Lebanese cuisine includes many variations of stews served with rice. These dishes are served so commonly, there is a dedicated word in Arabic – “Yakhni”. Lebanese okra stew is one of the many delicious varieties of Yakhni. This okra stew is made of beef stewed with tomatoes, okra, onions, garlic and spices.
Lebanese Okra Stew
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
This Lebanese okra stew is made of beef stewed with tomatoes, okra, onions, garlic and spices.
If you’ve tried this healthy Lebanese Okra Stew recipe or any other recipe on The Salt and Sweet Kitchen, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it.
Knafeh is a very popular Middle Eastern dessert that is made with layers of shredded Phyllo dough, Mozzarella cheese and a special filling mixture. Knafeh is then topped with rosewater flavored syrup, making a delicious savory and sweet dessert.
In Lebanon this is a traditional breakfast much like waffles or pancakes.
Shredded Phyllo dough can be found at any Middle Eastern store. Our local store carries Apollo Kataifi.
The first step is to make the simple rosewater syrup which is a mixture of sugar, water, lemon juice and rosewater. Be sure your rosewater syrup cools completely before using to top the Knafeh.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Knafeh is a delicious Middle Eastern savory and sweet dessert
In a small sauce pan, combine 2 cups sugar and 11/2 cups water over medium-high heat. Stir well.
Bring mixture to a boil.
Add lemon juice.
Cook for another 5 minutes.
Remove the syrup from the heat, add the rosewater, give it a quick stir and set aside.
Make the Knafeh filling:
In a small non-stick pan, over medium heat combine milk, cream of wheat and 3 tbsp sugar, whisking constantly to work out any lumps.
Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently until you bring the mixture to a boil and until the mixture thickens. ( Frequent stirring is essential to avoid the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan).
Reduce heat to low and let it cook for another 5 minutes.
Get the Phyllo dough ready:
Use a food processor to finely shred the Phyllo dough into smaller pieces.
Transfer to a medium sized bowl, and mix with melted butter until all pieces are coated with butter.
To get the Knafeh ready for baking:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Coat the bottom of a 9-inch cheesecake pan with cooking/baking spray.
Add the mixture of shredded Phyllo dough and butter to the bottom of the pan, spread it firmly and evenly.
Add a layer of the shredded Mozzarella cheese.
Top the pan with a layer of the knafeh mixture.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove pan from oven and set aside until it cools completely.
Loosen the Knafeh from the rim of the springform pan, Invert into a serving place.
The shredded Phyllo dough will be the top of the Knafeh.
Pour half of the reserved and cooled rosewater syrup over the knafeh.
Decorate with crushed pistachios on top of the knafeh, if using.
Serve each Knafeh Piece with remaining rosewater syrup on the side.
Looking for more Mediterranean desserts? Here are some:
Vegetarian Stuffed Grape Leaves is a mixture of short-grain rice, tomatoes, parsley, mint, onions, lemon juice and olive oil. Every culture makes vegetarian stuffed grape leaves differently, but this is the Lebanese recipe that I follow and it is awesome!
Vegetarian stuffed grape leaves make the healthiest snack or side dish. Use fresh grape leaves, if you have some, because they are more tender, but the jarred variety works fine. If you decide to use the jarred type, Orlando brand is my favorite. You can find them at any Mediterranean grocery store.
The freshly made stuffing mixture will be overly salty and sour (if you decide to taste), however after cooking and rolling the final product should come out just right!
In large mixing bowl, combine parsley, mint, tomatoes, onions, rice, salt, lemon juice and olive oil.
TO PREPARE THE GRAPE LEAVES:
Soak and rinse the jarred grape leaves with fresh water to get rid of any preservatives.
Spread out your grape leaves on tray with rough side facing upwards, remove their small stems and get ready to roll!
Add one tbsp olive olive oil to the bottom of a non-stick saucepan and arrange a layer of circled cut potatoes.
TO ROLL THE GRAPE LEAVES:
Work with one grape leaf at a time, by adding one heaping table spoon of the mixture to the grape leaf; leaving 1 cm gap on each side.
