Tag Archives: Lebanese Cuisine

Cooked Romano Beans, with Garlic and Cilantro

9 Feb

I love this bean dish, it’s warm, soft plus I like the combination of cilantro and garlic. It is also a popular dish in the Lebanese cuisine. There are different kind of beans, for this dish we use the Romano Beans, also known as Borlotti Beans or Cranberry Beans; it’s streaked with red. This dish is eaten with pita bread. The recipe calls for:

  • 1 cup of Romano Beans, soaked in water overnight
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed with a garlic presser
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • half bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • water
  • salt and pepper

Get rid of the soaking water; put the beans in a large pan to boil, with enough water to cover the beans; When the beans are almost done, over a medium-heat, in another sauce-pan, drizzle the oil, add the garlic, stirring for a minute then add the cilantro and let them cook a bit, lowering the heat. Then add the tomato paste, and let them cook. Taste the beans, they should be soft, well cooked; reduce a cup of the water if it’s a lot then add the garlic-cilantro sauce, stir and let simmer like 15 minutes, season with salt and pepper. Serve the dish with spring onions, green bell pepper, radish, and pita bread. Enjoy.

Tabbouleh

7 Feb

Tabbouleh is a very popular dish in the middle east. It is considered one of the most healthy salads. It’s a part of the popular Lebanese Meze. And the word Tabbouleh is derived from the Arabic, meaning seasoning.  It’s popular in Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus, and with some variations in the Armenian and Turkish cuisine.

It’s a very easy dish to prepare. The main ingredients are parsley and burghul. So the recipe goes with the mix of a big bunch of very fine chopped parsley, a handful of fine burghul wheat, soaked in water for 15 min, chopped onions, I added some green onions, chopped tomatoes in small cubes,  a juice of a lemon or lime, good quality olive oil and salt and pepper. It is usually served with Romaine Lettuce; some persons would like to eat it with pita bread. Try this delicious dish and tell me what you think. Enjoy.

Eid el Berbara or Saint Barbara’s Day

6 Dec

Kids wearing costumes for a competition party at Eid el Berbara

Eid el Berbara, celebrated on December 4th, is a very popular holiday here in Lebanon, specially among children because they have the occasion to disguise the way they like, to wear any kind of costumes, scary masks. It is the eastern Halloween.

This holiday refers to Saint Barbara who disguised herself in different characters in order to escape the Romans who were persecuting her. She used to hide in wheat fields. That’s why we eat this wheat  dessert at Sainte Barbara’s Day.

Boiled wheat topped with cashews, almonds, walnuts, raisins, sultanas and sweetened with either sugar or honey.

The children wear their costumes or masks and tour the neighborhood, visit the houses for trick or treats… They receive either sweets, candy or money…. and when present at your doorstep, they start singing a special song for Saint Berbara.

 

As for the traditional food, several sweets are prepared for this occasions. And yummii, how delicious they are!!!  There are, boiled whole wheat, flavored with anis, served with almonds, blanched or unblanched, pistachios, raisins, walnuts, pine nuts, and sweetened with either sugar or honey and with a drizzle of orange blosson water. Also a sweet called Qatayef, a sweet dough like a crêpe filled with either ashta (cream), which we drizzle over some sugar syrup (Qater) and rose petals cooked with sugar syrup, or a mixture of crushed walnuts with sugar and orange blossom water.  And a fried dough soaked in sugar syrup called Maacroun.

Qatayef with mixture of walnuts, sugar & orange blossom water

Zalebieh Or Lebanese Doughnuts

8 Nov

To celebrate the ending of the olive harvest, the housewives prepare a sweet  dough, Zalebieh, that is fried in the new olive oil. This is the tradition at my village. It is the Lebanese way of preparing doughnuts.

Even though, there is still few days to finish the olive pressing, my mom wanted to prepare the sweets during the past weekend since we were there.

I love the Zalebieh alot, I love its texture, its flavor. We use different kinds of spices. Nutmeg, anise, mahlab. The dough is kneaded few times and is left wrapped with warm clothes for few hours to rise.

This time, we fried the doughs in olive oil, the new pressed one, two weeks aged. I felt something spicy when I took the first bite, an unusual taste, not related to the spices we used which weren’t that spicy. This sharp strong taste goes to the taste of olive oil. I remembered that feeling when I first tasted the olive oil, plain, I felt something sharp, hot at the back of my mouth. It was a tasty great flavor.

Soft & chewy from the inside and crunchy from the outside

I would like to share with you this “delicious” picture since the main topic is “new olive oil”. This bread is baked on the saj, it is used for the man’oushe, a very delicious breakfast dough topped with zaatar mixture. So I dipped this fresh warm plain bread in the olive oil, and you won’t believe how delicious it is. Extremely delicious.

  

Before I end this post, I would like to say that I added in the previous post, Olive Harvest,  two pictures that I couldn’t shoot last weekend because it rained and it was impossible to go olive harvesting. So I went the past weekend to the field, and I helped the guys a little and took these two pictures.

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Sfouf

23 Aug

This soft tender yellow cake is called Sfouf, it is a Lebanese traditional sweet. It is a simple easy cake to prepare. The recipe calls for semolina and turmeric, an asian spice that gives that beautiful yellow color and a unique flavor.

We add some ground anise to the batter. It is an aromatic plant, its flavor resembles liquorice, and its seeds are used either whole or ground in many dishes and desserts and in liquor like the middle eastern Arak.

The sfouf is one of the cakes that are favoured during Easter fasting because it doesn’t contain any eggs or any dairy products. Here I chose to use both milk and oil.The texture is so nice and I could eat more than a piece, of course, at once.

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Aish Al Saraya

21 Jun

The past weekend was full with baking. I like to bake and cook when i’m at the village, away from the chaos and hotness of the city, feeling the freshness and the calmness of the nature.  I love nature. I love being surrounded by trees. First, on friday evening, I did a cherry clafoutis, which i’ll be posting tomorrow, and on saturday morning I did one of our oriental Lebanese traditional sweets, Aish Al Saraya, which i like a lot since it’s light, fresh suitable for hot days. And on Sunday night, of course before the World Cup game, I managed to bake two cakes for a dinner gathering my husband has organized for his collegues. He asked me if I can bake something nice for him, and with pleasure I agreed. I’ll be posting few pictures about these two recipes in the coming days.

Last week I helped my mom preparing this dessert, Aish Al Saraya, stayed beside her watching every step, which ingredients she was using. And this past weekend i did it all by myself with no guidance, except for my husband’s help, after all, it is my first time preparing this dessert.  

 

“Aish” in Egyptian means bread, and “Saraya” means something close to palace, castle. This dessert is composed of white soft bread, milk and sugar. We usually use white soft toast or sometimes the crumbs of soft buns. The soft inner portion of the buns is perfect for this dessert because it can absorb very nicely the hot caramelized sugar. We also use powdered-milk because it thickens very well. I did not try it with full-fat fresh milk this time, to see if it’ll have a different result, but maybe next time.

I recommend you to try this dessert because it is so delicious, and light. The texture is fluffy, rich and creamy. And tell me what you think about it.

Eating this dessert after two days resting in the fridge is much more savoury, of course, if there were any left!!! the bread and the cream will be more blended, the cream will make the bread well soaked, softer, juicier, flavorfully… just yummiiiiiiii……….

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