Sheikh El Mehchi (Stuffed Eggplant)

Hi, I know I have not posted anything in a few days. But believe me, I have been cooking everyday. Now, the summer has started, and my children are coming to Lebanon to spend their vacations, so I am very busy with my children and my grandchildren. Also, I changed the theme of the blog, and I have been trying to choose pictures for the banner 🙂 It hasn’t been so easy.

About the recipe today, Sheikh El Mehchi, it is called so because the eggplants are stuffed without removing their tops, so it looks like the head of Sheikhs.


  • 1 kilo small eggplants
  • 200 grams minced meat
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt+ 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seven spices+1/2 teaspoon seven spices
  • handful of pine seeds
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 red tomato sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups frying oil


  • Peel the eggplants without removing the heads
  • Heat the frying oil, fry the eggplants until brown color. Place on kitchen towel to remove the excess oil
  • Heat the canola oil and fry the chopped onions until transparent, add the pine seeds and fry for another 2 minutes, then add the meat and fry until well cooked. Season with salt and 1/2 teaspoon seven spices
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C
  • Slice open the eggplant in the middle and place a generous tablespoon of the meat stuffing inside it, press it down gently with the back of spoon
  • Place the stuffed eggplants on a baking tray or dish, cover with the tomato slices
  • Dissolve the tomato paste with 2 cups of water, season with remaining salt and spices and pour over the eggplants
  • Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes
  • Serve with cooked rice


Homage To My Father… Kibbe With Spinach

Yesterday in Lebanon everybody was celebrating Father’s Day. My dad left us ten years ago and I miss him a lot. I was very close to him and he was the only person who knew what I wanted without me saying anything. When I was young, he treated me like a little princess and I think he spoiled me a bit. I got nostalgic thinking of him, so I decided to make homage to this big man by cooking his favorite meal. His mother used to cook it for him and he’d encourage me to eat it by saying: “if you want to grow strong, you should have this kibbe. The spinach has a lot of iron and it will make you strong like your Papa”.

Ok, I want to stop being emotional and post the recipe that I took from my grandmother.


  • 1 kilo fresh spinach
  • 1 cup fine bulgur
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 4 large onions, chopped into wings
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • an dash of chili pepper (optional)


  • Wash the spinach leaves and boil in hot water for 2 minutes, drain then wash with cold water and keep in the strainer until needed
  • To make the kibbe dough, wash the bulgur and discard the water then mix the bulgur with flour, salt, cinnamon, paprika and cumin to form a soft dough (add water if needed); mix it it with the grated onion
  • Take a small piece from the dough, shape it into a small ball then flatten it, place it on  slightly floured plate; repeat until all the dough is used
  • Boil the kibbe dough in hot water for about 15 minutes
  • Heat the olive oil and fry the wing chopped onions until golden brown
  • Add the boiled spinach and the kibbe dough to the frying pan, let it cook on a low heat for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally
  • To serve place the kibbe with spinach on a plate and sprinkle some chili pepper if used



Farfalle Pasta with Meat and Vegetables

Tomorrow is the 21st of June, the official first day of summer and the longest day of the year, or the summer solstice. It is also Father’s day in Lebanon, so make sure to wish your father a good one if you haven’t yet! Its already unbearable to sit in this heat without air conditioning. During this hot weather we eat vegetables, a lot of vegetables, to compensate for the water loss from sweat. This is why I’m making a salad everyday before having the main course. Today, I decided to have a meal which includes vegetables. Using what ingredients I could find in my fridge, I put together this lovely meal.


  • 400 grams beef cubes
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 red tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt + 1 teaspoon for the meat
  • 1/2 teaspoon seven spices
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil


  • In a pressure cooker heat the cooking oil, fry the meat cubes,add 1 teaspoon salt and pepper, cover with water and cook for about 10 to 12 minutes after it starts whistling
  • Preheat the oven to 200 C
  • Place the oil in a tray, put the half cooked meat over the oil with one cup of the meat stock
  • Time to prepare the vegetables: peel and dice the eggplant, cut the onion in quarters, peel and dice the carrots, slice the tomatoes and put them all over the meat
  • Dilute the tomato paste with a cup of water, add the salt and the seven spices then pour over the vegetables
  • Cover the tray with aluminium foil and bake for about 25 minutes; remove the aluminium foil and keep baking for about ten more minutes
  • Cook the Farfelle pasta as per instructions on the box
  • To serve, place the pasta on a plate and put over the meat with vegetables

Today’s Salad:

  • Mix: lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, spring onions, green pepper, some leaves of purslane and green thyme.
  • For the dressing: salt with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
  • After mixing, place some cherry tomatoes on the top for decoration