Fold both short edges first, 1/3rd of the way.
Then roll the long edge from the top through the end of the leaf. (See step by step picture).
A good grape leaf roll needs to be tight so that it doesn’t break apart during cooking.
Place each rolled grape leaf in the bottom of the saucepan over the potatoes tightly side by side. You will form a few layers.
Pour any remaining juice from the mixture (you should have plenty), but if not add add extra water until the stuffed rolled grape leaves are almost covered.
Add a small (microwave-safe) plate on top of the stuffed grape leaves, facing downwards and leave in pot while cooking. The plate will keep the grape leave rolls in one place holding them tightly together.
Cover the pot and cook on medium until it starts boiling, then reduce to low heat and simmer for about 25 minutes.
Let cool for a least half hour.
Remove the the microwave-safe plate.
Carefully take the grape leaves out one at a time and arrange them on your serving plate.
Now that the weather is finally starting to brighten up and grilling season is here, I wanted to share my Kafta Kabob recipe, which my family and I enjoy in the summer days. Kafta Kabob can also be just as enjoyable either baked in the oven or even cooked in a skillet pan on top of the stove.
Kafta is a mix of spiced ground beef, parsley and onions. Preparing Kafta is very easy, all you need to do is mince the parsley and onion using a food processor or by hand and mix it very well with the spiced beef.
I usually make a bunch and freeze some for future use.
Prep Time: 20 mins Cook Time: 20 mins Yield: 10 skewers
1 lb of ground beef (5% fat)
2 large onions
1 parsley bunch (with stems removed)
2 tbsp All Spice
2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp o salt (or to taste)
Add parsley and onion to a food processor and mix very well until finely minced.
In a large bowl, add meat, spices, and the already minced onions and parsley – Mix until incorporated.
Take a small handful of the mixture, and form into an oblong shape. Repeat for the rest of the mixture.
Thread the skewer through the oblong shaped kafta and place on a tray.
Once you’ve done them all – place in the fridge for 30 minutes. This step will avoid the kabobs from falling apart.
Heat the grill to 350° F.
Spray your kebabs with cooking spray, and place on the grill for 10 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
Add Hummus as a side, and you will have a delicious, low-carb meal !
OK, I have to admit… My mom in law makes the best stuffed cabbage rolls in the world. This has always been my favorite recipe. And here I confidently share with you my mother in law’s my recipe for stuffed cabbage rolls. ?
Stuffed cabbage rolls is dish made out of cooked cabbage leaves stuffed with seasoned ground beef, tomatoes and rice; simmered in a rich tomato sauce and garlic gloves.
Non Stuffing Ingredients:
1 small green cabbage ( pick one with tender leaves)
About 10 garlic cloves
1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup medium grain rice
salt to taste (about 1 tsp)
1/2 tsp ground all spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp black pepper
4 tbsp butter, softened
4 ripe tomatoes (Finely diced or blended in food processor)
To prepare cabbage for wrapping:
Cut the cabbage in half and remove about 25 cabbage leaves. Choose tender leaves to make wrapping easier.
Blanch the cabbage leaves in boiling salted water for about 5 mins or until tender but not too soft.
Drain in a colander and set aside.
To make the stuffing:
In a large mixing bowl, add all the stuffing ingredients
Mix thoroughly until fully combined (I do this by hand)
The cabbage rolling process:
spread each cabbage leaf on a smooth surface ( I use a cutting board)
Add about one tablespoon of stuffing to each leaf
Spread the stuffing across the leaf leaving 1/2 an inch of space on both edges
Roll the stuffed leaf forward towards the stuffing, leaving both edges of the roll open.
Place the roll in a large greased pot
Repeat the process for the remaining cabbage leaves
Getting rolls ready for cooking:
Add garlic gloves on top of the rolled cabbages ( You can cut garlic gloves in half)
Add water, just enough to cover the cabbage rolls
Thin 3 tbsp tomato paste thinned in one cup of water
Add 1 tsp salt
Cover the pot and place over medium heat
When water comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and let it simmer for 45 mins.
