Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Refreshing Labneh Recipe With Garlic and Herbs


Lebanese call it “Labneh” or “Labne,” other folks from the Middle East call it “Labna” or “Lebni” and in the US it’s known sometimes as Kefir Cheese. Whatever the name is, Labneh is one of our favorite dips ever!! It is a simple dip made by filtering plain yogurt overnight and reducing its whey content. You can prepare it easily at home by placing yogurt in a filter overnight while keeping it in the fridge. To save time we tend to buy it from Middle-Eastern grocery stores and our favorite brand is “Arz” by Karoun Dairies, because of its beautiful authentic taste, and because they use milk not treated with hormones or antibiotics.

This recipe is for preparing a very refreshing and tasty Labneh dip.

Labne Dip Ingredients:

1 jar of Labne dip (about 1 lb)
1/2 a cucumber
1/2 bunch of fresh mint
2 table spoons of dried mint (optional)
1/4 to 1/2 table spoon of Hot Chili Powder
4 gloves of garlic
a dash of salt


Chop the cucumber and the mint very thinly and crush the garlic. In a bowl empty the entire Labneh jar, add to it all of the ingredients and mix really well with a fork. Some people use a blender to mix them but this may affect the texture, you can try it out if you’re too adventurous.


Pour the dip into a serving bowl, and sprinkle on top some dried mint and a bit of cayenne pepper. You can also add fresh mind leaves on top for decoration. Pour olive oil on it and serve with toasted (optional) pita bread.  The taste should be quite refreshing, with a hint of garlic, mint and cayenne peppers.

We hope you enjoy it. Let us know how it turns out.

Source: Mama's Lebanese Kitchen




2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, diced

3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed (1/2 inch)

salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (parsley, oregano, thyme, rosemary)

8 eggs


In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until soft, 2-3 minutes. Do not let them brown. Reduce heat to medium low and cover, stirring about every 10 minutes. When they begin to release liquid, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

As the onions cook, spread out the cubed potatoes in a large colander. Sprinkle with salt, tossing to coat, and let sit for about 5 minutes. Rinse with cold water.

As the onions turn a dark golden color, remove cover and increase heat to medium. Stir in potatoes, salt to taste, and fresh herbs. Cover pot again and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes soften. Drizzle a little olive oil and increase heat to medium to crisp the potatoes, if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in eggs until they begin to separate and cook. Remove from heat and continue stirring until the eggs finish cooking from the heat of the potatoes and onions. Serve immediately.

How to Cook a Turkey, Lebanese Style


Author: Esperance Sammour

Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Prep time:  1 hour
Cook time:  4 hours 30 mins
Total time:  5 hours 30 mins

An amazingly hearty and earthy Lebanese turkey recipe created with love.


Turkey Ingredients

Whole Turkey Cleaned, 10 lbs
Lebanese 7-spices, 2 table spoons
Cinnamon powder, 1 table spoon
Bouquet Garni (herb leave mix such as thyme, rosemary, savory, bay leaf..etc) , 5 table spoons
Salted Butter, 100-200 grams (1/4 to ½ lb)
A dash of salt
Garnish of Nuts, Ingredients
Pine Nuts ½lbs
Almond Halves ½lbs
Green Pistachio ½lbs
Raw Chestnuts (peeled) 1.5lbs
A dash of salt
Vegetable oil for light frying

Gravy Ingredients

Raw Chestnuts (peeled) 1.5lbs
Carrots cleaned and chopped 1lb
Leek, cleaned and cut, 1 cup
Celery cleaned and cut, 1 cup
1 Large onion peeled and cut
1 medium size potatoe peeled and cut into cubes
Butter (1/2 lb)
Lebanese 7-spices, 5 table spoons
Salt to taste (1/2 to 2 teaspoon)

Hashweh Rice Ingredients

1 Medium onion, chopped
Finely ground beef 100% lean, 1 lb
Salt, 1 teaspoon
Lebanese 7 Spices, 1 table spoon
Gravy, 1.5 cups
Rinsed and strained rice, 4 cups


Preparing the Nuts

  1. Warm some vegetable oil in a frying pan, add all nuts and fry on medium heat until they turn golden. You may fry the nuts one category at a time.
  2. Place the nuts in a strainer for later use as a garnish.
Turkey Method
  1. Rinse the turkey with cold water, rub with salt and some flour then rinse again.
  2. Rub the insides and outsides of the turkey with about ¼ lb of butter, then rub it with all of the allotted spices (cinnamon, 7-spices, bouquet garni herb leaves etc..).
  3. Rub butter over a large aluminum foil and wrap the turkey tightly with it.
  4. Place the wrapped turkey on a tray in the center of an oven pre-heated to 500F and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Lower heat to 350F (less than medium), and cook for 1.5 hours.
  6. Pull the turkey out of the oven very carefully and empty the melted butter and juices from the tray into a separate pot.
  7. Unrap the turkey, rub it with butter again inside and out (watch your hands), wrap it back with the aluminum foil and back in the oven for another 3 hours.
  8. Plan your timings so that the turkey finishes cooking about 30mins prior to serving time.
Gravy Method
  1. On a large aluminum foil rubbed with butter, pour all of the gravy ingredients.
  2. Mix well then wrap the foil tightly and place in the oven (on an optional tray) while the turkey is cooking for 30-45 minutes. We don't need to fully cook the ingredients here, but just tenderize them a bit.
  3. Empty the ingredients in the pot where you previously saved the melted turkey
  4. butter/juice, add 3-4 cups of water and boil gently until the veggies are fully cooked and
  5. soft. Leave contents in pot until it cools down.
  6. Grind finely in a food processor.
  7. Place contents back into pot and cover until serving time when you would reheat a few mins prior to serving.
Hashweh Rice Method
  1. In a pot, sautee the finely chopped onions on medium heat with some butter or vegetable oil until they start turning golden.
  2. Add the ground beef, salt and 7-spices, sttir well until the beef starts pinkish/brownish.
  3. Add the rice and stir well.
  4. Add 1.5 cups of gravy made in the above step and stir well.
  5. Add 4.5 cups of water, stir well. As soon as the pot boils, lower heat to minimum, cover and let
  6. simmer for 15 minutes or until fully cooked.
Serving the Feast
  1. Place cooked rice in a large serving tray and garnish with the fried nuts following this optional order: almonds on the outer layers, then pistachio, then pine nuts in the middle. And garnish the sides of the tray with the fried chestnuts.
  2. If your tray is large enough you can place the turkey in the middle, or you can place it on a separate tray along with the warmed gravy.
  3. Serve with love.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Chicken Machboos (Bahraini Spiced Chicken and Rice) recipe

Chicken Machboos (Bahraini Spiced Chicken and Rice)

Prep time 10 mins | Cook time 1 hour 45 mins | Total time 1 hour 55 mins | Serves: 4

A delicious and authentic Chicken Machboos, the national dish of Bahrain.


2 large onions, diced
3 tablespoons ghee or unsalted butter
1 tablespoon baharat (see recipe below)
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
A combination of chicken thighs, legs and breasts (about 3 pounds)
1 hot green chili pepper (e.g., jalapeno), seeded and diced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
5 large cloves or garlic, thinly sliced
2 large roma tomatoes, diced (or 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, juices drained)
2-3 dried limes (loomi), several holes punched throughout each one
5 green cardamom pods
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
1 stick cinnamon (about 2 inches long)
2½ teaspoons salt
2½ cups chicken stock
2 cups basmati rice (soaked for at least 15 minutes, then rinsed and drained)
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Rosewater for sprinkling (optional, but recommended)

For the Homemade Baharat:

 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 cinnamon stick (about 2 inches long)
1 teaspoon whole cloves
¼ teaspoon green cardamom seeds
1 tablespoon paprika powder
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the Baharat:

Set the paprika and nutmeg powders aside. Place all remaining ingredients (whole seeds, cinnamon stick and cloves) in a small frying pan and dry roast over medium-high heat, tossing regularly to prevent scorching, for 3-4 minutes or until very fragrant. Transfer to a spice or coffee grinder and let cool. Add the paprika and nutmeg and grind all the ingredients to a fine powder. Store left over baharat in an airtight jar.


