Taste of Beirut

“The rhythms of life in Lebanon were unhurried, meaningful, and steeped in tradition. Food – both the preparation and the consumption – was a celebration of life, something to be savored and enjoyed. The ingredients were always fresh, the vegetables in season, and meat was eaten only once a week or on special occasions” – Joumana Accad

I love eating international cuisines, but rarely do I feel confident with testing out exciting flavors in my own kitchen. Taste of Beirut by Joumana Accad, though, makes the delicious flavors of Lebanon a realistic option for any night of the week. With a wealth of insight regarding Lebanese cuisine (i.e. incorporate olives into every meal and lemons are used daily), and a diverse selection of delicious recipes, this book is an absolute treasure. The beautiful pictures and clear descriptions truly bring the flavors of Beirut to life.

With recipes like Mint Pesto, Pine Nut Sauce, Turnip Pickles, and Walnut Sauce, there are delicious traditional sauces to enhance any recipe. Other options like Fava Bean Soup, Falafel Sandwich, Lentil Soup with Swiss Chard, Swiss Chard Stalks Dip, and Red Lentil and Pumpkin Dip are absolutely delicious. Red Pepper Hummus, and Baba Ghanouj are absolutely tempting!

Enjoy the recipe below to help you get a Taste of Beirut, and then explore the other recipes to make dinner even more exciting!

Spice Pudding (Meghli)

1 cup rice flour

8 cups water

2 cups granulated sugar

1 tablespoon ground caraway

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoon ground anise

Garnishes: grated coconut, pine nuts, walnuts, pistachios, almonds

(the nuts need to be soaked in water for 1 hour and drained before using)

1. Soak the flour in 4 cups of water for 2 hours (or longer) before marking the pudding.

2. Add the sugar, caraway, cinnamon, and anise to the remaining water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.

3. Pour the flour and water over the spiced water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and stir to dissolve. Stir ever couple of minutes, until the pudding thickens, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

4. Transfer to a large platter or individual serving bowls. Garnish with the grated coconut and top with scattered nuts. Store in the fridge and serve cold. The pudding can be stored for a week in the fridge.

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