Lebanese Recipes
(collected by Abdallah HAYAR)

Mezze    Lebanese people are proud of their cuisine. They are certainly not wrong on this sentiment. Lebanese food is not merely to satisfy hunger, its preparation is an artful act, which reflects the egzotic colours of warm Lebanese culture, its milleniums long traditions and rich heritage.
   Lebanese cuisine is a true reflection of its welcoming culture. It would be the biggest reward for travellers to taste the traditional Lebanese food while their staying in the country. The cold and hot hors d'oeuvres, ranging from piquant and spicy salads to bean dishes; small meat balls with nuts; shrimps and sea-food tidbits; vine leaves stuffed with rice and meat; sausage rolls in crisp hot pastry are only the entrees to a delicious range of Lebanese food varieties. Never to say, shish-kebab, skewered lamb cubes, green and red peppers, spices and onions are to follow in a traditional Lebanese kitchen.
baklava    A typical Lebanese meal starts with Mezze (pictured) -- this can be an elaborate spread of forty or fifty hors d'oeuvres or simply a salad and a bowl of nuts. But it is always a social occasion when friends and family gather to enjoy appetizers and conversation before dinner. A typical Mezze consist of mashed chick peas in sesame oil, eggplant salad and tabboule (scallions, parsley, wheat germ and chopped tomatoes) and rice-stuffed grape leaves in olive oil. A meat, (lamb is the favourite meat) chicken or fish dish follows with salad and rice. Baklava; a flaky pastry, is one of the best desserts you can enjoy in any Middle Eastern cuisine.
   Probably we all know how tasteful the Lebanese bread is. Bread is an essential ingredient of this rich cuisine. There are two types of bread, the flat pitta pocket (pictured) found everywhere in the Middle East, and marcook - a thin bread baked on a domed dish over a fire. Pita bread

HUMMUS BI-TAHINI (Chick Peas with Sesame Oil)
BABA GHANNOOJ (Cooked Eggplant Appetizer)

SHORBET ADASS BIL-HAMOD (Lentil and Swiss Chard Soup with Lemon Juice)
DLOU'EL SIL^ BI-THIHEH (Swiss Chard Stalks in Tahini)

KIBBE (Baked Lamb and Wheat Dish)
KOUSA MEHSHI (Squash Stuffed with Lamb and Rice)
MALFOOF MEHSHI (Stuffed Cabbage Leaves or Cabbage Cigarettes)

MUJADDARAH (Lentil and Rice Pottage)

TAJIN (Precooked Baked Fish)
NIKHA'AT MIQLIYAH (Fried Lamb Brains)
LAHM BI-AJIN (Chopped Meat on Dough)
SAMBUSIK (Meat Tarts or Patties)



SFOUF (A cake-like dessert that you can have with tea or milk.)



tabboule Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh is a Middle Eastern salad in which the subtle perfume of mint permeates the dish, without dominating the other flavours

(Parsley and cracked wheat salad)

Leave the burghul in water for about 2 hours, then wash and squeeze out. Wash and chop the parsley, mint and green unions 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 traditionl ws is to scoop up a bite of the mixture in a lettuce leaf and pop it into the mouse. 

chichpea HUMMUS BI-TAHINI (Chick Peas with Sesame Oil)

This is eaten with Arabic bread (pita bread.)

1 cup chick peas
1 cup tahini (sesame oil)
Juice of 3 large lemons
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 glove garlic, mashed
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Wash the peas, drain, cover with water and let soak overnight. Next day, boil till tender an hour or longer. (You can use canned chick peas.) Mash all but a quarter cup to a puree. Add the sesame oil, lemon juice, salt, and garlic. Mix well and put on a plate. Pour the olive oil on top and garnish with the extra whole chick peas, paprika, and parsley. Yield: 4 servings. 

BABA GHANNOOJ (Cooked Eggplant Appetizer)

1 large eggplant
1 cup tahini (sesame oil)
1/2 glove garlic, mashed
1/2 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Peel the egglant, and bake or steam till tender. Mash in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Mix in the sesame oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic, and beat until smooth. Mound on a plate or in a shallow dish, pour the olive oil on top, and sprinkle with parsley. Serve as an appetizer. Yield: 4 or more servings.


