Lebanese Cuisine: More Than 200 Simple, Delicious, Authentic Recipes


As a young girl, Madelain Farah spent hours watching her mother cook. Capturing her mother's "a pinch of this" technique, she has re-created recipes for everything from Arabic Bread, Lentil Soup, and Eggplant Salad, to Baked Fish with Tahini Sauce, Supreme Lamb Stew with Kibbi, and the classic Cucumber Yogurt Salad.

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As a young girl, Madelain Farah spent hours watching her mother cook. Capturing her mother's "a pinch of this" technique, she has re-created recipes for everything from Arabic Bread, Lentil Soup, and Eggplant Salad, to Baked Fish with Tahini Sauce, Supreme Lamb Stew with Kibbi, and the classic Cucumber Yogurt Salad.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
In Lebanese Cuisine, Madelain Farah offers more than 200 simple to make, ethnically authentic recipes that showcase Lebanese dining for the American kitchen cook. From Shurbat al-Mawzat ma' Kibbi (Meat Soup with Kibbi Balls); Samak Ma' at-Tarature (Fish with Pine Nut Sauce); and Ma'karuni bil-Labm (Spaghetti with Custard Sauce); to Mnazlit Batinjan (Eggplant and Garbanzo Stew); Shisbbarak (Stuffed Lamb Delicacies in Yogurt Sauce); Baqdunia bit-Tahini (Parsley in Tahini Sauce); and Gbraybi (Butter Cookies), Lebanese Cuisine is ideal for family mealtime menus and gourmet dining clubs.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568581798
  • Publisher: Running Press Book Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/28/2001
  • Edition description: 13th Edition
  • Edition number: 13
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 367,078
  • Product dimensions: 6.46 (w) x 7.98 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


THERE ARE MANY NAMES FOR and forms of Arabic bread: kmaj, marquq, tlami, saj, furn. Some are made thick (tlami), others, paper thin (saj); some are cooked over a metal dome on an open fire, some baked in ovens. However, the basic Arabic Bread recipe is used for all of these variations. It is a trick as well as an art to be able to cook good Arabic Bread. In the Middle East, a woman would set aside one day for making bread and bread dishes, all of which require the basic dough recipe. However, with the conveniences of modern life, bread can be made much more quickly and easily.


~ While making the basic Arabic Bread recipe, dip your hands in water when kneading to give a smooth elastic finish to the dough.

~ Where ground lamb is required, ground chuck or ground round may be substituted.


Kmaj: Round flat bread with a pocket used for sandwiches, dips, Arabic pizzas, and so forth.

Marquq: Very thin, round, flat bread, rolled like Italian pizza dough.

Tlami: Round, flat, soft-textured, thick bread without a pocket used for mnaqish and as regular bread.

Saj: Paper thin bread that is baked over a metal dome on an open fire.

Furn: Term used for Arabic bread made commercially.

Arabic Bread:
Basic Bread Dough

Khubz `Arabi

1 package or cake of yeast
1 T. sugar
2 c. lukewarm water
6 c. flour
2t. salt
1/3 c. milk

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in 1/2 cup of the warm water. Let stand 5-10 minutes. Place the flour and salt in large bowl making a depression in the center. Combine the remaining water, milk, and dissolved yeast; pour it into the depression. Begin mixing the flour with the liquid making sure all batter on the sides of the bowl is worked into the dough. Knead until a smooth dough results and the sides of the bowl are clean. (Hands are occasionally dipped in more water while kneading to give a smooth, elastic finish.)

    Cover the dough with a towel and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in size (2-4 hours). Grab orange-size balls from the edge of the dough and form into smooth balls until all the dough is used. Cover the dough balls with a cotton kitchen towel and let rise on another cloth towel for 30 minutes. Roll the balls into 1/4-inch-thick circles. Cover and let rise again on a cloth for 30 minutes.

    Heat the oven to 475º. Place the dough directly on racks in the oven. As soon as the dough rises into a mound, 2-5 minutes, place it under the broiler for few seconds until it's lightly browned. Cool.

    7-9 LOAVES

NOTE Many of the recipes that follow are made with this basic dough. The dough freezes well.

Seasoned Flat Tart

Mnaqish biz-Za`tar

2 loaves of unbaked Arabic Bread 4 T. za`tar 4 T. olive oil 1-2 t. lemon juice, optional, depending on tartness desired

Prepare the Arabic bread dough, and just prior to baking set aside 2 loaves for mnaqish. Mix the za`tar well with the oil and lemon. Roll the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick circle. Flute the edges.

    Pour the oil and lemon mixture evenly on the dough and smooth it over the surface, pressing it gently with 4 fingers leaving finger impressions on the dough. Place the dough on a lightly greased pizza or cookie sheet. Bake at 475º for about 8 minutes or until golden brown.

    2 TARTS

NOTE The oil in the mixture may be slightly increased or decreased depending on desired thickness of sauce. Zatar is available in Middle Eastern specialty grocery stores.

