Naoumi (النعومي) originally refers to a sweet snack prepared with crushed roasted chickpeas (Qdameh – قضامة صفراء) mixed with sugar and drizzled with orange blossom water (mazaher) and served in a paper cone. Our grandparents and even some of our parents are still fond on this snack which brings them back beautiful childhood memories. The recipe below originates from Rashaya el Wadi in the West Bekaa, known for its Qdameh production. Naoumi is here presented as small pieces of sweets, instead of powder, decorated with sesame seeds and served for visitors and guests.

Total servings: 40 pieces

Preparation time: 2 hours


1 kg of roasted chickpeas (قضامي صفراء), finely ground

½ kg of liquid grape molasses

300 g of White Almonds coarsely ground

2 sachets of Mastic or Arabian gum (مستكة)

Roasted sesame for decoration

Preparation steps:

  1. In a bow, mix together the ground chickpeas and almonds together
  2. Finely pound the Arabian gum and add it to the chickpea and almond mixture
  3. Gradually add the grape molasses to the mixture while kneading the with hands until obtaining a cohesive and gummy dough
  4. Portion the dough into small balls then shape them as per preference and top them with the roasted sesame. Chocolate molds can be used to shape the Naoumi balls
  5. Leave at room temperature to dry and harden
  6. Store the “Naaoumi” sweets in a dry and airtight container.
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Eid Al-Fitr celebration

At a local sweets shop in Beirut

Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of the month of Ramadan is celebrated by Muslims around the world. After thirty days of fasting, Muslims break their fast and celebrate during three days in familial and friends gathering where kids are pampered with new clothes and gifts, or a certain amount of money the “Eidiyah”, and where food has a special share.

On this occasion, people are encouraged to help the poor through “Zakat al-Fitr” or “Al Futra” which is given prior to the Eid to help the less fortunate celebrate.

Knefeh (Source: Pinterest)

Following the morning Eid prayer in mosques, family members gather for breakfast and greet each other by saying “Eid Mubarak” wishing each other a peaceful and prosperous Eid. Knefeh, a traditional dessert made with sweetened melty cheese and covered with sugar syrup Qater, is commonly served on the Eid morning.

Maamoul el Eid by Hanaa’s Cookies (Hanaa Zahreddine)

Traditional Eid food and desserts vary from one country to another and between regions within the same country. Maamoul, mouthwatering cookie filled with a variation of stuffing like pistachios, walnuts and dates, and covered with powdered sugar, and Kaak el Eid are prepared to celebrate Eid in Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Palestine. In Yemen people enjoy “Bint al Sahn” a sweet prepared with butter thin layers of dough drizzled with honey and nigella seeds, in Sudan they prepare a traditional Kaak el Eid, while in Somalia a special Eid bread called “Cambaabur” is prepared for breakfast and served with sugar and yogurt.

Yemeni “Bint el Sahn” is savored with a cup of tea (Picture ©

In Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, Sheer Khurma which literally translates into “milk with dates” in Persian, is a vermicelli-based pudding prepared especially for Eid al-Fitr and Al-Adha. Its recipe varies depending on the country but it is usually prepared with vermicelli, milk, sugar, dates and sometimes pistachios, almonds, and raisins or dried dates are also added.

“Cambaabur” Somali Eid bread (Picture ©

Other than the delicious desserts prepared during Eid, festive meals are served for either lunch or breakfast. In Lebanon, traditional recipes such as Mouloukhiye, Moughrabiye, Rezz aa Djeij are commonly served. In Morocco, laasida, made from couscous, butter, and honey is usually enjoyed in the Eid morning and Tajine, a slow-cooked stew with meat or chicken, vegetables and dried fruits is served for lunch in Algeria.

Lebanese “Rez aa Djeij” or Chicken with rice



In The Media

Sweet Tooth of The Levant: Lebanon Traveler

Sweet Tooth: Lebanon Traveler

Equal to our fanaticism for Lebanese gastronomy is our pride in Arabic sweets and desserts. The legacy of our
desserts lies in the hands of master pastry chefs, known as halwanji, who spend years perfecting a dessert recipe
and rise to fame with their sweet specialty.

Check out the full article in Lebanon Traveler magazine.

Sweet Tooth: Lebanon Traveler

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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.

