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Stuffed chard leaves

Syrian people are very fond of stuffed vegetables or dolmas . Stuffed tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and eggplants are the year round favorites and during the fasting period of Lent, and on Good Friday among syrians. Cabbage leaves are stuffed in winter and vine leaves and zucchini flowers herald a fresh option in spring time. The success of any great dolma, which literally means “stuffed”, relies heavily on getting the stuffing right,with a dollop of yoghurt or a slice of lemon aside, they are utterly delicious.

Stuffed chard is a vegetarian option,  with aromatic rice and herb filling, they need to soften up first then can be stuffed. It is a  hearty dish with a northern Syrian addition of  Syrian hot pepper paste sauce.

Shishbarak

Though a part of Arab cuisine for centuries, the dish originated in pre-Islamic Persia where it was known as  (joshpara ) which  means "to boil". The Arabic name shishbarak is thought to be derived directly from this name. It was then replaced by the modern Persian name (gosh e-barreh), meaning "lamb's ear", then the Finno-Ugric peoples in western Siberia who were exposed to the dish by Iranian merchants in the Middle Ages gave it the name (pelnan) meaning "ear bread".

Shishbarak‎ or shushbarak, also known as tatarbari in Iraq, is a traditional dumpling dish made in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Hejaz, and Palestine which is similar to Italian ravioli. After being stuffed with ground beef or lamb and spices, thin wheat dough is cooked in yogurt and served hot in cooked yogurt.

It is an intriguing taste stemming from the intense flavor of , and then crowned with subtle aromas from the mint, cilantro and garlic.  preparing this dish in goat plain yogurt yields a much richer and intense flavor than if cooked with regular cow plain yogurt. And both are lovely.

Lahme bil Sanieh

Lahme bil Sanieh, which literally translates to Meat in a Tray  is meat spread in a tray and baked in the oven.  Some people have another name "LahmehbilSahen" which means Meat in a Plate.

In the old days, late nineteenth, early twentieth century, most people didn't have ovens in their homes. Lahme bil Sanieh was usually prepared by the family butcher and then sent to one of the city's many communal ovens to be baked. You can still get that today in Damascus especially in the old city and traditional old neighbourhoods.

The dish is made from minced lamb meat mixed with spices and spread in roasting tin with slices of tomatoes on top. Sliced potato and or sliced green peppers are optional toppings. The meat is usually eaten with Arabic flat bread and served with tahini yoghurt sauce.

Crunchy breadsticks with sesame seeds on top (Ka'k, Bosomat)

Bo'somat (Ka'k) is crispy, crunchy and totally addictive.

These crunchy Syrian breadsticks are perfect for snacking, as a side with your soup or have them traditionally with  a cup of tea.

Bo'somat sticks are perfect to use as a dipper. In Syria, Bo'somat is sold in every street. You can find them in stores and in all pastry shops. Usually made with all purpose flour, but recently you can find healthier choices made with whole wheat flour.

Traditionally, bo'somat is sprinkled with sesame seeds, but you can make them plain, sprinkle some nigella seeds .

Mamounieh (Syrian semolina pudding)

Mamounieh is an ancient dessert originating in Aleppo, Syria. It is traditionally eaten as breakfast food,in weddings and special occasions.

It is smooth and velvety semolina pudding topped with sizzling pine nuts, pistachio or any nuts you like and dashes of cinnamon. Some people like it hot, fresh for a wonderful winter dessert, while others prefer it cold or at room temperature in the summer, where it holds a firmer, more pudding-like consistency. There are people who like to add melted, white, stringy cheese to the dish, which is also very delicious!