Stuffed Vine Leaves in Oil ( Warak Inab Bilzeit)

This is a vegetarian recipe, and I must say that Stuffed Vine leaves in Olive Oil is an essential dish from our rich Lebanese Mezze. It is so delicious and light that you can easily eat a small plate alone before having your main meal. Last week when I brought a large quantity of fresh vine leaves to make them stuffed with meat and cooked with lamb cutlets, I  was left with a lot. So I put the remaining in the freezer, where they can usually last up to six months. When we had the family lunch I took a pile from the vine leaves and made them the vegetarian way. And believe me my children made them disappear within just few minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 100 grams of vine leaves, blanched and ready to cook ( you can use the preserved ones too)
  • 1/2 cup of short grain rice
  • 2 tablespoons of parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium red tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seven spices
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil+ one extra tablespoon for cooking
  • your choice of thinly sliced vegetable, such as onion, tomato, carrot or even potato (I used sliced onions)

Preparation:

  • Prepare the stuffing by mixing the washed rice with the parsley, onion, tomato, salt, spices lemon juice and the olive oil well
  • Place a vine leave face down and stuff it with one teaspoon of the mixture of rice for filling in the center, fold the two sides toward the center then roll it in a cigar shape
  • When you finish all the quantity of the vine leaves and stuffing, prepare the pot, place the tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of the pot, cover the base of the pot with your choice of sliced vegetable, place all the stuffed vine leaves in the pot
  • Pour water to cover the vine leaves by about one inch, place a plate upside down over them to prevent the vine leaves from opening during cooking. Adjust the salt and lemon as desired
  • Cook on a medium heat and when it starts boiling reduce the fire and let it cook gently for about 25 minutes until the rice is cooked and tender
  • Turn upside down on a plate and it’s ready to serve

ET VOILA C’EST TOUT… BON APPETIT:)

Garlic Dip

Garlic is one of the main ingredients in our kitchen,  we use it in a variety of recipes. And I think it is Chicken’s best friend. And the garlic dip is a must have  in any fridge especially to make those delicious sandwiches with boiled chicken and garlic dip, topped with pickles and then toasted.. It is simply delicious. But to make it properly you should have a food processor. I remember when I was in the States in 1990 with my husband and children, I wanted to make this garlic dip but didn’t have  a food processor at home, so I made it by hand using the pestle and mortar, and it took me about half an hour or more to finish it. The result was ok, but not as good as the one made with food processor. I also remember the pain I had  in my hand next day:).

Ingredients: 

  • 25-30 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Preparation:

  • Place the garlic with salt in a food processor, use the metal blade and mix for about 2 minutes, taking care of pushing the sides always to the bottom to mix well
  • Add the oil in thin stream mixing always until it forms a white smooth paste
  • At the end add the lemon juice. You can keep in the fridge for one month

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT:)

Swiss Chard Moutabbal

I posted this recipe previously in Arabic, but today I “re-posted” it in English due to popular demand. Whenever I made Stuffed Swiss chard or Adas bi Hamod, I would keep the stalks and make them this way.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch Swiss chard stalks
  • 2 small garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons Tahini
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Preparation

  • Wash the stems removing any bad ones, wash and chop into 1inch pieces, place in the pot covered with water with some salt and boil
  • When tender, strain and gently crush them with a pestle and mortar
  • Add the garlic and the lemon juice mixing well together
  • Add the above mixture and the tahini to the stems and mix well
  • Put in a serving plate and top with some extra virgin olive oil. Serve with pita bread

ET VOILA… C’EST TOUT… BON APPETIT:)

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:)

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.

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.

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!

Kafta with Tahini

About a month ago, I posted the recipe for Kafta with Potatoes. But there is many other ways to cook this lovely meat: it can be grilled on a barbecue, put in a pita bread and cooked in the oven and many other different ways as well. Today I prepared it with Tahini. I remember my grandmother used to cook it for us when we would go over her house for dinner, and I liked it a lot. It’s a less common way to prepare Kafta, but it is very tasty. Try it yourself!

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams of minced meat
  • 1 cup of chopped parsley
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 4 potatoes
  • 1 cup of Tahini
  • 3 lemons squeezed
  • salt, seven spices
  • frying oil
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Some pine seeds

Preparation:

  • Mix the minced meat with chopped parsley and chopped onion in a food processor (or you can take it ready from the butcher if he knows how)
  • Season with 1 small tsp salt and 1/2 tsp seven spices
  • Preheat the oven at 180C, grease a tray, place the Kafta in thin layer and flatten it with a wet hand
  • Put it in the oven for about 10 minutes. In the meantime, peel the potatoes and cut them into thin slices
  • Fry the potatoes until golden
  • Mix the Tahini with one cup of water, the lemon juice and salt; flavor to your taste
  • Take the Kafta from the oven, place the fried potatoes over the meat, and cover them with the Tahini sauce
  • Place in the oven for about 30 minutes until the sauce thickens
  • While waiting for the food in the oven to cook, roast the pine seeds in a sauce pan
  • Serve it with cooked rice and sprinkle the roasted the pine seeds over it

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT!