Shish Barak

This is a dough stuffed with meat and cooked with Yogurt. The Shish Barak is the Lebanese version of Italian  Tortellini. My grandson loves to wear his Tarboush which is our traditional hat for men, this is why my daughter tells her son the Shish Barak is small Tarboush swimming in yogurt 🙂

To make this Shish Barak, you need to prepare first the dough, then the filling which is made from onion and meat,and last the cooking of the yogurt.

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of water ( more or less depending on the kind of flour)

Preparation of the dough:

  • Sift the flour with the salt, add the vegetable oil and mix well by hand
  • Add the water little by little and mix well by hand until you have a soft dough. It will not rise because it doesn’t have any yeast

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 200 grams minced meat
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon even spices
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preparation of the filling:

  • Chop the onions finely
  • In a saucepan heat the oil and fry the onions until light golden color
  • Add the meat to the onions and fry it until well cooked
  • Season with salt and spices

Preparation of the Shish Barak:

  • Roll the dough on a floured surface and cut into small circles about 4 cm diameter
  • Put 1/2 teaspoon of the filling in the dough, close it tight, then seal the edges together tightly
  • Preheat the oven to oven to 180C
  • Brush a tray with oil and place the stuffed dough in the tray and bake for about 20 minutes, until it becomes light golden color

Ingredients for cooking yogurt:

  • 1 kilo of Yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons of corn flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bunch of fresh coriander
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried coriander
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Preparation of the Yogurt:

  • Dissolve the corn flour with one cup of water and add it to the Yogurt
  • Place the yogurt in a pot on fire stirring constantly
  • Crush the garlic with salt, mix it with the 2 coriander, then fry with oil in a small saucepan
  • When the yogurt starts to thickens add the cooked dough ( you will need to use half of them, the remaining can be eaten like Sambousek or frozen for later)
  • Let the yogurt boil for about five minutes, at the end you add the fried garlic with coriander

Serve with cooked rice.

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT.

Okra and Beef Stew ( Bamye with Meat and Rice)

The Okra stew is a very popular dish in the middle east, especially in Lebanon. When my eldest daughter was young she used to tell me that okra has a “Moustache”, and she wouldn’t eat it. And I remember when she grew up and introduced me to her friend, who later became my son-in-law, I had cooked Okra stew for lunch. I told him that if he wants me to accept him in the family he should eat and like the Okra. This is what he did 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams of fresh okra (or frozen)
  • 250 grams of beef cubes
  • 200 grams of baby onions
  • 2 red tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh coriander
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seven spices
  • 1 teaspoon dried coriander
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons sunflower oil

Preparation:

  • If you are using fresh okra, you have to remove the top by a sharp knife, wash it, drain it. Fry in deep oil, and let it drain on a kitchen towel from the excess oil. But if you are using frozen okra you skip this step.
  • In a pressure cooker, heat 2 tablespoons of Mazola oil and fry the meat until brown, cover with water and cook for about 15 minutes
  • In a pot, heat one tablespoon of oil, peel the onion and fry until golden brown
  • Cut the tomatoes into small dices and add to the onion, cook for about 3 minutes
  • Add the okra to the mixture of onion and tomatoes. When the meat is tender put it over the okra with the meat stock, add 1 teaspoon salt, seven spice, the tomato paste, let it boil, then reduce the fire and let it simmer gently
  • Crush the garlic with 1 teaspoon salt, chop the fresh coriander and add it to the garlic with the dried coriander, fry this mixture in a small saucepan with 1 tablespoon of oil, until the garlic becomes light golden color
  • When the okra is nearly done, add the oil coriander mixture to it and leave it for about 5 more minutes, and add the lemon juice
  • Serve it with boiled rice

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT.

Peas With Carrot And Meat (Bazella with meat and Rice)

It is not always easy to please children with a single main course, but when it comes to peas with carrot and meat with rice on the side, they all like it. We call them green footballs! What do you call them?

