Wednesday, January 18, 2017

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.

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.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Lebanese Chicken Wrap Sandwich Recipe

Lebanese Chicken Wrap Sandwich
Lebanese Chicken Wrap Sandwich

Total Time 25mins
Prep 10 mins
Cook 15 mins

During a trip to Montreal, we had the tastiest chicken wrap sandwich at a little Lebanese food stand. I had to come up with this recipe to keep my husband from hopping in the car and driving the 4 hours back to Montreal for more.


Servings 4

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced into bite size strips
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1⁄4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper
4 burrito-size flour tortillas
For the sauce
1⁄2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tomatoes, chopped (optional)
1 small onion, chopped (optional)
1 cup lettuce, shredded (optional)
3 tablespoons tahini sauce (optional)


  1. In a large nonstick pan, heat oil and then add the chicken, chopped onion, minced garlic, 1/4 cup lemon juice, cumin, oregano and enough salt and pepper to taste. Make sure chicken is well cooked and browned.
  2. In a small bowl mix the mayo, lemon juice and garlic powder.
  3. Heat flour tortillas by steaming in microwave for 1 - 2 minute covered in a damp paper towel.
  4. Assemble wrap by placing one tortilla on a piece of aluminum foil, then fill with chicken, garlic mayo spread, and then top with the optional toppings of tomato, onion, lettuce and/or tahini sauce. Wrap closed with foil and twist foil end.

Lebanese Mjadra - Lentil & Rice Lettuce Cups Recipe

Lebanese Mjadra - Lentil & Rice Lettuce Cups
Lebanese Mjadra - Lentil & Rice Lettuce Cups
Total Time 1hr
Prep 10 mins
Cook 50 mins

Servings 6

These are a popular Lebanese dish. They are also vegetarian and gluten free. For gluten free ensure the stock used is labeled as GF or homemade. Can be served with natural yogurt if desired. These make a great gluten free lunch- no bread and packed full of protein.


1 cup red lentils or 1 cup brown lentils
1⁄2 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, finely sliced
1 cup long grain rice
1 cup vegetable stock or 1 cup chicken stock
iceburg lettuce cup
2 lemons, cut into wedges


  1. Using a medium saucepan, bring lentils and 4 cups of water to the boil on a high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a frying pan. Cook the onion for 5 minutes, until soft and golden.
  3. Add half of the onion to the lentils. Also add the rice and stock. Season with salt. Return to the boil and cook for another 20 minutes, until thick and creamy.
  4. With the remaining half of the onion -- continue to fry for another 10 minutes. It should be dark brown and caramelized.
  5. Add the caramelized onion to the lentils and cook another 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  6. To serve- spoon lentils into lettuce cups and serve with lemon wedges, pepper and yogurt if desired.
  7. For vegetarian do not use chicken stock.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Lemony Hummus with Basil Dressing Recipe

Lemony Hummus with Basil Dressing
Lemony Hummus with Basil Dressing

Chef: Plavaneeta Borah
Recipe Servings : 4
Recipe Cook Time : 20 minutes

A perfect summer dip, the flavours of lemon and basil come together to make this recipe light and refreshing.


2 cups chickpeas, boiled
4-5 garlic cloves
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 Tbsp curd
1 tsp cumin powder
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt to taste
A bunch of basil leaves
½ cup olive oil, plus extra for topping
Salt to taste


1. In a pan, roast the sesame seeds until aromatic. Allow to cool and then ground into a powder.

2. In a food processor or blender, mix chickpeas and garlic, and pulse until smooth. You can add a little water, if you find the mixture a little dry.

3. Add the sesame powder, curd, cumin powder and salt, and blend again until smooth.

4. Transfer to a bowl, and add the lemon juice. Mix well and check seasoning.

5. In a blender, pulse the basil leaves and olive oil till well mixed.

6. Top it on the prepared hummus, along with a sprinkling of red chilli powder and fresh basil leaves. Serve with pita breads.


Za'atar Manoush Recipe

Za'atar Manoush
Za'atar Manoush

Za'atar manoush is the Lebanese pizza! What makes this dish a favorite for many is the delicious mixture (za'atar) that you spread onto the dough. This mixture is made of spices and roasted sesame (it smells heavenly) and can also be eaten with pita bread. We typically eat manoush for breakfast or lunch with tomatoes, cucumbers, and a Lebanese yogurt spread called labneh.

