Another Lebanese Dessert, the Snayniyeh!

Lebanese are very special when it comes to languages. I, like many Lebanese, speak to my daughter in French, send her to a school where she learns English and Arabic and lives in a country where the spoken language is Lebanese.

Gulf countries have a translation for every foreign word while we Lebanese have our own mishmash of languages, we don’t mind speaking 3 languages in one sentence; if it’s a computer then let’s call it a computer and not “hassoub”, and if French call it Filet, don’t think hard, everybody knows what Filet de boeuf is. I love this! It’s not complicated!

So when Kaia, asks me: “Mom what is cheese in Arabic?”, I proudly answer: “Jibneh”, but if she asks: “What is Cheese Cake?”. I answer: “It’s Cheese Cake!” Who knows what Gateau jibin is!

This morning she asked: “What is Snayniyeh in French?” I said: “It’s Snayniyeh!”. “And in English?” I answered: “Also Snayniyeh!”. She smiled and said: “It’s funny!

Fair enough, no? Italians have Tiramisu and Panna cotta we Lebanese have Snayniyeh and Meghleh. Why try calling it anything else!

Every name hides a little story behind. Snayniyeh is derived from “snan”, which means teeth in Lebanese and this scrumptious dessert is usually prepared to celebrate the appearance of a child’s first tooth. A sure phenomenal event for every mom!

I love our traditions! Meghleh to celebrate the birth of a child, Snayniyeh for teething, Maamoul for Easter and Awwamat for Ghtas (Christ’s baptismal night), isn’t it sweet☺

The name Snayniyeh put a smile on many faces as it brings back sweet memories! It’s simple and healthy and this is how I make it.


  • 1cup hulled wheat, washed and rinsed (in Arabic ameh ma’chour)
  • 1lt water
  • 1 large pomegranate, peeled and seeded
  • 3/4cup icing sugar
  • 1/2cup orange-blossom water
  • 1/2cup pistachios, soaked in water for about 1 hour
  • 1/2cup almonds, soaked in water for about 1 hour
  • 1/2cup walnuts, soaked in water for about 1 hour
  • 1/2cup sugared chick peas


  1. Cook the wheat in boiling water for an hour or until tender and all the liquid has been absorbed.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in icing sugar and orange-blossom water.
  3. Mix with the pomegranate seeds.
  4. Scatter the rest of the ingredients on the top and serve hot or cold.

27 thoughts on “Another Lebanese Dessert, the Snayniyeh!

  1. What a beautiful story! My son’s first tooth came in a few months ago, but I would still like to make this. I love how the chickpeas have taken on the pomegrenate colour!

  2. Great blog… thanks for visiting mine so I could find yours… Maybe you could consider getting a Pinterest link button for the recipes… (Just a thought so we could keep track of them easier) Needless to say.. I love food…. LOL 😀

  3. After looking at the recipe, I see why you would celebrate getting teeth! Having the best experience with this would require a few. You post wonderful, healthful recipes and your prose is very soulful. Lebanese culture is remarkable – thanks for the little exposure. Thanks also, so much, for joining my fun! I look forward to your visits . . . . . . .

  4. I always wondered what it was that the Lebanese made for this occasion, after a friend told me about it. She described it as a pudding and I’m really intrigued to now try this out and see how it tastes. I think Pine Nuts would be divine in this, even though less pretty.

  5. So happy I found your website! My daughters first tooth just came out yesterday and I was freaking out cause I didn’t have a snayneye recipe! Will make this today 🙂
    Maya are you on twitter?

  6. lovely recipe.. thank you Maya : ).. i’m preparing it for my 7 month Sofia who had her 2 lower teeth peeping up recently.. but without the pomegranate because it’s out of season now..

    Concerning the mishmashing of the way we talk,.. i’m somehow pessimistic about it : ) because it is one of those phenomenons with a continual and fast metamorphosis overtime. Unless we do something about it, our future generations will end up talking like parrots in a few decades, a language without principles nor rules, nor they will be able to be creative with it because it is in a continual change and vulgar from an intellectual, creative and traditional view. “hi..salut kifak? hi toi, kifik ente?” may be trendy today but in a decade or less it will be outdated and replaced by other foreign words, so if someone composes beautiful poetry in “Lebanese mishmash” today, it will sound silly and old fashioned in 10 or 15 years. This phenomenon is also affecting our Arabic heritage and literature from a creative perspective. Kids at school hate Arabic lessons at maybe more than 85% and especially its grammar lessons. In other Arab countries, kids grow-up loving Arabic and a good percentage enjoy making calligraphy and writing poetry with it from a young age. I think we can call our lebanese language a “Fashion language” which keeps changing according to what is trendy every year.. i think it reflects our social structure as well, chaotic and unstable.. i hope you allow me to change the subject a little but over a cup of Snayniyye people talk of just about anything.. yalla ciao.. w merci ktir ktiir 3al recette.. bye 🙂

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