Although Lebanon is a small country but over the course of history many civilizations settled here bringing their own culinary creations and passing it on to us. Ottoman and Levantine cuisine has great influence on Lebanese kitchen and similarly, most dishes use olive oil, garlic, parsley and lemon. I love how Lebanese are rooted in traditions but also easily embrace modernity and move abreast. They developed an eclectic mix of food and made dining the center of every get-together, no matter what the occasion is. I wonder if this is gonna be ever the same after the confinement because of the covid19 virus. I can’t imagine Sunday without family reunions and summers without sunset drinks on the terrace.
Breakfast also includes marvelous options. From the savory list like manakish, kishik, balila or the sweet list, like knefeh, sahlab, honey areesheh cheese; Food here is taken seriously. Lebanon’s fertile soil grow flavorful produce, I think one has to taste it locally to really understand what I’m talking about. I was so happy with my foul mudammas this morning that I have been itching to share the recipe with you.
1 x 400g cooked broad beans or canned foul mudammas, drained
1/3 cup of water
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup tahini
1/3 olive oil
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 stem green onion, finely chopped
1 tomato, diced
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
In a small saucepan, over medium low heat, place the broad beans with water and bring to heat.
Add lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, salt, pepper and cumin. Reduce to desired consistency.
Return beans to plate and top with tomatoes, green (or spring) onions and parsley.
Taste and adjust seasoning if desired and serve with bread.
TIP: I think spring onions or onions are essential in this recipe and don’t forget to drizzle with extra olive oil before eating.
Many 5 stars hotels in Turkey greet you with a cup of Sahlab or Salep at arrival. This drink was introduced to Lebanese by Ottomans. Originally it consists of milk and orchid flour, but now many cafés prepare it with milk, sugar and cornstarch. I personally use Sahlab mix, they are available in many brands in Lebanon and all over the world. You just mix it with hot milk and ready in a-snap-of-a-finger! Some add orange blossom water or honey, others top it with pistachios and shredded coconut, but I like it the way dad used to make it, sprinkled with cinnamon and served with kaak on the side.
This thick creamy drink has higher demand on cold winter days, just perfect to snuggle on the sofa with. but I love that during summer it can be found among ice cream flavors.
Sahlab is popular throughout the Middle East, and heard from my vegan friends that it can be done with soya milk.
If you can get Sahlab -Salep- fine powder, here below the recipe!
2 cups milk
1 1/2 tsp ground sahlab
pinch (or a bit more) of ground mastic
2 tbsp sugar
Dissolve the mastic in 1/3 cup warm milk. Set aside.
On a medium heat, pour the rest of the milk and bring to boil. Add the Sahlab by sprinkling gradually and stirring. Keep stirring for about 5 minutes.
Add sugar and stir. Transfer the mastic milk mixture and stir to form a thick creamy milk.
Serve hot sprinkled with cinnamon and with your favorite brioche or kaak.