Potato salad, Southern Lebanese-style (Batata bel-Kammooneh)

Two people in the last 24 hours have had a similar answer to my question: What is the appeal of Lebanon for you?

A  24-year old Dutch man  answered: “I  love the warmth of the people; and I enjoy watching the crazy driving“.

A  50 year-old French man said: ” Beyond the warmth of the inhabitants, I love the chaos of the country (le bordel)”.

Coming from highly organized countries, they see Lebanon as a place where anything goes; a place where people are extraverted and fun and super-friendly and  undisciplined and adaptable  and enterprising.

An extended visit to Lebanon also reveals a richness and diversity in landscapes and cuisines; take this dish for instance: the kammooneh is a typical Southern Lebanese creation, an unusual pesto-like blend of spices combining basil and walnuts and chili peppers and cumin and rose petals; normally combined with bulgur, here I mixed it with potatoes for a rich and summery potato salad with a twist.

INGREDIENTS:

  • A handful of basil leaves
  • A handful of mint leaves
  • 1 or 2 chili peppers
  • A handful of walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • a few dried rose petals
  • olive oil, as needed
  • one smallish onion, cut in quarters
  • salt, pepper, as needed
  • one half-pound of potatoes

METHOD:

  1. Boil the potatoes and cool a bit; peel and dice; set aside.
  2. In a food processor or blender, place all the ingredients and process to a paste; taste and adjust seasoning.
  3. Mix with the diced potatoes and serve at room temperature.

Recipe inspired by Nada Saleh  Splendor of the Levant and adapted.




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30 Comments

  1. Posted July 29, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    That is an unusual salad! I really like that flavor combination. Scrumptious!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. Posted July 29, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful salad! Most of your remarks could be applied to Polish people :)

  3. Posted July 29, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    What a wonderful salad! The rose petals add so much elegance and I love the walnuts in there for crunch.

  4. Posted July 29, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    How great is that… basil and roses?? This looks wonderful with potatoes or the original bulgar… must make!

  5. Posted July 29, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Wow! Such interesting combination of flavors! I enjoy your culinary point of view. Thanks for another great post.

  6. Posted July 29, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    A rustic yet tasty salad. I’ll be trying this one when the weather warms up! Beautiful presentation

  7. Posted July 29, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    This potato salad has such depth to it.
    Wonderful combination of flavours.

    I hope to one day experience Lebanon…especially Beirut…it sounds excitingly mysterious ;o)

    Ciao for now,
    Claudia

  8. SYLVIA
    Posted July 29, 2010 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    This salad has the most unexpected addition the dried rose petals. I like how the walnuts are pinned on the potatoes, and the herbs give it a pure earthy flavor.
    It’s funny how little touch, and presentation can make all the difference. This is a modern twist on potato salad.
    Joumana, you should be a food stylist.

  9. Posted July 30, 2010 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    Thats a delicious salad, looks yumm..

  10. Posted July 30, 2010 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    unusual combination, wonder how it tastes like with the addition of rose petals

  11. Posted July 30, 2010 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    i love the addition of those walnuts–they must provide both a fabulous crunch and a delicious flavor!

  12. Posted July 30, 2010 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    What a delicious combination of flavors! I love the pesto base – so much healthier than our mayonnaise-based potato salads.

  13. Posted July 30, 2010 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Wow! This one will shake things up around the farm. Great change of pace, something new to try that will quickly become a family fave.

  14. Posted July 30, 2010 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Hmmm, another mouth watering recipe. Thanks Joumana :)

  15. Posted July 30, 2010 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Love your Lebanese take to this popular potato salad, good combination of flavours. I was thinking about my fascination for Lebanon despite have never been there – I have met some of the most delightful people in my life both in Brazil where I was born and then in England that are Lebanese, and the food has obviously been another great factor. I also LOVE Chateau Musar, and always buy a bottle or two when I am feeling generous.

    Lovely post.

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  16. Posted July 30, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    I guess crazy driving is a characteristic common to all Mediterranean countries. I do not know why this happens. Perhaps is the Mediterranean temperament, the fact that we are insubordinate in a way. The salad looks very promising.

  17. Posted July 30, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Oh my, Joumana, I LOVE the sounds of this salad!! How inspired to add rose petals! :-)

  18. Posted July 30, 2010 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    A very unique potato salad!

  19. Posted July 31, 2010 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    Beautiful and delicious salad..

  20. Posted July 31, 2010 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Anything goes – a fantastic motto for cooking! And your cultural descriptions so make me want to visit Lebanon. That and the food, of course! This potato salad looks awesome!

  21. Posted July 31, 2010 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    We just so happen to have some extra potatoes from stocking up last night’s soup. I’m trying this this week!

  22. Posted July 31, 2010 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Une salade de pomme de terres avec toutes ces herbes, ca ne peut etre qu’excellent! moi aussi j’aime bien les pays un peu”bordeliques” comme tu dis, c’est beaucoup plus drôle que les pays trop rigoureux, genre militaires ou tout le monde suit les règles à la lettre par crainte de se faire reprimander par les autorités, ceci-dit je je citerai aucun nom :o) – tu me donnes envie d’aller faire un tour au Liban en tout cas!

  23. Posted July 31, 2010 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    What a great dish, the color is just beautiful…

  24. Posted August 1, 2010 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    salut joumana
    elle me plait bien ta petite salade estivale !! pas trop chaud chez vous en ce moment ?!!pierre

  25. Posted August 1, 2010 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Beautiful salaad. Potatoes are so versatile adapting to so many wonderful flavors.
    Mimi

  26. Posted August 1, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    The walnuts and rose petals are unusual but very tempting! I suppose the “carpe diem” mentality is good to a certain point. Probably a way to cope with the daily issues in the country.

  27. Posted August 1, 2010 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    It’s funny, my husband and I are acquainted with someone who is from Lebanon and he mentioned something about the driving, too, recently. Having said that, it’s here on your site that I’ve learned the most about Lebanon, the people, the sights, the food. Thank you.

    This salad is beautiful. I would never have expected the use of dried rose petals but this is why I’m a fan of your blog. :-)

  28. Posted August 2, 2010 at 1:23 am | Permalink

    LOVE all potato salads and plan to serve this one tonight, when we have a bunch of folk coming over. I don’t usually experiment on my guests but I know I can trust your recipes. I am a bit greedier though – I allow half a pound of potatoes per person…

  29. Tamar
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Love your recepies.
    Hope someday we\ll live in peace & quiet from both sides of the border.

  30. Posted August 12, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I’d love to visit Lebanon – Beth from Dirty Kitchen Secrets is from there too and currently posting from there and between the both of you, I’m drooling. So many new flavours and combinations, a truly fascinating cuisine.

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