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Lebanese Nights, aka “Layali Lubnan” is an amazingly aromatic dessert that is quite refreshing in summer time. It has a rich complex taste stemming from subtle hints of Mastic (aka Mistika, or Mastika in Greek, or “Arabic Gum” (not to be mistaken with “Gum Arabic”) , orange blossom water and rose water. The bottom layer is made of the actual pudding, topped with a layer of whipped cream and a layer of coarsely ground fresh pistachios and sugar syrup.
Kibbe refers to a variety of “meat balls” from the Middle East that are prepared with ground meat, cracked wheat and spices and that are either fried, baked, stewed, BBQ’d or, ehemm, eaten raw (be careful). There are probably as many different ways of preparing and cooking Kibbe as there are ways to spell it: Kibbe, Kibbeh, Kibbi, Kubbeh, Kebbeh etc…and let’s not forget the vegetarian Kibbe varieties as well which are made from chickpeas or squash. Lebanese villages boast dozens of different Kibbe recipes and our guest of honor here is the “Lebanese Kibbe Mishwiyyeh” aka “Kibbe E’rass” which is stuffed and grilled Kibbe.
Lebanese cuisine is famous for offering a wide array of Kibbe dishes. For those who are not familiar with the term, Kibbe generally refers to ground meat mixed with burghul (cracked weat), spices and herbs and then baked, fried or grilled into an amazingly savory dish. In this recipe, we’re going to feature a vegetarian version of Kibbe patties made with potatoes and chickpeas. Featured in the photo below are Kibbe Patties with Tabbouleh Salad
Lebanese grilled chicken is a garlicky gourmet dish that tends to be our “Sunday special” at home. The recipe is quite easy to make and the secret is in the marinade, and is rather simple.
I’ve been to many “garlic lovers” restaurants including the “Stinking Rose” in San Francisco. I savored many ethnic garlicky dishes at friends’ homes. However, so far I’ve never come across any dish with a richer and more intense garlic flavor than the Lebanese Home-Made Noodles and Potatoes With Garlic, aka, “Macaron bi Toom.” This is a traditional “villager” dish from the mountains of Lebanon that city dwellers tend to shy away from. I tell you though to heck with shyness, bring on the garlic man!!
Baklava, aka Baklawa is a Middle-Eastern dessert whose origins may go as far back as B.C times to the Assyrian civilization. Through the centuries, many neighboring countries adopted the delicacy and created their own versions. Today there are dozens of types of “Baklava” grouped in Lebanese Cuisine under “Arabic Sweets”. In its basic form, Baklava is made of fillo dough, nuts, and sugar syrup and in this post, we’re going to feature a simple recipe of walnut Baklava “fingers.”
The Lemon Lentils Soup is a rich mixture of leafy greens, lentils and other vegetables which make it one of the richest soups in iron, vitamins A, C and fiber in addition to a barrage of other nutrients. Here is how to prepare it, we hope you enjoy it and please let us know how it turns out.
Background: “Samke Harra” translated from Arabic into Hot or Spicy Fish is a popular specialty dish of the port city of Tripoli El-Mina, Lebanon. One specific restaurant I recall from childhood is “Abou Fadi” which carries the name of its old late owner who himself was a fisherman. Abou Fadi made the best Samke Harra sandwiches hands down at least back in the day, because he always used fresh fish! Today his place is called “Malak El Samkeh Harrah” which means the King of Spicy Fish and I heard that it’s run by his children. Fortunately we found this random youtube video about the restaurant for the curious…
Samke Harra is made of baked fish, a spicy tahini sauce and other spices and ingredients and can be eaten as a sandwich, or served in plates. It makes for a nice dinner if you have people over. Mom used to make it on special occasions when we had people over for dinner so it was a treat for us… We’ve tried eating Samkeh Harrah out in different places in Lebanon and outside of the country, and to be honest the best recipe ever was that of the people of Tripoli El-Mina so this is the one we’re going to feature today.
“Marshoosheh” is an easy to make and tasty vegetarian Lebanese dish from the mountains. The Arabic word “Marshoosheh”, pronounced as Mar-Shoo-Sheh translates to “sprinkled” in English, perhaps in reference to the cracked wheat that looks sprinkled over the cabbage Sautee. Here is how you prepare it:
Chicken Shawarma is a popular gourmet sandwich that you can get at Middle Eastern restaurants. Marinated chicken chunks are mounted on a large rotating skewer and then roasted slowly to perfection against a gas burning grill. Due to the unavailability of such industrial roasters at homes, Chicken Shawarma has typically remained a restaurant dish. However we’ve learned a few tricks that can bring you the beautiful flavor of Chicken Shawarma home without the need of such roasters.
We’ve experimented with at least 3 recipes; 2 of them tasted good but were closer to “Shish Tawook” (another chicken dish) than they were to Chicken Shawarma. So what we’re going to feature here is our third recipe which was adopted from a family friend whom was once a Chef at a Lebanese Restaurant in Michigan.
Restaurant in Michigan.
Shawarma is a popular meat sandwich that you can get at Middle Eastern restaurants. It consists of roasted beef, lamb, or a mixture of both with some tahini or garlic sauce, in addition to pickles and greens all wrapped in a pita bread. Shawarma may get confused sometimes with the Greek Gyro and even though both of them taste delicious, there is a major difference in the spices used. In addition Gyro is made of ground meat (beef + lamb or just lamb) where as Shawarma is made of meat chunks. Shawarma is thought to have originated in Turkey and later adopted and spread all over the Middle East, so no wonder the Greeks had their Gyro version too…
The best method to cook Shawarma is the traditional way where the chunks of meat are stuffed on a large skewer and cooked slowly against a vertical gas roaster. Most often chunks of lamb or beef fat are put on top of the skewer so that they drip and flavor the meat as it cooks. Restaurant Shawarma isn’t your healthiest meal ever, but it’s so worth it once in a while! Since most of us don’t have that vertical gas roaster at home, this recipe of Shawarma brings you a flavor that is very close to that you get at restaurants if cooked the right way.
If you’ve ever been to Lebanese restaurants and fell in love with the white garlic dip that they usually offer with barbq’s or shish tawook (chicken kebobs), today is your day! This garlic dip is a favorite of ours and we just can’t have enough of it when it’s around. In Lebanon they call it “Toom” or “Toum” which literally means garlic. Different people do it differently, and a successful garlic dip has a creamy white texture with a beautiful aroma of garlic, and with a taste that is a perfect marriage of garlic and lemon juice.
The ingredients are simple: garlic, lemon juice, vegetarian oil, and salt. But if you ask any pro, the secret of its success is in the preparation! Traditionally, a garlic smasher (or garlic masher) made from wood has been used to make the garlic dip where the garlic and other components are crushed and mashed carefully and slowly. Today people are reaching similar results with the help of food processors if done carefully.
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|Mama's Lebanese Kitchen
Mama's Lebanese Kitchen is a Lebanese food blog featuring home-style healthy recipes from Lebanon. Find recipes for Hummus, Falafel, Shawarma and more.