Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Grape Leaves Aleppo Recipe

Grape Leaves Aleppo
Grape Leaves Aleppo

Recipe by: Robert Shagawat

"The best way to prepare delicious grape leaves, or yeb'r't in Arabic, as handed down by my grandmother from Aleppo, Syria as brought to the US in 1912."


1 cup uncooked white rice
2 pounds ground lamb
2 (16 ounce) jars grape leaves, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground allspice
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1 cup lemon juice
2 kalamata olives (optional)


Prep 45 m |  Cook 1 h 15 m | Ready In 2 h
  1. Soak rice in cold water, and drain. In a large bowl, mix together the ground lamb, rice, allspice, salt and pepper until well blended. Place about 1 tablespoon of the meat mixture onto the center of each leaf. Fold the leaf over once, turn in the edges on each side, and then roll the leaf closed.
  2. Stack the leaf-rolls in a large pot, covering each layer with slices of garlic. Add just enough water to cover the rolls, then pour in the lemon juice. Add the olives to the pot for flavoring, if desired. Place a plate on top of the rolls to keep them under water.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Taste the rice for doneness. Grape leaves taste even better after sitting for several hours. Serve and enjoy.
Do not stack the rolled grape leave more than 3 or 4 layers thick in the pan. More layers can make the rolls cook unevenly; the ones on the bottom may overcook before the ones on the top are done.


Arabic Fattoush Salad Recipe

Arabic Fattoush Salad
Arabic Fattoush Salad

Recipe by: Sonja Taha

"Fattoush is one of the most well-known Middle Eastern salads and a standard dish on the 'mezza' (small dishes) table. It's a colorful tossed salad with a lemony garlic dressing, and if you've never made a single Arabic dish, this is a delicious and healthy place to start."


1 tablespoon vegetable oil for frying
2 small (4 inch) pita breads, torn into pieces
1 large English cucumber, finely diced
3 cups halved grape tomatoes
1/2 red onion, finely diced
3/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
3/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1 clove garlic, crushed (or more to taste)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
ground sumac
crumbled sheep-milk feta cheese, or to taste


Prep 25 m | Cook 5 m | Ready In 30 m
  1. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place pita pieces into the skillet without crowding. Fry in batches until golden brown and blot dry with paper towels.
  2. Combine cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, parsley, mint, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, kosher salt, ground black pepper, and sumac in a bowl. Gently toss salad with fried pita pieces. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Arabic Green Beans with Beef Recipe

Arabic Green Beans with Beef
Arabic Green Beans with Beef

"Green beans are simmered with a spicy beef and tomato sauce in this recipe."


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds beef round roast, cubed
2 onions, diced
1/2 cup water
2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and halved
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (16 ounce) can canned tomatoes, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce


Prep 15 m | Cook 1 h 25 m | Ready In 1 h 40 m
  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat; brown the beef in the hot oil for 10 minutes. Stir in the onions and 1/2 cup water; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix the green beans, allspice, pepper, and salt into the mixture; cover and simmer another 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce; cover with water; cover and simmer another 45 minutes.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Maghmour (Lebanese Style Moussaka, Vegan) Recipe

Maghmour (Lebanese Style Moussaka, Vegan)
Maghmour (Lebanese Style Moussaka, Vegan)

Total Time 45mins
Prep 10 mins
Cook 35 mins

Servings 6
Yield 6

Oh so delicious if you like eggplant like me! Modified from a recipe found on


6 small eggplants (slender Japenese-style) or 3 larger eggplants, halved
2 onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1⁄2 cups cooked chickpeas
4 cups good quality canned tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
chopped flat leaf parsley, for serving

  • Trim the tops and bottoms of the eggplant.
  • Peel the eggplants in alternating strips, leaving strips of the dark skin.
  • Choose a large wide skillet, a 9 inch cast iron or ceramic pan is great.
  • Heat a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil in the skillet.
  • Add the eggplants and cook over medium heat until browned in spots, but not cooked through.
  • Work in batches if necessary.
  • Remove to a paper towel to drain.
  • Take 2 of the eggplants (or eggplant halves) and dice.
  • Add more extra virgin olive oil to the skillet, there should be about a 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil in the skillet. Add the onion and garlic and chickpeas and saute until softened.
  • Add the tomatoes, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • 5. Stir in the diced eggplant. Nestle the 4 whole eggplants in the skillet and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook for 25 minutes, flipping the eggplants once halfway through.
  • 6. Test the eggplants for doneness, and add more liquid if the tomatoes get dry. The dish is done when the eggplant is tender. Sprinkle with chopped flat leaf parsley before serving.
  • Enjoy.

Lebanese Zucchini Recipe

Lebanese Zucchini
Lebanese Zucchini

Total Time 2hrs
Prep 1 hr
Cook 1 hr

Servings 8

A flavorful side dish or vegetarian meal. I think it's a tasty way to use up those garden zucchinis! Credit due to Jeff Smith, a great chef. Read ingredients list and make sure to prep your rice and onions. Enjoy! Note: I use less of the spices than Jeff Smith - just a personal preference.


