Lebanese Food

Middle Eastern cuisine is sometimes described as refined art; such is its diversity and richness. It is influenced by dozens of cultures, and its spicy dishes reflect the fact that the Middle East was either the source or the way for spices that eventually spread to the whole world. Rice and various legumes, especially lentils and chickpeas are staples of main course dishes and it also includes lots of salads made from both fresh vegetables and fruits. Meaty items like lamb, chicken and beef plays an important role in the cuisine, be it in grilled or barbequed form and blends of common ingredients like coriander, cumin, mint and other Arabian spices adds to the uniqueness of this fare. Lebanese cuisine plays a very important role in placing Arabian food in the world map of exotic food.

A very common thing in a typical Lebanese meal is the ‘mezze’, the starters that usually includes a falafel which are fava bean fritters and kibbe mi’leeye, a tasty union of minced lamb and onion, mixed, shaped like a ball, coated with bread crumbs and deep fried,

Even though falafel is found throughout the Middle East, it is Lebanese as much as it is Egyptian or Palestinian, and the Israelis have adopted it as their national dish. The word falafel is used to refer to two distinct entities: a round fritter of mashed fava beans, chickpeas or other pulses, and the pita bread option into which the fritters are filled along with other spicy garnishes. The Lebanese use the term falafel exclusively for the fritters, which combines with other dishes to form the traditional mezzé or the starters. The kibbe mi’leeye is a bit dry and is often accompanied by a tahini dip. The other dip that is most popular is the ‘hummus,’ the chick pea dip and fresh pita breads are usually served complimentarily.

For the main dish, Fatayr tops the rank. It is a thin crust Arabian pizza that along with cheese, can be made with various other toppings like spinach and ground meat. The much adored Shish Taook and Shawarma are the most delicious items on the main course too. Shish Taooks are chunks of meat barbequed over a slow flame and served with sliced pita bread with a spicy sauce coating whereas a Shawarma is shredded meat cooked and garnished with onions, tomatoes and chilli sauce and served in a pocket of Pita bread. Kofta Ezmeer is another entrée which is a surprisingly spicy dish with succulent lamb meatballs served on tomato gravy along with roasted potatoes that resembles French fries.

Lebanese desserts are just mind boggling if you choose to ignore the guilt factor and the fact that those are sinful. Hareesa and Mahalabbiya are the top ranking ones where the former is semolina cooked in milk and sliced as cakes and the latter is the usual Arabian rice and milk pudding.

A typical Lebanese meal usually ends with either a Turkish coffee or a mint tea. The tea can instantly charge up anyone with its exclusive flavour and aroma and the Turkish coffee is bliss!!