Here's a vegetarian version of the famousstuffed grape leaves! Lebanon is not only known for it's kibbeh and chicken and rice, but it's also known for having some pretty delicious vegetarian dishes. Traditionally, many Lebanese people would not eat meat on specific days mainly for religious reasons. As a result, people found ways to make their favorite meals without the meat but with the same amount of flavor.
For this recipe, instead of stuffing your grape leaves with meat and rice, you will be stuffing it with tomatoes, onions, and some other yummy spices. Enjoy!
1 Tomato - (1/2 cup or 1 medium) - finely diced 1 Jar of Grape Leaves (16 oz) - rinsed 1 Onion (Medium size) - finely diced 2 and a 1/4 cups of washed Rice (brown or white) Parsley (1/2 cup) - chopped Salt - 1 and 1/2 teaspoon Pepper - 1/2 teaspoon Olive oil - 3 tablespoons Lemon - Half *Some people have also added chick peas to their mixture. If you choose to, add about 1/4 cup of chick peas and use 2 cups of rice (instead of 2 1/4 cups).
1. Add rice to a bowl along with tomato, onion, parsley, salt, pepper, and olive oil and mix it well (Eva mixes with her hands) 2. Clip the stems off of the grape leaves before stuffing 3. Take a piece of foil paper and line bottom of a medium or large pot and add layer of unrolled grape leaves to cover (helps to keep grape leaves at bottom from burning) 4. To begin rolling, add small amount of mixture to center of the grape leave (the rough side). Fold top part (side where you cut off stem) over rice mixture, then bring the right side over to center, the left side over to the center, and keep leaf flat and roll. Tuck leaf in as you roll to keep the shape. 5. Add grape leaves to pot in a circular pattern, starting with the outer part of the pot and make rows until you reach the center (or if you have a pot that is smaller like ours, you will only have one roll around and the rest in the center). *Don’t pack the grape leaves too tight, be sure to give them some room to cook 6. Drizzle small amount of olive oil and add a couple dashes of salt to the top of grape leaves. Cover the top with a small glass plate 7. Add 4 cups of water to pot (amount may vary depending on pot size). Use enough water to cover grape leaves and half of your plate 8. Turn stove on medium high heat and bring to boil 9. Once boiling, let simmer on low and cover for 25 minutes. 10. After 25 minutes, remove the plate and partially cover pot with top until water has completely evaporated 11. Once the water has evaporated, squeeze half a lemon on top of grape leaves and turn the stove off
Let grape leaves cool before serving. Can be served warm, at room temperature, or refrigerated. Sahtan! :)
Here's a delicious Lebanese soup recipe to keep you warm this winter! In place of egg noodles, we use rice and fine noodles, and it's flavored with a cinnamon stick. This soup is our go-to soup for the winter and we have even enjoyed it in the summer, it's that good. :)
Chicken breast (1-2 Pounds) (any kind of chicken works as well - Eva has used a whole chicken at times and pulled the chicken off the bone once it was cooked) Cinnamon stick One Onion (peeled and cut in half) Water (8+ cups) Rice (1/2 cup uncooked) Fine Noodles (Sh’arieh) (1/4 cup) Potatoes (2 mediume sized) Carrots (3 regular sized or pre-packaged carrots)
1. Add chicken, onion, cinnamon stick, and 8 cups of water (more or less depending on amount of broth preferred) and bring to a boil 2. While boiling, use a spoon to skim the fat from the chicken that rise to the top and add it to a separate bowl. Continue doing this until the broth clears up 3. After about 45 minutes of boiling or once chicken is cooked, remove the chicken from the broth and add it to a bowl. Leave the onion in the boiling water, throw away the cinnamon stick, and let it simmer on low heat. If you don’t feel that you have enough broth, you can add 4-6 more cups of water (we usually do this because we like it with more broth) 4. Peel and dice the potato and carrots into small cubes, or however you prefer and add to the pot of chicken broth 5. Chop up cooked chicken into small bite-sized pieces and add to water 6. Add uncooked rice, 1 tablespoon of salt, and a half teaspoon of pepper (more or less to taste). Stir and continue to let it simmer 6. In the meantime, heat up 1 and a 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat in a frying pan, and add the fine noodles to toast. Turn them over until they brown 7. Once the fine noodles are browned, add them to the pot along with any excess oil and leave it on low for another 20 minutes 8. After twenty minutes, taste it to determine whether or not you want to add more salt and pepper. It's ready to serve once your potatoes and carrots have cooked, enjoy! Sahtan!
