Category Archives: Appetizers and Dips or Mezze

Turnovers with red pepper dip (Fatayer mhammara)

 A well-known kebab restaurant chain dropped-off at the door of every building in our neighborhood a new menu titled “Holy Season Fasting Menu”; it featured only vegetarian dishes suitable to those following Lent. In the savory pastries section, turnovers (fatayer) were listed stuffed with muhammara or red pepper/walnut dip. I cheated a bit and stuffed half […]
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Iranian eggplant dip (Kashk-e bademjan)

I had this eggplant dish in Dallas once, made by a Persian friend of my Irish neighbor’s, and loved it;  there are a ton of Persian restaurants in So. California, a handful in Dallas, yet I have not seen a single one in Beirut. In any case, when an Iranian exhibit opened here last year, […]
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Olive salad (salatet al-zeytun)

  Olives are such a fundamental component of the Lebanese diet (olive trees are everywhere), that it is unthinkable to start or finish a meal without gobbling a few. There is even a saying “Bread and olives are the best there is” khubz w-zeytun ahsan ma ykoon. My mother used to repeat it quite often while […]
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Cauliflower fritters

I found this recipe in a cookbook I bought recently while in Kurdistan (Iraq); the cookbook was in Arabic and featured the recipes of a very popular TV cooking chef personality in the Arab world, Mrs Manal el-Alem. It took reading a few recipes until I realized the book had been pirated because none of […]
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Shawarma in kibbeh (Akrass al-kibbeh bel-shawarma)

Kibbeh is ubiquitous here; not only is it Lebanon’s national dish but it would be unthinkable to lay down a mezze table without having a plate of small appetizer-size kibbeh balls.  The idea to split the kibbeh open and stuff them with sweet things comes from Aleppo (Syria); kibbeh get stuffed with cherries, quince or […]
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