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Beats ‘n’ Eats: 7 recipes and 7 songs
 
 
All photos by Kholoud El Mahdy, courtesy Eish & Malh
 

In April, downtown restaurant and culture hub Eish & Malh organized a musical collaboration with party organizer SweetBeets. They called it Beats ‘n’ Eats and designed a special menu, to which DJ Purplpitch (the driving force behind SweetBeets) responded with songs that aimed to complement the specificity of the culinary experience.

Along with their regular menus, there were two new menus, one in English and another in Arabic, featuring dishes with song titles. I thought both the food and the music were great, and Eish & Malh and Purplpitch kindly agreed to lend me the recipes and songs for this article. Make the recipes and play the videos!

#1 Easy greasy arancini

Fried beetroot risotto balls filled with mozzarella cheese and coated with breadcrumbs

I  believe arancini, the tasty risotto balls named after the small oranges they are said to resemble, are not well known enough outside Italy. The choice of beetroot makes them fun, with a nice pop of color that contrasts beautifully with the brown coating.

for the risotto

  • 1 liter vegetable stock
  • 3 beetroots
  • 200g risotto rice
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter

for the arancini

  • 1 ball of mozzarella
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of breadcrumbs
  • oil for frying
  1. Boil the beetroot for 15 minutes, peel and dice.
  2. Chop the garlic.
  3. In a pan, melt the butter on low heat and add the garlic.
  4. Add the risotto rice and chopped beetroot, and increase the heat.
  5. Add the stock one ladle at a time. Let the moisture absorb fully before adding the next ladle.
  6. When the rice is al dente, turn off the heat. Season risotto to taste, and allow to cool fully.
  7. Beat two eggs. Add one to the risotto, and leave the other in a bowl.
  8. Take a spoonful of risotto, and pat it against the palm of your hand with the back of the spoon.
  9. Place a coin-size dollop of mozzarella in the center of the flattened risotto patty, cover the cheese with a little more risotto and then roll it into a ball. Make sure they are airtight.
  10. Place the ball in the bowl of beaten egg, then roll it on a plate of breadcrumbs.
  11. Heat the oil in a deep pan, then drop the balls in. Leave until crispy or light brown.
  12. Serve hot with a dipping sauce of your choice.

 

#2 Sugar honey ice tea

Sweet blackberry black iced tea with sugar, honey and a twist of citrus

I was a little alarmed by the name — both honey and sugar! — and the drink lives up to it. It is intensely sweet, but in fact its cold temperature and high sugar balanced the savory richness of the arancini.

  • blackberry flavored black tea (Lipton do one)
  • ice
  • 1 lemon
  • simple syrup (half and half sugar and water, heated until clear and then cooled)
  • honey
  1. Brew the blackberry black tea in freshly boiled water.
  2. Let it cool until room temperature.
  3. Serve over ice.
  4. Add a dash of citrus, simple syrup and honey.

 

#3 ‘I want a little sugar in my bowl’ artichoke risotto

Creamy slow-cooked risotto with cream, parmesan and artichoke hearts

Eish & Malh is known for its creamy risotto, and this one was cooked to perfection — although I would have loved a little more artichoke. I would always love a little more artichoke. We chose Cibo Matto’s song Artichoke for this dish not just for its title but also because its heartbeat-like rhythm with Matto’s soft voice nicely reflects the hardness of the artichoke hearts contrasting with the creaminess of the risotto.

Serves: 4 – 6 persons

Time: 45 minutes

  • 1 liter vegetable stock
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 100g parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup fresh cream
  • 400g risotto rice
  • 10 artichoke hearts
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat the stock and dice the garlic. If using whole artichokes, pluck the leaves off and scoop out the choke, then slice up the heart.
  2. Grate the parmesan.
  3. In a pan, heat the butter, add garlic and fry.
  4. Add the artichokes.
  5. When the artichokes take on some color, add the rice and keep the heat on high. Stir the rice as it fries. After a few minutes, add a ladle of hot stock. Lower the heat and let it simmer.
  6. Stir and add the stock one ladle at a time as it evaporates.
  7. Five minutes before the rice is done – just as it is beginning to go soft – add the cream and stir.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. When cooked to your liking, remove from heat and add the parmesan.

 

#4 Fat meat ‘n’ greens blue cheese burger

House parmesan burger loaded with beef bacon, melted blue cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo

“I used to be a vegetarian, but that was nine years ago. I still have to think twice before eating a burger,” says Purplpitch. Having a greasy burger is the height of satisfaction for one’s carnivorous tendencies.

  • 450g ground beef
  • 1 small red onion
  • ½ cup paremsan
  • garlic
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper
  • beef bacon
  • blue cheese
  • mayonnaise
  • 4 burger buns
  • lettuce
  • tomatoes
  1. Grill Eish & Malh’s house parmesan burger (a secret recipe, unfortunately, but we recommend mixing 450g ground beef, 1 finely chopped small red onion, ½ cup shredded parmesan, a large garlic clove, 2 tblsp. Worcestershire sauce, 1 egg and salt and pepper, divided into four patties and then grilled until done).
  2. Grill desired amount of beef bacon.
  3. Melt the blue cheese on each burger patty.
  4. Smooth mayonnaise on a fresh burger bun.
  5. Add lettuce and fresh slices of tomatoes.
  6. Place the burger on top of the trimmings and add beef bacon.
  7. Serve hot with a side of potatoes or greens or both.

 

#5 Chocolate chili ice cream

Rich chocolate ice cream blended with spicy Ma7ali espelette pepper

Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, has an ancient reputation as an aphrodisiac, as do hot red chili peppers. They go well together — I think the combination is strong, surprising and sexy. And the song referenced in the name of this ice-cream could not be more perfect.

  1. Mix Eish + Malh’s house dark chocolate ice cream (also a secret, but we recommend getting some of Mandarine Koueidor’s) with small chunks of ground local espelette peppers.

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#6 Salt ‘n’ pepa ice cream

Vanilla ice cream with freshly crushed black pepper and salt

Popular among hipsters, this flavor uses basic ingredients to redefine ice cream. The softness of the vanilla goes almost unnoticed with the intensity of the seasonings.

  1. Mix Eish & Malh’s vanilla ice cream (and if you can’t get ahold of it, Mandarine Koueidor’s) with vanilla extract, freshly ground black pepper and sea salt.

 

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Yomna Osman