Cheese for dessert anyone? Here's a recipe for Halawet El Jibn which translates to Sweet Cheese. Another name for this dish is Shebeshle. This is an old and traditional Lebanese dessert recipe with few ingredients and a lot of flavor! Preparing this dish is a lot of fun, you get to mix melted butter and mozzarella together and let it cool into its own mixture! Yum. This is a perfect dish for holiday parties and for anyone who has a sweet tooth!
For Cheese/Cream of Wheat mixture Mozzarella Cheese - Unsalted (16 oz) Cream of wheat (1/4 cup) Sweet butter (1/4 stick) Rose water (1 tablespoon) Ricotta Cheese *Optional*
For Atyr: 1/2 a teaspoon rose water (found in most Middle Eastern stores) 2 cups of sugar 1 cup of water 1 tablespoon of lemon juice Instructions:
1. Put 2 cups of sugar in a small pot and add 1 cup of water and 1/2 teaspoon of rose water, on medium low heat, stir with wooden spoon and let it come to a boil (about 10 minutes) 2. After 10 minutes, at this point syrup has been boiling and thickening, turn stove off and add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and let cool off in pot 3. In a medium sized pot, on medium heat, melt your butter 4. After butter has melted, add mozzarella cheese and move it around until it melts into the butter (be sure to keep an eye on it so cheese doesn’t stick to the pot) 5. Once the cheese has melted and has become stringy or folds over and with no clumps, add the cream of wheat and keep folding the cheese over cream of wheat until it’s blended together 6. Once it’s blended together, remove off the stove and add it to a flat and hard surface (Eva places it right on her countertop). If you have a wooden countertop you can place the mixture on a thick plastic table cloth. 7. *Quickly* Use your hands or a rolling pin to spread it out as thinly as possible (be sure to do while hot). Spread it out as quickly as possible to avoid clumps 8. Let it cool on counter top for about 15 minutes 9. Once it is cooled, break it apart into small pieces using your hands or a pizza cutter and add it to your serving plate If you would like to add ricotta cheese, use a pizza cutter to cut it into even little pieces. Add about a teaspoon or more of ricotta to a piece and roll it up 10. Pour atyr over the pieces and serve Sahtan! :) Source: Eva's Lebanese Recipes
We are not sure where Smeaddieh Bil Sayniyeh (translates to cream of wheat in the pan) originated, but Eva's mother used to make this dessert often! It's customary in Lebanese culture to feed your house guests and make them feel special. This was my grandmother's go-to dessert to make when she had unexpected guests over. It's delicious and not only easy to make, but also very quick! The main ingredient is cream of wheat so it's similar to Harissa but not as heavy. It's also eaten with atyr, the super sweet and yummy syrup used in a lot of Lebanese desserts. Good luck!
1 cup of cream of wheat 4 cups of milk Ricotta cheese (optional) For Atyr (sugar syrup): 2 cups of sugar 1 cup of water Teaspoon of rose water (normally found in International/Mediterranean stores and some larger grocery stores) Teaspoon of lemon juice
1. To make your atyr: add your sugar, water, and rose water to a pot and bring to a boil 2. Let boil for 5 minutes and then turn your stove off. Stir in lemon juice and let cool 3. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees 4. Butter a baking pan, Eva uses a 12 x 7.5 (pyrex) 5. In a pot, bring 2 cups of milk to a boil 6. Once the milk begins to boil, gradually start stirring in your cream of wheat and keep stirring until it begins to thicken 7. Once it has thickened, turn your stove off and pour it into your buttered baking pan and let rest for at least a 1/2 an hour or more (overnight works too) 8. Place the pan in your oven for 20 minutes on the bottom rack 9. After 20 minutes, move the pan to your top rack and broil for 5 minutes (or until golden brown) 10. After it has become golden brown, let it rest for 15 minutes before cutting it into squares (or however you choose). Use a bread knife or serrated knife when cutting your Smeaddieh. 11. Add ricotta cheese (optional) and pour some atyr over it before serving Enjoy :) Source: Eva's Lebanese Cooking
Kibbet Hummus is the meatless version of kibbeh and it's just as delicious! Kibbet Hummus translates to kibbeh with chick peas. What gives it a similar look and taste to kibbeh is the bulgur, but this meatless version requires some extra spices and is traditionally fried in olive oil or baked in a hot oven smothered in olive oil. Whether fried or baked, it is extremely flavorful, and a great kibbeh alternative for vegetarians or for those observing Lent.
I love to wrap my Kibbet Hummus in pita bread and eat it as a sandwich! When making this, take some time out for preparing your chick peas, you will need at least an hour to peel them and split them in half. Eva uses canned chick peas to save time, but if you would prefer to use bagged chick peas, you will need to soak them in water overnight. Good luck!
