Meat Sambousek

Sambousek is a kind of small pie served in our Lebanese Mezze, as well as Baba Gannouj , Hommos, Stuffed Vine Leaves..etc. The ones I prepared today are filled with minced meat. But they can also be filled with cheese, labneh or vegetables. They take only a few steps to make: preparing the dough, cooking the meat and assembling then frying or cooking in the oven. Working with the dough of this Sambousek is fun, so get working 🙂

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 3 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of instant yeast
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of water

Preparation of the dough:

  • Sift the flour with salt, mix it with the oil then add the yeast
  • Add the water, mixing well by hand until you have a soft dough
  • Put in a container, rub it with oil all around and cover with a clean towel, and let it rise for about 2 hours

Ingredients of the filling:

  • 200 grams minced beef
  • 1 large onion thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seven spices
  • 1 tablespoon grenadine molasses
  • handful of pine seeds
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preparation of the filling:

  • In a saucepan heat the oil and fry the onions until transparent
  • Add the pine seeds and fry for about 2 minutes then add the meat and cook
  • Season with salt , seven spices and the molasses and allow to cool

Assembling of the Sambousek:

  • On a floured surface roll the dough to about 3 mm thick, cut in circles of 6 cm
  • Place 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center and close tightly, then twist the edges or press with a fork
  • To cook them, you can do it one of 2 ways. Deep fry them until they’re a nice golden color and drain on a kitchen towel to absorb the excess of oil. OR bake them on an oiled tray in a preheated oven until lightly golden. You can serve with yogurt or salad.

Makes about 40 pieces

ET VOILA.. C’EST TOUT..

Sweet And Sour Fish

Today, my 2 daughters and I went to this lovely “Cafe” in down town Abu Dhabi and shared one of those delicious breakfast they serve, and of course we chose the Lebanese one. It had Labneh, Halloumi cheese, Halawe, Black olives, as well as Man’oushe ( we decided to have it with Kashkawal cheese instead of Za’atar). And we had scrambled eggs as a side order, as well as butter and jam.

So, after this breakfast we decided to have for lunch (for dinner I mean), a light chinese meal. This is why I made the Sweet and Sour Fish.

It will take three steps for cooking: the fish, the vegetables and the sauce:

Ingredients for the fish:

  • 500 grams fish fillet of your choice, cut into bite size
  • 1/2 can beer
  • 1 egg, 1 egg white
  • 4 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • oil for deep frying
Preparation of the fish:
  • Mix the beer with 2 tablespoons  flour and the whole egg and some salt and pepper and marinate the fish for 20 minutes
  • After the 20 minutes drain the fish
  • Mix the egg white with soy sauce and the remaining flour, dip the fish into this mixture and deep fry until it’s a nice golden color and put aside

Ingredients for the vegetables mixture:

  • 1 can pineapple chunk (360 grams)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 green pepper, 1 red capsicum
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

Preparation of the vegetables:

  • Cut the onion and the green and red pepper into quarters
  • Drain the pineapple, and keep the juice for the sauce
  • Heat the oil and fry the onion and the vegetables for about 5 minutes and remove from the pan and keep aside

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 1 cup of fish stock
  • the juice of the pineapple can
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation of the sauce:

  • Using the same pan you cooked the vegetables in, mix all the sauce ingredients together except the flour and keep on a medium-high neat until it boils
  • Dissolve the flour in 1/2 cup of cold water and add to the mixture, stirring constantly until it thickens

Add the fish and the vegetables to the sauce and simmer for about 5 minutes on very low heat. Serve with noodles or rice.

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT.

Croquette of Chick Peas

We all love from time to time to have a delicious snack; one that is vegetarian, dairy free, high in protein, and best of all filled with aromatic spices and flavors. Life is full of surprises, I learned this recipe from a French lady friend of mine. She invited me over for an afternoon gathering with friends, and among other snacks she made this croquette, and told me that it is a Lebanese one. To be honest, I am not sure it is Lebanese but what I am sure about is that it is delicious, And when I came back home with the recipe I tried it at home, and everybody liked it.

Ingredients:

  • 300 grams of chick peas
  • 3 onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tablespoon of flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch of red spicy pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • salt, pepper
  • Bread crumbs
  • frying oil

Preparation:

  • Soak the chick peas in water for 12 hours, after that peel the chick peas, wash and boil until they become tender, then puree them
  • Peel the onion and garlic and cut into small pieces, add the chopped parsley to the onion and garlic and mix to the puree of chick peas
  • Season with salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon, spicy pepper, the baking powder and the flour, mix all the ingredients again and let it rest in the fridge for one hour
  • Take it from the fridge and take a tablespoon of this mixture, shape it into a ball, repeat until you finish all the mixture
  • Heat the oil, roll the balls into the bread crumbs and fry for about 4 to 5 minutes until golden brown
  • Serve with a dip of yogurt with diced cucumber mixed with dried mint

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT.

