Recipe Corner: A Taste of Beirut

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Recipe and photos are courtesy of Joumana Accad, the talented creator of TasteofBeirut.com, the successful Lebanese food blog.  A native of Lebanon, Joumana is a trained pastry chef and professional caterer.  In her celebrated cookbook, Taste of Beirut, she shares her heritage through exquisite food and family anecdotes, teaching anyone how to master traditional Lebanese cuisine.  Published in 2014 by Health Communications, Inc. (US), her cookbook has enjoyed to date the largest number of independent five-star reviews from their roster of cookbooks, and is available online through Amazon and other sites as well as in major bookstores in Lebanon.

With over 150 recipes inspired by her beloved grandmother, Accad captures the famous and healthy flavors of the Middle East and makes them completely accessible to home cooks everywhere, like this traditional Mallow Salad (Khobbeizeh bel-zeyt).  What is khobbeizeh?  It is a wild plant from the same family as hibiscus and mallows (mauve in French). “It was consumed for medicinal purposes in the olden days as it was believed to help digestion and to fight sore throats. It is like the dandelion in taste,” Joumana says.

“Eaten in salads in Lebanon with fried onions and a squeeze of lemon, it is from the same family as mallows from which the original marshmallow used to be made, before it was turned into a corn syrup, sucrose and artificial coloring candy.  We are finding that making candy from mucilaginous plants dates back centuries since the Abbassid used to do it in the tenth-century in Baghdad.”

TasteofBeirut.com started as a food and culinary blog in 2009, and its main purpose was to share Joumana’s beloved Lebanese heritage with the world through recipes, anecdotes, and cultural history.

Ingredients:

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3 bunches of khobbeizeh (or Swiss chard, kale, spinach, beet greens, dandelion or other any greens)

4 medium onions, chopped or sliced in rings

Olive oil, as needed

2 large lemons

1/2 cup golden raisins (not traditional, but it adds a nice touch of sweetness)

2 cloves garlic

Salt to taste

 

Preparation:

Pluck the stems off (Joumana uses kitchen scissors); place the leaves in a bowl, fill with water and rinse several times to clean well.  Chop the leaves in ribbons, and place with the water clinging to them in a large pot; bring to a boil.

Add the raisins and let simmer a couple of minutes until the leaves wilt and set aside. If a lot of water remains in the pot, boil it until it evaporates, watching to make sure the leaves do not burn.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, and add the onions; fry the onions until a golden-brown color.  Mash garlic cloves and add to the skillet alongside the greens and raisins.  Season with extra salt, if needed, and about 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice; toss gently to combine.  Serve at room temperature with lemon quarters.

For this recipe, go to:

<http://www.tasteofbeirut.com/mallow-salad-khobbeizeh-bel-zeyt/>

<https://www.instagram.com/taste.of.beirut/>
https://www.instagram.com/taste.of.beirut/

https://www.facebook.com/joumanaaccadtob/videos/spinach-turnovers-taste-of-beirut/10153181235608056/

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