2 cups of bulgur 2 cans of chick peas (or a bag rinsed overnight) 2 cups of flour 1 finely diced small/medium sized onion Salt (1 tablespoon) Pepper (1/2 Teaspoon) White Pepper (1/2 Teaspoon) Allspice (1 Teaspoon) Nutmeg (1 Teaspoon) Olive oil
Eva baked and fried her Kibbet Hummus using these amounts listed. This made one pan of baked kibbeh which made 12 pieces and 6 small fried patties.
1. Soak 2 cups of bulgur in water, cover it completely with cold water and let it sit while you prep your ingredients (at least 5 minutes)
2. For canned chick peas: rinse them in a strainer under cold water. If you're not using canned chick peas: soak them in hot water and salt overnight
3. Once chick peas have been soaked or rinsed: to peel chick peas, rub together with your hands and the peels will automatically come off, peel as much as you can and try to split them into two as best as you can. If you are using canned chick peas you can do this while rinsing them in cold water. Don't feel you have to peel every single chick pea but try to get as much as you can. Once peeled split the chick peas in half. If it’s already small it doesn’t necessarily have to be split. The reason for splitting them is to get them as small as possible *This step can be done the day before you prepare your kibbet hummus to save time
4. Once your chick peas are peeled and split, add them to a large bowl. Add 1 finely diced onion (as fine as possible), 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of allspice, 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, 1 & 3/4 a cup of water and begin to kneed into a dough. Pour the water in little by little (if it's too watery, sprinkle more flour in). You want to form it into a dough ball.
5. To bake: coat bottom of a large baking pan with 4 tablespoons of olive oil
6. Spread your mixture evenly over the pan
7. Once it is spread and cut, (we cut it into triangles like a pizza) pour 5 tablespoons of olive oil over it) *you can use less oil but your kibbeh may be more dry.
8. Broil on high in the oven for 15 minutes on the top shelf, and after 15 minutes move the pan to the bottom shelf at 450 degrees for 10 minutes
9. If you are frying it: wet your hands with cold water and make it into patties (as thick or thin as you’d like. The thinner it is the crunchier it'll be)
10. Warm up a skillet with olive oil and add your patties to it. Fry each side for up to 3 minutes, or until golden brown , and add to a plate covered with a paper towel YUM! Enjoy :)
Macaroon Bil Toum is traditionally known as a Lebanese afternoon snack or "asrounieh" in Arabic. It's basically pieces of dough boiled in water and then smothered in a garlic and lemon juice mix. If you love garlic, this is definitely a dish to try! It's fairly easy to make, but may take you over an hour because you will be splitting up the dough into smaller pieces before boiling it.
This dish is super unique and would make a great appetizer or side dish, especially for you Lebanese foodies out there! Eva learned this recipe from her aunt in Lebanon and makes it now for a special treat. I recently tried this for the first time and was instantly hooked. The dough was so soft and chewy, and the taste of the garlic soaked into the dough was amazing!
For dough: 2 cups of flour 1 cup of cold water 1 teaspoon of salt *Makes about 60-70 dough pieces
For Lemon and Garlic juice: 8 regular size garlic cloves (or less if you would prefer a more mild garlic taste) 4 tablespoons of olive oil 8 tablespoons or 1/2 a cup of lemon juice
1. Peel garlic cloves and place them in a mortar for mincing
2. Add a couple dashes of salt and mince together (can be done in a mini-processor)
3. Add your minced garlic to a large bowl and set aside
4. To make the dough: add your flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 cup of cold water (more or less) to a large bowl and knead your dough. If you find that the mixture is too sticky just add more flour until it feels like dough
5. After your dough ball is formed, fill a pot with 6 cups of water & a teaspoon of salt on high heat and bring to a boil
6. Flour your work station, or a flat surface for making your dough balls (the flour keeps the dough from sticking)
7. Take a big piece from the dough ball and make it into a long stick-like mold and cut it evenly into small pieces
8. Once you've cut them into small pieces, place your middle three fingers on the dough ball and push them in with a roll..or if that method doesn't work for you, grab a cheese grater and going from the bottom of the grater up, roll the small pieces of dough over it and drop it the counter. *Basically, you want the pieces to look like the ones in the pictures below
9. Back to your bowl of minced garlic: add lemon juice and olive oil and mix Picture
10. Set your bowl up next to your stove and add your dough to the boiled water. Try not to add the dough on top of each other so they don’t stick and keep them separated. *You will need to boil the dough pieces in separate batches
11. On medium high heat, let them boil for 15 minute. As your dough hardens or takes its place in the boiling water you can add another handfull to that batch (about a minute apart), stir every few minutes to make sure they’re not sticking
12. After 15 minutes remove the dough with a strain spoon allowing the water to strain and add directly to the garlic mixture bowl and stir it in, keep adding your dough balls to that bowl
Let your dough soak into the garlic and lemon juice for a few minutes before serving. You can use more or less of the garlic and lemon juice (your preference of how lemony or garlicky you like it) and this dish can be served hot or at room temperature. Enjoy! Source: Eva's Lebanese Cooking
Makhlouta is a delicious Lebanese soup that consists of many different kinds of beans. "Makhlouta" means "mixed" in Arabic. Traditionally, this soup is eaten during Lent in Lebanon because it has no meat. It's very filling, delicious, and it hits the spot during the cold months! You can use whatever types of beans you'd like. To make things easier, Eva just uses a bag of mixed beans. Of course, her elder Lebanese relatives had much more complicated methods to making Makhlouta. When cooking Lebanese food, Eva's motto is to keep making traditional Lebanese dishes by adding shortcuts to the recipes to keep up with her busy lifestyle. No matter what kind of beans you use or how you prepare them, this dish will turn out delicious!
