Hboub is a famous dessert in Syria made of wheat berries. There are two versions of Hboub, the one prepared in Hama and Damascus which differs from Hboub prepared in Aleppo. The recipe here is for Hboub of Hama and Damascus, made of peeled wheat berries cooked with rice, dried chickpeas, dried fava beans, dried white beans, almond halves, sugar, ground anise seeds, and ground fennel seeds. These are garnished with ground anise seeds, ground fennel seeds, desiccated coconut, almond flakes, slivered pistachios and sugar coated fennel seeds.

Hboub is usually prepared in the celebration of Mawlid “Birth of the Prophet Mohammed”.



30 g dried chickpeas

less than 1/8 tsp qelo,

to soak chickpeas

50 g peeled wheat berries

30 g Egyptian short grain rice


50 g sugar

5 g ground anise seeds,

5 g ground fennel seeds,

30 g almond halves



10 g desiccated coconut

5 g ground anise seeds,

5 g ground fennel seeds,

10 g almond halves

10 g sugar coated fennel



Put 30 g dried chickpeas in a small pot and add water to cover chickpeas.

Add less than 1/8 teaspoon Qelo to chickpeas.

"Qelo : is a white powder. In Syria, it is added to tenderize chickpeas during cooking. You can substitute with baking soda (each one teaspoon of Qelo equal to two teaspoons of baking soda), but Qelo is much way better and will not leave a bitter taste."

Let chickpeas soak for 12 hours at room temperature.

Repeat the same soaking process with wheat berries without using Qelo

Put roasted anise seeds and in a spice grinder and grind it until it turns into powder, and set aside.

After 12 hours, chickpeas will expand to over double their size, wash them, put them into new water on heat and keep on high heat until boiling.

Once boiling vigorously, reduce heat and keep on low heat. Cook chickpeas until slightly tender, do not overcook. Peel the chickpeas and split chickpeas in half, and set aside.

Soak the rice in boiling water for 15 minutes.

Cook the wheat berries, add Egyptian rice to it and stir. Put over high heat until it starts to boil, then reduce heat and keep over medium heat. Then add chickpea halve and stir.

Add the sugar and stir.

Add anise, fennel and almond and stir.

Keep the mixture over medium heat until rice is tender and cooked and all the flavors are combined together.

Allow Hboub to cool at room temperature, then garnish with desiccated coconut, ground anise seeds, ground fennel seeds, almond halves, and sugar coated fennel seeds. Then put in the refrigerator to cool.


Serve Hboub Cold


Lara Khouli