Fatteh

Chickpeas, Pita bread, Yogurt are the three main ingredients of Fatteh. Fatteh is a traditional Lebanese plate, it can be served either as a main dish or a side dish. My son-in-law likes it very much, then again he is a great fan of my cooking :). One time he had it with my daughter at a nice restaurant in Down Town Beirut, among some other orders. Apparently my daughter said that she preferred my Fatteh, and her husband replied :” well, let’s wait and see”. After a few days I prepared it and I had my daughter and her husband for dinner. After eating my daughter was waiting for her husband to react , and after he finishes his plate he said just one word”Yummy! This is Fatteh”.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of chick peas
  • 3 medium size pita bread
  • 1 kg Yogurt
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • a handful of pine seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint, a pinch of ground cinnamon

Preparation:

  • Drain the water of the chickpeas and wash them
  • In a small pan heat the olive oil and fry the crushed garlic with a pinch of salt, for 1 minute
  • Add the chickpeas to the garlic and the cumin and let it boil with 1/2 cup of water in a low heat
  • In the meantime cut the pita bread in small pieces and fry until they become brown in color
  • Separately, fry the pine seeds with butter until golden brown
  • In a serving bowl place the fried bread, the the chickpeas, and lastly the yogurt
  • On the top put the fried pine seeds, sprinkle the dried mint and the cinnamon

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT.:)

Baba Gannouj (Batenjan Mtabbal) And Potato Wedges

My children always tell me “Mum, do you know why we love your food?” And their answer is always “because you cook with love”. I believe that we have to do everything with passion to succeed; doing something for duty’s sake alone will never make any real achievement. I always remember this while I am cooking, and I feel happy especially when I am making something I know that my children enjoy. This is why I made today two side plates with the salad beside the main dish, because my son loves my Batenjan Mtabbal and he is inviting a friend of his for dinner.

The eggplant with Tahini is a main late from our Lebanese Mezze and it is very appetizing.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggplant
  • 2 clove of garlic crushed
  • 1/2 cup Tahini
  • one lemon squeezed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Some pomegranate seeds for decoration
  • olive oil

Preparation:

  • Grill the eggplants til it looks wrinkled and soft. Let them cool, then peel them and crush them
  • Add the crushed garlic and salt to the eggplant and mix well with the spoon
  • Add the Tahini and the lemon juice, mix and adjust the amounts to taste (if you like more salt and lemon)
  • Place the eggplants in a serving plate and decorate with the pomegranate seed and some olive oil

Potato Wedges are very popular all over the world there’s a million ways to make it. Today I prepared it with some extra spices than what I usually use, and it turned out quite good:

  • For 4 potatoes’ worth, I mix: 2 tablespoon of olive oil with 1 tablespoon of ground onion, 1 teaspoon of ground garlic, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 tablespoon salt, a pinch of black pepper and 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan
  • Marinate the potatoes in this mix for an hour in the fridge
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees then cook the potatoes for about 30 minutes

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT!

Spring Rice Salad

Today my son has a long day at University, which means I will have lunch by myself. Cooking for myself alone is not very tempting. This is why I decided to make a salad as a one dish meal. Like I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I believe salad is a very free plate, something you should have fun with. So, I decided to prepare a salad with rice to be consistent and light meal.

Simple and easy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 tomato, cut in medium sized pieces
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 1 green pepper cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup mix of olive oil and apple vinegar, a dash of hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper for the dressing salad
  • 1 small onion sliced and separated into rings
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint

Preparation:

  • In a small saucepan, place the rice with water, salt, curry and vegetable oil and bring to boil
  • Reduce the heat, stirring from time to time, cover and let it simmer until the rice is cooked
  • Place rice in a plate and let it cool to room temperature
  • Add tomato, carrot, green pepper
  • Season with the dressing and garnish with onion and dried mint

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT:)

Mjaddara (Lebanese Way)

For a long time, Mjaddara has been considered food for poor people because the ingredients are very cheap and easy to get. Lentils, onion, rice and some spices. However, nowadays  due to increased interest in healthy food containing proteins, iron, and vitamins we find Mjaddara being increasingly served at lunch or dinner parties. Did I mention that it is also one of our many Lebanese mezze dishes? Yes, it is. We can have it as a side dish, and even as a main dish. So here is the recipe I learned from my mother 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of lentil of broad white lentils
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Egyptian rice ( small grains)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seven spices
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation:

  • Boil the lentils in 2 litre of salted water, it will take about 30 minutes. Then drain it from water
  • In a pot heat the olive oil and fry the onion until light golden color
  • Wash the rice and add it to the onion with one cup of water, leave it ten minutes on a very low heat, until the rice is half cooked
  • In the meantime, put the cooked lentils in a food processor and puree them
  • Add the puree of lentils to the onion and rice, if you find the mixture is too thick, add a little water
  • Season with salt, seven spices and cumin, stirring always the lentils until the rice is well cooked
  • Pour the Mjaddara on a plate and leave until it is completely cold and set
  • Serve it with salad and pickles.