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TOP 5 Traditional Ramadan sweets


Ramadan is known for its wide variety of irresistible sweets as an Iftar meal cannot be completed without having dessert. Iftar preparation is an opportunity for the whole family to meet and revive some of the holy month traditions through food.

We bring you here our TOP 5 traditional Ramadan desserts prepared and consumed in Lebanon:

1. Kellaj Ramadan

Kellaj is the most popular dessert in Ramadan and, as its name suggests, it is only available during this month. Many sweet shops in Lebanon fry Kallaj in front of their shops, probably to attract customers by the distinctive smell of the sweets.  Kallaj consists of a pastry dough filled with Ashta, fried and drizzled with sugar syrup. It is then sprinkled with grounded pistachio and topped with candied orange blossom. It is usually served hot.

Kallaj Ramadan ©Rana Tanissa
Kallaj Ramadan ©Rana Tanissa

2. Mafroukeh

Mafroukeh is made from a dough combining semolina flour, butter and sugar syrup. The dough is covered with a layer of Ashta and roasted nuts.  Mafroukeh can be served in a plate or molded in several shapes.


3. Chaaybiyet

A tasteful dessert that commonly prepared during Ramadan, Chaaybiyet is made of crunchy layers of pastry filled with Ashta. Chaaybiyet is generally shaped in the form of a triangle and decorated with crushed pistachio and candied orange blossom and are definitely covered with sweet syrup! They can be either served cold or hot.

Chaaybiyet (Source
Chaaybiyet (Source

4. Qatayef

Qatayef are very commonly served during Ramadan. This Arabic pancake –like dough can be prepared with different fillings such as walnuts and sugar mixture or sweetened Akkawi cheese or even Ashta (a clotted cream with Rose Water). The stuffed Qatayef are then fried and dipped in sugar syrup before being served.

Qatayef ©herbivoracious
Qatayef (Source:

5. Daoukiyeh

Daoukiyeh is one of Beirut’s most famous desserts. It was first created in the 80’s by Al-Daouk sweets, a small pastry shop in Beirut, and was named after the family’s last name.  Daoukiyeh consists of a layer of Ashta and a layer of cashew nuts between two layers of pistachio paste. The color of the pistachios gives the Daoukiyeh its special green color. Today, Daoukiyeh is prepared in many pastry shops around the country, and is served in different shapes.

Daoukiyeh (©Rana Tanissa)
Daoukiyeh ©Rana Tanissa


Halawa Lawhiya

Halawa Lawhiya
Halawa Lawhiya

“Halawa” (sweetness in Arabic) usually refers to a tahini (sesame paste) -based Middle Eastern dessert sometimes flavored with pistachio, almond or chocolate. However, Halawa, Halwa or Halva can be prepared with flour, semolina, rice-flour or corn-starch instead of tahini thus giving it different textures and tastes. Halawa is known and prepared in various parts of the world such as Europe, Asia and the Americas.

The following recipe is typical to the Shouf region of Mount Lebanon and is prepared with whole-wheat flower as a base and sweetened with natural grape molasses instead of refined sugar.

Servings: 12

Preparation time: 1 hour


2 ¾ cups of whole-wheat flour

1 ½ cups of walnuts, chopped

1 ½ cups of grape molasses

½ Tbsp. of powdered anise

2 Tbsp. of blossom water

Preparation steps:

  1. On a low fire, heat the whole-wheat flour in a frying pan and stir frequently until lightly browned
  2. In a bowl, mix the browned whole-wheat flour with the anise and walnuts, and gradually add the grape molasses while mixing with a wooden spoon
  3. Mix thoroughly with hands and add the orange blossom water. Knead the mixture until it becomes smooth and elastic
  4. On a cooking plastic film, spread the dough evenly then fold the plastic over it or cover it with another sheet
  5. Using a rolling pin, knead the dough to get a 5 mm thickness
  6. Remove the plastic film and cut the dough into small rectangles. Garnish the top of each cookie with half a walnut
  7. Leave the cookies to rest for 20 minutes until they cool down and harden, so it becomes easier to transfer them to a tray
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Abou Adham, king of “Tamriyyeh”

Food heritage specialist Zeinab Jeambey, went on a trip around the country and visited its main cities looking for the locally famous pastries and the stories of their pastry chefs.

