The Lebanese Cuisine is a cuisine of the nature. Its colors reflect the richness of sunny landscapes and its diversity reflects the goodness and the hospitality of the Lebanese people.
Lebanese food is unique in that it combines the sophistication and subtleties of European hautes cuisines with the exotic ingredients of the Orient.
A meal usually starts with a “Mezze”, a selection of salads (tabboule and fattouch), hummos, mutabbal, patties, stuffed grape leaves and kibbeh.
The main course is generally grilled meat, chicken or fish served with rice or bread. In fact the ‘Mezze” are appetizers that can make a whole meal.
Deserts may include many different variations of sweets such as baklawa, knefeh, maamoul, karabige as well as dried fruits and nuts.
At the end of the meal, black coffee (Turkish style) is generally offered.
Tea (chai) is also a popular drink.
The Lebanese food is a celebration of life; it is fresh, flavorful and has a class of its own.
- 85 grams (½ cup) burghul
- 2 bunches flat-leaf parsley
- 1 bunch fresh mint
- 3 green onions or 1 small onion
- 1 large tomato
- 90 milliliters (6 tbs.) lemon juice
- 60 milliliters (4 tbs.) olive oil
Leave the burghul in water for about 2 hours, then wash and squeeze out. Wash and chop the parsley, mint and green onions very fine. Dice the tomato. Combine all ingredients including burghul. Add salt to taste, lemon juice, olive oil and mix well. Serve in a bowl lined with lettuce leaves. This salad can be eaten with a fork, but the traditional way is to scoop up a bite of the mixture in a lettuce leaf.
Appetizer: Warak Enab (Stuffed Grape Leaves)
- 500g vine leaves fresh
- 1 ½ cup rice washed
- 1 cup parsley chopped
- ½ cup mint leaves chopped
- 4 small tomatoes chopped
- 4 spring onions chopped with their greens
- ½ cup olive oil
- ¾ cup lemon juice
- 2 potatoes sliced
- salt & pepper to taste
Dip the vine leaves in boiling water for 1 minute, remove and put aside. If using the ones from the packet remove and wash a few times to get rid of the salt.
Combine the rice with the herbs, onions, tomatoes, lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper. Open the vine leaves on a board one at a time. Put 1 tsp of the mixture on each, fold in 2 sides then roll like a small cigar. Repeat till you finish all the leaves or the stuffing.
Arrange the sliced potatoes in the bottom of a saucepan, then put all the stuffed vine leaves on top, cover with water. Use a plate to fit inside the saucepan as a lid, to stop the vine leaves from opening. Cook on slow heat for 1 hour or till the leaves are well cooked. Serve cold.
Main Dish: Kafta (Grilled Kabab Fingers)
- 2 ½ lbs finely ground lamb or beef
- 2 cups tightly packed washed and picked parsley
- ½ cup fresh mint leaves or 1 TBS dry mint leaves
- 1 large onion, cut up for food processor
- 1 tsp Bhar Helou or 1/4 each ground cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg
- 1 tsp salt, more to taste
- ½ tsp ground black pepper, or to taste
In a food processor, chop onion extremely fine. Add parsley and mint and until you have a fine - not liquified - homogeneous mixture. Put the meat in a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients and spices to meat, combine and mix thoroughly with your hands.
This mixture is great on skewers over charcoal, as patties, or as the Lebanese dish Kafta bil sanniyeh (baked in the oven with potatoes and tomatoes).
Desert: Sfouf (Lebanese Cake)
- 1½ cups semolina flour
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup and 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch round baking pan. In a small bowl, mix semolina, flour, turmeric and baking powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl, stir milk and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add flour mixture and oil and beat with an electric beater at medium speed for 5 minutes. This step is essential, do not use any shortcuts. Pour into a prepared 9 inch round pan. Sprinkle top with pine nuts. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 35 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out dry.