Beef stew with lima beans is a dish that is very easy prepare. I use frozen baby lima beans in this recipe because they cook quickly and taste great with tomato sauce and beef stew. Frozen lima bean bags can be found at your local grocery store.
Preparing beef stew is easy, but can be time-consuming if you want the beef to come out tender. I boil the beef stew for about one hour.
Labneh is a very popular Lebanese yogurt cheese dip. It is basically made out of two ingredients, milk and Greek yogurt. To make Labneh, you first have to make your own yogurt.
Ingredients to make yogurt:
1/2 gallon whole milk
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
Directions for making yogurt:
Pour milk into 3 quart pot with lid (don’t cover) and set over high heat- stir occasionally
Bring milk to boil- stir frequently as the milk starts to heat to make sure the bottom doesn’t scorch and the milk doesn’t boil over.
Set the milk aside on a thick wrappable blanket or big towel ( Don’t move or disturb the pot until milk turns into yogurt)
Let the milk cool until it’s just warm to touch prior to adding the Greek yogurt. To determine if the milk is the right temperature you can either use a thermometer (112°F to 115°F), or the time-tested pinkie finger method. Dip your pinkie finger in the warm milk and try to count off 10 seconds. If you can tolerate the heat for 10 second, it’s time to add the yogurt.
Thin the yogurt with milk by scooping out one cup of warm milk with a measuring cup and adding it to the Greek yogurt. Whisk until smooth and the yogurt is dissolved in the milk.
Pour the thinned yogurt into the warm milk while whisking gently ( only a few whisks)
Cover the pot with its lid and wrap the pot with a thick blanket; add another blanket on top too ( to keep the milk warm as it sets – ideally around 110°F)
Wait for the the yogurt to set for at least 6 hours without touching it. ( I leave mine overnight)
Mover the yogurt pot to the fridge
Now you have yogurt!
To make Labneh:
Line a colander with a linen cloth or several layers of cheese cloth
Place the lined colander into another bowl. The second bowl severs as a drainage basin. Make sure the colander sits in high in the bowl, leaving space for the drained fluid to collect below the colander.
Pour the yogurt mixture into the lined colander.
Cover gently with the overhang of the linen cloth
Drain for 24 to 48 hours in the fridge.
To serve, scoop Labneh into a serving a bowl, mix with 1/2 tsp salt or to taste in a bowl and top with extra virgin olive oil.
Spread on a toast or eat with pita chips and enjoy!
Store Labneh in an air-tight container in the fridge.
Always make sure the Labneh is topped with oil before storing.
There are two types of people in the world; Fattoush salad people and Tabbouleh salad people. These are two of the most recognizable Lebanese salads. In my family, the decision to make one or the other with dinner is a constant source of conflict.
Fattoush salad combines all of my favorite fresh vegetables in one delicious bowl. The toasted pita bread adds some crunchy contrast and the generous dash of sumac gives Fattoush its distinctly awesome flavor.
Everyone makes Fattoush salad differently, but here is my recipe! 🙂 In my recipe I use broccoli because my boys love this little addition, however broccoli is not a typical Lebanese Fattoush ingredient.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Fattoush salad combines tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, radishes, and onions in one delicious bowl. The toasted pita bread adds some crunchy contrast and the generous dash of sumac gives Fattoush its distinctly awesome flavor.
kibbeh is made of ground beef, combined with bulgur, pureed onions and a mix of spices and basil. Many people in Lebanon like to eat raw kibbeh or kibbeh nayeh. My family and I are not big fans of raw kibbeh, so I make this kibbeh bl sineyeh recipe which is a baked version of kibbeh nayeh and serve it with salad and yogurt.
Kibbeh bl sineyeh is made out of a layer of cooked ground beef and pine nuts spread between two layers of fine kibbeh. The ground beef needs to be thoroughly minced. In the meat department at your local market, ask for kibbeh ground beef or double minced lean beef.
First start by soak the extra fine bulgur in water for half an hour and let it drain very well. The bulgur needs to be very dry when used, so it is better to plan on soaking it and letting it dry ahead of time. Give yourself at least a few hours to let the bulgur fully dry, alternatively soak and dry the night before.
