Lebanese cuisine is often described as the most refined cuisine in the world. Herbs, spices and other flavorful ingredients are used for many small dishes, also known as 'mazza' or 'mezzes'. The lebanese recipes are becoming increasingly common in America and Lebanese restaurants in America are also getting huge fame in New-Brunswick. Do you know the reason why? Small dishes with lots of herbs, and beautiful wines are the reason for its popularity. Indeed, a nice, full red comes on the table from Evelyns Restaurant, with a blend of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and syrah. Wines in Lebanon are mostly based on the French way, considering the history (which is not surprising).
We of course know Hummus, Baba Ghanoush and Falafel. These are dishes that have long been introduced to Western cuisine. But the Lebanese cuisine is much more than that. How about chickpea puree (hummus) with tahini, lime, garlic and olive oil? Or beetroot with tahini, lime and olive oil. Lebanese food has a glance at the menu that shows we can get cold mazza here. Yes, mazza is a kind of dipping (a little spicy) sauce with lots of vegetables and a few herbs. We also see other special dishes such as spaghetti with yoghurt sauce, bulgur with fried lamb and sun-dried peppers. Good news for American vegans and vegetarians is: many dishes on the menu do not contain meat.
As said, most of the Lebanese cuisine are vegetarian but the mezze table can be ordered both vegetarian and with meat. We have listed a few dishes that are less known - but definitely worth trying in the hoottest kitches of New-Brunswick restaurants.
Mujaddara is originally from Lebanon, but you can actually find it in the entire Arab world. This is a dish with rice and lentils topped with fried onion. It is usually served as a side dish. It is delicious together with cucumber and yogurt for a fresh touch. It's a healthy, nutritious and budget-friendly dish to dine-in with your whole family again. Mujaddara is an old dish that seems to have helped many Palestinians through the war. The ingredients of this dish were easily available and not expensive.
Mloukhieh are the leaves of the Jute plant. In the Middle East, these leaves are eaten as vegetables. Mloukhieh is a bit bitter and the structure resembles that of okra. The leaves are first dried and later baked with coriander, garlic and red peppers in a little olive oil. The leaves are usually cooked after this process. This tasty dish is always served with some lemons on the table, which you can squeeze over the dish (if needed).
Sfiha is also known as Arabic pizza. Today these little pizzas are topped with lamb or beef. But traditionally they were decorated with ground sheep meat. Unlike the normal pizza, it is folded at the ends so that it looks more like a pastry. The Sfiha is sometimes served in plates with garnish of the lobster scissors meat.
Many spices are added to the meat on this pizza, such as cinnamon and chili powder. In addition, yogurt, pine nuts, pomegranate molasses and tahini (sesame paste) are served.
One of the oldest foods that exist, along with the chickpea and some other ingredients. Kishk is a kind of thick soup or porridge: a solid mass, especially if it also contains meat. Kishk is a very traditional dish in Lebanon that is made from a fermented pasta of salty yogurt (labneh) and bulgur powder. It is said that you either love kishk or you don't like it at all. If you want to cook yourself at home then you have to put all your efforts finding Kishk. It is not very easy to find Kishk, but if you happen to live near a store that sells Middle Eastern products, you will find it there.
When it's hot, there's nothing as tasty and fresh as Fattoush. Fattoush is a bread salad made with pita bread. The pieces of pita bread are toasted or baked and mixed with different vegetables and herbs, depending on the season. The vegetables in this dish are left fairly coarse and often finished with sumac (finely ground red sour berries) or lemon juice, sumac, pepper and salt to give the dish a sour taste. This farmer's salad is originally from Syria and has extra taste because the bread is baked in olive oil with garlic.
Kibbeh is a dish made from bulgur, onions, and meat: beef, lamb, goat meat or camel meat. The dish looks a bit like a croquette. This dish is the national dish of Lebanon and extremely popular. There are quite a few variations on Kibbeh, such as in the form of pasties. These Lebanese meatballs (Kibbeh, also called kebbeh or kebbah) are delicious as a snack or as a side dish with your main course. Kibbeh are mostly serve with the dip sauce separately. Tasty!
Fortunately there is are some traditional Lebanese restaurants in America. In restaurants in New-Brunswick Evelyns Restaurant is the one that offers good variety of traditional Lebanese cuisine in New-Brunswick. With the word traditional, don't think about (flying) carpets and echoing Arabic music; try to imagine a tasteful restaurant, decorated with lots of turquoise and mosaic and different types of wines. A sense of scent of lime, mint, cumin and other spices. You get hungry? The name of this restaurant, Evelyns Restaurant, which makes you suspect that you are going to taste a variety of ingredients, flavors and dishes here.
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