Tag Archives: lebanese traditional food

Mdardara – vegan lebanese lentil and rice pilaf

mdardara (vegan lentil and rice pilaf)|marmite et ponpon

This superfood goes beyond having health benefits to amaze you with its delicious taste. It’s only rice and lentils but surprisingly it is so tasty. Another vegan Lebanese traditional dish, fast and easy, to enjoy during lent season and all the time.

mdardara (vegan lentil and rice pilaf)|marmite et ponpon

To prepare this dish you will need:(4 servings)

  • 1 cup brown lentil, rinsed
  • 3/4 cup rice soaked for 10 minutes and drained
  • 2 medium onion coarsely chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cups of water
  • salt to taste
  • 4-5 onions cut a la julienne and fried for garnish

Boil the lentil in 3 cups of water until tender, but firm. Set aside.

Cook the onion in olive oil, until tender and fragrant, add the rice with 2 cups of water and cook. Add the lentils in the last 5 minutes to cook all together. Add salt to your taste.

Fry 4-5 medium onion cut a la julienne until caramelized to top the mdardara before serving. I believe this caramelized onion takes the dish to the next level and adds the deep flavor that makes the difference!

mdardara (vegan lentil and rice pilaf)|marmite et ponponmdardara (vegan lentil and rice pilaf)|marmite et ponpon

The best way to eat mdardara is with Lebanese bread, as you may know it’s a staple on every Lebanese table; we eat bread with almost everything. Serve it with a green salad or vegetables such as radish, tomato, cucumber, spring onion… Some people serve it with yogurt.

mdardara (vegan lentil and rice pilaf)|marmite et ponponmdardara (vegan lentil and rice pilaf)|marmite et ponpon

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Makhlouta (mix grains soup)

makhloutaMixed is the literal translation for the word “makhlouta”. This traditional Lebanese soup consists of a medley of chickpeas, pinto beans (or any bean of your choice), lentils and bulgur. A great source of proteins and iron to serve well for people abstaining from eating meat during the lent period.

If you are vegetarian and this is your first introduction to makhlouta, trust me it will be on your to do list from now on. The ingredients look simple but the outcome is deep in flavor.

makhlouta 5You will need:

  • 1 cup chickpeas
  • 1 cup beans (of your choice but usually it’s pinto beans)
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 2 big onions finely diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • cumin powder for seasoning (optional)

Soak chickpeas and beans for overnight or at least 12 hours to double in size.

makhlouta 2

In a deep pot fry the onions in olive oil until tender and fragrant. When they start turning into golden brown color, drain out chickpeas and beans from water and add them to the onion then the lentils and bulgur. Pour 2 liters of water and cook on medium heat. When it starts boiling, reduce to low heat, cover the pot and let it simmer for an hour. If the water reduces feel free to add some more. The level of water should be always 2-3cm above the grains.

Serve hot with a sprinkle of cumin, it gives a nice deep flavor and helps with the digestion of the grains later. Some people like to add lemon juice for this purpose.

makhlouta 3This delicious soup serves 4-6 plates. It’s not an entree like other soups, lebanese people serve it as a main dish as it is so filling! It’s a hearty soup served in old days during winter to supply with the energy needed.

makhlouta 4

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a traditional lebanese dish, kibbeh bil sanyeh (meat kibbeh in a flat oven dish)

kibbeh bil sanyeh aka flat kibbeh baked in the oven, others call it sandwich kibbeh where ground meat and pine nuts are pressed between two layers of very fine minced beef with bulgur. One of the most popular dishes in lebanon. I can rarely find someone who doesn’t love kibbeh. Everytime i want to invite friends over lunch, they request kibbeh bil sanyeh. What a delicious dish!

kibbeh bil sanyeh

kibbeh bil sanyeh

Some of non middle easterners only knows the football shape kibbeh, the most served in lebanese restaurants. Let me tell you it’s more than that; there is various ways to cook kibbeh and this flat kibbeh baked in a deep dish is another way. It can also be served raw with fresh mint leaves, olive oil and onion!

Today i am posting the flat one, baked in the oven.

kibbeh bil sanyeh

15 inch dish serves 6 to 8 people, for that you need:

For the two layers kibbeh dough:

  • 800g finely minced beef
  • 4 cups bulgur
  • 2 tbsp salt

For the stuffing:

  • 400g ground beef
  • 3 medium onions
  • 80g pine seeds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sweet pepper

First you start by preparing the stuffing:

Bring the olive oil to heat,  add the onion and fry until tender and fragrant.

Add the ground beef and cook until brown then add the pine seeds, salt and pepper and keep cooking until well done. Turn off the heat and keep it aside to prepare the dough.

kibbeh bil sanyeh

soak the bulgur in water to become soft (about 10 minutes), then drain and add to the fine minced beef with salt and work it with your hands until it becomes consistent like a dough.

kibbeh bil sanyeh

Divide the dough in half. Grease the dish with vegetable oil, take one part and start spreading it evenly in the dish. When it’s all spread, the thickness is approx 8mm.

Bring the stuffing and spread it on the first layer.

Get the second part of the dough to cover the stuffing. Always wet your hands to even out the outer dough.

kibbeh bil sanyeh

Now the fun part of it! Decorating the upper part. Use a knife to divide it in 4 equal parts, design each part differently. This is how mum makes it.

kibbeh bil sanyeh

Preheat your oven to 220ºC.

Drizzle 1/2 cup of vegetable oil all over the kibbeh and put it in the oven for 35 minutes, until it’s golden brown.

kibbeh bil sanyeh

When you cut a wedge of this kibbeh bil sanyeh you see its whole thickness is of maximum 2cm.

kibbeh bil sanyeh

This is the traditional way to cut the kibbeh. Serving it as wedges like pieces of cake. But i like to cut it in square shape as well.

kibbeh bil sanyeh


Kibbeh bil sanyeh can be served with a cabbage salad or minted yogurt with cucumber dip.