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Homemade Syrian labneh

Some call it yogurt cheese, others call it the Syrian cream cheese but it is most commonly known as labneh. It is a staple food on any breakfast menu, makes a wonderful sandwich with a few mint leaves or some pitted olives or better yet with a sprinkle of zaatar. To put it simply labneh is strained yogurt.It is super easy to make and very tasty and the best part is, you can flavor it any way you like. Mint, oregano, sumac, olives, chili flakes.

Compared to cream cheese, labneh is much healthier and lighter in calories.You can make it using regular yogurt or fat free yogurt but the best labneh is the one you make out of homemade yogurt.  If you strain it further, you will get a labneh that you can roll into balls and these are called “labneh korat”or”labneh mka3baleh” which means “labneh balls”. Put these in a jar and submerge them with oil and they will last a whole year in the fridge. Labneh balls also make for a wonderful appetizer if you make them small enough. You can serve them plain or rolled in zaatar, sesame seeds, parsley, sumac, or pepper.You can even serve a platter of labneh balls rolled in different toppings, they make for a very pretty and tasty appetizer. You can also add them to salads if you feel like adding a refreshing new twist to your regular salad.

Chicken Shawarma Fatteh Recipe

An amazing flavorful chicken shawarma bowl, Fatteh style featuring chicken, rice and toasted bread. Crunchy, filling and topped with easy white shawarma sauce.

Fatteh is a Syrian dish consisting of toasted bread, rice and some sort of meat or veggies. Usually topped with a garlicky sauce.

Shawarma is made of thin layers of marinated meat ( beef, chicken or lamb) cooked on a spinning vertical broiler. It is one of the signature dishes in the Syrian kitchen.

Barbara (Wheat Dessert )

Barbara is a porridge-like dessert that’s made by Syrian and Middle Eastern Christians every year on December 4th to mark the countdown to Christmas and in celebration of Saint Barbara. The story of this day goes back to when Saint Barbara disguised herself in different characters in order to escape the Romans who were persecuting her. She used to hide in wheat fields and witnessed a miracle as the wheat instantly grew to hide her steps. That is why we eat this wheat-based dessert on Saint Barbara’s Day.

The Syrian tradition is that each family makes this recipe and each will share a plate with the other neighborhood families. The fun part is that they would compare whose Barbara is the best of the year.

Wheat is the main ingredients for this recipe as Wheat is considered a symbol for life. One seed of wheat if planted can grew and produce more seeds.

The other ingredients are the licorice spices, anise, and fennel powder. Fennel and anise have a licorice sweet taste, therefore, the dish itself doesn’t require a lot of sugar, and for those who like it sweeter extra sugar can be added, spices also can be adjusted depending on your taste, you can start by less and add-on.

Arabic lentil soup "Shorbat adas"

Lentils were discovered in the Stone Age in at Mureybet and Tal Abu Hureyra in Syria. Lentil soup is mentioned in the biblical story of Jacob and Esau. In fact, lentil usage in Syrian cuisine goes back even further in history; originating in the Middle East, lentils are believed to be the first legume ever cultivated.

Lentil soup is highly nutritious, a good source of protein, dietary fiber, iron and is cholesterol free. Some doctors prescribe lentil soup for patients with liver ailments.

This lentil soup also is almost the official ramadan soup in many homes. It is nutritious,tasty and easy to make.

All you need is a squeeze of lemon juice and a few parsley leaves and you are in for a bowl of comfort food at its best.

Creamy freekeh with mushrooms and chicken

Freekeh (pronounced free-ka or free-keh) is one of the ancient grains popular in Syria, the Levant and in North east Africa.

Simply put, Freekeh is roasted green wheat. The grains are harvested while still soft, young and green, then parched, roasted, rubbed to get rid of burnt husks then the grains are dried.

The name Freekeh is actually Arabic for (that which is rubbed)

Freekeh has at least four times as much fibre as some other comparable grains, and consists mostly of insoluble fibre. It also has a low glycemic index and is very high in protein.

These kinds of fusion recipes are quite popular in fancy restaurants here in Syria. This one in particular is either called Freekoto (a play on freekeh and risotto) or (freekeh bil fakhara) which means freekeh cooked in a clay pot because restaurants often serve this in clay pots for that traditional Syrian touch.

In this dish, the freekeh adds texture and a nutty earthiness that balances the cream well. The mushrooms and chicken add layers of flavor.