  1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and fry the chicken pieces on both sides until the skin is brown and crispy. Transfer the chicken to a plate and leave the remaining oil in the Dutch oven.
  2. Add the ghee (or butter), reduce the heat to medium, and fry the onions until starting to brown, about 10-12 minutes.
  3. Add the ginger, garlic, and green chile pepper and saute for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the baharat and turmeric and cook for another minute.
  5. Return the chicken pieces to the Dutch oven along with the tomatoes, dried limes, cardamom pods, cinnamon, ground cloves and salt. Add the chicken stock and stir to combine. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for one hour.
  6. Add the cilantro, parsley and drained rice and stir to combine. Return it to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for another 15-20 minutes until the rice is done and has absorbed the liquid.
  7. Transfer the chicken and rice to a serving dish (either leave the chicken pieces tossed in with the rice, or place the chicken on top of the rice), and sprinkling with 1-2 tablespoons of rosewater (optional).
  8. Serve with a green salad and yogurt raita.

Kabsa Recipe


8 servings | Prep Time: 1 hour | Cook Time: 30 minutes | Passive Time: 30 minutes


2 pounds chicken thighs or breasts or any cut you like
1/2 pound ground beef or lamb or a mixture
3 large onions, one sliced, the others chopped
1/2 cup vegetable oil (can use light olive oil)
2 cups long-grain rice, preferably Basmati
1 cup mixed nuts, previously fried or roasted
2 Maggi bouillon cubes, beef or chicken flavor
1 Tbsp Kabsa spices or substitute a mixture of 1 tsp cardamom, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground coriander, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp cloves and 1 tsp ground cumin and turmeric or saffron. Add more spices to this mix as you see fit. If using saffron, "dissolve" it in 2 tablespoons of warm water and add it with the bouillon later.
2 dried limes (called noomi Basra), pocked with a fork in 2 places
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley to garnish (optional)


  1. In a large (2-quart) pot with a lid, fry the meat first until browned. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and pan-fry the onion and chicken till golden, adding more oil if necessary; add the spices and the meat back and add the rice. Stir for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add 4 cups of water, the bouillon cubes and the dried limes and the saffron if using. Cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 20 minutes or so until the rice is cooked.
  3. Uncover, and taste to adjust seasoning. Present the dish on a platter with nuts and chopped parsley on top.
Adopted from taste of Beirut

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Lebanese Falafel Recipe From Scratch

Lebanese Falafel

Falafel is a very delicious Middle-Eastern gourmet appetizer that has become popular in the West over the past several years. It’s made from a deep fried paste of chick peas, fava beans, and a mix of onions and different herbs and spices.

Different cultures prepare Falafel differently…

When we discussed this recipe with a Palestinian friend of ours, he told us that Palestinians don’t add Fava beans to their Falafel, they make it solely with Chickpeas. Some Egyptian recipes on the other hand make it purely from Fava beans, with no chickpeas… so there, be creative and try it with different beans. Some folks even tried it with green peas.

Our featured Falafel recipe is good for a serving of 10 and the leftover dough can be stored in a ziplog plastic bag in the freezer for a few weeks.  All ingredients of this Falafel recipe can be purchased at Middle Eastern grocery stores.

