Posts Tagged ‘Spices & Herbs’

Ingredient: Lebanese 7 Spices

April 2nd, 2010 Leave a reply »

Lebanese Seven Spices (also called Lebanese Mixed Spices) is often used in recipes involving minced beef or lamb such as in Kafta Meshwi, Kibbeh, Koosa and more.

Please note that a “Lebanese Seven Spices” mix is not the same as an “Arabic Seven Spices” mix, which consists of cumin, paprika, coriander, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and black pepper (as well as a little bit of cardamom). So if you buy a pre-made “Seven Spices” mix at a Middle Eastern stores, make sure to read the label!

To make a “Lebanese Seven Spices” mix, add the spices shown below in powder form and in equal quantities
Top left to right: Nutmeg, Ginger, Allspice
Bottom left to right: Fenugreek, Cloves, Cinnamon, Black pepper

Lebanese Seven Spices

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.


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

Ingredient: Sumac

November 6th, 2009 Leave a reply »

Despite the name “Lemon Vinaigrette”, the salad dressing used in Fattoush requires very little lemon juice. Why is that so? It is all thanks to a wonderful spice called sumac (also spelled sumach). This spice is made from the dried, powdered berries of the Sumac tree.




Wikipedia states that Sumac trees “grow in subtropical and temperate regions throughout the world, especially in North America”. I had no idea. And yet, their berries are “ground into a deep-red or purple powder used as a spice in Middle Eastern cuisine to add a lemony taste to salads or meat”. It amazes me how small the world is.

So, where can you buy sumac? I would be interested to know if you can find it in a general supermarket in the US. You can definitely find it in Middle Eastern stores or online at