}

Lebanese Lentil Soup {Recipe}

Or stop by A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see out more recipes from the MENA (Middle East & North Africa) region.

Be sure to check out the book The Arabian Nights Cookbook: From Lamb Kebabs to Baba Ghanouj, Delicious Homestyle Middle Eastern Cooking by Habeeb Salloum from Tuttle Publishing or ask for it a your local bookstore, library or Amazon.

Chenille Stem Whirling Dervishes {Tutorial}

Islam has close to 2 billion followers world wide. Many Muslims, followers of Islam, choose to practice different types of dhikr, a devotional act in which prayers are repeatedly recited.


Some of these Muslims are the known as the Mevlevi Order, a Sufi order founded by the followers of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Balkhi-Rumi, a 13th-century Persian poet, Islamic theologian and Sufi mystic.


When my husband and I traveled to Turkey a few years ago, we witnessed these Whirling Dervishes practitioners at every turn in Istanbul. They were mesmerizing to watch, performing their Sama ceremony.


I talked to my daughter about the Whirling Dervishes and showed them photos of our travels. Afterwards we made a few of our own and we’d like to teach you how we did it. We then placed them on our lazy Susan kitchen tray and watched them turn and turn and turn.



Chenille stems in white (2), red (1) & black (1)
Wire cutters

We started by folding the two white chenille stems in half. On one, we added a little loop and twist at the top.

We placed the non-looped stem on about where the belly would be on our person and twisted the stem up the body. Once we reached the neck area, we stopped.

We set that aside to make our tennure outfit from the square napkin by folding pleats.  This garment is  worn over a man’s undergarments and reaches from the shoulder to the ankle. When it has long sleeves, it is called an entari.

After the pleating, we also twisted our napkin.

We opened the napkin and cut a little triangle at the corner with the most folds, for our person’s head.

We also opened the napkin and cut two little slits for the arms.

We placed our person on the napkin, with the head over the opening, so we know how much of the bottom to cut off.

We opened the napkin and carefully slipped our person’s head and arms inside the openings we cut. We used the tread to tie off the waist. This will help hold the napkin in place.

Next we worked on the conical cap known as a sikke by bending our red chenille stem into a rectangle.

We then wrapped the rest of the stem around the rectangle.

So that it stays in place on our person, we wrapped a little red stem around the top of the head and folded the end back into the hat.

The final touch was adding the black chenille stem to the waist to cover up the thread. Cut off any extra with the wire cutters. This sash or belt is called a kemer.

These Whirling Dervishes were so easy to make, we added more in no time.

Be sure to stop by A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see more tutorials that teach you about our Islamic world.

Halal/Haram Sharpie Light Switch {Tutorial}

Halal and haram are two Arabic words that mean opposing things.

Things that are halal are permissible, while haram means forbidden.

These Arabic words, particularly with respect to dietary rules, are found in the Islamic text, the Quran and parallel the Old Testament categories of clean and unclean in Christianity.

My teen was has been redesigning her room lately and I gave her permission to use a Sharpie on her light switch. She did a little research and found images of light switches with the Happy Potter words Lumos and Nox. She also saw light switches made with Luke and Vadar of Star Wars fame.

She thought she’d have a little play on words and use halal for daylight and haram for nighttime. The design only took a few minutes to create and if you are confident with your writing, you can even do with only two supplies: a light switch and permeate pen.


Letter stickers
Light switch
Ultra fine point sharpie
Fine point sharpie

First we added sticker letters that spelled halal at the top and haram at the bottom.

We carefully outlined the top letters with the finer tip pen. We also used the finer tip pen to fill in the space in the bottom letters.

Once that was done, we used the edge of the sticker sheet to draw a line in the middle of the light switch.  We then used the thicker Sharpie pen to fill in the bottom half of the light switch.

Once the bottom was filled in, we removed the stickers. If there is too much bleeding of ink on the bottom letters, you can use nail polish remover on a q-tip to clean up the black ink.

We filled in the inside space of the top letters.

You can leave it as is, or add white star stickers for the nighttime sky.

If you enjoyed making this light switch, stop by these DIY tutorials

Eid Foil Decor {Tutorial}

Khatam Ramadan Window Clings {Tutorial}

Visit A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see more crafts that teach about the Arab world.