Author: Esperance Sammour

Recipe type: Middle Eastern, Lebanese, Appetizer, Sandwich, Street Food
Prep time:  30 mins
Cook time:  7 mins
Total time:  37 mins


Falafel Ingredients
1 lb of dry peeled fava beans*
¾ lbs of of dried chickpeas (aka Garbanzo beans)
1 bunch of Italian parsley (chop away the stems)
2 bunches of green cilantro (chop away the stems)
8-10 cloves of freshly peeled garlic, crushed
1 large red or yellow onion
1 bunch of green onions
2 table spoons of salt
A dash of black pepper
2 table spoons of flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 dash of red chilli pepper (optional, if spicy falafel is desired)
1 teaspoon of cumin
3 teaspoons of Coriander

Falafel Tahini Sauce Ingredients
2 Table spoons of Tahini Paste
1 cup of freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
3 gloves of garlic, crushed
a dash of salt

Optional Falafel Serving Sides
Salty Lebanese Pickles (cucumbers, turnips, pickled chilli peppers)
Chopped fresh Italian parsley
Pita bread


Preparing the Falafel Mix

  1. Soak the fava beans and the chickpeas in water in separate containers overnight.
  2. The following day drain the fava beans, rinse them with fresh water then peel them (you can save time by buying peeled fava beans).
  3. Dry fava beans in a colander for a few moments then run them in the food processor for a minute or two until they look like thin bread crumbs. Put aside in a large bowl.
  4. Similarly rinse and dry the chickpeas then run them in the food processor until they reach the same consistency of the Fava beans. Pour on top of fava beans.
  5. Place the garlic, red onions, green onions, parsley, cilantro, coriander, salt, peppers and flour in the food processor and run for a couple of minutes until they turn into a paste.
  6. Add them to the container with the fava beans and Chickpeas and knead with hands until they reach a doughy texture. If they feel dry add a bit of water and kneed a bit more. At this point feel free to taste the Falafel mix to make sure it has a balanced flavor.
Frying the Falafel
  1. Minutes prior to frying, sprinkle baking soda on the Falfel mix, knead and let rest. When ready heat 1 inch deep of cooking oil in the frying pan on medium heat
  2. Scoop the falafel into by using a specialized Falafel scoop, an ice cream scoop, or by using 2 spoons whereby you scoop the falafel paste in one, and press the other spoon against it to compact into a "cake" then drop gently into the frying pan.
  3. Fry for a few minutes until the falafel turns brownish then scoop them out place on a paper town or in a colander and to dry out the extra oil.
Baking the Falafel
  1. For the health conscious, you can scoop then layer the falafel patties on an aluminum/cooking tray that has been lightly oiled and bake in the oven at 400F for 7-10 minutes.
  2. Falafel Tahini Sauce Preparation
  3. Mix the Tahini sauce ingredients in the blender until they reach a homogeneous texture.
  4. Sample to ensure a balance of flavors. A good Falafel Tahini sauce should taste a bit tangy with a hint of garlic.. the sauce should end up looking cream/whitish.
Serve as a side/dip.
  1. Putting Together the Falafel Sandwich
  2. While still hot, crush cooked falafel balls along the diameter of a pita bread, garnish with some chopped parsley leaves, add a table spoon of Tahini sauce, add some tomatoes, salted pickles, roll and enjoy.

Where to Find Fava Beans: look for it in Arab-owned Middle Eastern grocery stores.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Hand-rolled kofta recipe

Hand-rolled kofta

Preparation time:   15 minutes
Cooking time:   25 minutes
Total time:   40 minutes
Serves:  2


250g minced beef
2 cloves garlic
2g freshly ground pepper
2g coriander
3 sprigs parsley, chopped, plus extra to garnish
1 onion, chopped
2g cumin seeds
2 pinches of paprika
1tbsp pomegranate syrup
1 onion, halved and grilled, to serve
1 tomato, halved and grilled, to serve
2 roasted potatoes, to serve
Hummus, to serve
1 qubz bread, to serve


  1. Mix mince, garlic, pepper, coriander, parsley, onion and cumin. Roll mince mixture into equal-sized portions then skewer. Barbecue until done.
  2. Sprinkle paprika, parsley and pomegranate syrup on top and serve with grilled vegetables, roasted potatoes, hummus and warm qubz bread.


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