Cooking with Bassel Ibrahim

Cooking with Bassel Ibrahim

Bassel Ibrahim is the Executive Chef of Seven Sands, a restaurant owned by Dubai World Trade Centre, located at The Beach in JBR and at Etihad Museum. Seven Sands specialises in a modern take on Emirati cuisine. Chef Ibrahim is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the outlet including menu development, sourcing unique local products, inventory and productivity control, cost management, HACCP food safety systems and ensuring quality is delivered in every dish that is thoughtfully prepared in the kitchen.

Chef Ibrahim brings over 19 years of award-winning experience to Seven Sands, having previously worked at several prominent five-star hotels across the region. His prior culinary experience includes Executive Chef at Special Group Restaurants in Abu Dhabi, Oriental Chef de Cuisine at Towers Rotana Hotel in Dubai, Oriental Chef & Main Kitchen in Charge at Al Diar Capital Hotel in Abu Dhabi, Arabic Chef at Sands Hotel in Abu Dhabi, Chef at Toshka Restaurant in Damascus, Syria, among others.

Chef Ibrahim began his career with very humble beginnings as a receptionist at the Palmira Al Sham Hotel in 1998. While working there, he was inspired by watching the team in the kitchen, and that is when his culinary journey began, and where his kitchen training commenced. Today, a renowned expert in Arabic and international cuisine, Chef Ibrahim has participated in and won several competitions. Awards include the silver and bronze medals from the Emirates Culinary Guild both in 2007 and 2008, the Merit Award from the Emirates Salon Culinaire in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

As part of his portfolio, Chef Ibrahim has appeared on popular television networks including Sama Dubai TV and Decision Maker Channel, and he has been part of the Arabic food promotion in the Hilton Colombo-Sri Lanka in 2007.

Chef Ibrahim graduated with a Higher Diploma in Hotel Management from the Intermediate Hospitality Institute in Damascus, Syria.

Lamb Ouzi
Ingredients
5kg Whole baby lamb
20g Cinnamon stick
1 Green chilli (whole)    
2kg Basmati rice
1g Saffron    
2 Bay leaves
Pinch Salt    

Masala mix
200ml Corn oil
40 Red onions (sliced)
5kg Tomatoes
50g Coriander
4 Bay leaves
4 Cinnamon sticks
5 Cloves
2 Green chillies (chopped)
20g Ginger (chopped)
2 Garlic cloves (chopped)
50g Tomato paste
75g Ghee
100ml Bezar 

Hashwa mix
20ml Corn oil
100g Channa dhal
50g Cashew nuts
50g Brown onion (sliced)
20g Bezar
10g Raisins

Yoghurt sauce
2 litres Natural yoghurt
10g White onion (chopped)
100g Salt
30g Fresh coriander

For garnish (optional)
5 Red onions (sliced)
20ml Corn oil
Handful Fresh coriander

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius / 355 Fahrenheit
2. Place the lamb into a large pan of cold water (if needed, cut the lamb in half and use two pans) with the saffron, chili, bay leaves and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.
3. While the lamb is simmering, prepare the Masala, Hashwa mix and Yoghurt sauce (see below)
4. After 30 minutes, drain the water from the pan and coat the lamb with the Masala mix. Set the remainder of the Masala mix aside for later.
5. Cover the meat in foil and put the meat in the oven for 45 minutes or until the meat soft and tender
6. Cook the basmati rice (as per the pack instructions) with a pinch of salt, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves
7. Place a layer of rice in a dish, followed by a layer of the remaining Masala mix. Repeat until all the rice and Masala mix is used
8. Transfer the rice and Masala to a large serving platter, and place the Masala-coated lamb on top then garnish with fresh coriander, Hashwa mix and fried onion

To make the Masala mix:
1. Heat the corn oil in a frying pan over a medium heat then add onion and sauté until golden in colour
2. Add coriander, bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, green chilies, garlic, ginger and Bezar mix and fry for another minute before adding the tomatoes, tomato paste and ghee
3. Bring the mixture to boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.

To make the Hashwa mix:
1. Boil the Channa dhal as per pack instructions and then strain the water
2. Heat the corn oil in a frying pan over a medium heat then the onion and sauté until golden in colour
3. Take the pan off the heat and add the Channa dhal, cashew nuts, Bezar and raisins. Mix together.

To make the Yoghurt sauce:
1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl
2. Serve as a condiment for the lamb

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