I am one of those people that just loves food. It’s not just about the food for me. I like the whole experience, the preparation and the cooking. I pretty much love all kinds of food but in particular fried food. I truly don’t understand people who don’t, come on, who doesn’t like fried chicken and fries? Or the Middle Eastern Kubaa (Dumplings stuffed with meat) or even crispy spring-rolls. Please, does such a person even exist? Well not in my world. I have included an easy Kubaa recipe that you must try.
The thing is I don’t really like the healthy versions of fried food, like oven chips or grilled aubergine to name just two. Things that need to be crispy, don’t do that well in the oven for me. They usually come out soggy and sad. I don’t know, maybe it’s an acquired taste. Then there is the other extreme, when food will be so crispy, might as well be eating rocks frankly.
When one of my friends told me about her air fryer a few years back, I was sceptical to say the least but I had to find something. Now with 4 kids to feed and all loving food as much as me, I had to find a healthy alternative. Something to at least reduce our calorie intake.
So I bought my Air fryer from Amazon because I really had little faith in its prospects of staying in my kitchen. But how wrong was I, now nearly 4 years later, I literally can’t live without it. The model I bought was a pretty basic one and in medium size.
What can I say other than it’s completely changed my cooking? It might not have made me lose weight but at least I have maintained my weight. The actual fryer is really simple to use and looks very similar to a normal oil fryer with a basket that you pull out and fill.
As a Middle Eastern cook, it’s been fantastic. The instructions tell you to add a tablespoon of oil but I don’t. On most vegetables, I just brush them with vegetable oil and that’s it. For French fries and other ready-made frozen food, I don’t add any oil at all. Believe me, they taste so good, perfectly crispy and fluffy inside. Nearly everything works in the air-fryer with sweet potatoes and crispy chicken being my favourite but more recently I tried frozen long beans. They were such a great crispy snack. Now as a lover of Kubaa, which up until this point I had only ever eaten fried, well frankly it was a revelation. Brushed with a little oil, you wouldn’t notice that they weren’t fried.
The most convenient thing is, as a busy mum, I can just fill it up, switch it on, while I get on preparing the salad or whatever it is. It cooks food quickly and with minimum mess. An air fryer is effectively a mini oven and my teenagers find it really easy to use without the fear of them burning the house down. They use it for ready made mini pizzas and chicken nuggets. Plus, they can easily reheat any foods that could use quick crisp without turning on the big oven. Even cleaning it is easy, with just a quick wash with soap and water.
The air fryer was used so much in lockdown when we were anxious to buy takeaway so we made everything at home. For my family, it’s one of those gadgets that came along and left us wondering, how did we live without it. Now if I have tempted you to buy it, then I recommend choosing one depending on the size of your family. So, if you have kids then I suggest buying the larger size. This will save you time, as you won’t have to make two batches. Also, there is no need to buy the most expensive model, you can if you want to but to be honest, they all pretty much do the same thing.
If you’re anything like me and love food, then an Air fryer is the perfect way to eat your favourite food with a lot less calories.
There are many different kinds of Kubaa in the Middle East. All of them are delicious and moreish. They are basically meat filled dumplings. The filling is usually meat but the dumpling is predominately made from Potato, Burghul Wheat, Semolina or a combination of them. The different kinds of Kubaa can be cooked in different ways, including frying, baking and on the barbecue. Once you have had one, you will be hooked. This particular recipe is a very simple version that always works well for me. I always make them and put them in the freezer. That way, all I need to do is grab a few and cook them in a few minutes in the Air Fryer. They always come out crispy and delicious.
2 cups fine Burghul Wheat
2 cups fine Semolina
2 tbsp Tomato Puree
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp ground Black Pepper
1 tsp ground Cumin
3 Cups boiling water
2 Onions, finely diced
3 tbsp Vegetable oil
500g lean Beef or Lamb mince
½ tsp Salt
½ tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Curry Powder
½ cup chopped Parsley (optional)
Pine Nuts (optional)
In a medium sized bowl, add the Burghul Wheat, Semolina, Salt, Black Pepper and Cumin. Add the boiling water and mix everything well.
Cover with cling film and leave for half an hour.
After half an hour, add the Tomato Puree and mix well with your hands. Your dough is now ready, cover it until you’re ready to use it.
Fry the onions in the vegetable oil, until just golden,
Add the mince and cook over medium heat.
Add Salt, Black Pepper, Turmeric and Curry Powder. Stir occasionally until the meat is fully browned and cooked.
Add the pine nuts and parsley and leave to cool for a few minutes.
So, you’re now ready to shape the Kubaa but before you start, have a lined freezer tray ready and a small bowl of warm water next to you. With both the bowl of Kubaa dough and the filling nearby, you can start stuffing the Kubaa. Dampen your hands with some water, take a handful of the Kubaa dough (about 2 tbsp or so) and form into an oval-shaped disc in the palm of one hand. Use your finger to make a well in the middle of the disc, and gradually hollow the disc out to make a larger well or hole for the filling. Using a spoon, add about 1 tablespoon of the filling. Seal the dough on top and, using both hands, carefully shape it into an oval rugby shaped ball. Don’t worry, after doing one or two you will soon get the hang of it. Place the stuffed Kubaa on the lined freezer tray. Repeat the stuffing steps until you run out of ingredients, be sure to have damp hands every time you make another Kubaa.
The Kubaa can be cooked straight away or frozen. You can deep fry or air fry, which is how I like them. Just remember to always cook from frozen, don’t defrost. If you are going to deep fry them, then the oil has to be hot before you fry them. When I cook them in the air fryer, I like to brush them with a little vegetable oil but you don’t really have too.
Serve hot or at room temperature with Iraqi pickle and salad. Enjoy!
Mother, social media addict and food lover. Using the power of social media to inspire and promote opportunities for women in every walk of life. I have an entrepreneurial spirit and am always searching for the next challenge. A firm believer in the fact that everything happens for a reason and that it is either a blessing or a lesson.