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.:)

Vegetarian Potato Kibbe (Kibbet Batata)

There is a wide variety of Kibbe recipes in Lebanon, as I mentioned in a previous post Baked Kibbe. It can be made by mixing bulgur with meat, or with pumpkin and even with potato like the one I made today. The bulgur is always the main ingredient of all kinds of Kibbe, it should be fine and brown color. This recipe is vegetarian, which makes it suitable for Lent. The major ingredients are simple, based on bulgur, potato and onion, but it needs a lot to spices and flavors.

Ingredients:

  • 4 potatoes
  • 1 cup of fine brown bulgur
  • 2 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seven spices
  • 1 small onion grated

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 3 large onions
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon 7 spices
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried coriander
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation:

  • Boil the unpeeled potatoes in a saucepan with salted water, until they becomes tender
  • When the potatoes are cold peel then mash them
  • Wash the bulgur and drain it from the excess water
  • Mix the mashed potatoes with bulgur, the grated onion, the flour, salt and the spices; mix by hand very well until smooth
  • Cut the onion of the filling into fine strips and mix with all the spices
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C
  • Grease an oven pan with little of olive oil until you cover the bottom
  • With wet hands place a thin layer of the potato Kibbe mixture and flatten it
  • Place the filling of onion and cover it with another thin layer of potato Kibbe
  • Wet a knife and cut the Kibbe into a square or diamond pattern
  • Drizzle the remaining of the olive oil on the top
  • Bake for about 30 minutes in the oven, until the top becomes a nice golden color
  • Serve with a green salad for better taste

Nota Bene:

  • You can also shape the potato Kibbe in a small ball; stuff it with the onion and close the ball forming a flat circle. Fry it in a deep frying pan. It is also DELICIOUS.

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!

Mjaddara (Lebanese Way)

For a long time, Mjaddara has been considered food for poor people because the ingredients are very cheap and easy to get. Lentils, onion, rice and some spices. However, nowadays  due to increased interest in healthy food containing proteins, iron, and vitamins we find Mjaddara being increasingly served at lunch or dinner parties. Did I mention that it is also one of our many Lebanese mezze dishes? Yes, it is. We can have it as a side dish, and even as a main dish. So here is the recipe I learned from my mother 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of lentil of broad white lentils
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Egyptian rice ( small grains)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seven spices
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation:

  • Boil the lentils in 2 litre of salted water, it will take about 30 minutes. Then drain it from water
  • In a pot heat the olive oil and fry the onion until light golden color
  • Wash the rice and add it to the onion with one cup of water, leave it ten minutes on a very low heat, until the rice is half cooked
  • In the meantime, put the cooked lentils in a food processor and puree them
  • Add the puree of lentils to the onion and rice, if you find the mixture is too thick, add a little water
  • Season with salt, seven spices and cumin, stirring always the lentils until the rice is well cooked
  • Pour the Mjaddara on a plate and leave until it is completely cold and set
  • Serve it with salad and pickles.

Sometimes I may boil excess lentils and after they are well cooked I’ll put the remaining in the freezer until I need them again.

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:)

Pumpkin Soup

The Pumpkin soup is very easy to prepare and doesn’t require a lot of time. It’s also my daughter’s favorite, especially on a cold winter day like today. The ingredients also are simple and easy to find all year round.

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams of pumpkin
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 50 grams butter
  • 1 stock of vegetables (or chicken if you prefer)
  • salt and seven spices
  • fresh cream (optional)

Preparation:

  • Peel all the vegetables and cut them into medium size cubes
  • Fry the vegetables in butter until slightly golden
  • Dissolve the stock in water according to the instructions
  • Add this stock to the vegetables; add more water if needed to cover the vegetables
  • Boil the vegetables for about 25 minutes or until it is soft
  • Place the cooked vegetables in a blender and mix until completely pureed
  • Put the liquid back in the pot and heat a bit, season to taste
  • You can garnish the plate with fresh cream if you desired
  • Serve with toasted square bread

ET VOILA C’EST TOUT! 🙂

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Fun with Zucchini, Part Two: Heart of the Zucchini (Lib el Koussa)

Today I’m gonna teach you what do you with the zucchini insides that you put aside in yesterday’s post.

During the World War II, people in the Lebanese countryside did their best to use everything they had when cooking and leave nothing to waste because they were running out of ingredients to make food. This is the reason why there is a large variety of vegetarian plates in Lebanese cuisine. When people used to make stuffed zucchini, they kept the removed core and found a way to cook it and make it delicious.

There are various recipes for the zucchini innards, the one I made today among them. This is a favorite of mine and I’m sure it will be one of yours when you try it 🙂

Ingredients:

  • The inner part of the zucchini (about one cup and a half)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon grenadine molasses
  • 1 teaspoon of dried mint

Preparation:

  • Chop the onion and the cloves of garlic finely
  • In a small saucepan, heat the oil and fry the onion with garlic until slightly golden
  • Add the zucchini and fry with the onion and garlic for 2 minutes
  • Cover the casserole and on a very low heat cook for about 5 minutes
  • Add now the grenadine molasses and stir well for few seconds
  • Put the fire off and sprinkle the dried mint
  • Put it on a plate, serve with bread (Lebanese pita is recommended) and enjoy

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT:)

Mashed Potato Baked with Chicory

This is another recipe that is Lent-friendly, as it contains chicory and no meats or fats. I got this recipe from a friend who grew up in a distant village in mountains of South Lebanon. During the 40-day fast, her mother would like to get creative and try to make something new in her cuisine to make the fast more playful. I took the recipe from her and tried it, and it turned out to be delicious!

If you enjoy the taste of chicory, take at a look at this recipe I posted a few days ago 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg potatoes
  • 1/2 kg chicory
  • 2 onions chopped into long strips
  • 1 teaspoon sumac
  • salt, seven spices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon cooking oil

Preparation:

  • Boil the potatoes in salted water, when they’re cooked mash them properly
  • Boil the chicory in another pot with salted water, drain them after
  • heat the olive oil and fry the strips of onion, then add the boiled chicory and season with salt, seven spices and sumac
  • preheat the oven to 200C
  • Grease an oven tray with cooking oil and place one layer of mashed potatoes
  • Cover the potatoes with the chicory/onion mixture
  • Place the remaining mashed potatoes over the chicory to cover it all
  • Sprinkle a bit of olive oil on the top, and place the tray in the oven for about 30 minutes, until the top becomes slightly golden

Note: this dish is usually served warm, but I secretly enjoy it cold as leftovers at night. Try it and let me know if you do too 🙂

ET VOILA..C’EST TOUT.