A bag of mixed beans (up tp 20 oz.) 1 diced onion Salt Pepper Olive oil Can of chick peas (skin should be peeled off of chick peas) Pita bread
1. Soak your beans in water overnight OR cook them in a crock pot on low for at least 8 hours
2. After they are soaked or cooked, move your beans to a large pot, add water (amount of water depends on how much broth you prefer) Eva adds enough to make it soupy
3. On medium high heat, add 3 teaspoons of salt (to taste) and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and stir into your beans. Bring your beans to a boil Picture
4. In the meantime, dice your onion
5. In a frying pan, add 5 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté onions until golden brown, be sure to keep stirring the onions so they don’t burn in one spot and are evenly sautéed
6. Once your beans begin to boil, lower your stove to medium heat and add your can of chickpeas
7. Once your onions are golden brown, pour them and the olive oil in your pot of beans and let it simmer for 15 minutes
8. After 15 minutes of simmering, turn stove off and let it rest for a couple of minutes before serving
9. This soup is eaten with toasted or fried pita. If you choose to fry your pita: using the same pan that you used to sautee your onions, add another tablespoon or so of olive oil, let it heat up, and add cut up pita to the pan. Stir the pita in the oil and once they are toasted/light brown remove and add to a plate with a paper towel
The healthier alternative is to toast your pita. To toast it, cut it up into small pieces, add it to a baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 3-5 minutes (keep watch so they don't burn). You can also use a toaster if you're toasting smaller amounts Add your fried or toasted pita bread to your soup & enjoy! :)
It's time to make your friends and family (& your sweet tooth) very happy with some delicious homemade baklava! Preparing baklava is very time-consuming and requires a little bit of patience (you will be working with many filo dough layers). We always bake baklava on the weekend because it does take over an hour to prepare and bake.
Baklava has a very rich and sweet taste, and of course is high in sugar and crisco, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with indulging in this yummy treat on special occasions. Of course you can buy pre-made baklava but I know from experience that homemade baklava tastes so much better!
Prep time: 50 minutes to an hour Cooking time: 45-50 minutes
Filo Dough - 2 16 oz. packages (if you prefer less filo, you can use half a package for each section) 2 cups of Crisco (or butter) 1 32. oz bag of Walnuts 1/2 cup of Sugar 2 tablespoons Rose Water Atyr (ingredients and recipe) 2 teaspoons of rose water 4 cups of sugar 2 cups of water 2 tablespoons of lemon juice Mix sugar, water and rose water and bring to boil and let simmer for 5 minutes. Turn stove off and add lemon juice and let cool Items need: Ruler 12 x 16 baking sheet Baking brush
1. Melt crisco in a pot on the stove on medium heat. You can also melt it in the microwave with a measuring cup (your preference).
2. Put your walnuts in a food processor and grind until fine and add to a separate bowl (also your preference, you can have it so fine that it’s like dust, or you can have it crunchier).
3. Add a half a cup of sugar (used to bind walnuts together while baking) and 2 tablespoons of rose water to walnuts and mix it all together and set aside
4. For your bottom layer of baklava: - You will use one package of filo for your bottom layer and the other package for the top. - Be sure to work quickly with filo, it will dry and get crispy - Brush the bottom of your baking sheet with melted crisco, add a sheet of filo and brush over it, then add another sheet of filo dough and repeat with each sheet (you can do 2 sheets at once and while brushing hold down with the other hand to keep the filo from sliding). *Flatten sheet down with your hands before brushing to keep bubbles from forming - Don’t worry about a piece of the filo dough being wrinkled or broken, patch it up with a brush of crisco and keep going, it is a forgiving dough & in the end you will not see the errors.