* * *

from MIHSHI:

Stuffed Zucchini

Kusa Mihshi

3 lbs. zucchini (12-14 zucchini up to 6 inches in length)
1 small chopped onion
1 T. butter
1 c. uncooked rice, long grain
1 lb. lamb shoulder, finely chopped
1/8 t. cinnamon
1 T. salt, plus 2 t.
pepper to taste
3 large tomatoes, peeled and diced, or 1-lb. can of stewed tomatoes

Core the zucchini, leaving 1/2-inch walls—be careful not to pierce the shell. Rinse the zucchini in cold water and drain. Sauté the onions in butter in a large pan. Rinse and drain the rice. Place it in a bowl. Add the meat, cinnamon, 1 tablespoon salt, and pepper; mix well. Then add half of the diced tomatoes to the meat and mix. Stuff the zucchini three-quarters full with the meat mixture or within an inch of the end (leave room for the rice to expand). Arrange the zucchini over the sautéed onions and pour the rest of the tomatoes on top. Barely cover with water and 2 teaspoons of additional salt.

    Cover and cook on a medium flame for about 35 minutes or until the rice is done. Gently remove the zucchini to a serving platter. Serve the liquid in a pitcher. If desired, pour it over the zucchini and filling. Serve 1 to 3 zucchini per person.

    6-8 SERVINGS


To make Kusa bil-Laban (Stuffed Zucchini in Yogurt), use the above recipe, excluding all of the tomatoes. Cook as instructed above. Drain the liquid. Add Yogurt Sauce (see page 190) for the last 10 minutes and simmer. To make Batinjan Mihshi (Stuffed Eggplants), substitute small eggplants (up to 5 inches in length) for the zucchini.

NOTE For a recipe using the cored portion of the zucchini, see Mnazlit Kusa (Zucchini Stew) — page 147.

Stuffed Turkey

Habash Mihshi

4 c. ground lamb or beef
1/2 c. butter, melted
6-8 c. cooked rice
1/2 c. pine nuts
1/2 c. blanched almonds, halved
2 1/2 t. salt
1 t. allspice
1 t. pepper
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. water
12-14 lb. hen turkey

Sauté the ground meat until brown. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the water and the turkey, and continue sautéing for 5 minutes. Stuff the cavity of the turkey with the mixture. Sew or skewer the openings shut. Place the turkey in a roasting pan with the water and cover.

    Bake at 450° for 1 hour. Lower to 325° and continue baking for 2 hours or until tender. Remove the cover for the last 15 minutes to brown.


NOTE You can substitute 1 1/2 c. chopped chestnuts for the pine nuts and almonds.

* * *


Eggplant with Yogurt

Batinjan bil-Laban

1 large eggplant
1/2 c. olive oil
1 clove garlic
1-2 t. salt
1 quart plain yogurt

Peel and slice the eggplant in 1/2-inch slices. Soak in salt water for 30 minutes. (This will prevent the eggplant from turning dark and from absorbing any excess oil when frying.) Remove and drain the eggplant on paper towels. Fry in the oil until golden brown on both sides. Cool.

    Mash the garlic and salt together. Add the yogurt, mixing well. To serve, place the cooled eggplant on a platter and pour enough yogurt sauce to cover. Or, the eggplant and yogurt can be served separately.

    4-6 SERVINGS

Garbanzo Beans
with Arabic Croutons

Fatti bil-Hummus

2 15 1/2-oz. cans garbanzo beans
1 large clove garlic
salt to taste
2 medium loaves of Arabic Bread (see page 12), toasted
1 1/2 c. plain yogurt
1/3 c. butter, melted

Bring the garbanzo beans to a boil, using one can of the bean liquid. Mash the garlic and salt together in large bowl. Add the hot garbanzo beans and liquid, mixing thoroughly. Break the bread into 1 1/2-inch pieces, and layer each piece with yogurt then the garbanzo mixture. Top with warm melted butter.

    4-6 SERVINGS

NOTE Although this can be served anytime, it is a favorite for breakfast.

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Table of Contents

Preface 8
Introduction 8
Bread and Bread Dishes 10
Soups 20
Salads 34
Fish 53
Entrees 64
Kibbi 98
Mihshi 116
Rice Dishes 132
Lenten (Vegetarian) Dishes 142
Laban (Yogurt) Dishes 170
Sauces 185
Condiments 192
Desserts and Beverages 204
Suggested Menus 240
Glossary of Arabic Terms 242
Index 246
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2007

    Just like my mother and I used to make

    I had been looking for an omelette recipe that my mother made, called Ijji and it was here. Most of the recipes are exactly how my aunt, mother and cousins made them.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2007

    Brought back great memories

    When I pick up Ms. Farah's book it takes me back to when Mom and my sity, aunts and cousins would discuss how to prepare each wonderful Lebanese dish. Ms. Farah has it right. If you want to keep the recipes authentic use her book and give it to other members of your family with love.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2006

    Simple Authentic Lebanese Cuisine

    Another book my grandparents have passed down to me has turned into a realization that every Lebanese-American home I have visited has this sitting in their collection. The recipes are easy to follow, the ingredients easy to find, and the food is almost identical to my siti's cooking. I highly recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 27, 2011

    My go to Lebanese recipe bible

    I have had this book since its original printing in 1972 and it is authentic Lebanese cooking/food. The recipes produce meals just the way my grandmother, aunts, and mother made. Now I share them with my children and have bought them each the newest version so that they, too, can carry on the tradition of homemade Lebanese food. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to experience the best Mediterranean food/cooking. Thank you Madelain for the delicious memories.

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    Posted October 17, 2010

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    Posted December 27, 2008

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