I met Anas Chao first through a series of e-mails. He was a follower of this blog, and was going to be in Beirut and suggested we meet. We became fast friends and ended-up exploring the old souks of Sidon together. Anas speaks fluent Lebanese Arabic, resides in Taipei, but grew up in the Kingdom […]
I have become quite fond of this Bedouin lady, Nujud, who roams the streets of Beirut with her knapsack hawking her wild herbs; I can hear her from four stories up “khobbeyzeh w zaatar!” she repeats in her direct and farm-like intonation. I hurry down and get some fresh, wild, zaatar; it is growing […]
Jreesh is cracked wheat. Let’s not confuse cracked wheat and bulgur; bulgur is parboiled and cracked wheat is just cracked. Both are wheat. They look similar. A popular ingredient in baking and cooking in the South of the country. In Beirut, some bakeries specialize in this type of man’ooshe or flatbread, called jreesh.
Jreesh can […]
Making one’s own zaatar spice mix is the ultimate slow-food activity in Lebanon; I had been toying with the idea for years and wanted some pointers from local Lebanese mountain folks who could steer me away from the pitfalls. Everybody in the village forages and makes their own, of course; but this time, I was […]
Zaatar comes in many varieties in Lebanon; heard from a couple of sources that the total count was in excess of 133! The one above is called green (akhdar), and gets foraged and used in salads. The equivalent could be wild savory. It is pungent and good with grilled meat as well. Chef Mattar […]
I made these and promptly ate them in a couple of days; you can use your favorite rolls recipe just add the zaatar paste before baking them. I confess to holding an advantage as zaatar is available in Lebanon from many sources; you get to pick and choose. In the US, zaatar (the mix) […]
I followed this man, Salah.
Zaatar is having a growth spurt this time of year and I happily accepted an offer from Salah, gentleman-farmer (originally from Egypt), to show me where and how to forage wild zaatar; there are several varieties of zaatar and this one is elongated and called dukka; folks like to eat […]
Someone asked me if I had tried zaatar with pine seeds. Pine seeds? I knew pine nuts; pine cones; that was about it! Turns out it was a special type of zaatar that was sold in the Barouk Forest Reserve. Had to get the story on this one.
This is a type of zaatar sold […]
I can safely say that one of the foods that a Lebanese would miss the most when outside of Lebanon is zaatar; not just any zaatar. Zaatar that was foraged by a relative or friend, dried properly for weeks, ground and mixed with the right amount of sumac and sesame and salt.
Sure, zaatar is […]
What goes by kaak is usually either a dry bread or roll or a biscuit, more often than not covered with sesame seeds. This kaak includes some zaatar in the batter and is savory and can be made in a jiffy in a mixer or processor. Perfect for something to nibble on with a […]