What Goes In Making Lebanese Cuisine So Magical? Here Are Our Top 10 Ingredients
Lebanese food is a celebration of life, it is fresh, flavorful, diverse and invigorating. It has been around for thousands of years and yet, amazingly, nothing has changed since ancient times. Simple preparations and subtle spicing let the character of the raw materials take centre stage. Pickles, wild herbs and spices, dried fruits and nuts, chickpeas and plenty of top-quality olive oil give Lebanese food its distinct character.
From fresh bread to fragrant spices, here’s a look at some of the key ingredients we use in our Lebanese kitchen.
Literally, not a meal goes by in Lebanon without bread. It provides the perfect basis to enjoy many dips, such as hommus and baba ghannouj. It is seasoned with zahtar and olive oil for breakfast and utilized both as a foodstuff and eating utensil for virtually every meal or snack. Bread is also the ideal vessel for encasing falafels or marinated meats. But, our fresh baked bread straight out of the oven is a bit different than the one you’re accustomed to. Check it out, come by…
Chickpeas or Garbanzo beans are central ingredient in two of Lebanon’s flagship dishes: falafel and hommus. Both are legendary in their own right, but would not be possible without the humble legume at their core. Chickpeas boast a wide range of health benefits and have been a staple of diets in the Middle East since ancient times.
Sesame seeds are considered the oldest oilseed crop in the world and have been cultivated for more than 3,500 years.They are used in a number of ways. Perhaps mostly sesame is used to make tahini which is eaten as a dip or as a sauce on Lebanese shawarma but it is also a main ingredient in hommus. Sesame is also used in many desserts and you’ll find it scattered upon Lebanese pastry dishes, both sweet and savoury.
Pickled turnips are a popular Lebanese mezze. The neon pink pickled turnip that is the most memorable on the eye and on the palette. Turnip pickles are steeped with beets, which imparts a pink colour. The firmness of the turnips means that the pickles stay crunchy and they tend to be milder than traditional cucumber pickles in terms of how vinegary they are. You can try our selection of homemade pickles, makdous, cucumber pickles, olives & mushroom for only £5.50. They are the perfect addition to many dishes such as falafel or wonderful on their own.
Olive Oil is one of the base ingredients in our kitchen which we use to make dips and sauces or combined with herbs to create a salad dressing. It is recognised as one of the world’s healthiest oils. In Lebanese cuisine it’s central to most of our dishes: hommus, tabbouleh, tahini, manoosh and more.
Ashta – a Lebanese core ingredient to many pastries. It is made with powdered milk and it is used in many Lebanese sweets. Traditionally it’s served in a little pancake, or as a topping for fresh fruit.
Lebanese Yogurt, excellent for dipping with vegetables or spreading on bread. It’s often blended with cilantro, cucumbers and dill which gives it the perfect tarator dressing. In our menu you will find many meals that include tarator for example our Falafel Salad.
Depending on the country, feta can be made from sheep’s, goat’s or cow’s milk, or a combination. Feta cheese makes several important contributions to Lebanese meals. It is used in many Lebanese mezze such as Rekakat – delicious bites made of filo pastry stuffed with feta cheese. It also goes very well with grilled eggplant.
Couscous – a tiny pasta made of wheat or barley. There are three main types of couscous: Moroccan couscous, Israeli couscous and Lebanese couscous which is also called Moghrabieh couscous. It has a lot of health benefits but mainly it is a good source of fibre, with one cup supplying almost 10 percent of your daily recommended intake.
Freekeh – a popular grain in the Middle East that has been a prominent source of protein and fibre for centuries. Also known as cracked wheat, it is now emerging as a superfood and gaining popularity across Europe. In Lebanon we use Freekeh to accompany grilled meats such as lamb or chicken.
Now that you know our top 10 ingredients, why don’t you come and see how we bring them together to give you a true taste of Lebanon. Book a table now and enjoy the Abd El Wahab meals or call us on 020 7235 0005. You can also order delivery and experience the uniqueness for yourself.