Sometimes I may boil excess lentils and after they are well cooked I’ll put the remaining in the freezer until I need them again.

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT:)

Green Beans in Oil (Loubiye Bilzeit)

Today while I was writing my post I had the nice surprise to be nominated for the Liebster Award by one of my favorite bloggers Rocksalt. I thank you very very much for appreciating my blog and nominating me.

Today’s dish is a basic traditional Lebanese food, one found in the mezze section of every Lebanese restaurant. This is one of the first recipes I learned to cook as a newly wed, and I believe that its the same for most young Lebanese women as well. When I used to live in Abu Dhabi, back when it was still a newly developed city, I remember that it was difficult sometimes to find fresh beans; I resorted to buying the frozen variety to cook this delicious meal but it just didn’t taste the same. Luckily, fresh green beans are easily found in Lebanon, and now I can make this dish with the freshest beans.

This is a side dish, and it works well with almost anything.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo of fresh green beans
  • 1 onion chopped finely
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 red tomatoes peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon seven spices
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation:

  • Cut the uppermost and bottom-most parts of the bean and wash
  • Heat the oil in a pot and fry the onions and garlic until they have a nice golden color
  • Add the beans, lower the heat and cover the pot, stirring and flipping the beans over from time to time until they wilt. This will take about 15 minutes
  • Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, season with salt and spices and mix the ingredients together
  • Cover with about one cup of water and let it simmer on a very low heat with the cover on
  • While waiting for the beans to become soft, keep an eye on the water level in the pot. If it becomes too low, add a little bit more (you don’t want to make a soup so small amounts at a time)
  • Once the beans are soft, you’re ready to eat!

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT:)

Eggplant Salad (Betanjen Raheb)

The dish I have for you today is a typical Lebanese starter made with eggplant, and it is one of the many plates of Lebanese Mezze; in some Lebanese restaurants, you can find up to 30 dishes of Mezze. The ingredients are easy to find and the the preparation itself is relatively simple. Vegetarians, take note: this is a very nutritious and delicious treat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant of 500 grams approximately
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 red tomato
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 lemon squeezed
  • salt, olive oil

Preparation:

  • Grill the eggplant very well from all sides until soft
  • When it cools, peel it carefully, taking care not to leave any part of the skin of the eggplant
  • Crush the clove of garlic in a large bowl, add salt and then add the eggplant. Mix together with a fork until nearly smooth with a few a chunks
  • Add lemon juice as desired
  • Chop the onion and the tomato finely
  • Finally, place the eggplant in a plate and add the onion then the tomato on top with some olive oil for taste

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT:)

Falafel

Falafel is our traditional “take away sandwich”. It is like a vegetarian hamburger made in the Lebanese way. I remember when I was in complementary school, during our long  lunch break once a week, two of my best friends and I managed to escape from school to go down town and buy a Falafel sandwich and a bottle of Pepsi Cola, and we would come back to school and enjoy our lunch. I was amazed by the way the man could fry them so fast and then roll them quickly with vegetables in the pita to make a delicious sandwich. And above all this, I was totally in love with the smell of the frying pieces of Falafel.

I thought that it was very complicated to make them at home. But when I grew up I figured out the recipe so I can enjoy eating them any time I wanted to right at home.

A few years ago however, I found the perfect recipe for a home made Falafel. I want to share this with you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of chick peas
  • 2 cups of crushed beans(fava beans)
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 tablespoon Falafel spices
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic
  • oil for frying

Preparation:

  • Soak the chick peas and the crushed beans separately in 2 bowls of water for 24 hours
  • Drain the water and place them, separately in a food processor and mix well
  • Mix the crushed garlic with the fresh coriander and the onion
  • Mix all the ingredients together, season with salt, Falafel spices and the baking soda
  • Heat the oil, take a small piece of the Falafel mixture and put it in the special dispenser (called aleb falafel) and deep fry them until brown color
  • You can eat them with all kinds of vegetables you like: tomatoes, parsley, onion, pickles and lettuce, but the most important is the dip for the Falafel, the taratour

The dip(Taratour preparation):

  • Crush 2 cloves of garlic with salt, add 1 cup of tahini and mix with about 2 cups of water, then press 1 lemon and mix it with them
  • Adjust the lemon and salt to your taste.

ET VOILA…C’EST TOUT:)