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.

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.:)

Mloukhiye

Today I am in Abu Dhabi at my daughter’s house. She asked me to make Mloukhiye, because she likes the way I make it. Even though I taught her how, she said that mine is different and tastes nicer. She flattered me and I couldn’t refuse her demand:).

I believe there are many ways to cook Mouloukiye in lebanon, and also in other Arab Countries, but my recipe is the traditional family one.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo of fresh Mloukhiye (or the frozen one if you don’t find the fresh)finely chopped
  • 250 grams of cube meat
  • 1 bunch of fresh coriander
  • 7 clove of garlic
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • salt, seven spices
  • 1 teaspoon dried coriander
  • vegetable oil

Preparation:

  • Fry the meat  in  oil in the pressure cooker until it turns dark brown from all sides
  • Add a teaspoon of salt and another teaspoon of seven spices, cover with water and cook until it is tender, it will take about 15 minutes in the pressure cooker
  • In a pot heat some oil and fry the onion until golden
  • Add the Mloukhiye to the onion and mix for about two minutes
  • Put the cooked meat over the onion and Mloukhyie and put water just to cover, reduce the fire,cover the pot and let it simmer
  • In the meantime wash the fresh coriander and chop into very small pieces, mix it with the crushed garlic and a teaspoon of salt and the dried coriander
  •  Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a small saucepan and fry the mixture of garlic and coriander until golden brown
  • Add the coriander to the Moloukhiye pot and cook for more 5 minutes
  • Add the lemon juice and put the fire off

Now that the Mloukhyie is ready we need to serve it.

For serving we need:

  • Toasted pita bread
  • 2 small onion finely chopped
  • Lemon juice or red vinegar (as you desire)
  • Boiled chicken
  • Cooked rice

Serving method:

  • In a plate place the toasted pita bread and break into small pieces
  • Over the bread put the rice, then the Mloukhiye
  • On the top place some pieces of boiled chicken
  • At the end put on tablespoon of the chopped onion with lemon juice or vinegar

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!

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.

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:)

Couscous With Chicken

The first time I ate couscous was at a newly-wed couple’s house in Abu Dhabi, a Lebanese man married to an Algerian lady. Of course, couscous is originally a Moroccan dish, but there are variations of it in different countries and she had prepared it the Algerian way. This was 25 years ago and at the time I though it must be very difficult to cook. Since then, I’ve learned that there are many ways to prepare this plate; it is a very flexible recipe and the choice of vegetables is completely up to you. It can even be cooked with meat, chicken or seafood. It is a very playful dish and I encourage you to add a bit of your own personality when cooking it.

Today I prepared couscous with chicken, my way. Use this recipe as a guide to finding your own favorite way of making it.

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams of chicken fillet
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 red tomato peeled and diced
  • 1 large carrot sliced (or two medium sized carrots)
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of dried coriander
  • 1/2 cup of chopped fresh coriander
  • salt, 7 spices
  • 2 tablespoon of corn oil

Preparation:

  • Cut the chicken into medium size cubes
  • Heat the oil in a casserole and fry the chickens until nice golden color then remove the chicken from the casserole
  • In the same oil fry the chopped onion for about 3 minutes
  • Add the carrot and tomato, cover the casserole and leave it for 5 minutes
  • Put the chicken back with the onion, carrot and tomato
  • Season with salt and seven spices as desired
  • Add the tomato paste and add water until it is enough to cover the chicken and vegetables
  • Let it boil on a high fire
  • Now put the peas, reduce the fire and cover the casserole
  • In the meantime heat some oil in a frying pan
  • Mix the crushed garlic with the fresh and dry coriander then fry them for 3 minutes
  • When the vegetables are tender, add the fried garlic with coriander over the vegetables and chicken
  • Prepare the couscous as instructed on the package (it is sometimes different depending on the brand, but usually very simple)
  • To serve put the couscous on a plate, and pour the chicken vegetables over

ET VOILA.. C’EST TOUT 🙂

Stuffed Cabbage (Mehchi Malfouf)

A small girl asked her mother, “Mum where did I come from?” Her mother answered, “I found you in a cabbage”. This little girl believed her mother until she grew up and had her own children. Surprise surprise, it wasn’t a cabbage that brought them! That little girl was me, and as a mother, I was asked her the same question by my children and passed down this old wives’ tale just for laughs.

Every time I prepare any dish with cabbage, I remember this story and say to myself: poor delicious cabbage! how people have mistreated you. Its such a versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw, boiled, steamed, stuffed or in a salad. However, I have yet to find any kids in inside!

Stuffed cabbage is a popular dish among Arab countries, with small differences in preparation. As per usual, I’ll be showing you how to make it like my mother taught me, a la Libanaise.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 kilo cabbage
  • 200 gs minced meat
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • about 15 clove of garlic peeled
  • 2 cups of rice
  • salt, 7 spices
  • lemon juice
  • dried mint
  • some corn oil

Preparation:

  • Separate the cabbage, leaf by leaf
  • Put it in a casserole of boiling salted water and cook for about 7 minutes, then strain it
  • In a small saucepan, fry the minced meat in some oil
  • Crush the garlic cloves, add to the meat while cooking and season with salt and 7 spices. Turn off the fire after a few minutes, before the meat is well cooked
  • Wash the rice and mix it with the meat. This is now your stuffing for the cabbage
  • Take one leaf of cabbage, open it carefully, place 1 teaspoon of the stuffing in the center and roll it. Repeat this with the rest of the leaves until you finish your stuffing
  • Put some corn oil in a pot and pile the stuffed cabbage inside delicately with the garlic cloves in between rows
  • On the top, place a plate upside down to keep them together while cooking
  • Fill the pot with water until the cabbage is all covered, and not more
  • Cook it on a low heat for about 25 minutes or until you find that rice is tender
  • Add lemon juice for flavor
  • Sprinkle with dried mint

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT:)