Makloubet Batenjen – Upside-down eggplants

Makloubet batenjen ©DedosFoodTruck

Makloubet Batenjen which literally translates into “upside-down eggplants”, is an old traditional dish that originated in the Levant region. It is mainly cooked in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine. Makloubeh is cooked in various ways using different kinds of vegetables such as eggplants, cauliflower, carrots or potatoes, and can be prepared either with beef or with chicken.

Total Servings: 6

Preparation time: 1 hour


1 kg of rice

1 kg of eggplants

1 kg of ground beef

280 ml of vegetable oil

1 tbsp. of salt

6 cups of water

1 tsp. of seven spices (black pepper, cinnamon, cumin, dry coriander, cardamom, cloves, saffron)

1/2 kg of raw cashew nuts for decoration

Preparation steps:

  1. Wash the rice thoroughly and then soak it in water for half an hour
  2. Cut the eggplant into 1cm thick circles
  3. Add salt to the eggplant slices and deep fry in 250 ml of vegetable oil.
  4. Leave the fried eggplant aside on a sieve to allow the oil to drain
  5. In a pot, fry the ground beef in 30 ml of vegetable oil
  6. On top of the fried ground beef, add a layer of eggplant then a layer of uncooked rice. Keep forming layers of eggplants and rice until you use all the quantity that you have
  7. Add the water and heat on a medium heat
  8. When the water starts boiling, lower the heat and let simmer for 20 minutes until all water is evaporated and the rice is well cooked
  9. Turn off the heat and leave the pot for 2-3 minutes closed
  10. After that, open the lid and turn the cooker upside down over a large plate
  11. In a saucepan, fry the cashews and add them over the cooked dish
  12. Serve with yogurt or a seasonal vegetable salad

For a healthier version, you can roast the eggplant slices in the oven.


Bulgur and tomatoes

bulgur aa banadoura

Bulgur and tomatoes or “borghoul aa banadoura” is a simple, yet nutritious traditional Lebanese recipe. While enjoying this rustic dish, one can munch on vegetable pickles, green pepper, radishes, green onions or any kind of fresh greens. According to personal preferences, one can also add a pinch of cumin, hot chili pepper powder or red pepper paste (sweet or hot). Some people prefer to enjoy it with a cup of yogurt.

Total Servings: 4

Preparation time: 1 hour


½ kg of tomatoes, diced

250 gr of coarse bulgur wheat (preferably whole)

1 small onion, finely chopped

½ liter of chicken broth

2 tbsp of Extra Virgin olive oil

1 tbsp of tomato paste (optional)

Salt and black pepper to taste

Preparation Steps:

  1. Fry onion in olive oil until it turns golden, over medium to high heat
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes and simmer for 2-3 minutes
  3. Add chicken broth and cook until it boils (you can dissolve at this stage the 1 tbsp of tomato paste)
  4. Once boiling, lower the heat and add the bulgur wheat
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  6. Cook until the water dries
  7. Serve warm or cold

Shish Barak

The village of Rashaya el Wadi holds a high population of baladi goats which graze on the natural pastures on the feet of Jabal el Sheikh. Given its seasonal production, goat labneh is prepared late summer and frozen for later use during winter. Labneh is dissolved in water and then used to prepare shish barak and kebbeh labaniyeh.

shish barak

Total Servings: 6

Preparation time: 2 hours



2 cups flour

1 cup milk

½ tea spoon salt



½ Kg finely minced meat

2 finely chopped onions

½ cup margarine

¼ cup pine seeds

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp pepper

2 tbsp of chopped parsley


2 Kg yogurt

2 table spoons starch in ½ cup water

½ tsp salt

3 cloves of garlic

1 tbsp dried mint

Preparation Steps:

  1.  Mix salt, milk and flour together to form dough. Kneed for 10 minutes and leave it aside for ½ an hour.
  2. Fry the meat and onions in margarine for 15 minutes, then add the parsley and pine seeds.
  3. Roll the dough and cut it into little thin circles and stuff each with one spoonful of the mixture and close it tightly by pressing with your fingers.
  4. Cook the yogurt after adding the starch and garlic. While it is boiling, add the stuffed dough, one at a time. Leave on fire for 10 minutes. Add the mint before serving.

Moujaddara hamra – Bean moujaddara


Bean moujaddara or “mjaddarit fassolia” is a traditional recipe of the Shouf region and South of Lebanon, prepared with red beans instead of lentils. It is also known as red moujaddara or “Moujaddara hamra“.

Total Servings: 4

Preparation time: 2 hours


1 cup beans soaked overnight

¾ cup bulgur

2.5 L water

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 onion, finely chopped

5 Tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation Steps:

  1. Add the beans to 1 L of water and bring to boil.
  2. While boiling, add 500 mL of water and cover. Stir occasionally.
  3. After 1 hour, add another 500 mL of water.
  4. Sauté the chopped onions in the olive oil with salt until lightly brown.
  5. Add one more half liter of water to the beans.
  6. Add the tomato paste and the bulgur to the fried onions; mix well and add the mixture to the boiling beans.
  7. Simmer for 30 more minutes, then add 500 mL of water and some pepper. Stir occasionally until the beans are well cooked and you get the consistency of moujaddara.
  8. Serve hot.