Categories: Ethnic, Vegetables
Yield: 12 servings

Drain chick peas. Quarter onion and potato. Run all through fine holes of the meat grinder along with the garlic two times. Add all remaining ingredients except baking soda and vegetable oil. Mix well. Run through grinder once more. Mix again. Cover and leave to rest for two to three hours. Heat oil for deep frying. While oil is heating add baking soda to the chick pea mixture. With dampened hands, form mixture into balls the size of a walnut, then flatten slightly into a patty. Deep fry, making sure patties are cooked through and are golden brown. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Shared by Rita Taule, Prodigy ID# BTVC62A. 
2 lbs of thin sliced Sirloin steak
1 cup of vinegar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon sweet pepper
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 pinch of cardamon ( hab hal)
1 tablespoon of mashed garlic salt to taste

Marinate the meat ovenight in the spices , garlic and vinegar . Fry the meat in a little bit of oil until half cooked , cut it in thin stripes , and put it in a pyrex. Cover with aluminium paper and put it in the oven for about 20 mn, uncover it and leave it in the oven for 10 more minutes and serve . PS: So far I never found in the US the fat you're supposed to put with the meat (li'e) so I just do it without it . Bon appetit 

SHORBET ADASS BIL-HAMOD (Lentil and Swiss Chard Soup with Lemon Juice)

This is the basic recipe, you can vary the amounts according to taste (More/less garlic, More coriander etc..)

1 Cup brown/green lentils
1 nice bunch Swiss chard
1 bunch coriander/cilantro
7 cups water
5 garlic cloves
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup olive oil

Wash the Swiss chard, trim the ends [if the stalks are thick enough keep for the next recipe] chop into thin strips of about 1 cm (0.5 inches). Put the lentils and water in the pot over a high heat. Bring to a boil. add the chopped chard. reduce the heat to medium, cover and boil for 15 minutes. Mix the softened chard and lentils well and cook covered for another 45-50 minutes.(if augmenting the quantities,then adjust cooking time for about an hour..)

Meanwhile, peel the garlic cloves and pound in the mortar with a generous portion of salt and chop the cilantro(coriander). In a skillet, heat some of the olive oil , add the garlic and cilantro and saute for a few minutes (2-3 minutes about). DO NOT BURN THE GARLIC! yuckk..

Add the lemon juice, the rest of the olive oil to the coriander-garlic mixture and mix well. Incoporate well in the soup and simmer uncovered for another 5 minutes. Taste, adjust seasonings and serve (Can be served at room temperature). 

DLOU'EL SIL^ BI-THIHEH (Swiss Chard Stalks in Tahini)

About 2 lb of Swiss chard (if you are just using the leftovers, adjust the sauce accordingly)
1/2 cup tahini
juice of 1.5 lemons
10 tablespoons of water
2 garlic cloves peeled and crushed

Clean the Swiss chard, trim the edges and cut the the stalks in pieces of about 1 inch or so. To make the tarator sauce, mix slowly the lemon juice with the tahini in a mixing bowl, adding a little bit of water at a time. Keep stirring until sauce starts to lool like liquefied yogurt. Stir in the crushed garlic at the end.

In the meantime, either steam the stalks (for 5 minutes or even less) or boil them in salted water for about 5-10 minutes. When done pour the sauce over the stalks.

Variations: use boiled/steamed cauliflower instead of the Swiss chard. 

The following recipes are extracted from Good Food from the Near East by Joan Rowland with some modifications.

KIBBE (Baked Lamb and Wheat Dish)

This is the national dish of Lebanon.

1 cup cooked cracked wheat pilaf
1 lb lean lamb, ground fine
2 onions chopped
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 lb lean and fat lamb, ground fine
11/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Pour enough ground water over the wheat to cover it and let it soak overnight, and then drain. To the ground lean lamb, add one half of the onions, and grind again. Saute the rest of the onions in two tablespoosns of the butter till golden; add the nuts and mix. Stir in the meat mixture and set aside to cool.

