Freekeh Soup

Freekeh is an excellent source of fibers very important for the digestive system. It has been used in numerous recipes, traditional and “novel” ones. Freekeh chicken soup offers a number of benefits. It is a great source of proteins, fluids and minerals. It helps in boosting the immunity system and providing energy and nutrients to the body.

Freekeh soup

Region: Bednayel – Bekaa

Number of persons: 6 persons

Calories: 280 Calories/portion

Preparation Time: 90mns


1 cup of Freekeh

1 big onion, finely chopped

8-10 cups of chicken broth

1 tbsp. of vegetable oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation Steps:

  1. Under running water, rinse the Freekeh to clean it from dust and debris
  2. In a cooking pot, stir fry the onions in the vegetable oil until golden
  3. Add the Freekeh and stir well then add the salt and pepper
  4. Pour the chicken broth and leave on a low heat until it boils
  5. After boiling, leave the soup to simmer on a low heat for around 30-35 minutes until the Freekeh is well cooked
  6. Enjoy with a dash of lemon juice
Eat Local

Kishk, the warmth of Lebanese winter

Kishk in the preparation

Undoubtedly one of Lebanon’s delicacies, a product of thousands of years of culinary refinement, “kishk” equals the world’s most renowned dairy products.

The name “Kishk” originates from the Persian word “kashk”, referring to a mix of cracked wheat and cracked Barley.

Characterized as a fermented milk product, “kishk” is made of bulgur – cracked parboiled wheat – mixed with either milk or yogurt.

A common food in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Turkey, “Kishk” season starts in the summer, when milk production is at its best and sun heat at its peak. Cracked wheat is soaked in milk or yogurt for almost a week and fermentation is kept under control by adding small amounts of dairy every few days. After cracked wheat soaks in the dairy products and fermentation reaches the right degree, the pre-final product is an edible dough named “kishk akhdar” or “green kishk”. At this stage, this type of “kishk” can be formed into small balls and conserve them in olive oil for consumption in wintertime.

To get to the final “kishk” product, the dough is spread onto clean white sheets, on village rooftops, for the heat of the summer to dry it rock hard. Once totally dry, tradition calls for women to come together for a wonderful communal work: rubbing off dried “kishk” with the hands to obtain a fine, off-white powder, winter’s most nutritious preserve.

Not all “Kishk” varieties taste the same: producers, kishk peculiarities and specialty dishes

Though all “kishk” in Lebanon is powdery in texture, the taste varies widely depending on the type of ingredients used in “kishk” making. It can be made out of cow, goat or sheep milk or yogurt or an alternation between milk and yogurt, or yogurt and strained yogurt, better known as “Labneh”. The type of wheat used equally affects the taste and color of “kishk”. Baladi wheat, salamouni wheat and white wheat confer different flavors, texture and color to the final product.

Halima making her famous “mankoushe b kishk” at the Garden show 2016

From Aarsal: Halime el Houjeiri and Kishk with vegetables

Aarsal’s mountainous community has a long pastoral history, and goat and goat milk products are highly valued by local people.

Halime Al Houjeiri, president of the Women Coop on Aarsal takes pride in the “kishk” quality the women produce. Her “kishk” is sour in taste, a reflection of the high quality milk produced by goats grazing on wild herbs and highland thistles.

[quote]A taste from Aarsal: Kishk with Khodra[/quote]

kishk” powder is mixed with cold water to form a soft dough to which chopped tomato, cucumber, radishes, onions, mint and crushed garlic are added, with a generous drizzle of olive oil.

From Kherbet Qanafar: Lina Haddad and “Kishk Akhdar

Food producer for the longest time, Lina recently established her table d’hôte as part of a “darb El karam”, a growing food tourism network in West Bekaa. Lina’s brothers owns a dairy farm and Lina makes her dairy products at home. One of her bestselling products is Kishk and Green Kishk. In season, visitors of her table d’hôte can enjoy this delicacy and other kishk specialties.

[quote]A taste from Kherbet Qanafar: Kishk Akhdar with Walnuts[/quote]

“Kishk akhdar”

kishk akhdar is spread in a plate and adorned with chopped walnuts, onions, mint and tomatoes. The tangy taste of Green Kishk combine heavenly with the nuttiness of the walnuts.

From Maasser el Shouf: Elissar Temrez and “Omayshe

Farmer and food producer, Elissar specializes in items solely cultivated in her land and processed by her and her husband. Her “kishk” is a mixture of cow and goat milk with baladi wheat, softening the strong taste of pure goat “kishk”, a perfect match to the locally known dish “Omaysheh

[quote]A taste from Maasser el Shouf: Omayshe with grilled onions[/quote]

Omaysheh served with roasted onions

Omaysheh is a dish widely known in the Shouf area and the regions of Hasbaya and Rashaya. It is simply made of “kishk” and fine bulgur mixed with lukewarm water then combined with olive oil to soften the dough. The dish is eaten along with grilled onions.