Za'atar Manoush Ingredients:

10-12 ounces of dough (depending on how thick you want)
Olive oil
Za'atar spread (can be found in most Middle Eastern stores or check out Eva's recipe for it below)

*Makes one pan or 8 slices

Za'atar Ingredients:

1/4 cup za'atar
1/4 cup sumac
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
Teaspoon of salt
8 tablespoons of olive oil

Instructions (with Za'atar recipe):

1. Heat non-stick pan on low heat and once heated, add sesame seeds to toast. Be sure to stir often so they don't burn (this step should only take a few minutes)
2. Once the sesame seeds are toasted or have turned a brown color, add za'atar, sumac, and salt and toss them together for a few minutes over the heat.
3. Turn stove off and place mixture into a mixing bowl with 8 tablespoons of olive oil (more or less depending on how oily you want)

Now that you have your mix, here are the instructions for the manoush:

4. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees
5. Butter the bottom of a baking pan
6. Spread out dough on pan as evenly as possible (like making a pizza)
7. If you bought your za'atar mix pre-made, add 4-8 tablespoons of olive oil
8. Spread za'atar mix over dough evenly and use your fingers to press down on the dough to avoid bubbles
9. Cook in oven for up to 20 minutes on the bottom rack or until the bottom is a golden brown and for up to 5 minutes on the top rack until top is golden brown (you can cook for longer depending on how crispy you want)
* Cook time may vary depending on your oven and how thick the dough is, you may have to turn your pan around as it cooks

Source: Eva's Lebanese Cooking

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Mozzarella Cheese Kunafa Recipe

Mozzarella Cheese Kunafa
Mozzarella Cheese Kunafa

A not-so-authenic cheese kunafa made with everyone’s favorite mozzarella cheese! Crunchy shredded pastry filled with an ooey gooey mixture of mozzarella and a secret ingredient that keeps the cheese from hardening even after it cools. A rose and orange blossom water scented sugar syrup, sweetens and perfumes this scrumptious Middle Eastern favorite.

Author: Cleobuttera

Serves: 1 (12"/ 30cm or up to 14"/ 35cm) round kunafa


For the Scented Sugar Syrup:
2½ cups (1 lb 1oz/ 500g) granulated sugar
1¼ cup (300ml) water
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice (about 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon (15g) rose water (more or less according to taste)
1 tablespoon (15g) orange blossom water (more or less according to taste)

For the Semolina Pudding:
1½ cups (350ml) milk
¾ cup (180ml) heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons (37g) granulated sugar
3 tablespoons (30g) semolina
1 teaspoon (3g) cornstarch
1 teaspoon (5g) water
1 teaspoon (5g) rose water

For the Cheese Filling:
600 grams/ 1lb 3oz mozzarella cheese, shredded (preferably fresh)
3 tablespoons (37g) granulated sugar (omit if your cheese does not taste salty) (*see note)
2 teaspoons (10g) rose water

For the Kunafa Crust:
1lb/ 500g kunafa or kataifi/kadaifi pastry, fresh or frozen. If using fresh, freeze for an hour for easier cutting. If using frozen, thaw slightly
1 cup (8oz/ 227g) ghee or butter, melted and slightly cooled

Pistachios, for garnish


To make the Scented Sugar Syrup: (Can be made up to a week in advance)

