October 20, 2010 • Category: Savory Pastries
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.
22 Comments • Comments Feed
thx, now u have me craving Kaak w shay!
my fav one is the zaatar falvored.
On October 20, 2010 at 1:08 am
Mira, me too! I will mention this one now.Thanks, I forgot!
Deeba, I have a recipe if you like, for the plain ones
On October 20, 2010 at 9:52 am
Nice to know what your normally eat in Beirut.
On October 20, 2010 at 1:20 am
Recettes gourmandes says:
bonjour joumana, merci pour ce beau partage, ils ont l’air délicieux, j’aimerai bien y gouter, merci chef
On October 20, 2010 at 3:55 am
I want to see how these beauties are made Joumana. They sound delish!
On October 20, 2010 at 4:28 am
I just made this with roasted red peppers…I can’t wait for lunch! Thanks for the recipe.
On October 20, 2010 at 5:45 am
I always get kind of bored with breadsticks but with the grape molasses added to this, I know it must be anything BUT boring.
On October 20, 2010 at 7:24 am
Heavenly Housewife says:
Sonds like a quirky but really charming place to visit.
On October 20, 2010 at 8:35 am
looks tempting, I like your little review about the restaurent, 😀
On October 20, 2010 at 9:14 am
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.
On October 20, 2010 at 9:28 am
Hélène (Cannes) says:
A essayer avec plein de zataar !!!
On October 20, 2010 at 11:13 am
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! 🙂
On October 20, 2010 at 12:45 pm
Joie de vivre says:
The description of the store owner had me giggling. I guess persistence pays off!
On October 20, 2010 at 12:56 pm
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.
On October 20, 2010 at 1:53 pm
Cute looking kaak..
On October 20, 2010 at 3:03 pm
Wow, these crackers sure look tasty with all the goodies on it 🙂
On October 20, 2010 at 3:23 pm
I love savory cookies and biscuits with cheeses and like you, even more in the morning.
On October 20, 2010 at 6:44 pm
They look kind of like pretzels, are they at all similar?
On October 21, 2010 at 12:39 am
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
On October 21, 2010 at 4:43 pm
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!!
On October 25, 2010 at 6:39 am
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.
On November 4, 2010 at 8:24 am
Takisha Sabourin says:
Super-Duper site! I am loving it!! Will come back again – taking you feeds also, Thanks.
On December 27, 2010 at 4:17 pm