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.

Adas bil Hamod (Lentil soup with Swiss chard and lemon)

Hi everyone. This is a soup I posted previously in Arabic, but due to popular request, I have translated as below. And also feel free to  tell me if you have any favorite recipes or allergy related recipes you would be interested for me to post..I would love to hear from you..:)
It is winter and the cold weather has arrived. Winter is the season when Swiss chard (an iron rich leafy vegetable) is abundant in Lebanon, and today I prepared a delicious soup which consists of lentils and lemon which is quite suitable for this cold season.
 Ingredients:
  • 2 cups green lentils
  • 2 liters of water
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 medium sized potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 kg Silik (Swiss chard)
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • salt & pepper

Preparation

  • Wash then boil the lentils in a pot with the water
  • Wash the Swiss chard, and cut off the leaves, then chop them into thin strips. Keep the stems aside for another recipe
  • After 20mins of cooking the lentils add the potatoes
  • When the water starts to boil, lower the fire and leave to simmer
  • After another 20mins add the chopped leaves to the pot and cook for about 7 more mins
  • Peel the garlic and crush with salt and mint
  • Fry in a saucepan with the sunflower oil til it goes golden, then add them to the pot
  • At the end add the lemon juice and put off the fire

ET VOILA.. C’EST TOUT! BON APETIT 🙂

Stuffed Swiss Chard (Silik Mehchi BelZeit)

In previous posts I used the Swiss Chard to make the soup with lentils, and Mutabbal made out of Swiss chard stalk. But today I prepared the traditional stuffed Swiss chard, which is an alternative to stuffed vine leaves. It  is a vegetarian recipe cooked with extra virgin olive oil. I remember when I was young I used to say to myself that the stuffing looks like tabboule with chick peas, but made with rice instead of bulgur.  🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 kilos of Swiss chard
  • 2 cups Egyptian rice
  • 1 cup of chick peas, soaked overnight
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 3 tomatoes finely diced
  • 2 medium onions finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seven spices
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:

  • Remove the Stalk of  the Swiss chard, wash and drain
  • Boil about 3 liters of water in a pot, add some salt
  • Blanch a few leaves of Swiss chard at a time in the boiling water for about a minute, remove and place in cold water directly (boiling of the Swiss chard is delicate, you should be careful)
  • Prepare the stuffing by mixing the washed rice with parsley, chick peas, tomatoes, onions, season with salt, seven spices, add half of lemon juice and one tablespoon of olive oil
  • On a working board, place one leaf of the boiled Swiss chard, place in the center 1 teaspoon of the stuffing and roll it
  • When you finish all the leaves, prepare a pot to cook them
  • Pour 2 tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of the pot, then thinly slice one onion, one tomato and one potato and place them in the bottom of the pot. Place the stuffed Swiss chard in layers over the slices of the potato, onion and tomato
  • When you finish piling them cover with water by about 1/2 inch, add salt, the remaining lemon juice, then place an upside down plate to hold them down during cooking
  • Put the pot on fire and let it boil, reduce then the fire, cover the pot and let it simmer for about 15 minutes or until the rice is tender
  • Allow to cool, then carefully turn the pot upside down on a serving plate.

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT.. BON APPETIT:)

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.

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

Preparation:

  • 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.

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT:) BON APPETIT

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!

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:)