The London Edition of the Arab Spring celebration was a resounding success. With guest chef Layla, my sister Fareena and my brother-in-law Abders, we really created some Arab magic in our tiny East London kitchen. Every dish was a reminder and acknowledgement of the struggle each of the featured nations and their populations were are still undergoing today. Our love for these countries is personal. Layla is part-Tunisian, part-Libyan and is today part of the rebuilding and reconstuction of post-revolution Libya. I lived in Cairo, Egypt for almost two years — this country and its people hold a special place in my heart. When Egypt won the African cup some years ago, I celebrated on the streets like any other Egyptian. When they toppled Mubarak, I wept with pride — this country brings out emotions even my supposed motherland, Bangladesh, fails to.
We’re not very good with the tweeting, the writing to papers, the fighting on the streets. But we can cook. So we did. We made dishes we’ve never made before. Ingredients, flavours alien to our palates and our spice larders. It was a truly amazing afternoon. The pictures of our London edition can be viewed here.
But it couldn’t end there. I knew I had to share the magic with my beloved and loyal Singapore guests. So in February, I threw the Singapore edition of the Arab Spring Celebration. And I hope I did it justice! This time there was no Layla, Fareena or Abders. Just me…. and my love of an adopted homeland.
shurbah leebeeyah (lamb, tomato and “bird’s tongue” pasta soup)
First, I prepared the couscous…
Then, the harissa vegetable stir-fry went on top….
And finally, the fried halibut.
Harissa fish couscous
Served with a tomato and parsley sauce
Rounded off with mint tea (cheating with the cups though, they’re from Turkey )