Cauliflower in Tahini sauce – Arnabit b Thineh

For a healthier version, steam the cauliflower instead of frying it

Tahini sauce or sesame paste sauce is at the base of different Lebanese traditional recipes such as “kebbeh arnabieh”, “mansoufi kolkas” and others… “Arnabit b Thineh” is a winter dish prepared when cauliflowers are available. It is delicious and consistent. Usually the cauliflowers are deep-fried, but here we propose a healthier version with either boiled or steamed cauliflowers. Cauliflowers are packed with dietary fibers and vitamins (C, K and B6); they are also rich with folate and omega-3 fatty acids.


1 medium cauliflower, washed and steamed or boiled

1 cup of tahini paste

5 cups of water

½ cup of orange juice

½ cup of lemon juice

1 medium onion, finely sliced

1 tbsp. of olive oil

2 tbsp. of roasted pine nuts

2 garlic gloves, smashed

Pepper, salt to taste

Preparation steps:

  1. Mix all the sauce ingredients: tahini, water, juices, spices and garlic. You may need to add more water if you prefer a more liquid sauce. Remove tahini clumps with a fork
  2. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil and fry the sliced onion until gold
  3. Strain the onion from additional oil
  4. In a baking dish, line the cauliflowers and cover with the sauce, then add the strained onions and decorate with the pine seeds
  5. Put the baking dish in a heated over for 20 minutes or until the sauce starts boiling
  6. Serve hot with cooked rice on the side
Before baking the dish, add some roasted pine seeds
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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.


Kebbeh Arnabieh


Kebbe Arnabieh is one of Beirut’s renowned recipes, usually prepared in winter, during the Bousfeir season. Nonetheless, this recipe contains a “cocktail” of citrus juices enriching its taste. It consists of hollow kebbe balls boiled in a tahini sauce, and can be served with rice on the side.

Total Servings: 4


500g Tahini

3 cups of orange juice

1 cup of afandeh juice (mandarin)

1 cup of Bousfeir juice (Seville orange)

1 cup of lemon juice

2 cups of water

2 medium onions chopped in julienne

1 cup of chickpeas, soaked overnight

2 Tbsp. of vegetable oil to fry the onions

Salt and white pepper to taste

Hollow Kebbeh balls (frozen or freshly prepared)

Preparation Steps:

  1. Boil the chickpeas for 30 mns, drain and put aside
  2. In a large pan, stir fry the onions with vegetable oil
  3. Once the onions turn gold, add the chickpeas
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the tahini with the citrus juices until the texture become homogenous
  5. Add the tahini mixture to the onions and chickpeas to cook on medium fire, and stirring with a wooden spoon until the oil breaks at the surface
  6. Once the mixture starts to boil, add the kebbeh to cook for 10 mns (15 mns if the kebbeh is frozen)
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste
  8. Serve hot with rice pilaf on the side



Samkeh harra (Spiced fish)

Samkeh harra or spiced fish is a specialty of Tripoli el Mina par excellence! Tripoli is a coastal city in North Lebanon, famous for its sweets and old traditional souks.

Beautifully presented samkeh harra
Beautifully presented samkeh harra

Samkeh harra is usually prepared for special occasions and family gatherings, it consists of a baked fish served with nuts and tahini sauce.

This recipe was shared by Hana el-Zeini from Tripoli, Lebanon

Servings: 5

Preparation time: 1 hour


1 large fish, scaled and cleaned (about 1.5 Kg)

1 cup of tahini (sesame paste)

1 cup of coriander, finely chopped

6 garlic cloves, crushed

1 cup of lemon juice

2 cups of water

Olive oil

Lemon Slices

¼ cup of almonds, sliced, peeled and fried in vegetable oil

¼ cup of pine seeds, sliced, peeled and fried in vegetable oil

½ cup of walnuts, crushed

1 green pepper, thinly sliced

2 tsp of hot pepper, diced

Salt and mixed spices to taste


  1. To prepare the fish, clean it then rub it with salt and mixed spices then with a Tbsp. spoon of olive oil. Stuff the fish with thin slices of lemon, then cover it with lemon slices and wrap it in aluminum foil.
  2. Put the fish in oven tray with a little bit of water, in a heated oven for about 40 min or till done (check occasionally and add water in the tray if completely evaporated).
  3. In a cooking pot, mix the tahini with the lemon juice and 2 cups of water. Add the coriander, garlic, crushed walnuts, peppers and olive oil. Season with salt and mixed spices to taste.
  4. Put the pot over medium heat and bring to boil while stirring occasionally, until the sauce color darkens and the olive oil comes to the surface.
  5. Remove the fish from the oven, place in a serving dish as is or deboned and leave the flesh.
  6. Cover with the sauce and decorate with the fried almonds and pine nuts and lemon slices.

Onion tagine

Onion tagine
Onion tagine

Onion tagine or caramelized onions in tahini sauce is a side dish that can be served alone as a mezze or that accompanies fish, meat, chicken and roasted vegetables.

Servings: 5

Preparation time: 30mns


2 large onions, chopped into fine wedges

Juice of 2 lemons

2 garlic gloves, minced

2 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil

½ cup of tahini (sesame paste)

¼ cup of water

1 Tbsp. of parsley leaves, finely chopped

Salt to taste


  1. In a saucepan, fry the onions in the olive oil until golden-brown (caramelized)
  2. Combine the lemon juice, tahini, garlic and water in a bowl and mix very well
  3. Add salt according to your preference
  4. When the onions cool down a little bit, add them to the mixture
  5. Garnish with the parsley leaves and serve cold, warm or at room temperature