Lentil With Dough (Hara’a Ousba’ou)

hor osba'a

“Hara’a Ousba’ou” is a funny name for a dish because in Arabic it means “Burning Finger”. Despite its strange name, it is still a delicious dish. While popular in its county of origin Syria, it is still a hidden gem of Lebanese Cuisine, taking side-stage to more known dishes like hummus and mjaddara.

The lentils are cooked with home made dough in this recipe, but you can save time by using fried pitta bread instead, it works equally well.

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 1 cup flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • about 1/3 cup water (more or less depending on the flour used)

Preparation of the dough:

  • Mix the flour with salt , add the water little by little until you have a smooth dough
  • Cover with cling film and let it rest for one hour

Ingredients for the lentils:

  • one cup green lentils
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 large onions, cut into wings
  • 1 bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 5 garlic gloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • Wash the lentils, and place in pot with water, boil until tender, it will take about half an hour
  • Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a pan, fry the onions until brown and put aside
  • Crush the garlic with a teaspoon of salt and mix with the chopped coriander
  • Heat the other tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan and fry the garlic with coriander then put aside
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C
  • Roll the dough on a floured surface to about 1/2 cm thickness, and cut into small square, place them into a slightly greased tray and bake half the quantity in the oven until they turn golden, leave the remaining uncooked

hor osba'a 1

  • When the lentil is cooked add the lemon juice, the pomegranate molasses, half the fried onions and half the fried garlic, leaving the remaining to decorate the plate
  • Adjust the seasoning to your taste, then place the uncooked dough with the lentils and let it cook on a very low fire for about ten minutes
  • Place the lentils onto the serving plate, decorate with the remaining onions, garlic coriander and the cooked dough and serve


Spaghetti With Spicy Shrimp

Spaghetti with spicy shrimp

In my pantry there is always spaghetti because it is  appreciated on our table. Yesterday my son had three of his friends at home and after studying all day, they felt hungry. Having not prepared enough food for everyone and with very short notice, I automatically  decided to prepare spaghetti. Me being who I am, I wasn’t satisfied with making just plain old pasta; luckily I had frozen shrimps in the freezer and I came up this dish with a very large bowl of salad and some appetizers.  There were no leftovers, so I think it turned out alright. Try it yourself 🙂


  • 1 packet spaghetti 500 grams, the thicker the better
  • 1 bag frozen shrimps, peeled and deveined
  • 1 can of peeled and crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste, if you like it more spicy you can always add more
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bunch chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine


  • Boil the spaghetti as per instructed on the box then drain
  • In a saucepan heat the oil and fry the garlic until transluscent
  • Add the shrimp and fry the for few minutes until they change color
  • Put in the tomatoes, salt and chili paste and mix in with the wine; let it boil for about 25 minutes until thick
  • Add the spaghetti to the sauce and mix well while cooking
  • When well cooked, mix in the chopped parsley and serve


Steak Indonesian Way

A few years ago, when I worked as a journalist in a Lebanese magazine, I received an invitation from the Indonesian Ambassador in Lebanon to visit Indonesia. There was an important seminar, and people from 40 countries participated in this big event. I was so excited to visit this country. I traveled  from Beirut airport and after nearly fourteen and a half hours of flight, I finally arrived at Jakarta.  A seminar representative received me and took me to my hotel which was located near the  seminar’s venue. I spent a lovely week there, and met people from all around the world – the trip was a great experience. And above all I discovered the Indonesian cuisine which is very rich in flavors. This is a recipe I took from a lady I met there, but I made some changes to the original one to suit  me and my family.


  • 500 grams sirloin steak
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger 
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 can mushroom, sliced
  •  1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  • Heat the oil in a skillet, cut the steak into thin strips
  • Fry the onion in the oil until light golden, add garlic and leave it for one minute
  • Add the carrots, the the mushroom, let them cook for a further 5 minutes
  • Add the beef strips, stir well, then add the ginger, the beef broth, soy sauce, salt and pepper
  • Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and the meat is cooked
  • Served with cooked rice ( I cook it with some mixed vegetables)


Chicken Stew With Olives

From time to time, I like to try new recipes, especially when I want to make chicken. A friend of mine who lives in a village, invited me once for lunch. And among the food she prepared, she made this chicken stew with olives as a main dish which we enjoyed a lot. I took the recipe and tried it at home. It was so good and so I decided to share the recipe with you today.


