In The Media

Fennel – Taste&Flavors

Indigenous to the Mediterranean region, fennel, shoumar
in Arabic, is widely distributed in the world and renowned
for its culinary and medicinal uses.

Fennel: Taste&Flavors

Check out the full article in Taste&Flavors magazine.

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Fennel – Shoumar

Indigenous to the Mediterranean region, fennel or “shoumar” in Arabic is widely distributed in the world and renowned for its culinary and medicinal (therapeutic) uses. Fennel grows in the wild in dry, stony calcareous soils but also in moist soils; it grows in winter but can also be found all year long.

Potato and fennel fritters ©Taste&Flavors

The whole plant with its bulb, feathery leaves and seeds are used in the kitchen of different cultures. The fennel stalks similar to celery’s in texture and crunch are added raw in salads, but also stir-fried (as onions) to braises and pastas. The leaves are usually used for garnish, but can also be cooked with fish (especially salmon) or added to salads and yogurt sauce to make tzatziki. Fennel seeds have a sweet aroma and a strong aniseed flavor; they are used in spices mixes. Different types of fennel omelets are known across the Mediterranean countries, they use both the leaves and stalks of the plant.

Getting ready to make fennel tabbouleh 

In Lebanon, fennel is mostly collected in the wild and prepared in omelets but can also be consumed as “assoura” boiled, strained and marinated with lemon juice, garlic and olive oil just like chicory.

[quote]Nutrition Corner [/quote]

Fennel is a crunchy vegetable that adds a refreshing touch to the Mediterranean cuisine. Its different parts can be all used in cooking: the base and stalks mostly for soups and stews, and the leaves as herb seasonings. Fennel also offers plenty of nutritional benefits and is considered as a “heart healthy” vegetable due to its high fiber content. Rich in Vitamin C, potassium and folate, it will boost your immunity and keep you in shape! (1 cup or 90g of sliced fennel = 27 calories)


Potato and fennel fritters

Potato and fennel fritters ©Taste&Flavors

This type of omelet with fennel is prepared and served in the beautiful village of Zawtar, Nabatieh (South of Lebanon). The small patties combining eggs, fennel and potatoes are fried and consumed with tarator (tahini sauce).

Caloric content:

  • for the patties: 395 calories / serving of 3 patties
  • for the tarator: 89 calories / tablespoon


The patties

4 medium sized potatoes, shredded and juice squeezed out

1 bunch of wild fennel leaves, washed and chopped

½ cup of flour

4 cloves of garlic, smashed

3 eggs

1 tsp of salt

1 tsp of allspice

1 tsp of hot pepper (optional)

Vegetable oil for shallow frying

The tarator (tahina sauce)

1 cup tahini

2 garlic cloves, smashed

Juice of 2 lemons

Water for dilution


  • In a large bowl, mix the shredded potatoes, flour, eggs, fennel, garlic and condiments
  • Shape the mixture into palm-sized patties
  • In a skillet, heat the vegetable oil on medium fire
  • Fry the patties in the hot oil, for about 2 minutes on each side
  • Remove with a slotted spoon or a fork and set aside to cool
  • In another bowl, combine the tarator ingredients and add water until the sauce is consistent and not too watery
  • Serve the little omelets while still warm and enjoy them with the tahini sauce

Lentil and fennel kebbeh (kebbit aadas b shoumar)

Fennel kebbeh ready to be cooked

This recipe from the northern village of Endket (Akkar) is a vegetarian type of kebbeh usually prepared during lent season. Lentil and fennel kebbeh can be fried or boiled in salty water. The boiled kebbeh is either served with oil and garlic sauce or with fried julienne onions.

Serving: 4

Caloric content: 250 calories / serving


For the dough:

½ cup of fine bulgur, soaked in water for 30mns

1 cup of flour

1 medium onion, shredded

½ tsp of salt

½ tsp of pepper

¼ tsp of hot pepper (optional)

1 tsp of orange zest

½ tsp of dried marjoram

For the filling:

1 medium onion, chopped in julienne and fried

½ cup of small red lentil, cooked

1 cup of fennel, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Preparation method:

  1. Combine all the kebbeh ingredients to obtain dough. Add a little bit of water to avoid stickiness
  2. In a skillet, add the filling ingredients and cook on medium fire for a couple of minutes
  3. Form small dough balls to make the kebbeh
  4. Hold the kebbeh in one hand and with the index of the other hand, make a whole in it while turning the kebbeh and pressing it against the palm of your hand to widen it. Make sure your hands are wet so that the kebbeh doesn’t stick
  5. With a spoon, stuff the kebbeh with the lentil and fennel mixture
  6. Close the kebbeh and cook for 2 minutes in boiling water to which 1 tbsp. of salt was added
  7. Make sure not to boil for long to avoid breaking of the kebbeh
  8. Serve the kebbeh with a sauce of garlic and olive oil.
  9. You can deep fry the kebbeh in vegetable oil if you like it crispy



Fennel Tabbouleh

Fresh fennel tabbouleh
Fresh fennel tabbouleh. Photo ©Toni El Khawand

Fennel tabbouleh also called lentil tabbouleh is exclusively prepared in the villages of Saidoun and Hidab Rimat and in the Caza of Jezzine, South Lebanon. This original version of tabbouleh does not contain parsley at all, and contains much less tomato than the traditional Lebanese tabbouleh. As its name suggests, this tabbouleh is prepared with fennel instead of parlsey, and yellow lentil. Lentil or fennel tabbouleh has a refreshing taste thanks to the essential oils contained in the leaves of fennel (including anethol). It is basically prepared in March, April and May when fennel is available and its leaves are tender.  It is worth to mention that the mixture of this recipe is also used to stuff grape leaves.

This recipe was shared by Toni El Khawand from Saidoun, South of Lebanon.

Servings: 4

Preparation time: 30 mns


1 bunch of fennel, finely chopped

1 glass of yellow lentil, soaked overnight

½ cup of fine bulgur

1 cup of fresh mint, roughly chopped

2 green onions, thinly sliced

Juice of 2 lemons

¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fennel tabbouleh
It’s all about fresh ingredients! Photo ©Toni El Khawand

Preparation steps:

  1. In a bowl, add in following order the bulgur, lentils, onions and pepper
  2. Add the fresh mint and fennel
  3. Prepare the sauce in a separate bowl: mix the lemon juice, oil and salt
  4. Add the sauce to the salad and mix well
  5. Serve directly

Ejjit shoumar (Fennel omelet)

Shumar omelet
Shumar omelet

Fennel or “shoumar” is a wild plant, indigenous to the Mediterranean region. It grows in winter but can also be found all year long. This recipe is from Iqlim Al Kharroub

Servings: 4

Caloric content: 190 calories / serving

Preparation time: 30 mns


1 ½ cups of fennel leaves, washed and chopped

1 tsp of fresh mint leaves, washed and chopped

1 cup of parsley, washed and chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 cup of whole-wheat flour

4 medium eggs

½ tsp of baking powder

¼ tsp of salt

½ tsp of lemon zest

½ tsp of olive oil


  1. In a bowl, beat the eggs and add all ingredients
  2. Pour the egg mixture into a hot, oiled frying pan
  3. Cook until the under-side of the omelet is brown
  4. Turn the omelet carefully on the other side
  5. Serve when both sides are done