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine together the sugar, water and squeeze of lemon juice. Set on a stovetop over high heat. Try to avoid stirring it as it heats to prevent crystallization from happening, but if the sugar is not dissolving, then help it out with a few stirs. Once it comes to a boil, STOP stirring.
  2. Bring to a rolling boil, then immediately reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for no longer than 10 minutes. Set a timer! The syrup will thicken slightly, and have a consistency similar to pancake syrup. If it simmers for longer it could thicken too much and become candy-like.
  3. Remove from heat, then stir in the rose and orange blossom waters. Transfer to a medium bowl, liquid measuring cup or gravy boat and allow to cool to room temperature before using.
To make the Semolina Pudding:
  1. In a small saucepan, combine together the milk, heavy cream, sugar and semolina. Dissolve the cornstarch in the 1 teaspoon of water and add to saucepan.
  2. Place over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly with a whisk. Bring to a boil, and continue cooking until the mixture thickens into a bachamel-like consistency; about 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the rosewater. Allow to cool slightly while you prepare the kunafa.
To prepare the Cheese Filling:
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the mozzarella cheese, sugar (if using) and rose water.
To prepare the Kunafa:
  1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and preheat oven to 200C/ 390F.
  2. Heavily grease a 12"/ 30cm round cake pan with ghee or butter. A larger pan size (like a 14"/ 35cm deep dish pizza pan may be used, but note that the kunafa will turn out thinner) Alternatively, the kunafa could also be split over 2 (9"/ 23cm) or 4 (6"/ 15cm) pans. You could bake one now and freeze the other(s) for later.
  3. If using fresh, extra thin, Arabic-style konafa dough, it is preferable to use only the butterfat in the melted butter, leaving behind the milk solids or just use the full amount of ghee instead, to ensure a crunchy, evenly browned crust. If using thicker, Greek-style frozen kadaifi/konafa, you can use the butter in its entirety; milk solids and all. Unlike thin, fresh konafa, thicker/frozen kadiafi dough can handle the extra moisture, while still crisping up. To separate the butterfat from the milk solids, let the butter sit for a few minutes after melting. The milk solids (the whiter substance) will sink to the bottom and the butterfat (the yellow liquid) will float up. You could now simply pour the butterfat, being careful to leave the white bottom layer behind. It's OK if a little of the milk solids get poured in as well. (Get more details about clarifying butter here).
  4. Over a large bowl, shred the konafa/kataifi dough into 1inch/ 2.5cm long pieces. I've found that cutting the kunafa while semi frozen, makes for the easiest way to break it. So even if using fresh kunafa, stick it in the freezer for about an hour before cutting it.
  5. Pour the melted ghee evenly over the kunafa. If using butter instead of ghee, for fresh, extra thin konafa dough, just pour the yellow liquid (butterfat) of the melted butter, leaving behind the white layer (milk solids). If using thicker, frozen konafa/kadiafi, just pour all the butter in. Mix the butter evenly with you hands, into the kanafeh shreds, making sure it gets well coated and every strand is glistening.
  6. Transfer two-thirds the amount of konafa in the prepared pan and firmly press it on the bottom and up the sides. Make a wall with the konafa around the sides of the pan; this will help contain the filling during the baking process and prevent it from burning. Pack the konafa as tightly as possible. Use the bottom of a cup or measuring cup, to help pack it tightly and smooth out the konafa.
  7. Pour in half of the cooled, semolina pudding and spread with a spatula into a thin layer. Top with the cheese mixture and pat down into an even layer. Cover with the remaining semolina pudding.
  8. Scatter on the remaining third of the konafa over the cream filling, lightly press it on to adhere.
  9. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top and sides of the konafa are deep golden brown in color. Use a knife to push the side of the konafa, to check the color. The longer it bakes, the crunchier it gets. So bake it for less time if you prefer a softer crust.
  10. Remove the konafa from the oven and immediately pour on about ¾ of the scented syrup, starting from the edge and moving towards the center, in a circular motion, making sure to cover the entire surface. Reserve leftover syrup for drizzling over individual servings.
  11. Let the konafa rest for 5 to 10 minutes to allow for the syrup to soak in, then flip on to a serving platter. Decorate the edges with halved pistachios, or for a more traditional look, Cover the entire surface with ground out pistachios.
  12. Cut into wedges and serve right away, while still hot, passing along extra syrup, as desired. Kunafa is best enjoyed warm, while the filling is still gooey, but it still tastes delicious at room temperature and the filling will still be soft but not gooey. Leftovers maybe stored in the refrigerator, then rewarmed in the oven or microwave.
*This recipe will also make 2 (9"/ 23cm round) kunafas, or 4 (6"/ 15cm round) ones.

**Kunafa freezes really well before baking. Assemble the kunafa in the pan, don't bake, and cover with a double layer of plastic wrap and 1 layer of foil. When ready to bake, let it thaw, then bake as normal.

***The amount of sugar added to the mozzarella filling, depends on how salty the cheese tastes. If using fresh mozzarella, you may choose to leave out the sugar sugar because its not salty. So taste your cheese and you be the judge of how much sugar needs to be added. I use pre-shredded mozzarella, not because its the best choice, but rather because its the most easily accessible where I live. It's slightly salty, so 3 tablespoons is perfect to balance it out.

****In non-Middle Eastern countries, Kadaifi/kataifi/konafa dough can be found in the frozen Greek section of most big supermarkets, or in Middle Eastern speciality stores.

Semolina pudding recipe adapted from Embers Mezze Bar.

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