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.

Lamb Machboos Recipe

Lamb Machboos

Preparation time:   30 minutes
Cooking time:  1 hour
Total time:  1 hour 30 minutes
Serves:  2


250 gms basmati rice
400 gms lamb cubes
100 gms chopped tomato
2 bay leaves
2 gms chopped green chilli
50 gms chopped red onion
10 gms chopped garlic
10 ml chopped ginger
20 gms coriander leaves
2 pcs dry lemon
1 gm cardamom powder
1 gm black pepper powder
3 pcs cloves
2 gms coriander powder
0.5 gm saffron
0.8 gm turmeric powder
0.6 gm cumin powder
1 pc cinnamon stick
15 gms ghee1 ltr lamb stock
0.5 ml raisin
50 gms chickpeas; boiled


  1. Soak the rice for 15 minutes, wash and keep it aside.
  2. In a separate pot, boil the lamb cubes until well-cooked and soft. Strain and keep aside.
  3. In a heated cooking pot, add ghee, onion, garlic, green chili and ginger. Sauté for 5 minutes, while stirring occasionally.
  4. Add bay leaves, dry lemon, tomato, cardamom, turmeric, cloves and coriander powder and sauté for a while.
  5. Add rice and stir for 2 minutes then add saffron, cumin, pepper, salt and lamb stock.
  6. Continue cooking and cover it with lid for 10 minutes on slow fire.
  7. Add lamb stock and bring it to boil while stirring occasionally.
  8. For garnishing, heat a sauté pan then add a little ghee. Sauté together with sliced onion, raisins, dates, chickpeas and cashew nuts.
  9. Serve hot.

Lebanese Kibbeh With Lemon Tahini Recipe

Lebanese Kibbeh With Lemon Tahini

Culinary authority Ghillie James' new book, Amazing Grains, is full of sweet and savory recipes for any meal of the day. Learning how to work with a variety of grains — and there are a lot — will expand your cooking repertoire without breaking the bank. Make these meaty Middle Eastern bites as an appetizer or main course.

The Arabic word kubbah means ball, and these crispy morsels of ground meat with bulgur and onion are a classic in Levantine cuisine. The paste is stuffed and then usually shaped into mini torpedoes (a role commonly given to a prospective bride in Lebanon and Syria). They are then fried or grilled and served with salad and a tahini or yogurt dip. Known around the Middle East variously as kobeiba, cubbeh, bulgar koftesi or kubba, they can be made bigger or smaller depending on whether you want to serve them as a nibble, an appetizer or as a main course. I like to eat the kibbeh with crunchy leaves, flatbreads and a Greek-style salad. And I prefer them made with beef but they are most commonly made with lamb or even goat; it’s best to use non-lean, good-quality meat. You can prepare the kibbeh earlier in the day and keep in the fridge.

Prep Time: 45 minutes plus chilling time  Cook Time: 40 minutes  Serving Size: 5



1/2 cup bulgur wheat
14 ounces ground beef or lamb
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
2 good pinches all spice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
sunflower or peanut oil, for frying


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion finely chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 clove garlic, crushed
a good pinch cayenne
pepper, to taste
2 good pinches cinnamon
a good pinch all spice
1 tablespoon golden raisins, roughly chopped
4 1/2 ounces ground beef or lamb, finely ground
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 heaping tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves

Tahini dressing

4 teaspoons tahini paste
4 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 small lemon squeezed
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons water
1 large clove garlic, crushed


  1. Rinse the bulgur wheat three times, then transfer to a bowl and pour over 1/2 cup boiling water. Cover and leave while you prepare the stuffing.
  2. For the stuffing, heat the oil in a pan and cook the onion gently for 8 minutes or until soft.
  3. Add the pine nuts and stir over medium-high heat for a minute or so before adding the garlic, spices, golden raisins and lamb and stir-frying until the lamb has browned.
  4. Season and turn off the heat, then stir in the cilantro leaves. Drain the bulgur wheat thoroughly and transfer to a bowl.
  5. In a processor, pulse the remaining meat, onion, and spices together with some more seasoning until combined.
  6. Mix into the bulgur, using your hands, as if you are kneading dough.
  7. Stir in a tablespoonful of Greek yogurt and season generously.
  8. Take a golf ball-sized amount of the bulgur mix in your wet hands and flatten into your palm.
  9. Place a teaspoon or so of the stuffing mixture into the center and then, with a little more bulgur mix, enclose the stuffing and form into a small lemon shape. Place onto a plate while you make about 12–14 more.
  10. Chill for 20 minutes, or longer if you want to make them in advance.
  11. When you are ready to cook the kibbeh, heat 1-2 inches or so of oil in a deep frying pan. When sizzling hot but not smoking hot, add half the kibbeh and fry for 7-10 minutes or until they are deep brown all over.
  12. Drain on paper towels. Keep warm in the oven while you fry the next batch.
Source: Food Republic

