Sunday, February 26, 2017

Anise rings (Kaak be-yansoon) Recipe

Anise rings (Kaak be-yansoon)

This is one pastry that is probably present in every household in Lebanon on a semi-permanent basis. Crunchy, not too sweet, fragrant with anise, rather plain, it is a usually presented with a cup of coffee or tea or homemade juice to visitors that drop by unexpectedly. Adopted from Taste of Beirut.

INGREDIENTS: This quantity will yield 45 anise rings, about 2 inches in diameter.

2 teaspoons of baking powder
3/4 cup of sugar
a pinch of salt
2 large eggs
juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons milk powder
pinch of mahlab (optional)
2 tablespoons of anise seeds
1 tablespoon of ground anise seeds
1 cup of vegetable oil or melted butter or margarine (or a mixture of both)
2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

  1. Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, milk powder, anise, mahlab (if using) and sugar into a large bowl.
  2. Add the melted butter and oil to the flour mixture, mix well. The dough will be like little pebbles. Add the eggs, one at a time. If you find that the dough is still very sandy and dry, add the lemon juice. Mix well. Add the anise seeds. Gather the dough and wrap in plastic and let it rest for 30 minutes or longer in a cool place.
  3. Cut small balls of the dough and shape into sausages, laying them side-by-side on a work surface to rest for about 15 minutes. Heat the oven to 350F (180C)
  4. Take each sausage and roll and stretch it thin, then cut it into 4 inch length ropes, tying the ends into a ring, trying to keep them even-sized.
  5. Place the rings on a cookie sheet lined with a parchment and bake for 20 minutes or until the bottoms are golden and the top is dry and crispy.
  6. When cool, keep the rings in a metal box for a couple of weeks, or freeze for longer periods.
NOTE: You can decrease the melted butter and oil to 2/3 of a cup and add an egg instead. The pastry will not be as crumbly.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Lebanese Rice Recipe

Lebanese Rice

0:20 Prep | 0:30 Cook | 4 Servings | Capable cooks

Pomegranate seeds pop with flavour in this budget-friendly Lebanese rice. Adopted from Taste.


1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 brown onions, thinly sliced
400g lamb mince
1 1/4 cups basmati rice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
400g can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
Seeds from 1 pomegranate (see notes)
1/4 cup flaked almonds, toasted
1/3 cup torn fresh mint leaves


Step 1 Heat oil in a large saucepan with lid over medium-high heat. Add onion. Cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until golden and caramelised. Transfer 1/2 the onion to a small bowl. Cover to keep warm.

Step 2 Add mince to pan. Cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, for 3 minutes or until browned. Reduce heat to medium. Add rice and spices. Stir until rice is well coated. Add chickpeas and 13⁄4 cups cold water. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Bring to the boil over high heat. Cover. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat. Stand, covered, for 5 minutes.

Step 3 Fluff rice with a fork to separate grains. Spoon onto a serving plate. Top with pomegranate seeds, almonds, mint and reserved caramelised onion. Serve.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Kobeiba stuffed with eggplant & kiri recipe

Kobeiba stuffed with eggplant & kiri

Servings 5 | Cooking Time 10 minutes | Preparation Time 45 minutes

Chef's tip:

You can make the Kibbeh into small or big balls and roast them on an barbecue grill


6 Kiri squares
500 g minced lamb meat
1 medium eggplant (peeled and finely diced)
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
1/2 tablespoon chili paste
1/3 cup walnuts
1/3 cup basil (chopped)
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
4 garlic cloves (crushed)
1 teaspoon 7 spices mixed spices
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

  1. Fry the eggplant in olive oil. Add garlic and onion and stir until golden.
  2. Add pomegranate molasses, basil, spices and cumin. Allow the mixture to cool.
  3. Add walnuts and chili paste (enough to taste)
  4. Mash the Kiri squares in a bowl with a fork, add it to the stuffing and mix well.
  5. Form the Kobeibah balls, fill them with the prepared stuffing and fry in oil for 10 minutes until golden brown.
Adopted from Kiri Recipes

Cheese Maamoul Recipe

Cheese Maamoul

Servings 30 | Cooking Time 15 mins | Preparation Time 15 mins

Chef's tip: You can replace the creamy kiri with icing sugar for garnish.


