Tag Archives: Tabouleh

Lebanese Feast

6 May

In early April, I blogged about making cheese and the search for my cooking mojo. It was a two-pronged attack: to return to blogging after a long absence and rekindle my love for cooking. I’m glad to say that I feel inspired again to both blog and cook. I’m even getting excited about the opportunity to share my food and travel experience with you in June.

I also promised to post about the Lebanese Feast which I was planning for an overdue dinner with a handful of friends. As with all my dinners, the diners get to choose the cuisine. The other options included Asian, Brazilian, Pizza, Mexican, Vegetarian, Vegan or low-n-slow. But choice is not the only thing. Suffer from a food allergy? Just say so! Don’t like tomatoes? I will prepare a non-tomato based dish. I feel it’s my duty to please everyone, something I’ve inherited from my mother. Thankfully I didn’t have to cater to special dietary requirements this time.

The Lebanese Feast menu included:

Mezzes

mezze

Clockwise from top left: Pistachios, Labneh, Tarator, Olives & Fetta Cheese

Main & Sides

lebanese feast

Clockwise from top left: Baba Ganoush, Tarator, Labneh, Kibbeh, Tabouleh, Fatoush, Homous (I ran out of time otherwise I would have included Falafel too)

Desserts

Baklava and Mafroukeh

I don’t have recipes for each dish because I’ve made them so many times it’s almost instinctive. However, the recipes for the desserts were sourced from other blogs (links provided below). The Lebanese don’t usually make desserts at home but not having the luxury of “sweetery” nearby meant I had to make it myself. I was happy with the result considering it was my first attempt.

I have included a glossary for those who aren’t familiar with Lebanese food at the footer of this page and can provide recipes if interested, just let me know ;).

Step-By-Step Pictorial Guide

Baba Ganoush

smoked eggplantpeeled eggplantpeeled eggplant with garlic

tahinibaba ganoushbaba ganoush 

Fatoush

pomegranate extractfatoush dressingfried lebanese bread

making fatoushfatoush salad

Tabouleh

(For recipe click here)

tabouleh

Kibbeh

making kibbehkibbeh mixture

making bottom kibbeh layerkibbeh layers

filling over bottom layertop layer on

kibbeh ready for baking

Baklava

(For recipe click here)

orange blossom waterlayering baklavarolled and chopped baklava

baklava ready for bakingcrushed raw pistachios

baklavabaklava tray

Mafroukeh

(For recipe click here)

dry roasting semolinaroasted semolina

sugar syrup with orange blossom watermafroukeh topped with ricotta and almonds

 

Glossary:

Baba Ganoush – smoked eggplant dip with tahini, lemon juice, garlic & salt

Baklava – sugar syrup coated puff pastry stuffed with nuts & flavored with orange blossom water or rose water

Fatoush – peasant salad of cos lettuce, radish, fried Lebanese bread, tomato, cucumbers & dressed with a pomegranate extract, lemon, olive oil & salt dressing

Kibbeh – baked layers of ground lamb, wheat, basil, onion, spices and filled with lamb mince, pine nuts, onion & mint

Homous – chick pea dip with tahini, lemon juice, garlic & salt

Labneh – strained yoghurt almost with a consistency like cream cheese

Mafroukeh – roasted semolina mixed with sugar syrup topped with clotted cream & crunchy almonds

Orange Blossom Water – essentially distilled water from orange blossom flowers for scenting syrups

Tahine (Tahini) – sesame seed paste

Tarator – tahini sauce with lemon, garlic, vinegar, water & salt

Takeaway Tabouleh

16 Jul

IMG02326-20120624-1515 IMG02328-20120624-1553 IMG02332-20120624-1618

IMG02348-20120626-2039

You may be wondering why I’m blogging about Tabouleh when there are thousands, if not millions of recipes out there. The answer is partially that many don’t pass the authenticity test. Furthermore, there are those prohibited recipes that call for a food processor which can entice the lazy cook with the promise that it will taste just the same.

Whilst there are a set of rules to conform to when it comes to making Tabouleh, one is still able to showcase their individuality through varying the proportions according to personal taste. Personally, I prefer it with more mint and less burlgar, others with less mint and more burlgar. However, the ingredients that give Tabouleh its unique character should not be substituted with those that don’t feature in the purest form of this salad. While Cous Cous and curly leaf parsley score negatively on the authenticity test, they are acceptable in cases where bulgar and flat leaf aren’t readily available. I for one had to settle (cringing) for curly leaf parsley after committing to making Tabouleh prior to checking if flat leaf was available where I was at the time.

I have been gifted with countless opportunities since I started on solid foods to sample Tabouleh at restaurants perched high in the picturesque mountains of north Lebanon, to the middle eastern stronghold of Lakemba and Punchbowl in Sydney at places such as Jasmin and El Manara; not to mention at birthdays, weddings, picnics, barbecues and in the homes of aunts, uncles, grandmas, and of course in my mother’s kitchen. Each Tabouleh was mentally verified against my authenticity checklist, but I’m not one to spoil the party. Giving constructive feedback on food always places one at risk of snobbery (even when done in good faith).

The other reason behind this post? I was recently asked by a friend for my Tabouleh recipe. I didn’t have one. So, I followed up by making his newly arrived bride and he a tub of takeaway Tabouleh and promised to note down the recipe for a subsequent posting.

You’ll need:

  • 1 large bunch of flat leaf parsley
  • 1 bunch of mint
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 4 -5 cos lettuce leaves
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 3 tablespoons of bulgar
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 4 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • salt

Wash the parsley, mint, tomatoes and lettuce.

Start by placing the bulgar at the base of your bowl.

Pour lemon juice over the bulgar: there’s no need to soak it in water if you have a couple of hours for the bulgar to soak up the lemon juice.

Peel and dice the onion, rub it with salt and then place in the bowl over the bulgar.

Dice the tomatoes and layer over onion.

Gather the parsley into small bunches and align stalks, place a rubber band at the base of the bunch and chop finely with a sharp knife.

Chop up the mint (including the stalks if they are soft and thin, as that’s where all the flavour lies) then layer over parsley.

Chop up the lettuce leaves into long thin strips and then cross ways, then layer over mint.

Add olive oil and toss through, taste and add more salt if required.

Tip: If you do not intend to serve immediately, don’t add the olive oil and don’t toss it through: just cover with cling wrap and set in the fridge. It won’t go soggy if you layer it as described above.

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