5. Add walnut mixture and spread evenly onto filo dough layer (amount added is your preference). We used all of our mixture in this size baking sheet. Pat down the mix with your hands or a spatula
6. Dip your brush into crisco and drizzle it over walnuts to give it a base for your top level
7. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
8. Add a sheet of filo dough over mixture. - The first sheet will be a little more challenging, just gently brush it - Depending on your pan size, one sheet of filo might not cover the pan, add your sheets starting on the right edge then on the left to cover the whole area (don't be afraid to overlap to get it all covered)
9. Continue adding your filo dough and brushing the top of each sheet. *When brushing on crisco, try not to brush over the edge of your baking sheet as this could start a fire in your oven.
10. You can cut your baklava however you'd like. Here is how Eva does it: - Using a ruler mark a halfway spot in your pan horizontally and then halfway vertically. The point is to make even size squares so that the squares can then be cut in half (see below).
11. Place on bottom rack for 35 minutes and 5 minutes on the top rack.
12. Remove your baklava from the oven and immediately pour atyr over it with a large deep spoon, Eva pours it down each row Let it cool and enjoy! Source: Eva's Lebanese Cooking
2 pounds ground beef 2 small onions (1 finely diced, and 1 cut into fours) 2 or 3 carrot sticks (peeled and cut into chunks) 3 small potatoes peeled and cut into chunks (if peeled in advance, soak them in cold water so they don’t brown) 1 eight oz. can of tomato sauce or 2 teaspoons of tomato paste Parsley (1 tablespoon dried or 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley) 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1/3 cup bread crumbs 1 cup peas (we used frozen peas) Serves 4-6
1. In a mixing bowl add meat, diced onion, salt, pepper, parsley, bread crumbs and mix 2. Preheat oven to 475 and grease a baking sheet 3. Form mixture into a loaf. It can be any size you want, just make sure it’s firm and all together 4. Put in oven for 35 minutes 5. After 35 minutes, remove your loaf from the baking pan and add it to casserole dish (larger dish will allow you to have room for your veggies and juice - Eva used a 9.5 x 13.5 dish) 6. In your casserole dish, add 4 cups of water, onions, carrots, peas, and potatoes, another teaspoon of salt and place the casserole dish back into the oven for another 45 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender to the fork. 7. Start Riz Bil Sh'arieh or other rice of choice (that is, if you want rice!) 8. Add sauce after 45 minutes, and place it back in the oven for 10 more minutes Enjoy!
More Lebanese sweets! Harissa, a dessert made with cream of wheat (and other yummy ingredients) is eaten with atyr, that delicious syrup made of sugar and water. Preparation is not too difficult, you will just need to mix your ingredients together and bake them!
If you're craving a dessert that will truly satisfy your sweet tooth, this is the recipe for you!
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes Cook Time: 50 minutes
2 & a 1/2 cups of cream of wheat 2 cups of plain yogurt (or you can replace yogurt with water) 1/2 cup of sugar 1/4 cup of melted butter 1 teaspoon of baking powder Sliced shaved almonds or pine nuts (optional, used for decoration)
For atyr (syrup) 1/2 a teaspoon rose water (found in most Middle Eastern stores) 2 cups of sugar 1 cup of water 1 tablespoon of lemon juice Instructions:
1. Put 2 cups of sugar in a small pot and add 1 cup of water and 1/2 teaspoon of rose water, on medium low heat, stir with wooden spoon and let it come to a boil (about 10 minutes) 2. After 10 minutes, at this point syrup has been boiling and thickening, turn stove off and add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and let cool off in pot 3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 8x8 or 11x7 baking pan (depending on how thick you want your harissa) 4. Add semolina (cream of wheat) to bowl 5. Melt butter (takes about a minute to melt in microwave) 6. Add sugar, yogurt, baking powder, melted butter & mix well 7. Pour into baking pan, evenly spread out, wiggle pan a few times if needed to make sure it’s all packed in 8. Add to bottom rack of oven for 45 minutes and move to the top rack for the remaining 5 minutes 9. Cut immediately after taking it out of the oven into squares, or whatever shape you choose 10. Once cut, pour atyr. Atyr is optional, you can pour it right on and let it soak, or you can pour it on each individual piece you serve 11. *Optional, add nuts to pan prior to baking by sprinkling it on, or garnish after baked
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