20 Kiri square portions
1kg flour
300g butter
125g liquid cream
125g icing sugar
40g dried milk
1 tablespoon rose water
1 tablespoon orange blossom water

  1. Mix the butter with 5 Kiri squares and sugar in a dough maker.
  2.   Add the flour and mix it for 1 minute.
  3. Add cream, rose water, orange blossom water and milk. Mix until the dough is homogeneous and leave it aside for 1 hour.
  4. Knead the dough manually.
  5. Divide the dough in diamond shaped pieces and refrigerate them for 1 hour.
  6. Bake the maamoul in an oven at 175 °C, until light golden.
  7. Remove from oven. Garnish with Kiri cream and serve hot.
Adopted from Kiri Recipes

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Creamy Hummus with Homemade Tahini Paste Recipe

Creamy Hummus with Homemade Tahini Paste

A widely popular dip, hummus is not only delicious, it’s super healthy.  This hummus is made using homemade tahini paste, which is easy to make, cheaper than store-bought, and tastes so much better! Adopted from The Daring Gourmet

Prep time 15 mins | Cook time 1 hour 30 mins | Total time 1 hour 45 mins | Serves: 4-6


1 cup dried garbanzo beans/chickpeas, rinsed then soaked overnight
½ cup Homemade Tahini Paste
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
¼ teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
½ teaspoon salt
Reserved cooking water from the garbanzo beans
Extra olive oil, a sprinkle of paprika, and chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

  1. Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans. Place in a pot with water and bring to a boil. Add a teaspoon of baking soda if you're prone to gas. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook for 1 to 1½ hours until the beans are very soft. Drain and let cool.
  2. Place the garbanzo beans in a food processor until no large chunks remain. Add the tahini paste, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin and salt and process until smooth. Add some of the reserved cooking water, a little at a time, as needed until the desired consistency is reached. Add salt to taste.
  3. Transfer to a serving bowl and make some swirly divets on the top. Drizzle some olive oil over it, sprinkle with some paprika and chopped fresh parsley if desired. Serve with toasted pita wedges, vegetables or crackers.
  4. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Homemade Tahini Paste Recipe

Homemade Tahini Paste

Prep time 2 mins | Cook time 5 mins | Total time 7 mins

The scenario you’re all familiar with:  Really in the mood for some homemade hummus.  Garbanzo beans?  Check.  Olive oil?  Check.  Lemons?  Check.  Garlic?  Check.  Tahini paste?  Dang it.

Don’t let that stop you again.  It’s super simple to make yourself and tastes even better than store-bought! Adopted from The Daring Gourmet
Serves: Makes just under ¾ cup


1 cup hulled sesame seeds
3 tablespoons or more extra virgin olive oil (see Note)

  1. Heat a clean, dry cast iron or heavy duty skillet over medium high heat and add the sesame seeds. Stir frequently until they begin to turn golden brown and then stir constantly. Be careful, sesame seeds burn very easily.
  2. Once they're toasted, let them cool a few minutes then add them to a food processor.
  3. Start by adding 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Process the mixture into a paste, scraping down the sides. Add more olive oil until you reach the desired consistency (*see Note)
  4. Makes a little less than ¾ cup tahini paste, depending on how much olive oil you use.
  5. Store the tahini paste in the refrigerator in an airtight jar. Will keep for several months.
* The texture may be slightly gritty, which isn't a problem, you won't notice it at all when you use it to make hummus for example. But if you want it a little smoother you can run it again through a high-powered food blender (I used my Vitamix).

* Instead of olive oil you can also use sesame oil, but olive oil is traditional. (Use raw sesame oil, not toasted, or the tahini will have an overpowering "Chinese food" flavor.)

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.


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