4 medium zucchini
1 cup long-grain rice, cooked as per package directions
1 yellow onion, peeled, chopped and browned (in a little olive oil)
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1⁄2 teaspoon allspice (I personally like it with 1/4 t. Your choice!)
1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon (I use 1/4 t. Again, it's up to you!)
1 teaspoon dried dill (I scale down on this, too, to about 1/2 t.)
2 cups tomato sauce, canned

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut the zucchini in half, lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. (Keep the skin on.).
  3. Mix the cooked rice with the browned onion, salt, pepper, lemon juice, allspice, cinnamon and dill.
  4. Stuff the zucchini boats with the rice mixture.
  5. Pour the tomato sauce into a baking dish, then place the filled zucchini boats face up into the dish. Do not cover the zucchini with the sauce.
  6. Cover and bake at 350 degrees F. until tender but firm, about 50 minutes, but check sooner, like the 45 minute mark. You don't want the zucchini to get too limp. (If halving the recipe, lessen the cook time a bit.).
  7. Serve with a few spoonfuls of the tomato sauce drizzled on top.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Loubieh Bizeit + Kizbarh - Lebanese String Beans + Cilantro Recipe

Loubieh Bizeit + Kizbarh - Lebanese String Beans + Cilantro
Loubieh Bizeit + Kizbarh - Lebanese String Beans + Cilantro

Total Time 25mins
Prep 5 mins
Cook 20 mins

Servings 2

Here is a lovely recipe for Italian string beans (or French beans) cooked in a garlic & coriander / cilantro sauce. This makes a delcious side dish for fish or chicken or you can eat it as part of a mezze. Traditionaly this is served at room temperature but you could eat it hot if you like.


1 lb fresh string bean (top & tailed & de-strung)
1 cup white onion, finely chopped (or grated)
1⁄2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 -2 tablespoon minced garlic
1⁄3 teaspoon salt (to taste)
2 tablespoons olive oil

  1. Saute the onions until they are a very pale golden colour.
  2. Add the beans, cilantro, garlic & the salt. Stir, then cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat & cook on a low simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Serve at room temperature.

Butternut Squash With Lebanese Spiced Ground Beef and Garlic Yog Recipe

Butternut Squash With Lebanese Spiced Ground Beef and Garlic Yog
Butternut Squash With Lebanese Spiced Ground Beef and Garlic Yog

A very delicious Autumn/Winter dish. "Roasting really concentrates its buttery, nutty flavour and when split lengthways, the empty seed cavity begs to be stuffed, turning it into the perfect portion-control meal for one. " Modified from The Sunday Times article by Lindsey Bareham.

Total Time 1hr 10mins
Prep 20 mins
Cook 50 mins

Servings 2
Yield 2


1 (600 g) butternut squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt, to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 medium onion
250 g ground beef (I use extra lean and add some canola oil while cooking to make it less dry)
1 teaspoon cumin
1⁄2 teaspoon baharat (Baharat Aka Middle East Mixed Spices - the Real Mix)
25 g pine nuts
1⁄4 cup water
25 g flat leaf parsley
175 g plain yogurt
1 plump garlic clove
1⁄2 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon unrefined extra virgin olive oil (or the best you have)


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425F/220C/gas mark 7.
  2. Using a strong, sharp knife, halve the butternut lengthways. Scrape out and discard the seeds. Extend the cavity by cutting out chunks of squash. Don’t be too fussy about this because you want plenty of butternut to remain. Cut a light lattice all over the flesh to speed up cooking.
  3. Use 1 tbsp olive oil to smear the surface lavishly. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Roast for 35-45 minutes or until the flesh is meltingly tender. (Check before end of cooking time as hopefully you have a ripe squash but if you don't it takes longer).
  5. Meanwhile, peel, halve and chop the onion.
  6. Heat the remaining 1 tbs olive oil in a spacious frying pan and cook the onion for about 10 minutes until limp and uncoloured.
  7. Finely chop the excavated butternut.
  8. Add the mince, increase the heat slightly and cook, stirring and breaking up clumps of meat. If using extra lean like I do add some canola oil to keep the meat less dry! It will take about 6 minutes to be browned all over.
  9. Add chopped butternut squash.
  10. Stir in the cumin, baharat, sea salt, to taste, freshly ground black pepper, to taste, and pine kernels. Cook for a couple of minutes.
  11. Add water, simmer, cover and cook for 8-10 minutes. Remove the lid and cook briskly until juicy but not the least bit wet or greasy.
  12. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  13. Chop the parsley leaves. Stir into the mixture.
  14. Spoon it into the cavity and over the cooked squash.
  15. To make the yoghurt, peel, chop and crush the garlic with a generous pinch of sea salt (discard the green central shoot). Beat into the yoghurt with the lemon juice and 1 tbsp of the best olive oil you have.
  16. Spoon the yoghurt over the butternut and serve. (We do this at the table).


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