Archive for January, 2010

Lebanese Cheese – Shanklish

January 31st, 2010 Leave a reply »

I LOVE CHEESE and have tried dozens of cheeses from around the world, but Lebanon has the spiciest cheese I have ever tasted: Shanklish. This aged & dried cheese, made of cow or sheep milk, is covered in thyme & Aleppo pepper, giving it an extremely pungent & peppery flavor.

Shanklish (also spelled shinklish, shankleesh) is best eaten with finely chopped raw vegetables and a good lug of olive oil, a terrific dip to accompany other Mezza Dishes.

Shanklish Dip

Estimated time: 10min
Servings: 6

Ingredients: 300g of Shanklish, 1 small onion, 2 tomatoes, ½ cucumber, ½ cup of Italian/flat parsley (about 1/4 bushel), ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 6 tablespoons of olive oil, salt & pepper

It is said that if you don’t have access to Shanklish, you can replace it with Feta cheese, which will give the dip a lighter taste. But in my opinion, nothing can replace Shanklish; it is truly a unique cheese and you can find it at most Middle Eastern supermarkets.


Tabbouleh Dance – Very Funny Song

January 18th, 2010 Leave a reply »

Check out this very funny video: Tabbouleh Song. Guess which ingredients are missing from this recipe! For reference, check out Tabbouleh – The Real Deal.  

Tabbouleh – The Real Deal

January 18th, 2010 Leave a reply »

Tabbouleh (also spelled tabouleh or tabouli) is the emblematic Mezza dish of Lebanon. The art of making tabbouleh lies in the way one cuts the parsley: it must be carefully sliced to produce very thin slivers. At Lebanese restaurants, tabbouleh is often served with lettuce or cabbage leaves as this is how it’s most often eaten (and with pita bread).

Contrary to popular belief, tabbouleh is NOT made out of couscous. What looks like couscous in tabbouleh is actually a different type of wheat called burghul. When you order tabbouleh at a non-Middle Eastern restaurant (mainly in Europe such as in Greece, and France), you will often be served couscous salad. You can think of authentic tabbouleh as 75% parsley, 23% onion & tomatoes and 2% burghul.

Estimated time: 40min (herbs cut by hand) or 20min (using a food processor)
Servings: 4

Ingredients: 4 cups of finely chopped Italian/flat parsley (about 2 bushes), 2 big tomatoes, 1 large onion, 2 tablespoons of burghul (No. 2), 2 lemons, 6 tablespoons of olive oil, 6 leaves of fresh mint finely chopped (optional), salt & black pepper to taste

Tabbouleh Ingredients

1. After washing the parsley thoroughly, slice it as thinly as possible in strips and place it in a large bowl. Check out my trick on how to chop a large amount of parsley. Some will use a food processor to cut the parsley. This may be useful if you are planning for a big party, but it will irradicate the art of tabbouleh: some of your guests won’t see the difference, but some may!
2. Dice the tomatoes and onion into small pieces and add to the parsley.
3. In a small bowl, cover the burghul with a little bit of cold water and let it soak for 5 min. Then add the burghul to the rest of the salad and disregard the leftover water. The burghul will soak up the other juices in the salad.
3. Press 2 lemons and add the lemon juice as well as the olive oil to the salad.
4. Finally add salt and black pepper to taste, mix well and eat with pita bread or lettuce.

… and voila!


** Feel free to contact me or leave a comment if you have any questions about the ingredients and recipes.

Ingredient: Parsley

January 10th, 2010 Leave a reply »

Wikipedia will tell you that there are two types of parsley: curly leaf parsley and Italian/flat parsley. In Lebanese cuisine, however, I have only seen one type of parsley so far, namely Italian/flat parsley. Although many restaurants may serve tabbouleh with curly parsley, using Italian/flat parsley gives the salad more aroma. And although curly parsley is more decorative, Italian/flat parsley tends to soak up sauces better than curly parsley, making the salad juicier and tastier.

When buying Italian/flat parsley, I usually rely on the herbs’ aroma rather than on its appearance as Italian/flat parsley can often be confused with coriander (also called cilantro). At the supermarket, make sure to read the labels carefully and select parsley, not cilantro.

How to chop parsley and similar herbs? In Lebanon, one does not cut off each leaf from its stem, because the stems contain much of the herb’s taste & aroma. We usually keep the leaves on the stem and regroup all the leaves into a small bush, as shown below.


It is then easier to chop the leaves and the thiner stems into small pieces. You can disregard the larger stems.

Chopped Parsley

Fava Bean Salad – Foul Medames

January 9th, 2010 Leave a reply »

Ok, so back to blogging and back to Lebanese food!

In Lebanon, Foul Medames (aka. fava & garbanzo bean salad) is often eaten for brunch with pita bread. Although I have never been a fan of bean salads in general, I could eat this one every day. Why? Unlike other bean salads, this one is very juicy leaving your mouth wanting more with every bite!
Estimated time: 20min
Servings: 4

Ingredients: 1 can of garbanzo beans (about 400g), 1 can of fava beans (about 400-500g), 1 large onion, 1 cup of chopped Italian/flat parsley (about ½ bushel), 3 big tomatoes, 3 lemons, olive oil, salt to taste

Foul Salad Ingredients
1. Place 1 can of prepared garbanzo beans and 1 can of fava beans in a pan. Add water to cover the beans. Bring to boil and cook for 10min. Then drain and let the beans cool to room temperature. You can find garbanzo & fava beans (also called broad beans) at most supermarkets.
2. Chop the Italian/flat parsley, 3 tomatoes and 1 onion into small small pieces. To chop parsley, check out my trick.
3. Combine the beans, parsley, tomatoes and onion in a bowl. Press 3 lemons and add the juice to the mixture. Then sprinkle with extra virgin olive oil to taste – I tend to be very generous with olive oil and may add up to ½ cup.
4. Finally add salt to taste, mix well and eat with pita bread or lettuce.

… and voila!

Foul Salad

** Feel free to contact me or leave a comment if you have any questions about the ingredients and recipes.