Incense flavored food

September 28, 2013  •  Category:


Food has been flavored with incense in Lebanon, in communities across the board; usually, pastries, such as maamoul or pudding such as khabeessa ( a walnut studded jelly made with grape molasses or plain sugar); a popular drink too, jellab, based on date and raisin molasses is incense-flavored. 

In any case, flavoring food with incense is not difficult. It is simply a matter of heating a couple of pieces of coal till incandescent, topping them with the incense stones of your choice immediately releasing  an intoxicating aroma of heavy incense; to secure the incense, I went to a general store in Beirut which claimed it was the original one; never mind, they are all the original ones and sell everything under the sun from fertilizers to spices to gardening tools; in addition, they are all decked with a generous amount of dust and memories. 


1. Heat the coal piece (or pieces).


2. As soon as it is red-hot or incandescent, transfer to the vessel you are planning to use (it could be just a solid metal incense-burner or bowl or solid glassware. Top it with the incense pieces to allow them to smoke.


3. To infuse the dessert or dough or pudding, cover with a bigger bowl for about 15 minutes; this is sufficient time for the food to be take on  the taste of the incense. Adjust the time according to your taste and desire.





14 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. deana@lostpast says:

    I would love to know what they use for the incense??? What are the perfumes they use for the smoke?

    • Joumana says:

      @Deana, Maija, Alicia: The incense stones I bought at the store released a very strong church fragrance; I imagine one can get different scents, depending on the bark of the tree being used. I will ask the man at the general store next.

  2. Maija Haavisto says:

    Very interesting! Which fragrances would you recommend for this?

  3. Alicia (foodycat) says:

    That is so fascinating! And modern British chefs think they are being so modern and innovative doing just the same thing! Does it matter what sort of incense you use? I’d be a bit worried about using the cheap nag champa sticks we buy!

  4. Rosa says:

    That is very interesting! Those incense infused dishes must have an unique flavor.



  5. Gabi says:

    Great images. I’m really impressed. Think I can smell the fragrance through the net. The incense available locally I would hardly dare to use for internal consumption. Nothing but chemistry I’m afraid. Maybe I’ll have the chance to experience the real stuff some time.

  6. Belinda @zomppa says:

    A wonderful idea – love the smell, but never thought to infuse food!

  7. Laura@Silkroadgourme says:

    Fabulous! I love this post! Love to learn from you, Joumana! THX!

  8. Nuts about food says:

    Learned something new again!

  9. Tim Friese says:

    Wow, this is new to me. Thank you for the post!

  10. Rami says:

    During Easter, my mother uses this incense to infuse the walnut filling for the ma’amoul pastries; it gives it an almost ecclesiastical feel. I believe the incense that is typically used is Bakhour al Jouri.

  11. Stephen says:

    Hello there!

    I like this idea seems fantastic, I’ll be sure to hold onto this tip.

    I was also inquiring to see if i can use that picture for personal purposes!

    Thanks for your time! Take care everyone.

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