Lebanese cuisine has been around for thousands of years and amazingly little has changed since ancient times, with the secret to this healthy and delicious food still being fresh ingredients and time tested techniques. As Lebanese food continues to rise in popularity around the world, we look at some of the most awesome traditional Lebanese ingredients & cooking techniques. Let’s take a look at a few of the essential elements of traditional Lebanese cooking.
Fresh herbs and vegetables
Traditional Lebanese food is famous for its fresh ingredients with everything from mint and parsley to cucumber and tomatoes playing key roles in classic dishes. Regardless of whether you are preparing a falafel wrap, a shawarma or salads such as tabouleh or fattoush, they simply wouldn’t be the same without the burst of flavour provided by fresh local ingredients.
In Lebanese cuisine nothing is more important than bread as we eat fresh baked pita with every meal of the day. Pita provides the perfect way to enjoy our many dips, such as hommus and baba ghannouj; it is the ideal vessel for encasing falafel balls or marinated meats, or you can simply slather your pita with labne for a fast and healthy breakfast.
Made from crushed sesame seeds, tahini has been a core part of Lebanese cuisine for thousands of years. Apart from being a central ingredient in any authentic hommus, tahini is added as a dressing to everything from falafel wraps to shawarmas, making it an essential element in any Lebanese kitchen.
Our cuisine also includes plenty of legumes, particularly chick peas and lentils, both of which have a wide range of health benefits. Chick peas are the star of the show in classics such as falafel and hommus, while one of our most popular dishes, mujadara, basically consists of lentils, onions and rice.
While Lebanese food nowadays can contain anything from beef to lamb to chicken, lamb is the traditional meat of choice. Our many mouth-watering lamb dishes include our national dish, kebbeh nayeh, as well as our wildly popular ground lamb kufta kebabs.
Since the early days of the Ottoman occupation Lebanese cooks have been roasting meat on vertical spits; this enables the meat to cook in its own fats and juices making it tender and delicious. Our most famous dish utilising the vertical roasting technique is none other than shawarma.
Few cultures have been grilling longer than we have, with our traditional ground lamb kufta kebabs one of our most famous grilled specialties. Lebanese cuisine also includes a variety of grilled skewers that can include all manner of meats and vegetables.
Wood fired ovens have been in use in the Middle East for eons, so it should come as no surprise that Lebanese people have mastered the art of baking. Our many baked specialties include the flat bread ‘Lebanese pizzas’ known as manoosh, as well as our impossibly delicious baklava.
While Lebanese don’t tend to cook in oil very much frying certainly has its place in a true Lebanese kitchen, particularly when it comes to preparing the perfect falafel balls or a delicious batch of fried kebbeh.
Get the year started off right by treating yourself to some of Sydney’s most delicious and authentic Lebanese food. Simply drop by Manoosh or order from us online, because you haven’t lived until you have tasted our traditional Lebanese cuisine.
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