  • 1 whole chicken for about 1.5 kilo
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 or 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon saffron
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • about 10 baby onions
  • 1 cup black olives, seed removed and sliced


  • Mix the coriander, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, saffron, turmeric, basil, lemon and marinate the chicken with this mixture for around 10 minutes
  • Heat the oil in a pot and fry the chicken from all sides until it becomes golden
  • Add the onion and the olives, cover the chicken with about 4 cups of water and let it cook on a medium heat, when the water starts boiling, reduce the fire, cover the pot and let it cook until the chicken softens (to save time you can use a pressure cooker)
  • When cooked, place the chicken in a plate with all the vegetables with olives around
  • You can drain the remaining water and use it to cook rice with this stock, the rice will be flavorful


Shrimp With Vegetables

After eating a lot the past few days, with all the gatherings, dinners and family lunches, my son and I decided that we have to eat something light and healthy. I looked through my cooking notebook and found this recipe I used to make as a starter whenever I had to prepare for a big dinner. I decided to prepare it as a main meal instead for our lunch.


  • 500 grams shrimp
  • 2 red capsicum
  • 2 zucchini
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • juice of half lemon


  • Peel the shrimp, remove the head and tail and wash properly
  • Cut the red capsicum into strips
  • Slice the zucchini
  • Peel the carrots and cut into fine strips
  • In a large saucepan heat the oil, fry all the vegetables with the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes
  • In the meantime preheat a non stick casserole, place the shrimp and sautee for three minutes, season with salt and pepper, add the lemon juice, then place the shrimp over the vegetables, and serve


Ablama With Laban (Stuffed Zucchini With Yogurt)

Zucchini is one of the vegetables which can be cooked in many different ways. I posted once zucchini stuffed with meat and rice. Today I prepared it the way my grandmother used to make it, stuffed with meat and cooked with yogurt. It was one of my favorite foods when I was a child. My mother used to make it in tomato sauce, and both ways are DELICIOUS. But, since today I had a lot of fresh yogurt, I decide to prepare it as per my grandmother’s recipe.

By the way “ablama” means in Arabic “ahead of time”, but I have no idea why it is called as such 🙂


  • 1 kilo zucchini, small size
  • 200 minced meat
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 handful pine seeds
  • 1 kilo yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons corn flour
  • 10 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint
  • salt, 7 spices
  • canola oil
  • cooked rice


  • Wash the zucchini, cut the head and with a vegetable corer remove the insides and drain them
  • In a saucepan heat 1 tablespoon of oil and fry the chopped onion and pine seeds until slightly golden then add the meat and fry. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon spices
  • Fill the zucchinis with the cooked meat until you have filled them all
  • Heat 2 tablespoon of oil and fry the stuffed zucchini until slightly colored, put on a kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil

  • Place the zucchini in a pot, cover with water and cook on a medium fire, when the water boils reduce the fire, cover and let it simmer for about 5 minutes, then drain

  • In another pot mix the yogurt with 2 tablespoons corn flour dissolved with 1 cup water
  • Place on fire, stirring constantly with a whisk until the yogurt starts boiling
  • Mix the crushed garlic with 1 teaspoon salt and the dried mint then fry gently in a small frying pan with 1 teaspoon of oil and add it to the boiled yogurt

  • To serve place cooked rice on a plate, add the stuffed zucchini and cover with the cooked yogurt


Makmoura (Rice with Cabbage)

This meal is very special to me. It reminds me of my childhood as my grandmother prepared it often, and I always enjoy eating it with a cabbage salad. Also, once when I was pregnant with my youngest boy (my fourth child:), I had a nap in the afternoon and when I woke up craving something with cumin. It is all about cumin. When I woke up, I cooked this Makmoura and on my plate I have to add a big tablespoon of cumin to satisfy my desire. Until now, I like this meal a lot. And I am so glad to share it with you, it is very simple to prepare.


  • One medium cabbage
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 8 to 10 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  • Remove the leaves of cabbage, wash and thinly slice, remove about half for the salad
  • Heat the olive oil, fry the onion until translucent, add the garlic then the cabbage, cover the pot and let it cook for about 5 minutes
  • Add the rice, cover with 4 cups of water, season with salt and cumin. When it starts boiling lower the fire, cover and let it simmer gently until the rice is well cooked
  • Serve with cabbage salad: put the cabbage in a bowl and mix with 1 clove garlic crushed, 1 teaspoon salt, juice of one lemon and extra virgin olive 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