Lebanese Mansaf

Although “Mansaf” is primarily known to be a Jordanian recipe, it is prepared in different Arabic countries with versatile versions. And while the traditional Jordanian Mansaf is prepared with lamb cooked in fermented yogurt and served on a large plate over flat bread with either rice or bulgur, the Lebanese Mansaf is a rice based dish that is cooked either with beef, chicken or lamb and served with nuts on top. Mansaf is a mandatory dish to celebrate happiness in almost every traditional Lebanese occasion especially weddings.

In some Lebanese villages, the tradition of “Raddet El Ejer” – the bride’s first visit to her parents after getting married – is still practiced until today. On this very special occasion, a big feast based on Mansaf is offered by the bride’s parents to her in-laws the day she visits her parents for the first time, usually 1 week after the wedding night.

Mansaf is also served as a main dish on other occasions such as funerals.

Jordanian Mansaf ©

Total Servings: 5

Preparation time: 3 hours


1 Kg of long grain rice

1 kg of ground beef

½ tsp. of seven spices

2 bay laurel leaves

1 medium onion, cut into 3 big pieces

1 big onion, cubed

2 garlic cloves

1 Tbsp. of Mansaf spices (including fenugreek, turmeric, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon)

1 Tbsp. of salt

1 tsp of yellow turmeric

2 Tbsp. of vegetable oil

7 cups of chicken broth

½ Kg of raw cashews

1 kg of chicken breasts

Preparation steps:

  1. Wash the chicken breasts and dry with paper towels
  2. In a large pot, cover the chicken breasts with water and boil until foam is formed. Remove the foam with a spoon and then add seven spices, laurel leaves and onion pieces
  3. Cook until the chicken is cooked and tender then cut the chicken into thin elongated pieces of 5-10 cm in length and leave aside
  4. Wash the rice thoroughly and soak in water for 1 hour
  5. In a cooker, heat part of the vegetable oil and cook the ground beef until tender. Add the remaining vegetable oil, the chopped onions and garlic
  6. Add the rice to the fried mixture and the Mansaf spices and cover with chicken broth
  7. Cover with the lid and let the rice boil slowly over low flame for 20 minutes
  8. Fry the cashews in a small amount of vegetable oil
  9. Pour the cooked rice into a flat plate and top with the cooked chicken breast pieces and the fried cashews
  10. Serve with hot with yogurt or the Lebanese mixed vegetable salad (fattoush)
Eat Local

Moufataka, yellow rice pudding of Beirut

Moufataka is one of the oldest Beiruti desserts combining rice, tahini, pine nuts and turmeric – giving the Moufataka its golden color. Preparing Moufataka requires hours of stirring the ingredients over fire.

The Makari family has been holding the secret of Moufatta making for generations when the grandfather Hajj Abdallah “King of Moufataka” opened a sweets shop in Basta – Beirut serving for the first time this yellow pudding.

Today, the grandson Mohammad proudly carries this tradition of making Moufataka in his new sweets shop in Barbour.

[quote]It is essential to preserve the preparation of this traditional dessert and promote it, otherwise it will disappear[/quote]

Mohammad, preserving the Moufataka traditional making
Mohammad, preserving the Moufataka traditional making

Preparation time:  3 hours

Total servings: 60 portions

Calories: 300 kcal/serving


1 kg of rice

2 kg of granulated sugar

1 kg of Tahini

50 g of turmeric powder

Pine nuts, as needed

Preparation steps:

  • Soak the rice overnight in enough water to cover it
  • The next day, rinse the rice and strain it
  • In a large cooking pot, add the turmeric powder to 3.5 Liters water and leave to boil
  • As soon as the turmeric starts boiling, add the rice and cook until water evaporates
Cooking the rice and turmeric
Cooking the rice and turmeric
  • Cover the pot and let the rice cook well on medium fire
  • In a different pot, mix the sugar, Tahini and pine nuts
Combining tahini, sugar and pine nuts
Combining tahini, sugar and pine nuts
  • Add the mixture to the rice and stir continuously for an hour and half
Combining all ingredients and stirring over medium fire
Combining all ingredients and stirring over medium fire
  • Continue stirring until you get a thick consistency and you oil starts merging on the surface
  • Pour Moufataka in serving dishes while still hot, and let cool

The Moufataka is served at room temperature with Knefe Kaak according to preference, and decorated with pine seeds.


Roz b foul – Broad bean and rice pilaf

This recipe is common in Lebanon; it is usually prepared in spring when green fava beans (or broad beans) are available. When not eaten fresh, green broad beans can be frozen or dried for later use. These pulses are a great are a great source of energy (341 kcal/100g), proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins.

Add the green beans and the coriander, and 2 cups of water, let simmer for 20 mns or until the beans are almost cooked
Add the green beans and the coriander, and 2 cups of water, let simmer for 20 mns or until the beans are almost cooked


1 kg of green fava beans (foul akhdar), seeded

2 cups of long-grained rice

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 cup of fresh coriander, finely chopped

Black and sweet pepper and cinnamon to taste

1 tsp of cumin

1 ½ tsp of salt

2 Tbsp. of vegetable oil

4 cups of water

Preparation steps:

  1. In a cooking pot, stir-fry the onions with the vegetable oil until soft and gold
  2. Add the spices and garlic and stir for 2 mns
  3. Add the green beans and the coriander, and 2 cups of water, let simmer for 20 mns or until the beans are almost cooked
  4. Add the rice and the remaining 2 cups of water
  5. When the water starts boiling, lower the fire and cover the pan
  6. Let cook until the rice is done
  7. Make sure the rice stays moist and does not dry completely
  8. Serve hot with a salad or yogurt
Serve hot

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.

Vegetarian Stuffed Vine Leaves

Stuffed vine leaves or “waraa enab” in Arabic is a popular dish around the Mediterranean. In this version of the recipe, bulgur has been used instead of rice as it is very rich in fiber and is produced locally in the Bekaa valley of Lebanon.

Total Servings: 18

Preparation time: 1 hour

One serving: 12 pieces


650 g vine leaves, washed

4 tsp salt

For the stuffing:

1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped

4 small tomatoes, washed and finely chopped

3 ½ cups (140g) parsley, washed and trimmed

15 g fresh mint, washed and finely chopped

3 ½ cups bulgur

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

¼ cup olive oil

Juice of 2 medium lemons

Preparation Steps:


  1. Wash the bulgur and leave it aside to dry.
  2. In a large bowl, mix well all the ingredients of the stuffing with olive oil and lemon juice.

Grape Leaves:

  1. Clean and cut stems off the vine leaves. Place the fresh leaves in boiling water for 3 minutes until softened.
  2. Spread each vine leave and fill it with 1 Tbsp of the stuffing. Then roll it in a finger-like shape.
  3. In a large saucepan, arrange the stuffed vine leaves in layers, then cover them with water and add salt.
  4. Cook for one hour or until done.
Eat Local

Fawareg or stuffed intestines

Fwaregh or stuffed sheep sausages (tribes and intestines) is one of the most exquisite traditional Lebanese meals. In the old days people would use every piece of the sheep, even intestines and tribes.


The main task consists of cleaning the intestines. Intestines are first thoroughly washed under running water while removing the extra fat stocking on the sides. After washing from inside and outside, they are rubbed with coarse salt and water, then soaked in water and white vinegar for about an hour (1 cup of vinegar for 4 cups of water). Once cleaned, they are ready for stuffing with meat, rice, onions, chickpeas and spices.

stuffed intestine

stuffed intestine

stuffed intestine

stuffed intestine

stuffed intestine