Kafta {كفتة}

Lebanese kafta is a very versatile meat mix that’s made with just a handful of ingredients that can be prepared in many different ways in Lebanon. The meat mix can be made with beef or lamb or a combination of the two as well as yellow onion, parsley and spice.

To start it’s enjoyed raw (very lean) with a variety vegetables and pita bread.  If raw is not your preference this meat mix is often prepared  into kabobs to add to the Lebanese barbecue menu. In the kitchen it can be prepared with red sauce, tahini sauce, in a stew, in soup, or baked on pita to name a few.

When we’re too strapped for time to prepare the mix we swing by our locale butcher and buy it premixed. For a good quality mix it’s always better to prepare it yourself or know your butcher really well. kafta is easy to assemble ahead of time, portion and freeze for future meals.

INGREDIENTS

1 lb Ground beef
1/2 bunch minced parsley
1 medium minced yellow onion
2 tsp seven spice
salt to taste

DIRECTION

  1. Mix all ingredients together in bowl until combined well.
  2. store in fridge for same day use or freeze for future meals.

Directions for Simple Kafta with pomegranate molasses

  1. Form kafta into equal side sausage or disks.
  2. heat skillet on stove, add oil and kafta; cook on one side until browned then flip and cook on opposite side until cooked through.
  3. drizzle with 2 – 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses (to personal preference) and enjoy with pita bread!

Shish Tawook {شيش طاووق}

It’s been a beautiful summer so far full of sunshine and warm breeze. When it gets too  hot we love to cook outside as often as possible.

Shish Tawook is  popular grilled  chicken in Lebanon and surrounding countries. Each area marinates with a little twist unique to the region. In our home this recipe is our go to for juicy tawook.

To get perfectly marinated juicy shish tawook the secret is in the timing. the longer the chicken sits in the marinate the better. We recommend you let sit in the fridge over night or at least 4 hours. To prepare simply cut up the chicken breast into chunks, mix with the marinate and let sit until ready to grill. Before grilling skewer the chicken and you’re set.

Fire up your grill because this shish tawook recipe is a crowd pleaser.

Prep time: 10 minutes
marinate time: 4-8 hours
Grill time: 10-14 minutes
Serves: 6-8

INGREDIENTS

3 lb boneless chicken breast
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 cup garlic sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tsp salt

You will also need

  • Skewers: use either metal skewers (which are our preference) or wooden skewers (just give time to soak for 15 minutes before use to reduce burning).

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cut chicken breast into large chunks and set aside.
  2. In a bowl add all the ingredients for the marinate and mix to combine.
    Tip: If you don’t have a garlic sauce sub with mayonnaise and 6 cloves minced garlic.
  3. Place chicken in bowl and evenly coat with marinate. Cover and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight or at least 4 hours.
    Tip: You can marinate up to 24 hours before ready to grill.
  4. Prepare the chicken when ready to grill.
  5. Heat grill to medium high heat; thread chicken evenly on skewers.
    Tip: you can make this recipe indoors by using electric grill or grill pan.
  6. Grill shish tawook for about 5-7 minutes per side until golden and cooked through.
  7. Serve warm with garlic sauce, pickles, fries, pita bread, and fattoush or tabouli.

Coconut Macaroon

A while back while snacking on a coconut macaroon purchased from the local bakery, and thoroughly enjoying every bite, I wondered why we hadn’t made this macaroon at home is years. Of course this meant I delved straight into mamas recipe book.  After an unsuccessful search Continue reading “Coconut Macaroon”

Evening Kaik {كعك العصرونية}

“Kaik Kaik,” the evening kaik carts song. If you’ve been in Lebanon you most definitely have a memory of the evening Kaik carts and stands that start to appear with their purse shaped bread as the day winds to an end. They come singing Continue reading “Evening Kaik {كعك العصرونية}”

Zaatar Rolls

In the time of quarantine baking spiked and people started looking for different ways to keep busy and create in the kitchen. For me, I had to find ways to create something that didn’t hold me all day in the kitchen and satisfied my stir crazy bored family.

I was starting to run out of ways to work with our basic dough recipe when I decided to make a giant zaatar roll. I had seen different variations of this rolled mana’eesh on the internet and it was a perfect time to give it a go. I have made mini finger rolls for the kids in the past and they are a perfect lunch or snack, but these were eye catching on the breakfast spread and large enough portions for the older kids and adults.

For this recipe you will need one basic dough recipe and that would make 12 servings. You can easily make half as much or even reduce the dough recipe to 3 cups if you want the servings not to be as large.

When mixing the zaatar with oil, make a paste consistency, just runny enough so you can spread it. You can customize the cheese you choose to sprinkle over top. I like to mix two or three of whatever is at hand. You may also choose to skip the cheese all together.