Featured recipes were published in Lebanon Traveler magazine 


Red lentil soup – Shorbit adas

Enjoy your red lentil soup with a dash of lemon juice and oven-toasted pita bread

Lentils in general are a great source of protein. They are rich in fibers and micro-nutrients and low in calories. Red lentils are hulled lentils split in half; they cook relatively faster. Red lentils are the main ingredient of Shorbit el adas, a soup commonly prepared in Lebanon and other Arab countries where it is usually prepared during Ramadan for Iftar. All in all, red lentil soup makes a perfect nutritious meal, especially on cold winter days.

Total servings: 6-8


¾ cup yellow onion, chopped

¾ cup carrots, cubed

½ cup potato, diced

1 garlic clove, finely minced

1½ cups orange lentils

3 tbsp. rice

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground turmeric

¼ tsp white or black pepper

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

8 cups water

3 tbsp. lemon juice

Preparation Steps:

  1. Rinse lentils and rice in cold water
  2. In a cooking pot, heat extra virgin olive oil and saute the onion and garlic. Season with the cumin, turmeric, pepper and salt
  3. When the onion turns soft, add the water and vegetables (potato and carrot) and bring to a boil
  4. Stir in the lentils and rice and  bring to a boil one more time
  5. Reduce the fire and let simmer with the lid on for 30 mns on until the lentils are well done
  6. When the lentils are tender enough, remove from fire, add the lemon juice and serve hot with oven-toasted pita bread on the side

Red vermicelli soup

This easy recipe makes a great starter before lunch or dinner

Soups are always a great way to start your meal. Vermicelli soup is an easy and quick recipe to prepare. It is suitable for vegetarians and kids, and helps replenish body fluids and sodium during sickness. To have it as a main course instead of only a starter, cooked chicken slices can be added.

Total servings: 5


1 cup of vermicelli

3 tbsp. of tomato sauce

3 tbsp. of vegetable oil

¼ bundle of parsley, finely chopped

Salt and 7 spices to taste


Preparation Steps:

  1. In a cooking pot, fry the vermicelli in 3 tbsp. of vegetable oil until golden. Remove the excess of oil
  2. Add 3 cups of water and stir in the rest of the ingredients except for the parsley
  3. Let the soup cook until boiling, while stirring occasionally
  4. Add the chopped parsley just before serving hot

Lentil and chard soup – Adas bi hamoud

Adas bi Hamoud soup. Photo©BeirutRestaurants

Adas bi hamoud is a soup commonly prepared in all Lebanese regions. Its main ingredients, as its name suggests are lentils, chard and lemon juice. Chards being usually harvested during winter, this soup makes a good source of energy during cold winter days.  Adas bi hamoud is a consistent soup that fulfills your stomach and boosts your immunity by its high content in vitamin C which also enhances the absorption of iron that is provided by the lentils.

Swiss chard, one of the main ingredients of Adas bi Hamoud. Photo©

Total servings: 8


1 cup of brown lentils, rinsed with water
4 cups of Swiss Chard stems and leaves, cleaned and chopped
4 medium potatoes, cubed
7 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, chopped
¼  cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of lemon juice
1 tsp of coriander leaves, chopped
salt, cinnamon and pepper to taste
Preparation Steps:

  1. In a large pot, cover lentil with water and bring to boil over medium heat
  2. Meanwhile in a separate pan, stir fry the onions in the olive oil until golden
  3. When the lentils start boiling, add the potatoes, swish chard, garlic, lemon juice and fried onions
  4. Pour in enough water so that the mixture is well covered and leave on medium heat until the lentils and potatoes are tender
  5. Add the salt, lemon juice and spices according to taste
  6. Stir in the coriander before removing from fire

Serve hot with roasted pita bread loafs.

Learn more about Swiss chard on the Only Foods site:


Kishk Soup or “Kheshkiye”

kebbe b kishk

Kishk soup is a nutritious soup consumed especially during winter. The soup can be served as a side with baked meat kebbeh. Alternatively, raw or oven baked kebbeh balls can be placed in the boiling kishk soup till they are well cooked. For a lighter and healthier version of this recipe, substitute kawarma with lean cow meat.

Total Servings: 6

Preparation time: 45 minutes


1 cup of kishk powder
2 tbsp. of qawarma (cow or goat meat preserved in sheep fat)
4 garlic gloves, chopped
1 small potato, finely diced (optional)
5 cups of water

Preparation Steps:

  1. Put the qawarma in a pot on the oven fire and stir slowly
  2. Add the chopped garlic and the diced potato
  3. Stir well on low heat until the potatoes are cooked well
  4. Add the kishk to the mixture in the pot
  5. Stir for 2 minutes and add the water
  6. Cook over low heat until the soup starts boiling
  7. Serve hot

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