Next, get your pine nuts ready. In a small frying pan over low heat and add 3 tbs olive oil and the pine nuts. Fry until golden, constantly stirring to avoid burning on one side. And set aside.
To make the kibbeh filling:
Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a frying pan over medium heat and add the chopped onions and salt- cook until wilted stirring frequently (around 10 mins).
Add the ground beef and spices and mix with the cooked onion- constantly stir to break up the clumps of meat.
Cook until meat is browned, then decrease heat to low and let cook for another 10 mins.
Add fried pine nuts to the meat mixture, the walnuts and pomegranate molasses and mix well. cook for additional 5 minutes.
Set the meat filling aside.
To make the kibbeh:
In a food processor, add the onion, basil and salt and spices and process until pureed.
Add the kibbeh ground beef a little bit at a time- continue processing until meat is blended well with onions.
Add dried bulgur a little bit at a time and process very well until you have a smooth emulsified paste.
To prepare Kibbeh for baking:
Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
Lightly spray a large rectangular tray (11 x 8)
Divide kibbeh mixture into two even halves. Each half will make a layer.
Moisten your hands and spread the first layer of kibbeh by flattening it across the tray to form a smooth layer.
Add a layer of the prepared filling mixture- spread it across the kibbeh layer and press it down with a spoon.
Add the last and top layer of the other half of kibbeh mixture, also by flattening it until forming a smooth layer.
Using a butter knife, lightly mark the top layer forming a diamond or grid pattern (or any pattern that you like). Be sure not to press the knife deeply into the layers of kibbeh.
Brush with the olive oil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Spinach pies are one of my favorite Lebanese snacks. I could eat them everyday! Spinach pies, or Fatayer bl Sabanekh, is a popular breakfast dish or side/appetizer dish in Lebanon. Spinach pies make a perfect portable snack, you can pack them in your kid’s lunch box or eat them on the go.
The pie filling is a combination of spinach and onions, seasoned with salt sumac. Sumac is the basic ingredient to this recipe. You can feel free to experiment with this recipe a bit, for example by adding some feta cheese to the filling if you want.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
For the Dough
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup warm milk (heat it in microwave for a 20 seconds or so)
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp active dry yeast or one package active dry yeast
In a small bowl, combine warm water, sugar and yeast. Set aside for 10 minutes to foam.
In a large mixing bowl with a lid, combine flour, salt, warm milk and vegetable oil. Work the mixture with your hands.
Pour in the yeast mixture and continue mixing until a soft dough forms.
Continue kneading the dough until its feels elastic, smooth, and no longer sticks to my hands, this step will take about 5 minutes.
If after kneading, the dough is still too sticky for you, you can sprinkle just a tiny bit of flour and knead some more.
Shape the whole dough into a round shaped dough.
Pour 1 tbsp olive oil on dough and spread it so the whole top of the dough is covered with oil evenly.
Cover the dough with a piece of seal plastic wrap and close the bowl with its lid.
Wrap container with a large blanket and leave to rise for about 2 hours.
Prepare stuffing mixture:
In a large bowl, add spinach, onions, salt, sumac and olive oil- mix well. The mixture will be overly salty and sour ( if you decided to taste), however after baking the final product should come out just right 😉
Preparing the pies:
Preheat the oven to 350 ° F.
Divide the dough in half, covering one half with a plastic wrap.
On your counter top or your working area, sprinkle some flour and roll the first half of the dough until thin ( about 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch).
Use a 6 inch wide circle cutter to cut out the dough into circles (glass cups work great).
Add 1 tablespoon filling in the center of each circle.
Pinch together 3 edges of the circle over the center of the filling to form a triangular-shaped pie. Start by pinch two sides of each circle together and bringing the third edge a bit up to the center to close.
Arrange the stuffed pies in a single layer onto a baking tray sprayed with cooking oil.
Bake until golden, 15-20 minutes.
Repeat the process with the remaining circles and the remainder of the dough.
Let cool, serve and enjoy! 🙂
Any leftover spinach pies can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for around a week, or can be frozen for about 2-3 months.