Food {loubieh bi zeit} a lebanese dish

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.

{from stock photo}

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.


the making of Tabouleh

ImageThe making of Tabouleh depends on where you come from in Lebanon. Each region claims to have the best way.

My mother (who is Danish) never made it, but fortunately my mother-in-law did! and wow she does it well. I got the recipe, but many many attempts to reach her level of tastiness has failed! Apparently the secret ingredient is LOVE… go figure how much of it i have to include in my recipes!!

A set of fortunate circumstances, made it possible to serve the delicious Tabouleh in our home ; having a house keeper who likes to cook and who learned all the secret tricks of Lebanese cooking  at my in-laws! However, my husbands says that his mom’s is still better…:)).

I will share it with you, firstly because everyone can learn this, second because my house keeper is returning to her home in Nepal, after 6 years of living with us! She will be taking the secret trick and ingredient with her unless I pin them down with my Samsung camera!

Here is a step to step guide to make a very flavourish Tabouleh!


The Ingredients

2 bunches of fresh Parsley  – cut very thinly with a sharp knife

1 or half bunch fresh mint – cut very thinly

1 big onion  – diced

7-8 medium size tomatoes – cut into small dices

2 lemons – freshly pressed

1 cup olive oil (expresso size cup)

1 tablespoon all spice (pepper mix)

1 tablespoon salt (add more later if needed)

1,5 cup coarse bulghur (expresso size cup)

a sprinkle of LOVE…


How to make

The secret trick here is to use your hands when mixing the onions, salt and pepper. Mash them with your hand, it will squeeze the juices out of the onion and mix them well with the spices.

Then add the lemon juice and the oil. Let the it rest for few minutes while you cut the parsley and mint.

Add the tomatoes to the bowl, but don’t mix.

Add the parsley and mint.

Sprinkle the burghul over.

The tabouleh looks better (brighter colours) and taste better if all the ingredients are mixed ten minutes before serving.

Enjoy with big salad leaves and freshly baked bread!