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


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


Lentil Salad

I mentioned earlier that salad is a free dish; you can mix whatever you like with any kind of vegetables, use the dressing you like and it will be delicious.

Green lentils are very commonly used in our cuisine. It can be made as Mjaddara, Mdardara, Lentil soup or Adas bel Hamod. I always boil lentils in large quantities and keep the remaining lentils in the freezer, to save time when making another dish. The Lentil Salad is a plate that my grand mother used to make always when she invited us for lunch. It is the kind of meal who can be eaten as a side dish, appetizer, or even as a main meal.


  • 2 cups boiled lentils
  • 1 large (or 2 medium) tomato
  • 3 cucumbers
  • 4 radishes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  • Drain the boiled lentils from any excess water
  • Cut all the vegetables into small cubes and mix with the lentils
  • Season with salt, black pepper, dried mint, lemon juice and olive oil


Artichoke Gratin

Artichoke is the kind of vegetables that can be cooked in so many ways. It can be used in salads or in a stew, it can even made into a gratin with white sauce and cheese. Since I love cheese, I decided to cook the artichoke for the lunch today the gratin way 🙂


  • one frozen bag of hearts of artichoke, about 500 grams
  • 150 grams minced beef
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 handful of pine seeds
  • salt, pepper
  • 2 tablespoon corn oil
  • cooking grated cheese, use the kind you like, I mix 1 cup of Emmental and one cup of Mozzarella cheese

Ingredients for the white sauce:

  • 50 grams butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • dash of freshly grated nutmeg


  • In a large pot boil about 1.5 liters water, add one tablespoon salt, and the artichoke then boil for about 10 minutes
  • In a saucepan heat 1 tablespoon corn oil, fry the onion until golden then add the pine seeds then the meat, cook until brown, season with  salt and some pepper to taste
  • Prepare the white sauce: melt the butter, add the flour, then gradually pour the milk whisking constantly, until the sauce thickens, season with 1 teaspoon salt and nutmeg
  • Now you can assemble the dish:
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C
  • In a baking dish put one tablespoon oil, place the hearts of artichoke, fill each one with meat, when all they are all filled, cover with the white sauce, then sprinkle the cheese over, bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until the top turns golden
  • Enjoy it with salad


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


Kabsse ( Chicken With Rice – Arabian Gulf Way)

After living in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates for more then twenty years, I learned a lot about their culture and some of their cuisine. Their food is somehow similar to our Lebanese food, but they use more spices. Kabsse is a very popular dish in Abu Dhabi, and it can be cooked with chicken, meat or even fish. Today I prepared chicken with rice the Arabian Gulf way “Kabsse”.


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 3 large onions, cut in wing shape + one small onion peeled
  • 5  cloves
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 large tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • spices: cumin, dried coriander, black pepper, salt, ground cinnamon, lime salt
  • cinnamon stick
  • 3 cups basmati rice ( long grain from pakistan)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 whole cardamon
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped roughly
  • 4 or 5 celery stick, cut into small cubes
  • 2 red tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • pine seeds, handful
  • peeled almonds, handful
  • cashews, handful
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon corn oil


  • Wash the chicken and cut into 8 pieces
  • Mix 1 tablespoon of each: salt, cumin, dried coriander, black pepper, ground cinnamon, lime salt and place in a small jar
  • Put the chicken pieces in a bowl and rub with one tablespoon of the spices mixture, soak with the 1/4 cup lemon juice and the half cup of olive oil. Soak overnight
  • Next day, in a large pot heat the 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the wings of onion until light brown, remove half of the fried onions and put aside ( you will use it later for the decoration)
  • Fry the chicken pieces over the remaining onions in the pot, until brown
  • Put the 5 cloves on the small peeled onion and place it over the fried chicken with the cinnamon stick, 2 bay leaves, 2 cardamons
  • Put over the chicken 1 tablespoon of tomato puree, cover the pot and let it cook on a very low fire for about 5 minutes
  • Put the rice over the chicken, cover with about 5 cups of water ( or chicken stock if you prefer), when it start boiling place the pot on a very low heat, cover it and let it cook gently until the rice absorbs all the water
  • In the mean time prepare the sauce : in a small pot, heat the remaining oil, fry the onion, the chopped garlic and the celery sticks  and the tomatoes, add the remaining tablespoon of tomato puree, cover with 3 cups of chicken stock and let it boil gently
  • Add one tablespoon of the spices mixture, one cinnamon stick, 2 cardamon, 2 bay leaves
  • When the vegetables are well cooked remove the cinnamon stick, the bay leaves and cardamon, puree the vegetables with a hand mixer

