Few years back I was a stubborn girl who only enjoyed Punjabi cuisine. Things changed after I joined JP Morgan and thanks to my colleagues I started trying out new cuisines. My sister introduced me to this Lebanese cuisine when we shopping at Nature’s Basket. She pointed out to Hummus and Pita Bread and said these two go very well. I bought them and my dinner was a simple, light meal which was different and yet so nice. Few months later I made my first batch of Pita Bread and Hummus. Shawarma and Falafel are also my favorites now.
This month’s challenge at CAB is hosted by my dear friend Garima .Who is a blogger at CafeGarima. This month we are exploring Lebanese Cuisine. Thanks a lot G.
As per Wiki, The Lebanese cuisine is an ancient one and part of the Levantine cuisine, which include the Egyptian cuisine, Palestinian cuisine, Syrian cuisine etc.
Many dishes in the Lebanese cuisine can be traced back to thousands of years to Roman, and even Phoenician times. For most of its recent past, Lebanon has been ruled by foreign powers that have influenced the types of food the Lebanese ate. From 1516 to 1918, the Ottoman Turks controlled Lebanon and introduced a variety of foods that have become staples in the Lebanese diet, such as cooking with lamb.
Lebanese cuisine includes an abundance of starches, whole grain, fruits, vegetables, fresh fish and seafood; animal fats are consumed sparingly. Poultry is eaten more often than red meat. When red meat is eaten it is usually lamb on the coast, and goat meat in the mountain regions. It also includes copious amounts of garlic and olive oil, often seasoned by lemon juice.; olive oil, herbs, garlic and lemon are typical flavors found in the Lebanese diet.
Most often foods are either grilled, baked or sautéed in olive oil; butter or cream is rarely used other than in a few desserts. Vegetables are often eaten raw or pickled as well as cooked. Herbs and spices are used and the freshness of ingredients is important. Like most Mediterranean countries, much of what the Lebanese eat is dictated by the seasons.
In Lebanon, very rarely are drinks served without being accompanied by food. Similar to the tapas of Spain, mezeluri of Romania, and aperitivo of Italy, mezze is an array of small dishes placed before the guests creating an array of colors, flavors, textures and aromas. This style of serving food is less a part of family life than it is of entertaining and cafes. Mezze may be as simple as pickled vegetables or raw vegetables, hummus, baba ghanouj and bread, or it may become an entire meal consisting of grilled marinated seafood, skewered meats, a variety of cooked and raw salads and an arrangement of desserts.
Although simple fresh fruits are often served towards the end of a Lebanese meal, there is also dessert, such as baklava and coffee. Although baklava is the most internationally known dessert, there is a great variety of Lebanese desserts.
A typical mezze will consist of an elaborate variety of thirty hot and cold dishes and may include:
Family cuisine offers also a range of dishes, such as stews or yakhnehs, which can be cooked in many forms depending on the ingredients used and are usually served with meat and rice vermicelli.
The Lebanese flat bread is a staple to every Lebanese meal and can be used to replace the usage of the fork.
Arak, an anise-flavored liqueur, is the Lebanese national alcoholic drink and is usually served with the traditional convivial Lebanese meals. Another drink is Lebanese wine.
Lebanese sweets include:
- Pastries such as baklava, Kaak, Sfouf and Maamoul.
- The Lebanese ice cream with its oriental flavors (Amar el Din made from dried apricot; fresh fruits; pistachio).
- The Lebanese roasted nuts with variety and mixes.
Some dishes are also specifically prepared on special occasions: the meghli dessert, for instance is served to celebrate a newborn baby in the family.
For this month’s challenge I decided to try Lebanese Grilled Chicken served with Greek Salad. Three things I tried for the first time, 1)Used the grill mode 2) Ate salad for the first time ever and 3) Tasted Parsley for the first time.
I have followed Easy Cooking With Sandy’s recipe on you tube.
Recipe for Lebanese Grilled Chicken:-
1) 1 chicken breast piece
2) 1/2 cup greek yogurt
3) 1 Lemon and its zest
4) 1 tsp Orgeno
5) 2-3 Tsp finely chopped garlic
6) 2-3 tsp Parsley
7) 1 tsp Paprika
8) Salt to taste
9) 2 tsp crushed pepper
10) Cumin powder
11) 1 tsp honey
1) Cover a aluminum baking tray with aluminum foil.
2) Take greek yogurt in a bowl. To this add lemon juice, lemon zest, oregano, paprika, cumin powder, crushed pepper, salt, garlic , honey and fresh parsley. Mix well.
3) Make three slits on the chicken breast.
4) Marinate the chicken breasts with the above yogurt mixture. See to it that you stuff this mixture inside the slits made. Cover the bowl with plastic foil and keep in freezer to marinate for at least 3-4 hours.
5) After 4 hours take out the bowl. Preheat the oven to 180 degree at convection mode for 10 mins.
6) Place the marinated chicken breast. Add crushed pepper and salt on top. Bake at 180 degree for 40 mins and then grill for another 10 mins.
Marinated chicken breast!!
Greek Salad and dressing Recipe:-
1) 1 Ice berg lettuce
2) 1 Red bell pepper
3) 1 Green bell pepper
4) 1/2 onion
5) 1 cup of cherry tomatoes
6) 1 cucumber or zucchini
7) 1 cup of Feta cheese of processed cheese
8) 5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
9) Juice and Zest of 1 lemon
10) 2 tsp Parsley
11) 1/2 Tsp Oregano
12) Salt to taste
13) 1 tsp crushed pepper
14) 1/2 tsp minced garlic
Method to make dressing:-
1) In a bowl take extra virgin olive oil.
2) Add juice and zest of 1 lemon, Parsley, Salt, Black pepper, Oregano and minced garlic. Mix well. Salad dressing is now ready.
Method to make Greek Salad:-
1) Wash and pat dry all the above vegetables.
2 ) Cut Ice berg lettuce in small chunks
3) Slice the red bell pepper and green bell paper in strips.
4) Slice 1/2 Onion and zucchini. Cut cherry tomatoes into half.
5) Take a big bowl. Add ice berg lettuce, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, onions. cherry tomatoes, zucchini, feta cheese or processed cheese.
6) Remember always add the salad dressing while serving.
I must admit this is the first time i have ever liked a salad. The cheese chunks with veggies combo is to die for. Enjoyed this month’s challenge and eagerly waiting for the next one. Sharing some more pics. Do try this recipe and give a feedback. Cheers!!