How to make the best Middle Eastern Aussie BBQ with Mr Jihad Dib MP

The community, also known as Ummah is at the heart of living a good life. From the memories we share to the smiles we exchange, from the loving embraces to the dialogues we enrich our lives with – these are fascinating experiences we are blessed to share.

Community in the Australian landscape is a wonderful and unique institution. It is represented by over 300 wonderful and diverse cultural heritage; we speak over 200 languages and represent over 120 religions.

Walking down the many famous streets across Australia and smelling the aromas percolating through the air, enticing us in to enjoy the scrumptious meals. Whether it’s Italian on Norton Street, Lebanese in Bankstown, Paramatta, Chinatown, Ashfield or Greek souvlaki, we’re lucky to never be short on options.

But that’s what makes life interesting. Cuisine from around the world, unique experiences shared by fellow Human Beings. How beautiful a reality!

As we move into our new normal, we have hope our communal gatherings will be re-established and the shared laughs and storytelling will continue.  If 2020 has taught us anything, it has been the importance of coming together as one community and really making an effort to check up on our neighbours – literally- and of course getting to know someone who may seem to be your complete opposite.

We thought long about what we can do to bring our community together and couldn’t go past the universal magnet of wholesomeness – food!

The good ol’ BBQ is an Australian symbol that testifies to the centrality of food in culture and civilisation. The BBQ is the Australian equivalent of traditional dishes that find their roots in Pakistan, India, China, Afghanistan and many other countries. The reality is, food has the power to unite, and it certainly has the power to build everlasting relationships. And sometimes, these relationships can even be with community celebrities.

Crescent Wealth has teamed up with the Shahrouk sisters to bring an incredible Ramadan cooking series to our members and community. Featuring renowned guests and community influentials, this show will provide new insight into the culinary storm that comes with the month of Ramadan!

Most famous for their appearance on the show Family Food Fight, the Shahrouk sisters, originally from Lebanon, were the first Muslim contestants to win the acclaimed show.

Taking the country by storm, their culinary ingenuity was praised and recognised nationally.

In this episode, we will be learning how to cook a traditional Middle-Eastern (Lebanese) BBQ with them steering none other than Jihad Dib MP through the dish.

Mr Jihad Dib MP is the state member for the seat of Lakemba, (Sydney, NSW), serving the wider community through a number of avenues with the hope of building a more harmonious Australia. A Muslim Australian we are very proud of. 

He works to increase multicultural awareness in the Australian context through his membership of, and service via, the Australian Labor Party.

Jihad Dib was previously the Principal of Punchbowl Boys’ High for 9 years and with his wife Erin, they are raising their three children. As Principal, Jihad Dib opened Punchbowl Boys’ to the community and developed strong relationships with local organisations and government agencies, largely but not exclusively in the Canterbury-Bankstown region – later moving into the busy world of politics by joining the Labour political party.

By bringing our community, families and their values into the heart of the school, he transformed its culture. Enrolments doubled and educational outcomes improved – with the school providing opportunities for its students to reach their full potential.

Watch the full episode here:

The dishes made in this episode included a number of mouth-watering meat and vegetable-based Lebanese foods such as Wara Enib, Chicken Skewers, Lamb Kafta and Lamb Skewers.

Recipes

Pita bread / Arabic Bread or Lebanese bread, as some call it

Pit bread plays a significant role in Lebanon and the Middle East. A daily ritual and no meal is complete without it; it is eaten to scoop everything up with, a perfect accompaniment to almost all Lebanese and Middle Eastern food.

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ cups warm water

Method

  1. In a bowl add all ingredients and knead till you have a soft pliable dough, and wrap in cling wrap covered with a dry cloth, let rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Knead the rested dough for 1 minute and shape the dough into a round pizza by using your hands, flour the bench as needed, and, using a knife or pizza cutter, divide into 24 portions. Shape the cut dough into balls and set aside covered in a dry cloth.
  3. Preheat a skillet or flat grill to medium to high
  4. Use the first ball of dough and roll out to a flat disc, make 3 more and place on the heated skillet. When you see bubbles turn it over, cook it for 1 minute on each side, remove bread and cover with a clean cloth to keep the bread soft, continue with the remaining dough.
  5. The cooked flatbread can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Tip: Spray with water during cooking – the steam will make the bread extra soft 😀

Serves 12

This bread can be eaten next to anything that calls for bread like wraps or to soak up juices from a curry.

CHICKEN SKEWERS (Shish Tawook)

Ingredients

  • 1KG CHICKEN thigh/breast optional
  • 3 tablespoons garlic dip
  • 1 tablespoon of Greek yoghurt
  • 1teaspoon of capsicum paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chilli (Optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of white vinegar
  • 16 skewers

Method

  1. Wash chicken and set aside
  2. Place all ingredients in a bowl to become a nice paste
  3. Pour the paste over chicken and mix well till all chicken covered generously
  4. Pierce 5 pieces on a skewer
  5. Place marinated and skewed chicken in the fridge overnight(the longer the more succulent )
  6. Cook on a preheated charcoal barbecue turning over regularly
  7. Serve with garlic dip

Serves 8 individuals

BABAGHANOUJ (EGGPLANT DIP). The ultimate gluten-free dip

Ingredients

  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 6 cloves peeled and crushed garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Greek yoghurt (some people add tahini) but for this recipe, it won’t be needed
  • 1 red birds eye chilli chopped finely(optional)
  • Salt to season

Method

  1. Place eggplants directly on the heated charcoal
  2. Char the skin, turning over frequently
  3. Remove and place immediately in a bowl of iced water for easier peeling.
  4. Peel and strain eggplant
  5. In a bowl add the eggplant, yoghurt, garlic, oil, chilli and salt and mash lightly
  6. Dress with fresh mint leaves, olive oil and pomegranate seeds

WARA ENIB, (Vegetarian Warak Enab) or also known as Yalangi.