  • In a small saucepan heat the butter with the oil and fry the pine seeds, almonds and cashew
  • Place the chicken with rice on a serving plate place fried onions on the top and decorate with the pine seeds, almonds and cashew, and few leaves of celery
  • Serve the sauce with the rice and enjoy.


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


Lentil Soup

In the spirit of the holy month of Ramadan, we are still covering recipes for the Iftar (the meal after a long fasting day). It is important to start with a soup and a salad, mainly Fattouch, and this lentil soup is usually a favorite. Especially in the summer when the weather is so hot like now, this soup is refreshing and nourishing, and needless to say it is delicious. Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of lentils
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon corn oil
  • 1/3 cup of short grain rice
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin


  • Boil the lentils in a large amount of salted water until tender, then discard the water. Then with a hand blender puree the lentils
  • In a pot heat the oil and fry the chopped onion until translucent
  • Wash the rice and add it to the fried onion and cover with one cup of water, let it simmer on low fire until the rice is nearly well cooked
  • Add the pureed lentils to the rice and onion, and cover with about 2 cups of water, season with salt and cumin
  • Let it boil on a low fire, stirring occasionally until the rice is well cooked. If the soup thickens, you can always add more water. When the soup is finish put the fire off and add the chopped parsley
  • Enjoy eating the soup with some toasted pita bread

N.B : If you like your soup to have a richer taste, add 1 teaspoon of butter at the end of cooking. I did and it was DELICIOUS…


Spaghetti Gratin With Chicken

While I was thinking about Tabkhet el Yom ( what to cook for lunch today), I checked my fridge and I found boiled chicken and chicken stock. And checked the pantry and found spaghetti. And, always there is cooking cheese and tomato in my fridge. Because, I like from time to time try something new, I decided to cook them together in Lasagna way, but by using the cooked chicken instead of minced beef. And the result was really amazing. The recipe turned out Delicious.


  • 1 packet of 500 grams spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon corn oil ( to be added to the water for boiling spahetti)
  • about 2 cups of shredded boiled chicken, skin and bones removed
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 red tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon mixed herbs
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 liter chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup powder milk
  • 1 cup and a half shredded cheese ( I mixed parmesan and gruyere)


  • In a large pot, boil water, add the tablespoon of salt with the tablespoon of oil, boil the spaghetti for 2 minutes less than instructed, drain the spaghetti and wash is with cold water
  • I another pot, heat the oil, fry the onions until light golden, then add the chopped tomatoes, and cook with lid on for about 10 minutes
  • Add the shredded chicken to the tomatoes and onions, season with salt, thyme and mixed herbs and the ketchup, cook for another 10 minutes
  • Preheat the oven to 200 C
  • In another pot, boil the chicken stock with the milk powder
  • Dissolve the flour with 1/2 cup of water and add it to the stock, let it boil stirring constantly, reduce the fire and let it cook until it starts thickening, then remove from fire
  • In a tray, place 2 tablespoons from the chicken stock sauce, one layer of spaghetti, half the chicken sauce and cover it with half of the white sauce
  • Repeat the same procedure another time, then top with the shredded cheese and bake for about 30 minutes, until the top becomes golden color
  • Serve it with salad