Potato Croquette

When I was about ten years old, I spent one summer day with my 2 cousins and my aunt in her house in the mountain. Me and my cousins were playing very loudly and my aunt got annoyed at us. She offered to cook potato croquette, something we loved as kids, on a condition: we help her make them. Very interested to help cooking something we love, we stopped playing noisily and did as she asked.  We had to boil the potatoes, peel them and mash them with a fork since we didn’t had any masher to use. It took us a lot of time to prepare but when the potato croquettes were ready, we enjoyed eating them thinking that it was the best meal we ever had  🙂


  • 1 kilo potato
  • 1 or 2 eggs slightly beaten
  • 1 cup of bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups frying oil


  • Boil the potato, peel them and mash them
  • Place the egg in a shallow plate, mixed with salt and pepper and the bread crumbs in another shallow plate
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan
  • Shape a medium sized ball from the mashed potato and flatten it, dip it in the egg then in the bread crumbs
  • Fry the breaded potatoes in the hot oil until golden brown, then drain it on a kitchen towel to remove the excess oil


Lentil Soup With Pasta (Rachta bel Adas)

The Arabic version of the name may sound weird at first, but this seemingly simple soup is actually delicious! In the old days, my mother used to make pasta at home because she liked to make dough at home, and since she didn’t have a machine to help, she would make it all by hand. Today I also prepared the pasta at home, but these days I use a pasta machine to roll and cut it. It can also be made with ready made pasta; either way this soup is delicious.


  • 1 cup of lentils
  • about 200 grams pasta
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander
  • 1 tablespoon dried coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt+1 teaspoon for boiling the lentils
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon corn oil+ 1 teaspoon to fry the garlic


  • Boil the lentils in about 1 liter of water, when tender discard the water
  • In a pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil and fry the onions until transparent, add the lentils and cover with water
  • Add the pasta and let it boil until the pasta is cooked (if using fresh pasta it will take only 2 minutes to cook)
The fresh pasta
  • In a small saucepan fry the crushed garlic with dried and fresh coriander and a teaspoon of salt, until light golden
  • Put the garlic over the lentils soup, and let it simmer for two minutes
  • Finally add the cumin to the soup


Shish Tawook (Grilled Chicken)

“Shish” means skewer in Turkish and it has been incorporated in the Lebanese language. “Tawook” means chicken and other types of poultry in Turkish, and it has also been integrated in the Lebanese language. It can be found in take away shops as a sandwich, along with french fries, pickles and garlic dip (chicken’s best friend). Or, in a platter in the restaurants. It can be bought raw and ready to go to the oven in all the supermarkets and butcheries, and in a wide variety of flavors: tomato, mayonnaise, garlic…etc. But usually I like to make my own mixture to soak the chicken.


  • 500 grams chicken fillet
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 small can of mushrooms


  • Cut the chicken into 2 inches square
  • Mix all the remaining ingredients and place the chicken pieces in the marinade with the mushroom and keep in the fridge for about 2 hours
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C
  • Place the chicken pieces with mushroom on a wooden skewers and bake for about 25 minutes turning them once after half the cooking time
  • Enjoy eating with garlic dip and cucumber pickles


Cucumber Pickles

This is the right time to make pickles since in summer we find vegetables at very low prices. In Lebanon we like to have pickles with nearly everything, we consume a lot of them.

The method I use to make pickles is inherited from my grandfather who used to own a shop in the old souks of Beirut, which is now the modern Downtown. In his shop he had all kinds of olives, the best extra virgin olive oil, cheeses and pickles. He made sure to teach his daughters a lot of tricks, for instance, he used to measure the quantity of salt in water to soak the olives with an egg: if the egg floats, it means then the quantity of salt is good enough.

Pickles generally take around two or three days to be ready, and this is how my grandfather taught me how to make them:


  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of red vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • chili pepper, garlic (or you can use whatever for flavor)


  • Boil water with vinegar, salt and sugar
  • Place the cucumbers in tightly sealed jars, and cover them with the boiled water, add the garlic, chili pepper (or whatever you like)
  • When the water becomes warm, close the jars very tightly.
  • Wait for two days before eating, and enjoy!
Day 1:
I used double the stated ingredients, it was enough for about 700 grams of cucumber and I had some extra that I used for another jar, where I mixed cucumbers with carrots.
Day 2 – ready to be eaten