The measurements on this recipe are approximate to how we like our rolls but feel free to put as little or as much as you prefer.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1basic dough recipe
  • 2/3 cup zaatar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup shredded Ikawee cheese

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a bowl mix zaatar with oil to create a paste; add oil slowly until you reach the right consistency.
  2. Once dough has doubled in size, transfer dough to a well-floured surface and roll dough out into a 17 x 14? inch rectangle.
  3. Spread zaatar over dough leaving bare 1 inch margin down one length of the dough.
  4. Sprinkle your choice of cheese over top.
  5. Tightly roll dough up, starting from the 17-inch side and place seam side down making sure to seal the edges of the dough as best you can. If the dough stretches too long as you roll, tap both ends in towards each other to reduce the length.
  6. Cut into 12 equal pieces (approximate 1.25 inch)
  7. Transfer to 13×9 lightly greased baking pan.
  8. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel let rest for 30- 45 minutes.
  9. Bake at 500 F on middle rack until golden.

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kaik el Eid or Kaik el Abbas

Kaik el Eid or Kaik el Abbas is a traditional cookie from Lebanon and surrounding countries. It’s flavored with mahlab (spice derived from the cherry pit), anise, nutmeg kaik spice, and black seed. It’s made a little different depending on the country or even the area. Kaik el Abbas is from the south of Lebanon and is a melt in your mouth and crumbly cookie. This recipe is quick to make and the kaik is a perfect pairing with a cup of coffee or tea.

To shape kaik you need a specific mold. You can find it in most Lebanese supermarkets. For the larger standard size mold this recipe will yield 8 cookies. if you use a smaller mold you will most likely double the yield.

Prep time:15 minutes
Bake time: 15 minutes
Yield: 8 large cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup melted butter- cooled to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp kaik spice
  • 2 tsp mahlab
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame seed
  • 1/2 tbsp black seed
  • 1/2 tbsp anise seed
  • oil for molding

DIRECTION

  1. In a bowl mix flour, baking powder, sugar and spices; combine well.
  2. Add butter and milk to flour mixture and combine with spoon, then knead until dough comes together.
  3. Cover dough and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
  4. once dough has rested, preheat oven to 350 F.
  5. Divide dough equally into 8 rounds about 75 g; lightly grease mold with a flavorless oil.
  6. Dip individual dough ball into oil from one side and place in center of mold. Press dough out to cover mold. oil hand to help spread dough. Turn mold over and slowly release dough  from the edge and let carefully fall onto hand. transfer to baking sheet.
  7. Bake on middle rack until edges start to brown; about 15 minutes. Switch to broil until Kaik is golden brown.
  8. Remove onto cooling rack; store in air tight container.

Shaybiyet – شعيبييات

This dessert is one of those things that looks very impressive and difficult yet is very easy to make. The perfect thing to serve guests you want to wow! It is light and delicious, and oh so easy to eat more than you should – don’t say we didn’t warn you!

This took us a couple of tries to get the perfect kashta to phyllo balance, and the perfect method to getting the kashta inside the phyllo. Here – we lay it all out for you! We hope you enjoy this lebanese cream filled pastry drizzled in simple syrup and topped with pistachios. It is irresistible.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 12-14 minutes
Yield: 24

Ingredients

  • 1 package Phyllo Paper
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1-1.5 recipe Kashta cream(depending on how much filling you desire)
  • 1 recipe Simple Syrup

Directions

  1. Layer 8-10 phyllo papers (~1/2 package) and cut phyllo paper into 12 equal squares.
    Tip: using a pizza cutter is easiest, and holding down the edges to ensure the phyllo paper doesn’t shift while you cut will give you a more even cut!
  2. Take each stacked square of phyllo paper, and dip entirely into melted butter, making sure to get both sides! Use a fork to fish the paper back out of the butter to avoid buttery fingers.
  3. Place onto baking sheet and fold over into a diamond shape, use a cannolli mold in the middle to keep space for cream filling.
    Tip: Don’t have a cannolli mold? You can create spacers using tin foil. The idea is to create a cavity inside the phyllo to allow for kashta filling later.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 with the remaining phyllo paper (other half of the package)
  5. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown and allow to cool before proceeding to fill.
    Tip: This can be done up to 2 days prior to eating and stored in an air tight container at room temperature!
  6. While shells are baking and cooling, prepare your kashta filling using our kashta recipe . Remember, you’ll need 1.5x the recipe for a full package of phyllo. Allow to cool before putting your dessert together! Remember, you can also prepare kashta a day or two ahead of time.
  7. Using a piping bag, pipe kashta cream directly into the open cavity of the phyllo paper, until completely filled. For best results, fill one side and then the other instead of piping into one side only.
    Tip: Do this step immediately prior to serving to get the freshest results.
  8. Dip sides of the shaybiyet into ground pistachios (optional)
  9. Top with simple syrup and sprinkly ground pistachios and ENJOY!