Tamriyyeh sprinkled with sugar powder
Tamriyyeh sprinkled with sugar powder

During her visit to Bhamdoun, Zeinab meets Mohammad Khafaja, known as Abou Adham, a master pastry chef in “Tamriyyeh”, a skill passed down in his family. Mohammad’s grandfather mastered Tamriyyeh making in its birth place Nablos, Palestine.

Abou Adham, preparing Tamriyye dough
Abou Adham, preparing Tamriyye dough

This dessert is originally made during Saints’ holidays and Assumption Day and was sold in quarts in front of churches. It consists of a thinly spread dough (thin semolina, water and salt), cut into cubes and filled with a cooked paste of thick semolina, sugar, water, orange blossom water and mastic. It is then fried in sunflower oil and sprinkled with powdered sugar before serving. Exempt from any dairy or animal products, it is vegan and can be consumed during lent.

Frying the "Tamriyyeh"
Frying the “Tamriyyeh”

In Palestine, people use the term “moutammar”, originating from the word “tamer” meaning dates to refer to something roasted, grilled or fried to a golden color, thus the name “Tamriyyeh”.

Today, Abu Adham is the only pastry master chef specialized in “Tamriyyeh” and has trained his nephew to carry on the legacy. To place your Tamriyyeh orders contact Abou Adham on 03/675 901.

The original article “The sweet tooth of the Levant” was featured in Lebanon Traveler Magazine

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The reshaping of “Ghraybeh”

Sanioura sweets filled with pistachio
Sanioura sweets filled with pistachio

Food heritage specialist Zeinab Jeambey, went on a trip around the country and visited its main cities looking for the locally famous pastries and the stories of their pastry chefs.

Newly lozenge shaped Sanioura
Lozenge shaped Sanioura

Her visit to the old city of Saida, South of Lebanon, lead her to Sanioura family whose fame in pastry making dates back to 1859!

The chefs at Sanioura pastry shop explain that their ancestors were experimenting with different ingredients and they came up with a “strange” dough, thus the name “gharibeh” from which derived the name of the dessert “Ghraybeh”. Later on, they remolded the dough into lozenge shapes, easier to fill with dates and pistachio, and to pack for export to Damascus and Palestine. The new shape was called Sanioura after the family name of its master pastry chefs. Made solely from ghee, flour and powdered sugar, Sanioura sweets preserve very well.

To try genuine “Sanioura”, contact Sanioura Pastry shop at: 07 724157, Saida – Riad el Soloh Street


The original article “The sweet tooth of the Levant” was featured in Lebanon Traveler Magazine

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Molasses, the dessert of our ancestors

turnip and molasses

Food Heritage expert Zeinab Jeambey researches the tradition of making molasses and meets Lebanese producers continuing this seasonal ritual.

Since the dawn of times, the Mediterranean has been abundant with the sweetest fruits and its people are skilled at preserving them. Internationally, the word molasses often refers to sugarcane molasses, a by-product of sugar extraction by heating sugarcane juice, which became famous in the early 20th century in the sugarcane plantations of southern USA and the Caribbean. Around the Mediterranean, molasses, an ancient roman tradition, were made from grape juice and were used as the main sweetener, along with honey, and were prepared as part of the year’s food provisions. Though the memory of molasses has almost faded in Europe, it lives on in the Middle East. Traditional variations include date, grape, carob, fig and mulberry molasses. Known as “Debs” in Arabic, this dense liquid is high in natural sugars and rich in minerals. In Lebanon, grape and carob molasses are widely consumed. Surprisingly, we discovered that apple, cactus fruit and sweet orange molasses are also being made, at times out of necessity, sometimes out of creativity.

[quote]“Debs”, the Arabic word for molasses, signifies abundance, often referring to the thick juice of dates, and inherently meaning ‘sweet’.[/quote]

Faces and sweet memories

Shibli Abi Assi’s grape molasses

Shibli Abi Assi an agricultural engineer from Maasser el Shouf, decided to invest in his family’s lands by practicing organic agriculture, mainly producing grapes. Making molasses has always been a family event that lasts for three full days.

