Hummus with Ras Asfour

I believe that everybody is familiar with our traditional plate Hummus (Chick Peas with Tahini). Lebanon entered the Guinness Book of World Records when our Lebanese Chef’s prepared the biggest plate of Hummus ever. However, I don’t think that many of you know what is Ras Asfour, which translated literally means “the head of the bird”. Ironically, it is actually sheep’s meat cut into small sized pieces, nearly as big as a bird’s head, hence the name. Today I made a plate combining hummus with the Ras Asfour meat.

I brought the meat from the butcher in small cuts and I cut it into even smaller pieces. Sheep meat is not lean, so I had to remove some of the fat, but leave enough to keep the meat tender.

Note that you can eat these two separately and each will taste delicious on it’s own.

Ingredients for the Hummus:

  • 2 cups of chick peas
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 cup of Tahini
  • 3 lemon squeezed, salt
  • 2 clove of crushed garlic

Preparation for the Hummus:

  • Soak the chick peas in a large bowl of water and baking soda, for 12 hours at least. The peas will increase volume after soaking.
  • Drain them from the water, wash thoroughly and boil in salted water. It will take about one hour and a half for the chick peas to be cooked. When you see a white foam forming on the top of the water, remove it and keep boiling
  • When the chick peas are soft, drain from the water again and mash them, you can use whatever you have for this purpose (a food processor, blender, etc)
  • Add the crushed garlic, the salt, the Tahini and the lemon juice and mix well. Adjust the taste of salt and lemon as you desire

Now that the Hummus is ready you can prepare the meat of Ras Asfour.

Ingredients for the Ras Asfour meat:

  • 200 grams of tender sheep meat cut into small size
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of grenadine of molasses
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon seven spices


  • In a small saucepan heat the oil and fry the onion
  • When it becomes golden color add the meat and fry until it turns very dark, add a small cup of water and cover, let it cook on very low heat until the meat is tender
  • When it is done add the salt, seven spices and the grenadine of molasses

Now that you have everything ready, place the chick peas in a plate, On he top put the cooked meat. For decoration and taste, add some fried pine seeds on the top of the meat and some olive oil.



  1. I have never even thought of cooking the chickpeas myself. I learn something new everyday, especially the trick with the baking soda.

  2. Nina, that looks lovely! But I have a question for you. I, like all humanity, love hummus – but I’ve always put cumin in it. Is that not part of the original Lebanese recipe? (As for cooking, I always cook chickpeas in my pressure cooker – it takes about 8 minutes – I love my hummus ‘on demand’!)

  3. Thank you my dear. You are right about cooking in pressure cooker but when you soak it with baking soda you should remove the white foam before closing it. And for the cumin I put it in all recipes of hummus except for this one with Tahini because it changes the taste I like. Anyway if you like cumin feel free and put some on the top to try it with and without cumin.. 🙂

  4. I luv hummus. This looks wonderful. 🙂

  5. sounds delicious, do you need to use mutton or can you use lamb? do you just eat it with bread?

  6. Hello Nina, I love your blog; I have been enjoying just looking through all the wonderful posts! I had to look up what Tahini was… simple but I am sure it adds depth to any dish it is used in! I love this recipe, your layered egg plants with white sauce, rice salad, your baked chocolate… each and all sound incredible. I look forward to reading more of your posts and to following each of your new recipes. It will add a whole new dimension to the foods we eat!

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