Lately, one of the big changes in my daily life is that I am cooking Lebanese food for the first time. Yes I am half Lebanese, married to a Lebanese and back in Lebanon since the year 2000, but i have been so fortunate to have a house keeper that loved cooking, especially Lebanese dishes (which she learned by staying at my in-laws during the horrid times of war in 2006). I simply relied on her to make the Lebanese part of our gastronomic life, while i was experimenting Food-network, Fatafeet, Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver!
Since my house keeper got pregnant and left to start a new life, I have been venturing slowly into the Lebanese cooking, finding it more and more delightful and, interesting and fun to explore.
My first dishes needed more punch, says my husband, used to his mom’s delicious cooking, which made me understand more and more the concept of Lebanese flavors. They are based on OLIVE OIL (and i mean a nice portion, not just a little spoon, this is not for the dieting, but more for the gourmet and food lover!), GARLIC, CORIANDER, SUMAC, ALL SPICE, CINNAMON and lots of TOMATOES & ONIONS.
Once you have mastered these ingredients, you have the base and can slowly build up the most interesting and flavoured dishes.
I already shared the tabbouleh recipe, and will stay in the vegetarian arena.
Today I will share a traditional recipe with green beans called Loubieh bi Zeit (beans in oil).
You will need
1kg green beans (the ones we use in Lebanon are flat and light green), but thin green beans will work as well, washed and cut into 2-3cm long pieces.
2 big onions, sliced thinly
2-3 cloves garlic , sliced thinly
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp tomato pure
3 big tomatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (to peel the tomatoes, place into boiling water few minutes, then remove the peel)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper or all spice
300 ml water
how to make
In a deep pot, fry the onion, garlic and oil until light dark gold (do not burn them, the taste will be harsh).
Add the green beans, fry until they get a crispy green color.
Add the tomatoes, tomato pure and water.
Taste with salt and pepper. Cover the pot.
Let the stew simmer on low fire for 20 minutes, the green beans should be tender when ready.
Enjoy hot or room temperature with a squash of lemon and chili (this is really delicious and give the stew some oomph!). Can be served with bread, as a side dish to chicken or meat.