Friday, May 6, 2011

Vegetarian Meal, Mediterranean-style

There is a small and unassuming restaurant in Cherry Hill that we used to go to fairly often called Norma's Eastern Mediterranean. It is in a strip mall and has a Mediterranean grocery attached. Behind it is its sister restaurant called CousCous Moroccan Cuisine and Hookah Lounge. There's no escaping the flavors of the Mediterranean in this part of Cherry Hill. 

Photo by UrbanQ
We were at Norma's one time when a belly dancer came out and danced among the tables. I vowed to never return on the night she danced. I just can't get into that. I mean, it's great exercise, but when they started sticking money in her outfit (ala pole dancer), I knew I wouldn't be back for that little bit of entertainment. It just wasn't to my taste.

Speaking of taste, there is something on their menu that is very much to my taste and that is their Mediterranean Medley. It is more like a vegetable stew that consists of eggplant, squash, green pepper, onions and tomatoes cooked in a tomato sauce and served with rice pilaf. Oh my....I so totally enjoy that dish! The flavors are melded perfectly and perfectly paired. 

Moroccan Stew that resembles the Mediterranean Medley. -Flickr on Wikimedia
I usually start out with Harrira Soup (Moroccan Bean) which is a tomato based soup with lentils, chickpeas, onions and fresh cilantro. I totally enjoy my meal when I'm there. I'm in vegetable heaven and that's coming from someone who avoided most vegetables throughout childhood into young adulthood. I love it!

Moroccan Lentil Soup similar to the Harrira soup -Flickr on Wikimedia
I have tried and tried to find a recipe that duplicates theirs, but to no avail. Almost all of them seem to be more sides than main courses and aren't stew-like at all. But, I want to make this at home some time. It is just wonderful. Ratatouille seems to have all the right ingredients, but isn't cooked down like this is. 

I've had other dishes here. I'm not a big fan of their Moussaka, which I generally like. Their Laham Mishwe (grilled skewered lamb) is darned good, but I've only tasted it when Tom ordered it. The flavors in the meat are perfect, the meat juicy and tender. On my budget, I stay away from the pricier options.

But, when I'm on a vegetable binge, Norma's is one of the places I'll ask to go because I know I'll be able to get my fix with Norma's Mediterranean Medley. In fact, I think I'm about due for another visit.


  1. The Harrira Soup sounds really good. I love most mediterranean foods actually.

  2. MMM, those vegetable dishes sound great. I could do without the belly dancer, too. UGH! What a way to ruin a person's appetite.

  3. Yum. Now I'm in the mood for a gyro from the Mediterranean restaurant up the street.


  4. Mediterranean food is among my favorites! It's one thing I have missed since moving here a few years ago...there are zero places to eat it any less than an hour away. I'm having withdrawals!

  5. I am trying to find good vegetarian recipies...thanks for these.