To the other pound of ground meat, add the drained wheat. Knead this in quickly, adding the salt and pepper. Then spread one half in a greased 12 in. square cake pan. Spread the onion and meat mixture on this; cover with the rest of the mixture. Pat down firmly. Then with a thin sharp knife cut the cake into diamond-shaped pieces. Run the knife around the edge of the pan. Dot the top with remaining butter. Bake in a moderate oven 375F, 50-60 minutes. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

KOUSA MEHSHI (Squash Stuffed with Lamb and Rice)

2 medium-sized summer squash
1/4 cup rice
1/2 lb diced lamb
11/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
6 to 8 mint leaves, chopped
2 or 3 lamb bones
2 to 4 cups tomato juice

Cut a lengthwise slice from each squash. Scoop out the pulp, leaving only the shell. To the pulp, add the rice and lamb, salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mint leaves. Stuff the squash with this mixture and replace the slice.

Place the lamb bones in the bottom of a kettle with the stuffed squash on top. Weight down the squash with a plate and add tomato juice to cover. Bring to a boil, cover the kettle, and simmer until squash are tender, 30-40 minutes. Yield: 4 servings.

MALFOOF MEHSHI (Stuffed Cabbage Leaves or Cabbage Cigarettes)

1 large head of cabbage
21/2 teaspoons salt
11/2 lb chopped lamb
1 cup cooked rice
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups hot water
1 teaspoon salt
Juice of 2 lemons
1 clove garlic, chopped

Wash the cabbage, drain, turn it upside down. Cut out the stem end and core. Put the cabbage in a large kettle, cover with boiling slated water, and cook until the leaves are loose enough to separate with a fork (20 minutes). Remove the cabbage, drain and separate the leaves.

Mix the lamb and rice with the pepper, allspice, and cinnamon. Place a small amount of the mixture on each cabbage leaf, and roll into a cylinder, tucking in the ends of the leaves. Place the stuffed leaves in layers in a large casserole. Add the hot water, salt, lemon juice, and garlic. Cover and cook on low heat for one hour. Yield: 6 to 8 servings. 

KIBBE BALLS (Cracked Wheat Balls)

1 lb cracked wheat
11/2 lb ground beef
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
11/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 onion, chopped

Soak the wheat in water to cover overnight. Drain and add the ground beef which has been mixed with the pepper, salt, and onion. Mix well. Form into small balls and make a hole into one side of each.


1 lb ground lamb or beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons minced parsley
4 to 6 tablespoons butter or margarine

Saute the onions in two tablespoons of the butter till golden; add the nuts and mix. Stir in the ground meat and set aside to cool. Put a little of the mixture in the opening in each ball and press it closed. Saute in the butter until the balls are golden brown. Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

MUJADDARAH (Lentil and Rice Pottage)

2 cups lentils
6 cups water
4 medium-sized onions sliced thin
1 cup olive or vegetable oil
1/2 cup cooked rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Soak the lentils in water overnight. Boil them in the same water about one and a half hours. Brown onions in oil, then add half of onions, rice and seasonings to lentils. Let the mixture boil for a few minutes. When it thickens, pour into a tureen, and spread the remaining onions over the top. Yield: 4 servings.

TAJIN (Precooked Baked Fish)

3 lb halibut, cod or haddock
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 to 5 large onions, sliced thick
1/2 cup of water
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame oil)
Juice of 2 lemons

Cut the cleaned fish into chunks. Remove bones, head, and tail; drain and saute the pieces lightly in oil. Add the onions and cook until they are lightly browned. Then arrange in a shallow baking pan with the onions on top of the fish. Add water. Beat sesame oil and lemon juice together. Pour over the fish and stir lightly around it. Bake in a moderate oven 350F for 20 minutes, or until bubbling and brown. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

NIKHA'AT MIQLIYAH (Fried Lamb Brains)

1 lamb brain
1 onion, chopped fine
2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons butter or margarine

Wash the meat, drain, cover with water, and boil until pale golden in color and tender when pierced with a fork. Drain. Mix the onion with the eggs and add salt and pepper. Cut the meat into serving-sized pieces. Dip them into the egg mixture and saute in the butter or margarine until golden brown. Serve very hot. Yield: 6 servings.