Ingredients:

  • Grapevine leaves
  • Lemon
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Mint or baby mint leaves
  • Mixed spice

Method

Serves 8

LAMB KAFTA

Ingredients

  • 1kg lamb mince, minced meat
  • 1 large brown onion, finely diced
  • 1 birds eye chilli finely chopped
  • 1 cup  continental parsley finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capsicum paste
  • Salt to season, you could use sea salt as well
  • 16 skewers

Method

  1. Prepare and heat a charcoal barbecue or gas barbecue
  2. Place mince, onion, chilli, parsley, capsicum paste, and salt in a bowl. Mix all ingredients till well combined by kneading it, till it feels sticky in your hands.
  3. Shape a golf size ball of the mixture in your hand and thread the skewer through the centre and use your hand to shape it like a sausage.
  4. Place the kaftas on the charcoal barbecue grill plate and cook and turn until evenly cooked all around.

Serve with flatbread next to dip of your preference. Popular dips include:

  • Humus
  • Babaghanougj
  • Minted cucumber and yoghurt
  • Spicy red sauce

Serves 8

LAMB SKEWERS

Ingredients

  • 1 kilo cubed lamb neck
  • Salt to season

Method

  1. Prepare and heat charcoal bbq or gas bbq
  2. Season lamb with salt
  3. Skew cubed lamb onto skewers (5 per skewer)
  4. Cook on high heat charcoal bbq till cooked to your preference. Note: Ensure you only turn once for a tender, perfectly cooked lamb

Serve with flatbread alongside dip and salad of your choice

Serves 8

Rapid Fire Questions with Jihad Dib

We interviewed Jihad and got to hear the man himself share some interesting personal insights!

  1. What is one thing people would find surprising about you?

Apart from my great humour and pride in being able to deliver the worst dad jokes, that I’m pretty handy with tools, love to cook, often experimenting with new foods and no recipe and I really enjoy camping and getting out of a suit.  Also, a bit of a mummy’s boy who loves to embarrass his kids at every opportunity.

  1. What are your hobbies?

Playing any sort of sport is a hobby of mine, golf is one of the things I really love but don’t get to do as often as I would like

  1. What are you passionate about?

Social justice. People being given a fair go.  Standing up for those who need you to be in their corner and doing everything you can to make the world a better place, even if it is for just one person

  1. What are you excited about these days?

I get excited about everything.  I love seeing the passion in people and watching them grow, no matter what field or endeavour it is.  I get excited when I see positive things in our community and changes in people who believe in themselves and their ability to make things better. I’d like to say I get excited about my footy team but they keep losing…

  1. Favourite Food- Why?

Can’t go past any of mum’s food, even a sandwich has that special ingredient that only mums seem to know.  I eat everything (except pork, lol) and have tried some amazing and weird things from all over the world.  Of course, I love Lebanese food but also Asian food and Mexican food.  Recently I have discovered a great bbq salmon recipe that my family is becoming sick of! I also don’t mind a hamburger and meat pie with extra chicken salt on the chips.  My biggest problem though, is that I can’t ever say no to chocolate.

  1. What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

Mowing the lawn and cleaning the rubbish bins after they’ve had ‘bin juice’ in them for days, yuk!!!!!!!!!

  1. What are 3 things people should know about you? 

That I get embarrassed if people make a fuss about me, that I love to live life with zest for everything, that I am bossed around at home by my awesome wife and 3 annoying kids J

  1. What’s your life motto?

Give everything your very best, taking shortcuts only sells you short and if you are going to do anything in life, don’t be half hearted or approach it as a ‘tick-a-box’ excercise; give it all the commitment you can.  Be grateful for everything you have.

  1. What’s the most surprising moment in your career?

AlahmdAllah I have been so blessed in my life and there are so many things I am proud to have done but as for surprising, probably how much I cried when I told the kids at Punchbowl Boys’ High School that I was leaving.  Whilst it was one the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made, I didn’t expect to cry as much as I did while telling them on the assembly!  It was the world’s longest assembly, not because I had much to say but because I kept getting teary and to their credit, the boys behaved perfectly where normally they couldn’t sit still for 5 mins. Looking back, probably not surprising given how much it was a special part of my life and how many of the boys gave me hugs afterwards, including some of the older kids who put me on their shoulders…how could you not cry at that?

  1. Best piece of advice you received?

There is something bigger than you, remain humble, be a servant and remember that each person has their own special uniqueness so don’t judge what you physically see in front of you.

 

We hope you enjoy cooking some of the recipes we shared and most importantly are able to treat some of your loved ones with a Lamb Kafta dish or two! Ramadan has a unique way of bringing together people from all facets of life, reuniting them to break their fast – together – with the multicultural, rich foods they bring. It is this spirit, the spirit of community, which Crescent Wealth deeply admires and seeks to further in the community.

So stay tuned for more exciting recipes and guests, as we commit to the cause of community and bring to you a month unlike any other.

Crescent Wealth Super first and largest sharia compliant ethical super fund was absolutely delighted to have Mr Jihad Dib MP join us for this episode. We hope that others – like Jihad Dib and Craig Foster – can find the opportunity to bond and further mutual understanding in the pluralistic society we live in. Food is one of many ways individuals can come together, with a common purpose and build relationships.

Did we make you hungry with all this talk of food, halal food and multicultural cuisine? Don’t worry! Crescent Wealth Super is giving a $100 Uber Eats voucher as a Ramadan gift.

Treat yourself to an international meal, or a regular cheesy beef burger or Aussie bbq! For more information, here.

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