Mansoufit Kolkas – Taro with tahini sauce

Kolkas with TahiniTaro is a common name for the corms and tubers of several plants in the Araceae family. It is rich in fibers and natural sugars. The starch is easily digestible, and since the grains are fine and small it is often used for baby food. The leaves are a good source of vitamins A and C and contain more protein than the corms. Taro is also known as “Topinambour” and “Jerusalem Artichoke”.

Total Servings: 5

Preparation Time: 1 hour


1 kg of Qolkas

1 cup of peeled chickpeas, soaked overnight and boiled

1 cup of tahini

1/3 cup of water

2 large onions, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

The juice of 3 lemons

2-3 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

½ teaspoon of salt

Preparation Steps:

  1. Boil the Kolkas in water with some salt
  2. Peel its skin, cut it into cubes, stir fry them for few minutes and set aside
  3. Stir fry the onions and garlic in olive oil until golden in color, then add the chickpeas and cook for few more minutes
  4. In a bowl, combine the tahini, water, lemon juice and salt until the mixture is smooth
  5. Add the tahini sauce to the chickpeas and cook until it boils
  6. Add the cubes of Kolkas and cook for another 5 minutes
  7. Turn the heat off and leave to cool
  8. Serve cold with radishes and sweet raw onions on the side


makhlouta2The literal translation of the word “makhlouta” is “mixed”, referring to the mixture of whole grains used to prepare this healthy stew. Makhlouta can be made with different types of beans (red kidney beans, black eyed peas, garbanzo beans and fava beans etc.).

Total Servings: 5

Preparation time: 90 minutes


2 cups of lentils, washed

2 cups of chickpeas (soaked overnight in water and bicarbonate)

2 cups of mixed beans (also soaked in water and bicarbonate)

3 tablespoons of kawarma

3 larges onions, finely chopped + 1 whole onion

1/4 cup of bulgur

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of black pepper

1 teaspoon of cumin

 Preparation Steps:

  1. Boil the lentils in water until they are half done, on medium fire
  2. Add the peeled chickpeas, the mixed beans and 1 whole onion and keep cooking
  3. Stir-fry the onions with the kawarma and add them to the bean mixture
  4. Add the bulgur and cook until done
  5. Season with salt, pepper, and cumin
  6. Serve hot

Not only do they taste great on their own or mixed, this combination of grains makes a very heart-healthy meal rich in fibers and proteins. For a lighter and healthier version, replace kawarma with ground meat.


Lemon Zenkoul

Zenkoul_“Zenkoul” is a traditional Lebanese recipe mainly known in West Bekaa, prepared during Lent and on Good Friday. The method of preparation varies from one village to another: some add sumac instead of pomegranate molasses, others use vinegar instead of lemon juice; dried mint is sometimes sprinkled at the end.

Zenkoul is a similar recipe to Kebbit el Rahib (Monk’s Kebbeh) and Mansoufeh all prepared with the simple basic ingredients bulgur and flour but vary with their sauce.

All in all, Zenkoul is a nutritious and delicious dish.

Total Servings: 5

Preparation Time: 1 hour


For the dough

1 cup of bulgur (fine)

½ cup of flour

1 teaspoon of pepper

1 teaspoon of salt

¾ cup of water

For the sauce

½ cup of chickpea, soaked overnight

2 medium onions, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups of water

Juice of 2 lemons

1 pinch of rice

Olive oil

1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses

The small dough balls that are called “zenkoul”

Preparation Steps:


  1. Mix flour, burgul, pepper, salt and water and knead to form dough
  2. Take small pieces of dough and make balls or zenkoul with the palm of your hands, leave aside
The sauce is simple and delicious
  1. In a large pot, put the chickpea with 2 cups of water and leave to boil
  2. In a pan, fry the onion until soft, add the minced garlic
  3. When the water of the chickpea starts boiling, add the 2 remaining cups of water, the fried onion and garlic and the zenkoul
  4. Add the rice and cook for 20 minutes until the “zenkoul” is done and the sauce is thick
  5. Add the lemon juice and the pomegranate molasses
  6. Serve hot 
Zenkoul sprinkled with dry mint

Eggplant Moussaka

Eggplant Mussaka

Total Servings: 5


1 Kg eggplant

½ Kg soaked chickpeas

½ Kg tomato

5 large onions

1 garlic head

½ cup oil

½ tea spoon salt

½ tea spoon pepper

 Preparation Steps:

Fry the finely chopped onions and garlic in oil until they develop a yellow color.

  1. Add the peeled chickpeas and cook for 1 ½ minutes, then add a little water and keep over a low fire until the chickpeas are done.
  2. Peel the eggplant, fry in oil and keep aside.
  3. Add the grated tomatoes over the chickpeas and leave for a while on the fire.
  4. Add the eggplants with salt and pepper and cook until all the water evaporates.
  5. Served cold.

For a healthier version enjoy the eggplants grilled in the oven!