Widely recognised as the birthplace of modern society, the Fertile Crescent is a particularly amazing slice of the Middle East. It was here in countries that would eventually became Iraq, Syria and Iran that humans started using writing, invented agriculture, and built the traditions around food and its place in modern civilisation.

Carrying forward those customs and flavours is Zohar Flantz. Originally from Israel, Zohar started a café in Byron Bay three years ago, heavily influenced by the food of his childhood. “Growing up in Israel exposed me to abundance of authentic cuisines,” says Zohar. “Moroccan, Yamani, Iraqi, Persian, Lebanese, Egyptian – all packed with unique flavours. I’m influenced by the food from the homes of my mum’s friends, the street food, my father-in-law’s Persian kitchen and the wood-fired bakeries.”

For those unable to visit the Middle East anytime soon, or if you’ve been and are desperate to return, Zohar’s provided a quick and easy recipe, so you can get a taste at home.

Organic Quinoa Tabouli Salad

1 small red onion
3 red tomatoes
2 Lebanese cucumbers
1 bunch coriander
1 bunch flat parsley

½ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
Pinch of sugar

To Serve
1 cup organic quinoa, cooked and cooled.

Finely chop the red onion and finely dice the tomato and cucumber. Cut roots off the coriander and finely chop the leaves and higher stems. Cut the lower stems off the parsley and finely chop the leaves and higher stems.

Combine all ingredients in a glass jar and shake to mix.

To Serve
When quinoa is cold, you can combine all the ingredients, and pour the dressing generously. Serve immediately.

Image: Would you like to make a reservation? A beautiful restaurant room in Iran.


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