LAHM BI-AJIN (Chopped Meat on Dough)

1 cup shortening
13/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 cake, compressed yeast, or 1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 lb chopped meat
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup greated American cheese
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
Juice of 1 lemon

Melt half of the shortening, add to flour, and mix well. Add the mashed yeast or the egg. Salt and add water. Make the dough heavy enough to roll easily. Cover dough with a cloth and put it aside while you prepare the stuffing.

Saute the onion in 1 tablepoon of the shortening. Remove before brown, and add the meat and remaining shortening. Season the meat a little with salt and pepper. Add some of the greated cheese, tomatoes and lemon juice. Grease a shallow baking pan. Roll the dough 1/4th inch thick, and cut in rounds with a large cooky cutter. Arrange in the pan, then put the meat mixture on top of each piece of dough as needed, pressing it into the dough. Bake in a moderate oven, 375F, for 15 minutes. Yield: 4 or more servings.

SAMBUSIK (Meat Tarts or Patties)

3/4 cup shortening
21/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lb chopped lamb
2 tablespoons chopped pine nuts
1 small onion chopped
1/2 teaspooon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 or 3 sprigs parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons water, milk or stock
Fat for deep frying

Melt the shortening and mix with the flour and salt. Add sufficient water to make a dough, Knead the dough until it is manageable, then spread it on a floured pastry board, and roll out to 1/8th inch thickness. Cut in rounds with a 3-inch cooky cutter.

Mix the meat, nuts, onions, seasonings, and parsley; moisten with the liquid. Place a spoonful of the stuffing on 1/2 inch of each circle; turn the other half over and press the edges together. Prick the tops with a fork. Fry in deep hot fat until light brown 4-6 minutes. Serve hot. Yield: 8 or more servings.

Variation: The stuffed patties may be baked in a preheated hot oven, 450F, 15-20 minutes. Brush with milk or melted fat for better browning. (Too long baking toughens them.) Serve hot or cold with soups or salads. 

baklava BAKLAVA

Syrup Ingredients:

1.5 cups sugar
.5 cup water
1 tablespoon mazaher (orange blossom water)
squeeze of lemon

Baklava Ingredients:

1 box phillo dough
3 cups chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons mazaher
2 sticks melted unsalted butter honey

<>1. Cook syrup first so that, if you mess up the syrup, you can make another batch. Combine all syrup ingredients and cook over medium heat and after it has come to a boil cook for 5 minutes and remove from the heat. Do not let it get too thick when it's still cooking or it won't be absorbed by the phillo dough. Place syrup in the refridgerator.
2. For the walnut mix - mix walnuts, mazaher and honey. Mix honey in so that the walnuts stick together but are not dripping.
3. Using a pastry brush, put a coat of butter on cookie sheet. Carefully place 1 sheet of phillo on top of butter. Brush sheet with butter then put another sheet on top of that one. Continue until you've used 1/3 of the phillo.
4. Spread the walnut mixture on the phillo, leaving a tiny bit of space at the edges. Cover with the rest of the phillo, spreading butter between each sheet.
5. Make sure the top of the baklava has butter spread all over it. Then. cut the baklava in squares.
6. Place in oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes - but watch it closely.
7. When the Baklava is done cooking pour the syrup on top - a little at a time using a spoon or ladle.
The thing to remember about the syrup is hot baklava/cold syrup or cold baklava/hot syrup. You want the maximum amount of syrup to be absorbed.


