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


Batenjan Makdous (Preserved Eggplants in Olive Oil)

It is the season of Autumn, and now is the right time for preparing the Mouneh (pantry). A few weeks ago I showed you how to prepare preserved meat, Awarma.  Now I’m going to show you how to preserve eggplants, using a recipe I learned from my mother-in-law years ago. It takes about ten days for the Makdous to have been pickled properly. After it has been prepared, the eggplants can be eaten as a appetizer, side dish or can even  be put in a sandwich alone. You will find many ways to enjoy it by playing on your own. Personally, I like to eat it for dinner with labneh (yoghurt) and cheese on the side; it makes for a lovely and easy to prepare dinner.


  • 1 kg baby eggplant
  • 200 grams whole nut
  • about 15 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon rock salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste (optional)
  • about 4 cups olive oil


  • Wash the eggplants, remove the stem
  • Place the eggplants in a pot full of water, leave it on fire for about 10 minutes (not more); the skin of the eggplants when tested should be soft
  • When the eggplants are cooked place in a strainer and wash with cold water. Make a small slit lengthwise in the eggplant, sprinkle with salt, put them back in the strainer, slit facing down, place a weight over them and leave it for about two days. This helps any remaining water to come out of the eggplants

  • Meanwhile, prepare the filling by roughly crushing the nuts and mixing it with garlic, salt and chili paste if desired
  • With you thumb widen the slit, fill each eggplant with a spoon from the nut garlic mixture

  • Place the filled eggplants in a jar, turn the jar upside down on a plate at a certain angle to release the remaining water, leave it for 2 days until no more juice comes out from it

  • Return the jar after 2 days to upright position, and fill it with olive oil. After five days the eggplants are ready to be consumed


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


Mdardra (Rice with Lentils)

I like the sound of the word “Mdardra”, I think it is musical. I remember when I was a little girl, I made up a song for this dish. And every time my mother used to cook it I sang it for her, making up words to a known Lebanese tune. My mother thought it was cute at first and sang along with me, but after the millionth time, she threatened to never cook it again unless I stop! I think I was singing badly or something…

This is a very simple meal in that its made with two main ingredients: rice and lentils, the same ingredients used to make mjaddara. Like most old Lebanese dishes, it originated from the villages where food was scarce. Somehow it remained very popular and is now a common dish to be had in a Lebanese home.


  • 1 cup of lentils
  • 1 cup of rice (long grain)
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt + a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 onions sliced
  • 1 cup frying oil


  • Place the lentils in a pot, cover with about 5 cups of water and boil until it is half-cooked then discard the water
  • In another pot, heat the olive oil and fry the onion finely chopped until transparent
  • Add the half-cooked lentils to the onion with the rice, salt and cumin; cover with 2 cups of water and let it cook on a very low heat until the rice is cooked and the water absorbed
  • In a saucepan, heat the frying oil to fry the sliced onions until brown. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt for crispiness but be careful not to burn them
  • In a serving plate, place the rice with lentils and add the fried onions on top
  • Enjoy eating with plain yogurt or salad