On day one, grapes are collected, juiced and soaked with a type of white soil named “houwara” in Arabic. Shibli explains that houwara, is high in calcium and neutralizes the grape juice acidity. The mixture is then boiled and left to rest for 12 hours. The following day, the clarified juice called “moustar” is collected for a second phase of boiling. Moustar nights are festive occasions where friends and family drink the liquid mixed with walnuts. The moustar is then boiled until it reaches a third of its original volume. At this stage the molasses are beaten to solidify, which usually requires another day to reach the right consistency. Abi Assi produces around 100 kilograms of grape molasses every season.

grape molasses
Shibli’s molasses and tahini with dry figs

Sweet memory: As kids, Abi Assi and his brother were responsible for feeding the fire under the molasses pot while family members took turns in stirring. One day the kids saw many birds flying over. They stacked a pile of wood under the pot and left for their favorite hobby, hunting. The heat suddenly increased under the mixture, causing it to burn slightly. Alarmed by the smell, the family rushed to salvage what was left. Abi Assi laughs as he remembers; “Our joy over the one-bird catch quickly faded when seeing dad’s anger. I will leave the rest to your imagination!”

To purchase grape molasses, contact Abi Assi at 03 915313

Iman Sabbagh’s cactus fruit and sweet orange molasses

Sabbagh started working with food 13 years ago, after taking courses in macrobiotic diet. She believes that a diet should revolve around locally grown, wholesome foods with no preservatives or added sugar. This creative lady has never stopped innovating: after developing her line of hazelnut, peanut and almond butters she started experimenting with making new types of molasses. Her purpose? To have natural sweeteners for her jams, desserts and chocolate. She has made cactus fruit molasses and sweet orange molasses.

Sweet memory: Sabbagh recalls when she first made molasses. A Saudi customer asked for sweet pomegranate molasses and of which Iman made her first three bottles. Hesitant at first, she then realized that t was a sensation. She personally loves to dilute it with water and serve it as a refreshing late summer drink.

To purchase cactus fruit and sweet orange molasses, contact Sabbagh at 03 891483

Molasses sfouf
Molasses sfouf

Toufiq Abou Alwan and Talaat Boustani’s apple and quince molasses

Molasses has always been a way to conserve fruit in excess. In Barouk, apple cultivation started in 1927. Over the last decade, apple farmers have been struggling to sell their produce, with 30 to 40 percent going to waste. Inspired by an apple molasses product from France, Toufiq and Talaat, both responsible for the agriculture cooperative of Barouk and Fraidiss villages, convinced farmers to make molasses out of the apples they can’t sell. The cooperative currently produce around 1700 kg of apple molasses a year.

 Sweet memory: About a year ago, a businessman passing by Freydiss came across the village agriculture cooperative. Thrilled with the idea of apple molasses, he asked if it was possible to make a limited quantity of apple and quince molasses to export to London. The product sold under the Marigold brand, found huge success in the UK and for this season, the company has tripled its order of molasses.

Molasses with tahini
Molasses with tahini

Rif Al Koura Cooperative and carob molasses

Although carob molasses is known to be a product from the south of Lebanon, our search for someone producing it in the north led us to the Koura Cooperative. Though specializing in olives and olive oil, we found their carob molasses to be exceptional with a smoky flavor acquired from having been reduced over a wood fire.

Sweet memory: For Hajj Ali Tamer, president of the Koura Cooperative, the smell of carob molasses brings memories of Ramadan during which “debs” is diluted with water as a sherbet and passed around to sooth the thirst of those fasting.

To purchase carob molasses, contact Tamer at 03 131856

 This article was published in Lebanon Traveler magazine

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Eid el-Berbara traditional sweets

eid barbara

On the eve of December 3rd of each year, Lebanese people celebrate Eid el-Berbara or Saint Barbara’s. Children disguise in costumes and knock on the neighbours’ door singing “Heshle Berbara wel ameh bel couara“. This Holiday refers to Berbara (300 A.D.) who escaped her pagan dad. Her father sent his soldiers after her because she converted into Christianism. It is told that she disguised and ran away through fields of wheat.


Different sweets are prepared on this special occasion such as Atayef (similar to pancakes) filled with a mixture of sugar and grounded walnut, or with Ashta cream and served with a sugary syrup Kater with orange blossom and rose water.


Boiled wheat or Kamhiye is also prepared and enjoyed on Eid el-Berbara, and which consists of boiled wheat with sugar and anis and topped with nuts and raisins.

Other sweets include crunchy Mshabbak, Ouweymat and Maacaroun!

eid barbara