Kaak (Lebanese crackers)

October 20, 2010  • 

 

Kaak is a dry breadstick covered with toasted sesame seeds and flavored with mahlab, a very popular spice in the Lebanese pastry world.

A traditional kaak recipe is available here.


Kaak is also  made with grape molasses, which makes it sweet and richer-tasting. It can be flavored with zaatar, which gives it a little pungent taste. Kaak is not sweet as a rule. It comes in three basic shapes, a stick, a small ring or a little button. It is offered  in every neighborhood bakery. In the US, kaak can be found at Middle-Eastern grocers.

I could not live without a daily consumption of kaak. Love that crunchy and light texture.

Kaak can be used in lieu of breadcrumbs as a coating for breaded meat or fish; to add texture and body to a sauce.  A  few seconds in the food processor is all that is required.

I like it for breakfast with a cup of coffee. And for an afternoon snack, with a cup of tea. And whenever I feel like munching on something that is not an apple or a carrot.

The above photo is of a tiny restaurant in Beirut that is mentioned in every tour guide. Subsequently, most of its patrons are foreigners wanting to get a taste of the couleur locale (a feel for the place).

My daughter had insisted that we go there one night, so we went and had dinner. The place is, well, grungy. The food is good in a homestyle from the fifties kind of way; stews and  traditional dishes are offered which are tasty but in which the amount of fat is unrestrained.

What amused me the most was the behavior of the owner (or manager) who was wearing a stained shirt and parked himself in front of the door. Every time he spotted someone walking by (even if it was across the street) he would bellow out in English ” WELCOME!!!!!”; his voice  so deep and raspy (everyone smokes in Lebanon), he’d jolt  the passers-by out of their wits and manage  to get a few of them into his eatery.


Comments

22 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. ++MIRA++ says:

    thx, now u have me craving Kaak w shay!

    my fav one is the zaatar falvored.

  2. Sonia says:

    Nice to know what your normally eat in Beirut.

  3. Recettes gourmandes says:

    bonjour joumana, merci pour ce beau partage, ils ont l’air délicieux, j’aimerai bien y gouter, merci chef

  4. deeba says:

    I want to see how these beauties are made Joumana. They sound delish!

  5. meredith says:

    I just made this with roasted red peppers…I can’t wait for lunch! Thanks for the recipe.

  6. Joanne says:

    I always get kind of bored with breadsticks but with the grape molasses added to this, I know it must be anything BUT boring.

  7. Heavenly Housewife says:

    Sonds like a quirky but really charming place to visit.
    *kisses* HH

  8. peanutts says:

    looks tempting, I like your little review about the restaurent, 😀

  9. A Canadian Foodie says:

    Fat unrestrained sounds like the cooking in the former Yugoslavia countryside. Unbelievable. Kaak looks different than I had imagined. Good to know.
    🙂
    Valerie

  10. Hélène (Cannes) says:

    A essayer avec plein de zataar !!!
    Bisous
    Hélène

  11. mariya says:

    marhaba! oh my goodness i am so happy i found your blog. i love arab food, i’m actually learning to speak arabic right now (i’m orignially from india.) looking forward to dropping by again! 🙂

  12. Joie de vivre says:

    The description of the store owner had me giggling. I guess persistence pays off!

  13. SYLVIA says:

    To me kaaak is a perfect dunking partner. I grew up eating these dainty crackers, and it has been part of my childhood favorite ever since. It’s always popular with adults and children alike, and it surely delights hungry tummies.

  14. Priya says:

    Cute looking kaak..

  15. Juliana says:

    Wow, these crackers sure look tasty with all the goodies on it 🙂

  16. peter says:

    I love savory cookies and biscuits with cheeses and like you, even more in the morning.

  17. Dana says:

    They look kind of like pretzels, are they at all similar?

  18. Melida says:

    Hi, your blog is great, but I am trying to go to the kaak recipes and it isn’t working. Would you mind adding teh recipes? TXS

  19. Noha Baz says:

    mmmHHH look so good!
    i love Kaak too.as a kid we used to have it with a piece af amareddinne and chay!!

  20. Soma says:

    Just recently I made the Kaak, but in the traditional purse way. Loved it. we had it with some sumac and dipped in olive oil.

  21. Takisha Sabourin says:

    Super-Duper site! I am loving it!! Will come back again – taking you feeds also, Thanks.

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