Tabbouleh is a traditional Middle Eastern vegetarian dish traditionally made of tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, mint, bulgur and onion, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Some variations add garlic or lettuce, or use couscous instead of bulgur.
After Taboulleh, Fattoush is the most well-known salad of Syria, and for many, the sharp flavour of the sumac in the dressing, the crunchiness of the chunky cuts of tomato, cucumber and radish, and the thin baked pieces of bread to soak up the dressing, make it the county’s favourite salad. Syrians often eat fattoush by spooning a manageable amount into a lettuce or vine leaf, wrapping it up into a little parcel and eating it with the fingers.
Freekeh with chicken
Similar to the popular dish riz a’djaj (poached chicken served on rice), this recipe uses toasted freekeh wheat with its distinctive nutty taste. The wheat is cooked slowly like a risotto with chicken stock, minced meat, spices and onion until it is soft and flavoursome. The dish is then piled high onto a serving platter and served with poached chicken pieces, Syrian truffle (if available), pine nuts and almonds
Kibbeh bil sanieh
Syria’s national dish of minced meat and burghul is so deeply loved that over the years its fans have found many different ways to prepare it. The secret is using fresh, very finely minced meat. This is carefully spiced then served raw, baked or fried in endlessly varying shapes, often with delicious fillings.
This recipe is for a kind of kibbeh sandwich: a layer of cooked, spiced meat and pine nuts is pressed between two layers of fine kibbeh, then baked and served in wedges like pieces of cake. Serve with salad and drained yoghurt (natural yoghurt that has been drained in muslin until thick).
Syrian Lamb with Green Beans and Rice
Saute the lamb chops in butter so they are brown on both sides. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaf, red pepper and seasoning and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of water and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the green beans and tomatoes. Cover and cook for 1 hour on a medium fire checking occasionally to be sure the lamb mixture is not boiling too rapidly. The beans will be cooked more than we are used to but they will be bathed in the lamb tomato mixture which is divine.
Syrian cigar nut pastries with orange-honey cream
This is definitely one for the sweet-toothed pudding addict. This taste sensation uses chopped almonds, pistachios and walnuts with brown sugar, orange-blossom water and filo pastry. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and add sugar syrup and orange-honey cream.
Who doesn’t like Baklawa? The sound of the hot syrup as it’s poured onto the hot pastry is one of the best things, only surpassed by the sound of your first crunchy bite into this golden delicacy. Stick some vanilla ice cream on top, a couple of pistachios and you are sorted.
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