Potato Gratin And Chicken Escalope With Caramelized Onions

It is not a secret if I say that many of our Lebanese dishes originated from France. After more then seventy years of French Occupation, it is very expected that we have learnt much of their cuisine. Personally, I love gratin dishes. I previously posted Nouilles and Moussaka, both of which are gratin dishes. Today I made potato gratin, the way I like it. Its inspired by Potato Dauphinois but instead of garlic, I used onion and grated cheese. I made it as a side dish with chicken escalope topped with caramelized onions, which adds a nice flavor to the chicken. I hope you like this recipe as much as I enjoyed preparing and eating it 🙂

Ingredients for potato gratin:

  • 1kilo potato
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • salt, seven spices
  • dash of freshly ground nutmeg
  • about 1 cup and a half of grated cheese (I used gruyere and mozzarella)

Preparation of the potato gratin:

  • Wash the potatoes and place in a big pot with about tw0 liters of water and a teaspoon of salt to boil for 10 minutes after the water starts boiling (we want the potato to be half cooked only)
  • Remove the potatoes from the water, peel it, slice it and keep aside
  • In another pot prepare the white sauce: melt the butter then add the flour and mix it well; next add the milk gradually whisking constantly until the mixture starts boiling and thickening, then add the nutmeg and one teaspoon salt
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C
  • In a tray, place one layer of the potato and sprinkle with a dash of salt and spices. Top it off with some sliced onions and a third of the white sauce; repeat this procedure to make another layer
  • For the third layer, repeat the last step with the exception of the onion; top it off with the grated cheese
  • Bake in the oven about 25-30 minutes until the top turns nice golden color

Ingredients for the caramelized onions:

  • 2 medium sized onions, sliced
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon corn oil

Preparation of the onions:

  • In a saucepan, heat the oil and fry the onions until golden
  • Add the sugar and keep frying and stirring until all the onions are coated with sugar
  • Add the vinegar and keep the onions on fire until they turn brown (don’t let them burn!)
  • Put the onion over the fried escalope for flavor


Mixed Vegetables with Boiled Chicken

Today is a very special day for me. My son who is living in the United States came yesterday evening for a 10 day vacation in Lebanon. He came with his friend who loves chicken and vegetables, and since they decided at the last minute – as usual – to eat at home instead of going to a restaurant I was pressed to make something  quick, healthy and yummy at the same time for them. Luckily I had plenty of vegetables in my fridge, and boiled chicken in the freezer, so I whipped up this dish and it turned out to be a delicious meal and they enjoyed it. I hope you will too!


  • 500 grams boiled chicken, skin and bones removed
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 1 onion, cut into wings
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup of green beans
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 3 zucchini, sliced
  • 2 red tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seven spices
  • 1 tablespoon and a half oregano
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • a handful of halved almonds


  • Heat the oil in a pot, fry the onion and garlic for about 3 minutes, add the sliced carrots, cook for three minutes more until nearly tender
  • Add the green beans, cover the pot and let it cook for about 5 minute on low fire
  • Put the tomatoes and the peas, add the salt, pepper and oregano, cover the pot again and let it simmer for about 5 minutes
  • Cover it with 1 cup of water, add the zucchini and let it cook on a very low flame, until the vegetables are soft and the water evaporates
  • In another pot, heat 1 tablespoon of butter and gently heat the boiled chicken until the pieces of chicken start coloring
  • In a saucepan heat the remaining tablespoon of butter and fry the almonds until nice golden color
  • For serving, place the vegetables in a plate, then put the chicken pieces, on the top place the fried almonds, and enjoy eating


Grilled Kafta and Potato Salad

Today, the weather is very nice, sunny with a little breeze, just the spring time before the venue of the summer. This is why I decided to make something quick and yummy for lunch today, to have time to enjoy going out on this lovely day. I thought grilled kafta with boiled potato salad and cherry tomato salad would be a perfect combination. In previous posts I cooked the kafta in the oven with potatoes and tomato sauce, and also with tahini. Today is a new way of making the kafta.


  • 500 grams kafta ( 500 grams minced beef mixed with a small onion finely chopped and 1 cup of chopped parsley and season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon seven spices)
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon corn oil
  • 1 kilo boiled potatoes
  • 4 spring onion, sliced
  • 1  red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • a few cherry tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup virgin olive oil


  • Preheat the oven to 180 C
  • With a wet hand take a small ball of kafta meat and put it on a wooden skewer, when all the meat is finished place the skewers in a tray, put on the sides the slices of tomato, and teaspoon of corn oil in the tray
  • Bake for about 25 minutes, turning the skewers half way
  • To make the salad, cut the boiled potatoes in cubes, add the chopped parsley, sliced spring onions and the diced red pepper
  • Season with salt, lemon juice and the olive oil and mix well