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Lebanese Meat Pie Recipe - Sfeeha - Lahm bi Ajeen

Take a walk on virtually any street in Lebanese cities, you will run into a recurring theme, a ubiquitous “delicacy” store that is on almost every corner, but it’s not Starbucks! We’re talking here about Lebanese bakeries, aka “furen,” Arabic for “oven.”   Such bakeries are flocked by Lebanese peeps mostly for a nice breakfast of flat bread pies, or mini “pizzas” baked with any of the following toppings: ground beef,  Zaatar (thyme mix), Cheese, Labneh (dried yogurt), deli cold cuts or a creative mixture of such and other ingredients like olives, tomatoes, mint etc…

Lebanese Meat Pie

One traditional way of making such pies is to bake them on a “saaj,” a dome-shaped metal oven fired by wood or gas (see photo below).  My late grandma in the village of Douma used to have one, and back in the day, every other weekend her neighbors would come over and they’d all bake bread for their families on the “saaj” along with delicious meat and zaatar pies, just like the aunties in the photo below. Good ole’ days.

The meat pie recipe we’re featuring here is the recipe that mom makes at home.  Apparently it can be made differently but we LOVE this version! It’s the flat open one that you could also find in most Lebanese bakeries.  It can be simply called Lebanese Meat Pie, or sometimes they use the Arabic name in various spellings like Lahmajun, Lahmajin, or if you have it at a Turkish place it’d be Lahmacun or Pide eventhough that may be slightly different.

Our meat pie recipe is easy to make especially if you use pre-made flat bread or thin-crust pizza dough to save you some time.  So here we go:

Lebanese Meat Pie Recipe - Sfeeha - Lahm bi Ajeen

Author: Esperance Sammour

Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: Lebanese, Middle Eastern
Prep time:  30 mins
Cook time:  13 mins
Total time:  43 mins

Lebanese meat pies are flavorful flat bread pies with spicy ground meat toppings.


Meat Topping Ingredients (5 servings)
1 lbs lean ground beef (no fat)
1 large red onion finely chopped
1 large ripe tomato, finely chopped
¾ cup of pine nuts
2-3 tablespoons of Pomegranate Molasses
1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
½ cup of finely chopped Parsley leaves
2 teaspoons of 7-spices
1-2 teaspoons of salt
a dash of cayenne pepper (or to taste)

Dough Ingredients
6 cups of multipurpose flour
½ teaspoon of yeast melted
2 and ¼th cups of warm water
1 and ¼th teaspoon of salt


Dough Preparation Method

  1. To save time, you could substitute with fresh thin-crust pizza dough. But if you’re more adventurous, here’s how to make this simple dough from scratch.
  2. Melt the yeast in ½ cup of warm water along with a tiny bit of sugar (1/8th of a teaspoon)
  3. Add all dough ingredients to your food processor, and let it knead for a few minutes until you get a dough. Alternatively you could also knead by hand by mixing all ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes as you now prepare the meat fillings.
Baking the Pies
  1. Preheat oven to 500-520 degrees F
  2. Once dough is ready, make it into rounds of 8 inches in diameter and ⅓ inch thick
  3. Place dough on baking tray that has had some flour sprinkled on
  4. Spread 3-4 tablespoons of meat topping evenly on every dough
  5. Bake for about 10 minutes or until dough turns a bit golden. You could also end it with a 2-minute broil on High.
Serve hot along with any of the following side toppings: additional cayenne pepper, freshly squeezed lemon juice or even Tabasco sauce! You could also offer a Ayran Yogurt drink with it if available, this is basically plain yogurt watered down a bit and blended with some salt and ice. In Lebanese parties, meat pies and other similar pastries are sometimes served as Hors D’oeuvres and appetizers. You would typically find them made into small “mini-pizzas” of about 2.5 to 3 inches in diameter and served along a rainbow of other appetizers and mezza.


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