Ingredients:

  • 700 grams of frozen peas
  • 200 grams minced meat
  • 1 medium onions finely chopped
  • 2 carrots cut in small dices
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seven spices
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste

Preparation:

  • In a pot heat the oil and fry the onion until light golden and add the meat to cook evenly, stirring occasionally, season with salt and seven spices
  • Add the diced carrots and cook for another 5 minutes
  • Add the peas and cook in the pot with cover on and low heat for 5 minutes
  • Dissolve the tomato paste with a cup of water and pour it over the peas, and add enough water to cover them
  • When it starts boiling cover the pot, lower the heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes or until the peas are soft
  • In the meantime mix the crushed garlic with a pinch of salt and the fresh coriander, fry in a small frying pan with one teaspoon of oil until the garlic turns golden color
  • Add the garlic-coriander mixture to the peas in the pot
  • Serve it with cooked rice

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT.

Moussaka and Versatile Blog Award

The first time I taste this Greek plate was in a nice restaurant in Cyprus, where I spend the summer 25 years ago. I loved it, and the moment I came back home when I still have the taste in my mouth I tried to make it. Since me and my children love the “gratin food” with cheese melting with white sauce, we all loved it. Today I felt nostalgic about Greece and her lovely food, which is, with many dishes, is similar to our Lebanese Cuisine. So, I prepare the ingredients, potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, minced meat, went to the kitchen and prepare it. Maybe the recipe is not the traditional Greek way, but I assure you it is delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant or 2 medium size, about 500 grams
  • 5 potatoes, about 500 grams
  • 200 grams minced beef
  • 5 tomatoes
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 clove of garlic crushed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seven spices
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Ingredients for the white sauce:

  • 100 grams butter
  • 5 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 5 cups mils
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup of grated Gruyere cheese (or any other kind you like)

Preparation:

  • Heat the oven to 180C
  • Peel and slice the eggplant and the potatoes
  • Put the olive oil in a baking tray, place the eggplant an the potatoes in the tray and place the tray in the oven for 40 minutes, turning the vegetables in the midway of cooking. I use to fry them but I found that this way it is less oily
  • In the meantime prepare the meat sauce, heat the vegetable oil in a small pot, fry the onion until nice golden color, add the meat to the onion and cook gently, add the crushed garlic, season with salt and seven spices
  • Peel and dice 1 tomato and add it to the mixture of onion and meat, let it cook gently on low fire, then add to tomato paste with 1/2 cup of water, cover and let it simmer on a very low fire
  • Prepare now the white sauce: in another small pot heat the butter, add the flour and mix well together, add slowly the milk stirring constantly with a whisk until it thickens, season with 1 teaspoon of salt and the nutmeg
  • In an tray place one layer of eggplant, then potatoes
  • Slice the remaining tomatoes and place one layer of tomatoes over the potatoes
  • Place now half of the meat mixture, then half of the white sauce
  • Repeat the process with one layer of eggplant, one layer of potatoes, tomatoes, the meat ssauce and the white sauce, and at the end put the grated cheese
  • Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, until the cheese turn nice golden.

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT 🙂

Also, I had another pleasant surprise few days ago being nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by dutchgoesitalian; it was especially nice for me because I admire her blog a lot! Please check it out.

Vegetable Stew

Most children don’t like vegetables, especially zucchini and eggplant. They prefer to eat chicken nuggets, hamburger or anything else that can be found at a fast food restaurant. Even my siblings and I didn’t like those kinds of vegetables when we were young . My mother used to cook vegetables in this kind of stew with some meat to make us eat them (or else we’d be in trouble). It’s funny how we become our mothers… I too used this same recipe on my children. May it be as effective on your children as well:)

By the way, for those of you who can’t find the Lebanese Seven Spices ready mixed, here is a very useful guide to making it yourself.