1 package of shredded Fillo dough
1/2 pound of butter melted
2lbs Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts
3 cups sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice (fresh)


<>---First step is to defrost the Fillo dough. Do this by shredding the fillo in a bowl continuously till completelly defrosted.
---Once this occurs, you start adding the butter while continuously shredding the dough (this is done, so that dough does not stick together).
---When this process is complete and the dough is shredded thoroughly, seperate the dough into two equal portions.
---In a well buttered pan, spread out the dough thoroughly, but do not compress. Once the dough is spread evenly, start preparing the ---Ricotta cheese. The process is to make patties, similar to hamburger patties, but with the cheese.
---Lay the cheese patties onto the prepared dough in the pan.
---Once the layer of Ricotta cheese is completely covering the dough, lay the second half of the dough unto the cheese so that it is evenly distrubuted.
---Preheat the oven to 350 F, once preheated place the pan in the middle for approxiametly 45 minutes. What you need to look for, is that the dough browns.
---Once this occurs, you will need a larger pan in which you will flip the Knafe so the the bottom is on top and vice versa.
---Then bake again till the browning occurs on the adjacent side. Once browned on both sides, the Knafe is finished.
---The last step is to top the Knafe with the pine nuts and the sweet syrup and enjoy!!! <>
---Sweet Syrup: In a pot, combine 3 cups of sugar with 1 1/2 cups of water. Mix and heat over stove till boiling process. Once boiling add a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and boil for a few minutes more for thickening process. Let cool and use over Knafe once done baking. 

SFOUF (A cake-like dessert that you can have with tea or milk.)

Preparations: <>
1 - Mix Semolina, flour, turmeric and baking soda
2 - Dissolve the sugar in the milk then add this and the oil to the Mix from step one.
3 - Smear a 40 cm pan with the Tahina (Pyrex or Aluminum pan)
4 - Pour the mixture slowly into pan, place the pine-nuts on top.
5- Preheat the oven to 350 and cook for 30 minutes.
6 - When done, let ot cool. Cut and serve. 


Start by boiling the water and adding the sugar. Once it starts boiling add the semolina slowly and mix. Once it starts boiling add the shredded mozarella cheese slowly and keep mixing till all the cheese has been added and had melted completely. Then spread the entire mix on a dish and let it cool down. Put in your fridge for the nignt. 


PITA - eight 6-inch pieces

The pieces of dough must be rolled flat before they are placed into a hot (500F) oven. The dough should be rolled to a thickness of no more than 3/16 inch. This is the thickness of a wooden yardstick, the kind given away at country fairs, auto dealers, and paint stores. It can be used as a gauge. The oven heat generates steam inside the pita which causes the dough to puff into a ball. Later, as it cools the dough will collapse. The oven must be hot. If it is not, the piece of dough will think it is meant to be a bun, and will rise slowly but without the all- important pocket in the center.

While this is a yeast dough, it puffs because of the steam. The yeast only adds flavor and texture. Don't overpower the dough with flour or it will be too dry to allow sufficient steam to be generated. Leave the dough on the soft side. Sprinkles of flour will take care of stickiness.


Eight 7-inch squares of aluminum foil

Into a large mixing bowl measure 1 cup flour and stir in the dry ingredients. Add the oil and hot water. Mix for about 30 seconds to blend and then beat vigorously with a wooden spoon for three minutes. Stir in the balance of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time. The dough should be a rough, shaggy mass that will clean the sides of the bowl. If the dough is moist, add a small amount of flour.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead with a rhythmic motion of push-turn-fold. Knead for about 6 minutes.

Preheat oven to 500F.

Divide the dough into eight pieces. Roll into balls, cover with wax paper or a towel, and let rest for 20 minutes.

With the palm of your hand, flatten each ball into a disk. With a rolling pin, flatten the dough into a disk about 6 inches in diameter and 3/16-inch thick. Their thinness is more important than making perfect circles. Irregularity adds charm!

Place each round on a prepared piece of foil. Placing the rounds on the foil rather than on a baking sheet or stone allows a softer heat to surround the dough. A direct thrust of heat from a baking sheet or stone would form a crust difficult to puff.

Carefully place 2 or 3 of the breads (on their foil) directly on an oven rack in the oven. Back for about 8 minutes, or until they are puffed. Repeat with remaining disks. Place the pitas under the broiler for 2 minutes if a browner crust is desired.

Remove the breads from the oven and wrap in a large piece of foil. The tops will fall and there will be a pocket in the center. Serve warm, or let cool and freeze. Thaw before using. To reheat, stack several in a pile, wrap in foil, and place in 375F oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

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