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams lean beef cut into cubes
  • 2 potatoes cut into cubes
  • 1 large carrot cut into slices
  • 2 zucchini cut into slices
  • 1 large eggplant cut into cubes
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 red tomatoes chopped
  • 3 clove of garlic crushed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • salt, seven spices, 1 tablespoon of dried coriander
  • cooking oil

Preparation:

  • In a pressure cooker, fry the meat with a little oil
  • When the meat is cooked, cover with water add one teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon seven spices cook with the pressure cooker closed for 20 minutes
  • In the meantime, heat some oil in a pot and fry the the onion for 2 minutes then add the garlic and stir together for about a minute
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, cover the pot, lower the heat and leave it for 3 minutes
  • Remove the cooked meat from the pressure cooker and keep the water of the meat
  • Place the meat over the tomatoes, onion and garlic mixture
  • Add the carrot first for 4 minutes then the potatoes
  • Cover with the water used to cook the meat and add the tomato paste
  • Now add the zucchini then the eggplant after a couple of minutes
  • Season with salt, seven spices and the dried coriander
  • Lower the heat, cover the pot and let it cook slowly for about 20 minutes or until the carrot is tender
  • Serve it with cooked rice and green salad on the side

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT 🙂

Eggplant Bolognese Bake

This recipe is a variation of an Italian classic. If you’re on the SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) and have been craving pasta then this recipe will definitely hit all the right spots.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 100gs minced beef
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 50 gs of emmenthal and parmesan ( or your choice of cheese)
  • 1 tbsp dried provence herbs
  • salt and pepper

Preparation:

  • Peel the tomatoes and place in a blender with a splash of water, blend until you have a nice frothy juice
  • Fry the onion in 1 tbsp of oil until softened
  •  add the garlic clove and the minced beef
  • Keep on medium high heat until cooked through
  • Add the blended tomatoes and stir
  • Put now salt, pepper and provence herbs
  • Bring to boil then lower the heat and simmer gently for about 20mins
  • Meanwhile peel and cut the eggplants into 5mm thick long slices
  • Brush the eggplants with a little olive oil and place on a hot griddle pan, cook for 5-7 mins until browned and cooked through
  • You are ready now to assemble the dish
  • Start by lining a small baking dish with the cooked eggplant, season then spoon over some of the bolognese sauce
  • Add a little grated parmesan
  • Place another layer of eggplants and repeat the process until you finish the eggplants and sauce
  • Top with the emmenthal cheese and remaining parmesan
  • Bake in the oven for about 20 mins, until the top is golden brown and bubbling

ET VOILA.. C’EST TOUT!

White Beans with Meat and Rice (Fasoulya)

This stew is a traditional Lebanese dish. When my youngest brother went to a boarding school in Lebanon for a few years, they used to serve it to the students with white beans, meat and rice every Wednesday, and as he got homesick sometimes, this dish made him remember his home and made him feel good.

He’s a lot bigger than he used to be then, but even now when he knows I have it for lunch, he gladly invites himself over to eat. But I have to make bigger portions. A lot bigger.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of dried white beans
  • 300 gs of beef meat cut into large cubes
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 tablespoon of ground dried coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • Cooking oil

Preparation:

  • Soak the white beans with the bicarbonate of soda and cover with water, overnight
  • The next day the beans double in volume – drain them form the water and wash them
  • In a casserole put 2 tablespoons of cooking oil and fry the meat then cover it with water, cook for about one hour until the meat is tender (to save time you can use the pressure cooker)
  • In another casserole boil the beans until it is almost tender, then drain again the water
  • Put the beans over the meat, add the tomato paste, salt and pepper, cover with water and let it boil on low heat in the covered casserole
  • Crush the garlic with salt, add the fresh and dried coriander and mix all the ingredients well
  • In a small saucepan, heat some oil and fry the mixture of garlic and coriander then add it to the casserole of beans with meat
  • Finally, you can put the lemon juice
  • Serve this delicious food with cooked rice.

ET VOILA ..C’EST TOUT:)